Best title ever? Probably so. I’ll probably have to delete the post once Malcolm starts surfing the internet on his own, but until then: enjoy!
We went camping this weekend. Amy had to go to Europe for work, so Malcolm and I joined some of my friends with kids for some roughing it on the Yuba river. I don’t know if you can call it “roughing it,” considering we had access to decent bourbon and premium salami, but since I packed neither shoes nor deodorant, I noticed a difference from a normal weekend. Who’s got two thumbs, flip flops and stay at home dad musk? This guy! (Now that I write that, I see a tremendous opportunity for a new cologne: SAHD musk. Marketing campaign will go something like this: For the man who doesn’t need to impress anyone. Salami. Funk. SAHD Musk: the scent of unemployment.)
I am hoping this is a normal thing with kids, but Malcolm does very odd things when he gets excited. I wish that he expressed his excitement in a productive manner, like, say, helping me unload the car or making guacamole. Instead, he tends to get a little pervy. As we were getting dinner ready the first night, Malcolm and some of his little buddies went down to the river with the other parents playing the part of chaperone. After about five minutes, my friend Greg came back and said, “I think that you should know that your son was groping me down by the river. I would have let it slide but he did it three times and it got really annoying.” Pausing and wondering whether I wanted to know, I caved and asked where Malcolm touched him. He told me Malcolm grabbed his junk and then jabbed him twice in the butthole with his finger. We had been there all of 20 minutes and Malcolm’s first notable act was to treat my good friend like a home schooled proctologist. I tried to hide my shame by doing what comes naturally. I jammed my finger up Greg’s butt and told him that’s how we roll on the Yuba. He wasn’t impressed. The last thing you want to do when you are trying to enjoy the great outdoors with your fiends is have to explain to your child that he shouldn’t be tickling anyone’s prostate. Malcolm has a history of shenanigans like this (his schoolmates call him Clarence Thomas) so I had to banish him to his tent to contemplate whether he was going to spend the whole weekend acting weird or if he could calm down a little. There was some occasional semi-clothed wrestling with one of the other kids, but for the most part he turned it around.
The rest of the weekend went a bit smoother. The kids played. The parents drank. We swam in a cold river. We ate marshmallows and other yummy camp food. When the kids went to bed in the tents, the grown ups sat around the campfire discussing important issues like, “What’s the theme song to the show, Growing pains?” and “Should we allow the Schwarts boys along when Amy can’t come?” The kids there ranged from a few months old to fourth grade, and, despite the age difference, they got along fabulously. They organized themselves into imaginary games and for some of the scarier missions, the older kids led the younger ones around by holding their hands. It was some truly cute stuff.
With my selective memory, I will remember this weekend as the weekend that Malcolm took up whiffle ball. We played a game with the older kids and dads, with people generally pitching as fast as the could. There were strikeouts, dramatic tag outs and some epic home runs. (Not by me, mind you. I put the whiff in whiffle ball out there.) I did have the foresight to draft Malcolm on my team, meaning I didn’t have to suffer the indignity of having him strike me out, which some of the other dads did.
On Monday, after we had arrived home and I took Malcolm to school, Malcolm asked me if we could go to the park and play some whiffle ball. My heart leapt! When kids ask their parents to do stuff that parents really like to do, whether it’s work on crafts, read, play music, cook or throw rocks at the neighbor’s cat, the parent is overcome with an emotion that is often lost in the day to day routine: sheer bliss. Malcolm asked me to play whiffle ball and I was in nirvana. After school, we played for 90 minutes straight at the park near his school. It was awesome. Afterwords, Malcolm slapped me a high five and said, “Daddy, that was really fun.” The smile grew across my face, my spirits soared and I couldn’t help but think, “Well that sure beats a finger in the butt.”