Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Alone Time

Coming up on three-and-a-half-years old, my son is growing increasingly independent. I've noticed how he talks things out, solves problems on his own. Or maybe it's as simple as lying on his back in his play room after school, taking some time to decompress. 

I think it's a good thing, taking some time to get himself together. But a little time goes a long way, and this past Sunday, I found out the hard way not to let things get too quiet.

Sunday. Our neighbor stopped over with her ten-year-old daughter, as they do most Sundays for dinner and fun. Fun because whenever they enter the house, I become invisible. No big deal, it's just how it is. And this day was no different. 

Things started off with a bang as Simon and his future babysitter scampered off, into the living room to play hotel, which means stripping the beds of all covers and pillows and setting them up in the living room. This girl is great with my son. So much so that I’d gotten a bit lax with the supervision. I joined my wife and neighbor in the kitchen on the way out to fire up the grill.

Back inside, the kids have moved to the table to draw. So I hang in the kitchen and we talk about what conditioner works best with our hair where it occurred to me that I don’t really hang out with many guy friends these days. Oh, and that things were awfully quiet in the other room.

I drifted back and poked my head in.

Oh, finger painting. Cool. I’ve learned to stay away when it comes to activities with friends. That or get shooed away.

So back to chit-chat. The ladies were talking about those cute little pictures our kids painted last year. We all smiled, our hearts aflutter as the room filled with parental joy over our kids' special bond. And it's with this sentiment that I casually peeked back at the two of them again.

Oh My God.

My kid turned to face me. He was completely red. Gulp, that’s paint, right? He was covered. Across his neck, his arms, his hair. A thick film of paint on the table. I could only watch as he inspected the slimy paint on his palms. And started clapping. 

Paint went flying.

“Uh, honey, we need a wipe.” 

We didn't need a wipe. We needed a hose. Quite possibly an exorcist. At that point I didn't even know where to begin but I started by searching the floor for pig carcass. My son stood proudly on his chair, a picture of a Stephen King novel amidst the red paint spatter that was all over the curtains, the wall, the dogs.

I looked to the preordained sitter. A few smudges of red on her shirt. A smear on her arms. She was putting the finishing touches on a rainbow or meadow or it’s not important. My eyes widened.

“What happened?”

“Oh. He wanted a lot of paint.”

Enter my wife. Thankfully she is better than me at taking charge because I’d just been standing in the doorway, mouth hanging open in shock, unsure where to begin. She took charge by removing his shirt off for starters, but then things got difficult. Because he’s three and all.

Simon hopped off the chair and bolted for the living room, waving his dripping hands above his head, southern baptist church choir-style. He was pretty much covered, from hair to toenails in red paint, shedding it on the walls as he swung around the corner and down the hall out to the sun room as he busted free and clear to the carport, chanting what I'm pretty sure was a Mayan death ritual song. 

I gave chase, following the paint trail after my kid who was now streaking across the lawn. Part of me was wondering how I’d explain this to authorities, because it sort of looked like some sort of voodoo massacre had transpired.

I scooped him up. He kicked and squirmed and I was awfully thankful that all I wear are $6 shirts these days when he wiped his face on my chest in his flailing, worked up something good between the warpaint and my reaction.

Back in the kitchen. Screaming. Cleaning. Mopping. Wiping. Forensics. Laundry. 

I wrestled this kid into the tub. No easy task considering he was in full-on Apocalypse Now mode. 

Mom to the rescue. She talked him down.Talked me down. She convinced him that it was time for a shower. To get a rinse. Pink water swirling in the tub.

I stepped out into the hall wet and streaked and like a man who'd gone 15 rounds in a parental grudge match. The neighbors helped with the cleaning. The chicken needed to be flipped on the grill so I staggered out to handle that.

Maybe my kid’s not quite ready for all this alone time.

No comments:

Post a Comment