I discovered his unfortunate passion for defoliating the male form during our recent beach vacation, during which I made the painful mistake of being shirtless while carrying him. My guard was down since we were outside, and generally speaking, when in public spaces, I’m fully clothed and also not dancing, if I can help it.
Without warning, Evan reached over, laced his fingers into my chest hair and yanked like he was pulling a tablecloth out from under a china set.
Incidentally, why don’t people do that trick anymore? When I was a kid, you’d see someone try to yank a tablecloth out from under a fully loaded table on almost a daily basis. I guess we’ve had better things to do since the Internet got invented. Those pigs in
“Kelly Clarkson!” I yelled, because that is what the movies taught me to say when one’s chest hair is violently removed. I would have yelled “Justin Guarini!” but thankfully, we’re advancing as a nation to the point where that reference might finally be too obscure.
Evan gleefully tossed a fistful of chest hair into the air like confetti, then went back to reload.
“Holy cow, Buddy, you’re killing Daddy,” I told him, grabbing his wrist to keep him from committing follicular patricide. He might only be thirteen months old, but he’s already maiming at a second-grade level.
Evan laughed, greatly enjoying the new game we’d just invented, “Exceed Daddy’s Pain Threshold.” I’d played my own variation of that game many years ago, just about every time my dad thought it was good idea to hold a board in place while I drove in the nail. Oh, and also the time I pressed the button to roll up the car window without noticing his elbow propped up in it.
Even as I tried to teach Evan that you’re supposed to get people’s permission and then charge them good money before ripping their body hair out by the roots, it was impossible to be mad at him. A baby’s laugh has a way of erasing whatever negative feelings (e.g., intense, throbbing pain) you might be having, like how a friendly wave in traffic erases the hostility you’d felt only moments ago for the guy who just knocked off your bumper.
The increasing frequency of Evan’s laughter is just one of the ways that parenting is getting more fun as he gets older. Feeding him has even become more entertaining lately, since he’s recently made it his life’s mission to smack the spoon out of our hands, even as he hungrily opens his mouth like a little bird.
Basically, the little rubber spoon becomes Luke Skywalker’s X-wing Fighter weaving its way toward the Death Star, dodging Evan’s TIE Fighter hands. Penetrating his defenses is no easy task, but once you manage to deliver the chicken-and-sweet-potato-puree payload into the heart of the Death Star, you can go ahead and put him down for a little nappy-poo. The metaphor kind of breaks down there at the end.
Also, did the Empire’s people name it the “Death Star”? If so, they should probably hire a different PR firm next time. Nobody’s going to want something called a “Death Star” in their backyard. If an average neighborhood association would pick Wal-Mart over you, it’s time to rethink your communications strategy.
Anyway, if you need me, I’ll be in the bathroom, shaving my chest.
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