This frees me up to attend to grinding up some nuts to produce peanut butter. All the kids looked forward to filling their own jar. Ella, Inanna, and Tyler all got to make personal labels for the jars they filed. Liam surrendered his chance since he could not let himself leave the fire till even the last wisp of smoke emitted. His fear yielded an extreme sense of fire safety. He was not about to listen to reason that the dying fire could be monitored as long as we were nearby and it did not require constant gazing at it to ensure it would not escape its metal container. But eventually, it died down enough that he felt safe to wander over to the playground and join in other kid activities.
Soon after supper was over, Liam’s parents left for a night on the town. I was left in charge of the kids. As it got dark, a chill was settling in and I prepared a fire in the fireplace. As soon as Liam noticed what was going on, be became anxious and stood outside the doorway to the living room, occasionally peering around the corner to see if he had to launch another fire safety crusade. He threatened to spend the night outdoors rather than live indoors and share his space with fire.
I stood firm in letting him know that staying outdoors was more risky than living with a fire and I would not permit that. I also let him know that it was beneficial for us to have warmth that the fire would provide. I was also aided by other folks that wanted to get warmed by the fire. Melanie and Cory, both engaged Liam in conversation about the benefits that fire provided for mankind, including the fact that Liam’s beloved trains ran because they could carry a contained fire.
Eventually, Liam came around the corner and was willing to join us in conversation . At first he had to be assured that the glass doors and screens in front of the fireplace would contain fire and not let it pounce out at us. Slowly, talk drifted to other subjects and Liam appeared settled and safe getting warmed by the fire. Finally, Liam let his imagination run free and began letting out tales that exposed his vast range of fears about its dangers. I listened to an incredible array of stories that showed what could occur in a fertile mind. We even joked about his immense powers of imagination that showed an inner flame of his own. By the time he needed to get ready for bed, Liam was OK with the idea that what was left of fire would be OK behind the safety apparatus in front of the fireplace. I figured he went to bed with a healthy respect for his new friend fire.