ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - Interviewing a 6-year-old is rarely easy. But, frankly, it's a relief to see William Vener bouncing off the backyard walls when you consider where he was when we met him.
It was inside Hennepin County Medical Center.
William was 4. He had been blowing bubbles in his dad's backyard when he fell face-first into a fire pit.
His 6-year-old brother dragged him out by the back of his pants. William suffered second- and third-degree burns over half of his body.
At the time, his mom feared for his future.
"Is he going to think he's ugly? Are people going to pick on him? What do I do to protect him?" Danielle Lade said in June 2015.
But now, especially on days like Easter Sunday, Danielle Lade is relishing her energetic boy.
That's not to say the last two years haven't been a struggle.
"One minute he could be completely, entirely proud. And he's this Super-William. Then there are other moments when he's, 'Mom, I'm different. I hate my hands,'" Lade said.
She's concentrating on teaching him to love himself.
When it comes to the fire pit in her backyard, Lade says there have been a lot of conversations about growing up safe and unafraid.
"I want to teach him safety and comfortability, yeah," she said.
And as for her initial fear, after dealing with some teasing at a previous school, Danielle says William now fits right in at his new school, and answered all the kids' questions.
"One girl actually asked if she could be his friend. And he's like, sure! That was a really proud moment, to be honest," Lade said.
And perhaps most telling, is that the most important question -- "Are you happy?" -- seems like a silly one to this 6-year-old.
"Well, yeah!" he answers.
Lade wants to renew her call to parents to be vigilant when having children near campfires or backyard fire pits.
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