Earlier this afternoon, a news bit landed in our inbox. It was about Jay-Z remarking (playfully) that his and Beyonce's baby, the first for both, was going to wear leather diapers.
A story, then:
Two days ago, Boy B came to me with a proposition. The moving parts seemed simple enough. To paraphrase:
You let me eat this candy bar, and I won't act like a total asshole in this grocery store.
Now, the boys, my boys, are pretty much the best. They're four-years-old now. It's hard to overstate how profoundly they've affected everything in my life. Everything I do is impacted by them simply existing. They are wonderful and beautiful and sparkling and blah.
One time, we were at a park and an older kid, this real bastard of a 6-year-old, snatched a toy away from Boy A. He didn't react too much beyond looking befuddled. I, on the other hand, was steaming.
I watched and I plotted.
The way that particular park is set up, the playground, built on top of a pile of that mulch that is supposed to absorb kids' bodies when they fall, is in the middle of this spot of land that is quartered in by benches.
Just think of an atom. The playground is the nucleus, the benches are the first electron shell. It's just like that. Anyway.
Several minutes later, when The Bastard finally wandered near me, I called to him.
"Hey, hey," I said.
"Come here. Psst. Come here. Check this out. It's awesome."
He smiled and he came walking over because all kids are morons. Had he any wares at all, he would've sniffed out the menace.
When he got within arm's reach, I reached down, grabbed a handful of mulch and splashed it right in his face.
"Getawayfromme," I said in a curt, hard whisper.
I didn't explain to him who I was or why I did it. I just did it.
Childless Shea would've never done anything like that. Childless Shea would've found The Bastard perfectly pleasant, maybe even pushed him on the swings or shown him the proper way to throw a baseball. Fatherhood Shea is a man bounded by illogic and amorality.
I threw a handful of mulch in some poor kid's and didn't even consider not doing so. That's the kind of goofy shit you find yourself doing as a dad. You just love them so, so much that everything seems within reason. It's unbelievable how much they mean to you.
But still, maaaaaan, the boys, my boys, they can be some real bitches sometimes.
So I tell him no, that I do not accept his proposition. A candy bar? Please. You and I both know that that shit ain't happening.
And he goes noodle legs, tumbling to the floor, fussing and trying to make himself cry.
The looks from the other parents came.
There are really only a few things you can do in that situation. You can body slam him, which is ideal, but apparently unacceptable. You can try to reason with him, which is as effective as trying to put out a house fire with a bowl of spaghetti noodles. You can offer some sort of toothless threat, then suffer the indignity of having everyone see your spine turn to jelly as he ignores it completely and you do nothing. Or you can give in, the worst possible choice, but the only surefire fix.
This story, it bleeds into a hundred other similar ones.
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It's just part of the process, I guess.
I don't know.
I do know this: A handful of mulch makes as much sense as a leather diaper.
Jay-Z has always been hyperkinetically cool. But now he's relatable. And that might be better.