Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Slapped Around

My son is a maniac. He’s cute and cuddly and sweet and will smack you in the face. It hurts too, especially since I he got those brass knuckles for his birthday. 

I know I just touched on this recently, but I think it’s time to readdress, especially after what happened yesterday.

Here's how it went down, I hobbled into the kitchen after a full day of work, wounded and weary from punching the clock. I'm laying it on thick here, but it's my story so I'll tell it. Anyway, I felt the stress evaporate upon seeing my son's little face. And my wife, her face too of course. 

Inside, I picked up my one and only child, my little boy. I was ready to play, and seeing the little red phone lying on the table, I grabbed it and put it to my ear.

Me: Ring, ring. Hello. Oh, Hi. Yes, Simon’s right here. It’s for you Simon.

Him: Gurgling noises.

I handed him the phone, he took the call, placing it to the back of his neck because that’s just how he rolls. I looked on with proud goofy smile and it doesn't occur to me that I've given him a weapon and a clear shot. Why would it, he's a cute and cuddly, WHAM! The stars are out and I'm seeing constellations.  

Me, doing my best to censor myself: Ah, ma grump it, son of a…

That's exactly what happened. Hearing what could be considered snickering, I spun around to find my wife's face still with traces of a smile.

“Did you see that? He hit me with the phone.” My son sneered at me for snitching and I feared repercussions.

“Simon, don’t hit your father,” my wife said in a way that made me think she enjoyed me getting bonked over the head. That’s also when I realized the distinct possibility of my being the butt of countless jokes between mother and son for years to come.

But back to this thirst for blood thing. Although Mom has met Thunder and Lighting on occasion, I’m still the preferred punching bag in the house--the dogs being a distant second. I’ve been hit with a water bottle, sippy cup, wooden mallet (toy sized but still wooden), blocks, the remote control, Thomas The Train, books, and if I hadn’t ducked, a candle stick.  (In hindsight, I've played Clue and should have seen that one coming).

My wife says it’s because he’s all ego right now, that he doesn’t understand how a cast iron skillet to the face can cause some serious discomfort. I don't know about all of that child development babble, just that I'm not above flinching when he picks up a toy truck.

I tell him no, but he gives us the cutest pout lip face I’ve ever seen in my life.  But no more, I won't be fooled me by his little tricks any longer. Like President Bush once said, "Fool me once, who wants ice cream?" I know that behind that adorable little smile are five little puppy teeth ready to sink in to my collarbone.

Okay, I've managed to perhaps, maybe, might have blown some of his antics out of proportion. (Like the Mom making fun of me, she wouldn't do that).  But still, he did get in trouble at daycare for his incessant slapping, so we need to work on the keeping our hands to ourselves thing. And hey, it's not all bad news, tonight he slapped me his first high five in the bathtub, so maybe all of this hand slapping is just his way of telling me I'm all right.  I'll just have to duck...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jazz it up

We have this thing we do at dinner time, my budding family. We strap our kid into his little seat at the table and put on some fancy smancy jazz or old timey music through the Music Choice station on the tv. Sometimes Pandora. If anyone's keeping tabs on my listening habits and magazine subscriptions, then I've got some AARP mailers coming my way. 

But It’s nice, eating a sit down dinner. It’s almost like being in the restaurant, if you don’t look down at the panting dogs giving you the pity eyes. Now I’m not na├»ve enough to think that these quaint little dinners will last, that one day our six year old son will sit down at the table, spread the cloth napkin out on his lap and say, “Hey dad, will you put it on the Nina Simone station?” Probably not. But for now it works.

Worked, rather, as the other night  while setting the table I picked up the clicker and nothing came on. The entertainment center that doubles as my son’s favorite place to play--the kitchen being a close second--showed just a  single cord falling out of the back. I pulled the console out, rummaged around the nest of wires and connectors but couldn't find the problem. Finally I plopped down on the floor, inspecting the back and muttering curse words like the dad in The Christmas Story when he fought the furnace.

Still, nothing worked.

“Just come eat, don’t worry about it,” my wife said in a tone she uses when she thinks I'm doing something of little importance. It's a tone I know all too well...

“No, I’m going to fix it,” I said. I could almost hear her eyes roll

But I it was time to take stand. Most of my cool stuff has been lost in the shuffle, hidden or moved.  I no longer have "stuff".  A few books, a closet full of ill fitting Polos, and two turntables in the basement, the needle stuck somewhere in the middle of an Outkast album. My beer drinking is down to one, maybe two on a wild Friday night. Sports trivia, i got nothing. That wasted time I used to spend surfing the net and finding cool things on youtube? Yeah, gone. But never mind that. 

