I recently posted about my efforts to raise my children to be superheroes.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a few things into consideration:
Damage to the human body when a child attempts to fly. Off the roof of your house.
Ease with which a toddler can climb a ladder that is up and leaning against the eaves of your roof.
Unsympathetic expressions you must endure of paramedics, police, spouse, parents, in-laws, and later, child protective service employees, as you explain your philosophy of child-rearing to them.
And, most importantly, you are in big trouble if your kids decide you are a super villain.
I, unfortunately, fell victim to that last oversight.
This tragic misunderstanding came to light last night. Evidently, they decided I was El Diapero, a dastardly villain who wields super-absorbent diapers as his primary weapon, and pajamas with dinosaurs and/or rocket ships on them as his backup.
Given it was bedtime, this led to trouble.
The Brown Smear, as we shall call him, was up first. His brother wisely hid behind the tent and egged his brother on as The Brown Smear kicked and punched me, delivering a blow-by-blow commentary to his cowering brother as he bravely wriggled free at ever opportunity, no matter his state of dress.
I mentioned a tent. This is a small dome tent, erected in their room as a sort of Fortress of Awesome Fun. I’ve found that you can take any object, no matter how pedestrian, and if you put it in an inappropriate setting, toddlers deem it suddenly “the best fun ever.”
I’ve gifted my children with many such installations:
- Fist Through Wall.
- Head In Hands.
- Unacceptable Language In Front Of Brawling Brats.
- Fist Through Another Wall.
- Head Inadvertently, But Really I Should Have Seen This Coming, Through Wall.
- Fist Through Wall II: Electric Boogaloo (followed immediately by Anguished Daddy In The ER, Getting His Burns Bandaged, and shortly thereafter by Electrician With Excessive Body Hair and Butt Crack Showing Repairing Wiring).
- Weeping Uncontrollably In Front Of Car Parked In ER Parking Lot Because Of Their Antics.
All grand entertainment as far as The Toddler Twins are concerned. But I digress.
You’d think the pummeling of a toddler would be of no consequence to an adult male, even one as grossly out of shape as I am.
You’re forgetting one important factor:
The high volume of blows delivered, and the high volume of the screams that accompanied those blows.
The Brown Smear has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy, and his brother, who I’ll refer to as The Tantrum, only fed him more energy with his encouragement and instructions.
Despite these odds, I did prevail over The Brown Smear, consigning him to the obscurity of a nighttime diaper and pajamas with a shark on the front.
Total humiliation. Daddy 1, The Brown Smear, well, he got some good blows in, so I’ll give him 8 points.
Crap, I’m losing.
I spend the next forty-five minutes chasing down The Tantrum, get him out of his diaper, and then spend another twenty minutes chasing The Pantsless Tantrum.
I would have caught him sooner, but I slipped on a puddle of … liquid, and threw out my back.
Once I had The (Pantsless) Tantrum pinned, I started to undo his pantsless state with my trusty double-action super-absorbent diaper.
I always carry at least one on my person at all times. Don’t worry, it’s legal. I have a CCD, or Carry Concealed Diaper, permit.
This is when I discovered the Tantrum’s second super power, the first being screams that you wish only dogs could hear.
The “Hand Sandwich.” He smacks your head with both hands, making a ‘sandwich’ of your face. With unclipped fingernails, it can be quite a painful weapon.
But I persevered, working through the haze of stars and little cartoon birdies circling my head to get him out of the old and into the new.
Just when the striped “Where’s Waldo” pajama top was almost on and victory seemed at hand, The Brown Smear recovered from the humiliating PJs that had left him curled up in a run-around-the-tent-screaming-with-excess-energy ball.
He started jumping on me. I’m sitting on the floor, bent over The (Now Pantsed) Tantrum, an easy target.
Arms come around my neck just as the weight of my son’s body makes itself, rapidly and unexpectedly, apparent on my weary shoulders.
He slides off.
This went on far longer than you’d think a toddler would find it interesting. Perhaps the different sounds of agony that erupted from my lips each time kept it intriguing to him.
It went on for a long time.
Then The Brown Smear did grow bored. And switched to kicking the small of my back.
The one I threw out when I slipped on that puddle of … liquid … while chasing The Pantsless Tantrum.
My superhero sons are not only dexterous and full of energy. They are diabolically clever.
I can only imagine the horror I would have endured if either of them had had what is known, in parenting parlance, as “poopy butts.” Sometimes, it is only this, the thought of the horror I escaped, that sustains me during my trying time of slow, painful recuperation.
That and the fact that in my diminished state, diaper-changing duties have fallen exclusively to the missus. Though I’ve noticed the boys whispering as they make furtive glances between her and the diaper stash.
I should probably warn her, but she’s been complaining all day about my “whining.”
On the bright side, my parenting skills are readily apparent. What else could have taught my children how to cooperate so effectively?
I’m so proud.
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Marlowe and the Spacewoman: