Gentle is a word we use often with Hugh. He bursts at the seams with energy, waking up from a nap by jumping so high on the bed it appears he’ll leap over the crib rail. This morning, he woke up in our bed and proceeded to fling himself on me, or more accurately, my nose.

“Gentle, Hugh,” we say. “Gentle.” And then he reaches up and touches your cheek very lightly and makes a cooing sound. But you can tell it is all he can do not to squeeze his fingers into a fist and give you a powerful slug.

He’s our little thrill seeker who loves to be surprised (shocked) and thinks falling is funny. “Bonk,” he’ll yell. “Bonk!” And laughing, recreate the scene of his mishap.

Our job as parents is to channel, redirect, and remind him…gentle, Hugh, gentle.

My bruised nose