I was at a dinner party with my parents once when I was 14. The couple hosting us had just had a baby, and my dad was talking about the trusting nature of babies. “They don’t so much as flinch when you do something like this,” he said, turning to me and quickly moving his palm towards my face as though he were going to push my head backwards. He stopped at the last second and I just sat there staring at his hand — I hadn’t flinched at all. I guess I didn’t move because I knew there was no possibility in any universe that my dad was going to smack me in the face. We all marveled afterwards at the trust implied by that. It made both me and my dad look pretty good, I think. A nice bond of mutual love and trust there.
The other possibility is that I just have abysmally poor reflexes, and I’m pretty sure my dad and I both considered this explanation for a few seconds before we decided to believe in our beautiful trust. He’s the guy who tried and failed to teach me to ski, play tennis and throw a ball, so he knows about my reflex issues better than most. I guess it doesn’t matter: he could be a supremely trusted parent or he could be willing to lie to cover my terrible lack of coordination; either one makes him a pretty great dad.