I was told that I’ve been too serious lately. Please note that I didn’t start this as another look-at-what-an-awesome-funny-dad-I-am blog. Maybe I did when I first read through other dad blogs, some of which actually are great, links to which you’ll find to the right. I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself, though, and I’m a heck of a lot funnier in a forum like this than in real life. I wanted a medium where I could also tackle more serious current issues, because writing historical fiction doesn’t allow me to explore events besides the advice and policy of a horrible Secretary of Defense, or Executive Order 9066, which were monumental but not as germane to America ca. 2011.
I’ve been trying to teach him how to control the muscles around his bladder, the ones he needs to learn to control so that I’m not still buying diapers when we send him off to kindergarten. This usually involves a lot of grunting to demonstrate, but that only cracks him up like Monty Python did for me back in the day. At the very least, he’s been using the Sesame Street toddler toilet seat a few times a day, and he now says “potty training,” to warn us he has to go – well, most of the time.
One night last week was pretty typical in that I only had him in a t-shirt, no diaper. My wife was running some errands, so I figured I could handle just about anything short of what he did at my mom’s place. No worries. Sure, the Knicks or Mets will win another championship in my lifetime, and the check is in the mail. The TV was on, set to Nick Jr., his sippy cup was full of organic apple juice, and all was good in our world.
And then it wasn’t.
I thought he was watching the Fresh Beat Band (does any other parent want them dead, or is it just me?), and I was too busy typing away at this blog, so I let my attention lag. Like any other red-blooded toddler, he sensed this and took full advantage. From the kitchen, right around the corner from my line of sight, he let out his new laugh, a mean-spirited “I got you, Appa” that reminds me of Nelson the bully from the Simpsons. I moseyed on over, and of course, there was a small yellowish puddle on the kitchen tile. My beautiful son pointed at it, said “Tchi-tchi,” Korean for filthy. I asked him who did it, and got a disturbing shrug that meant “don’t know, don’t care.” I could almost see that little shoulder movement working if he weren’t any only child, but sorry, my little man, you’re it for now. It wasn’t Appa, who would need about ten shots of tequila before he does that on the kitchen floor. Last I checked, I’m not going to be doing that while watching you… wait a minute, that might not be a bad idea, but I can definitely see your mom vetoing that forthwith.
Because I consider the dialogue I have with my son to be of some value to him, I naturally spoke to him as if he were a high functioning adult. “No, Ryan, you need to tell Appa when you have to go potty training. We don’t shee on the kitchen tile, okay?” He eventually couldn’t help himself, and started cracking up so hard that he blew snot bubbles. It truly warms my heart that I amuse you, son. Please use the potty, or Omma will be mad at Appa, and Appa really really doesn’t want that to happen.
About half an hour later, while working on this post, he came up to me and grabbed my arm. “Appa, come on!” I know an order when I hear one, so I let him lead me to the hallway. Mind you, we have wall-to-wall carpeting. Right outside his bedroom door, he’d sharted on the floor. There was brand new trail of wet brown spots like some nasty trick by Hansel and Gretel – a spot there, a spot here, all leading to a larger and final spot next to his kiddy table, which coincidentally doubles as our coffee table. My blood pressure spiked, and I busted out half a roll of paper towels and a bottle of Simple Green. “Ryan, why didn’t you tell Appa you needed to go?”
I got the shrug and another order: “Appa, clean!”