30 May 2013

Sticks and Stones

In a recent New York Times article, I learned about a phenomenon which is apparently much bigger–and spreads far beyond—my own household: parental abuse. That’s right. Grown adults having their asses handed to them regularly by their offspring. Apparently, it borders on being an epidemic.

And I think the Times is right. In fact, we were at the zoo over the holiday weekend and I witnessed a remarkable number of parents being smacked directly in the face by their children. Usually they were picking them up to remove them from the playground when it was time to go and wham-o, right in the kisser.

We spend so much time worrying about the safety and well-being of children (ours, mostly), that we’re not spending enough time considering our own vulnerabilities and weaknesses. We should be fortifying our persons against surprise attacks and blitzes.

The Times piece mentioned this great PSA on the Absolute Uncertainties blog. She’s right, man, we need to look out for this. We need to protect each other.

They don’t even need sticks or stones (and words, well, those are a completely different story), like the old nursery rhyme says. Everyday household objects, pretty much anything can become a deadly weapon in their less-than-dexterous, clumsy hands. Is it intentional? Or accidental? Like most things with kids, I think it’s a bit of both. I’m convinced they know what they’re doing more often than not. We chalk it all up to, Oh, they’re just a child, they don’t know what they’re doing. But I’m calling bullshit. I think they know. They’re just pretending that they don’t.

They’re savvy that way. And they are out to get us.

I have years of this to endure. Being a punching bag. Not just physically, but emotionally. Perhaps becoming a parent just reveals you as a deep-seated masochist, wanting to be whipped, beaten, and abused continuously, and at great length.

Good times.

And now that we have two boys, I get double the amount of abuse and punishment. They’re already tag-teaming the old man whenever I lose my senses momentarily and sit on the floor. Or on the couch. Or a chair. Pretty much if I’m not standing upright, I’m being dragged and pulled and tackled. And choked. And pounced on. Tigger-style.

Have you ever seen Tigger pounce on Pooh or Eeyore or any of the other characters in the 100-Acre Wood? It’s kind of like that. I’m just a giant bean bag chair to my kid. I have taken so many tiny knees to the groin that I’m pretty sure I can no longer even have children, should we want that sort of thing.

When the baby squirms and wiggles and won’t let us trim his fingernails properly, I’m pretty certain it’s because he intends to use the little blades to slice my jugular when I’m not paying attention.

And even when they’re not going at you, fists, knees, and claws out, they’re still inflicting injury. Their tiny bodies are constantly being hurled about like ninja throwing stars, wrecking everything in their path. Poked in the eye, kneed in the groin, slapped in the face. I sort of feel like Abe in that last episode of Mad Men, getting accidentally stabbed by Peggy with that ridiculous homemade spear. They’re totally going to send me to the hospital one of these days, but not even wielding something quite so deliberately dangerous. No, my undoing will come in the form of a plastic plaything or more likely, just their bare hands, like they’re in the Special Forces or something.

They’re just waiting for you to drop your guard. Don’t do it. 

Not for a second.

Watch your backs.

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