This was all I wanted, a little dinner music on my old stereo system (hmm, maybe old being a key word). Was that too much to ask?  Yes. Dinner was getting cold. I turned around, defeated and tangled.  My wife and son stared at me. Something in my head reminded me that I was the adult. I dropped the cord to the floor. Time to eat.  After all, we can always hum.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day!!!

The snow came full blast yesterday evening, cranking up around 3 and continuing through the night.  They'd been calling for up to a foot, but usually in Virginia that means a dusting. But it dumped all night and this morning we woke up to a blanket of white enough to officially make today a snow day.
I did some shoveling this morning. I tried to get the car up the street and failed. Surrendering to a day at home with warm coffee and my favorite munchkin. The office was closed anyway. My boss said something about taking training classes from home, but uh, I forgot my password, my uh internet connection is down, the dog ate my laptop. 

Nope, instead we’re sledding.  A little anyway.  Simon doesn’t quite know what to make of it. He saw some snow during Christmas when we were up north, but he wasn't impressed. I think he was ready for some lunch and a nap. So now, with both wife and son napping, I’m left with a full day of snow and shoveling, and uh maybe some more sledding if I have time…because--wait, do you hear that?  A rumbling outside, almost like a growl. That harsh, scraping sound. Nooooooooo! 
snow plow


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Testing Testing...

I’ve been getting my tail whipped lately.  And no, this isn’t the part where I talk about punching the clock or deadlines at work. Not a lack of sleep. Not Hemorrhoids.  It’s my one year old.  He likes to smack me in the face.  Real smacks, like roundhouse windmill open handed wallops.  

Jack Nicholson
Bad Boys...
He's not a menace or an omen child.  He’s not even a problem child. Just a boy testing boundaries and working on those OT skills, as Mom calls them. Combine that with my tendency to exaggerate. But still, he didn’t have to hit me so hard.
I'm not in the habit of letting him run roughshod.  No, I’m usually hunched over or writhing in pain. A little/some/most/all of it’s my own fault. I used to play this game with him (last week--things develop quickly around here). I’d hit myself over the head with a water bottle, big old bonks to the head with dramatic whiplashing and sound effects. Just for a cheap laugh. Not the best teaching decision in the world but I just couldn’t help myself. It was that gut busting laugher that propelled me.  Now I’m a mere circus clown with only myself to blame…

But then last night he bit me in the arm. Hard. I wasn't expecting that. There was dust in my eyes so...Anyway, the dude’s no slouch when it comes to the arsenal.  A flail to the groin. A claw to the nose. The occasional head butt sneeze leaving me both woozy and wet. We forgot to cut his nails for a week and I went to work looking like faces of meth.
Even if you don't feel bad for me, feel for the dogs. He takes swipes at them too. I’m beginning to think that they see him like those aquarium fish saw Darla in Finding Nemo.
But I'm sure he’s just a baby boy being a boy, yet I worry about things. Things in books.  You know, true crime books, like the ones my stepmother writes…. Even as a young child he displayed tendencies of violent behavior….yikes. And other books, I recently read Defending Jacob. No one believes their kid is capable of such things…until…
Alright, that’s it.  I’ll try to be stern with him.  I'll use the dad voice--the deep voice that commands the house and demands that kids say sir. But stern isn’t really in my bag.  My bag is stuffed tight with bouncy balls and whoopee cushions. Maybe a set of fake teeth. I’ve got to work on my stern. 


Saturday, February 1, 2014


Last night, my kid took five or maybe even six consecutive steps.  I almost missed it, I was glued to the computer following a facebook feed for the birth of a cousin (Welcome Baby Kade!) Anyway, I peeled my lagging parent eyes away from the screen and caught him mid wobble. Oh the distractions...

His progression has been like a time lapse of evolution. Just a year ago our little larvae was just a blob, a pile of bones who couldn’t support his own head. Then the little limbs began wiggling and suddenly he was scooching around, which led to crawling.  Since then he’s been like one of the dogs, even howling and barking with Mason.  He’s got his own chew toys.  Teething toys. But no leash yet.

But now.  Man oh man we’re entering the upright stage.  This final stage brings yet more worry to a still frazzled and anxiety riddled, but learning to cope Daddy.  This whole walking thing leads to the running thing, providing me a whole new world of worry.  It’s the last thing human’s do, excluding bingo.  But unless I spot wings budding on his back—which would explain the flapping—he’ll be a full blown little person. Then what, space camp?

He already gets into everything, but toss in the risk of a face plant and you’ve got one wreck of a dad.. I’ve been walking for nearly forty years and I still have trouble. No gum please…
So we hit another milestone. The time does indeed fly.  Well, maybe not fly when he’s up all night screaming or sick, but it’s hard to believe that this guy is on the verge of walking it out.  I was just holding him at the hospital, scared to death that I’d drop him.  Now he’s bubbling with personality, laughing at my corny dad jokes and coming up with a few of his own.  And the beat marches on…