So this is what it feels like to rule the world through massively overwhelming force.
Or just the battlefield that is my home.
Yes, dudes, when you can weaponize hair clips, you know you’re on the top of the family heap. Luckily for you out there in reader land, I’m feeling in a benevolent mood and I’m going to show you how I learned a method of creating a mini crossbow that can fire wooden matches, either lit or unlit, a distance of several yards.
This, dudes, is how you protect your cube.
Or just annoy the little dudes until they get angry enough to actually build one of their own and start firing back.
A big tip of the hat to my writing pal, The Dragon, for sending me the link that showed me how to create the massive crossbow gap that currently exists in the not-so-friendly-anymore confines of Casa de Dude.
The problems start with that word: job. Most dudes have been conditioned to believe that what they do is who they are, that they must have a successful career to be considered a real man.
According to this theory, staying home and rearing your children isn’t a real job and isn’t something dudes should love. While rearing little dudes is a rough job, a lot of stay-at-home dads are hurting themselves by approaching it as a “job.”
All of which goes to what I’m discussing over at Charlotte Parent, where I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name. We’re talking about a stay-at-home dude’s to-do list.
On the day the little dude figures out just what — exactly — the wriggly things on the ends of his hands are for, it marks a major turning point in his relationship with his parents.
Whereas, before the epiphany, mom, dad and little dudette were living in a state of blissful harmony, marked by glances full of love and adoration, it’s a whole different ball of goop after.
Before, you could put the little dude in a high chair next to a table and
have him sit there blissfully playing with whatever happened to be in front of him. Which let Mom and Dad eat relatively leisurely and without much incident.
And then the little dudette gains the smallest extra bit of self awareness and realizes that she can cause change in the environment around herself. And she can do it with her hands because they — holds up hands in front of wide eyes and wriggles fingers back and forth like a stoner realizing for the first that the four fingers are like a highway and the thumb is a little off ramp and whoa! Dude! doesn’t that just blow your mind? — allow her to grabstuff.
Even better, those two hands and ten fingers allow her to grab stuff and then throw it anywhere. Or knock stuff over. Or, best of all, grab stuff, use that stuff to throw and knock over more stuff and watch Mommy and Daddy freak out, jump up and start talking funny and blotting at their clothing with napkins.
And here’s the thing. Even when new parents accustom themselves to the idea that their little dude can now grab stuff, it still takes a while before the really understand that he can lean farther than they think and knock over stuff a really big distance away.
It happened to me. When Sarcasmo was a young ‘un, maybe a year or so, his grandmother, Kaki (who was my mom) went away for a week or so. This was during the time he discovered the wriggly things and grabbing stuff.
Kaki asked to hold Sarcasmo while we were out to eat for a friendly lunch at a Gainesville diner. I warned her about his newfound propensity for grabbing stuff. She glared at me, silently reassuring me that she managed to raise me and my sister and she knew what she was doing thank you very much you young know-it-all. Mom had very expressive eyes.
What Kaki had forgotten was that reflexes, if not used, will sometimes decay. She stood Sarcasmo up in her lap, facing the table, and having fun.
He managed to get a salt shaker and mostly full glass of Diet Coke before I could get him free from Kaki’s lap and into his car seat, which we were using as a high chair. Kaki insisted on having Sarcasmo sit next to her.
He managed to get the refilled Diet Coke and a very mean look from the waitress who had to clean it up. Again.
Even experienced parents can misjudge the reach of a newly grabby little dude. Much less those new parents who have no experience to fall back on in their panic.
And this is before we bring in poisons and cleaning supplies and the like into the equation.
All is not lost, though.
To combat a little dude’s propensity for grabbing stuff, you only need to remove from his immediately surrounding environment anything that you could grab with your arms. And lock up all cabinets with the most parent-annoying security system imaginable, and then use them.
Footnotes & Errata
* That was a lie. There are a lot of worries. It’s not until you get to your third or so kid that you stop worrying and begin to think you know it all. Of course, that’s when everyone around you begins to panic because they just don’t understand that a toddler juggling razor-sharp knives while riding a kiddie unicycle is just little dudes being little dudes.