Thursday, May 13, 2010

What dad doesn't know, won't hurt him

It was a perfect strike. Thrown right down the middle.

I watched in awe as it whooshed by me.

Then heard the thud as it slammed into the side of the house behind me.

Bouncing off to sail back into the air before falling harmlessly to the ground. The dent it left behind perfectly matched the ball’s dimensions and reminded me of Newton’s First Law of Motion.

An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

Which leads us to Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Crud. The reaction being my husband’s blood pressure when he sees that our unplanned remodeling efforts have significantly reduced our home’s value.

“Maybe we should move,” I suggested to the pitcher, my four-year-old son with the arm of Randy Johnson. “And, uh, let’s not tell Dad about this one, OK? If he notices and asks what happens, we tell him it was a bird. BIG bird. Flew right into the house and left that hole.” I smacked my hands together and yelled, “BAM! Just like that.”

I know what you’re thinking. Teaching your child to lie is one of those actions that will inevitably land you in the principal’s office some day, trying to explain to the powers-that-be that, no, Junior is not the devil incarnate and you’ve no idea why he thought putting a cherry bomb down the toilet would be a good way to see the inner workings of a sewer.

But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

And kids don’t make cherry bombs anymore. Do they?

Why bother when they can launch a nuclear weapon with their i-Phone and wipe out Finland.

‘Cuz there’s an app for that.

***

Speaking of sewers, our son is oddly curious about the workings of those not-so-modern marvels.

Who built it? How big is it? How does it work? What does it smells like? Where does the water go? And what’s the deal with those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle guys?

Either he’s planning to become a civil engineer or run away from home to join the Mole People.

I don’t really care either way. As long as it comes with health insurance.

“I wouldn’t want to get stuck in a sewer,” he announced out of the blue one night at dinner. “I’d smell REALLY bad, and I bet there’s poo EVERYWHERE.”

I looked at the glob of meatloaf on my plate and immediately decided it was time to order pizza.

***

“I’m glad I’m not a girl,” my son uttered after school one day, putting emphasis on the last word as if he had said “sewer” or “big old hunk of stinky broccoli” instead.

Immediately, my feminism trigger was sparked and I sniped back, “Hey, what’s wrong with being a girl? I’M a girl.” I paused and added with a pout, “Girls rock.”

He sighed and said with the wisdom of a young boy ready for kindergarten, “Girls grow up and have babies, and having babies HURTS, you know.”

Why, yes, I did know. I have first-hand experience of passing something the size of a watermelon from my body while screaming, peeing and throwing up – all at the same time – and begging for someone to kill me before my body exploded in a mass of grossness, wiping out the entire obstetrics wing and leaving behind a crater full of stirrups and epidural lines.

Sniff. Childbirth. It’s such a beautiful thing. There’s nothing else like it.

Except maybe for an enema. But you don’t take the…uh…present home with you afterward. And I don’t think you’re allowed to register for that at Toys R Us.

Back to the conversation. “Well, I’m glad you’re not a girl too,” I concluded.

“Why is that, Mom?” Mr. Asks-a-lot-of-questions asked.

“Then I’d have to share my shoes,” I responded. “And I don’t like to share my shoes.”

He thought about it for a second and answered, “I like to wear your shoes, Mom. Especially the ones with the really high heels.”

File that one away for the future therapist.

“Yes, babe,” I sighed, “but your Dad doesn’t need to know that. If he asks, tell him it was a bird.”

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