She has on her little face something between a smirk and a sneer. At 3 years old she has a thousand yard stare as she looks down the paintball gun sight.
I will be the first to admit that I have made some mistakes as a father. And when I make them, they usually don't seem like mistakes at the time. It comes back to me much later when I'm telling the story and the person I'm telling it to has a wide eyed expression that seems to say "I can't believe you don't need a license to have kids." They then laugh politely while looking for any excuse to run away. Their head starts darting from side to side trying to find someone to rescue them from the conversation and they begin to act like they have forgotten about an important appointment that they just now made. That's when I know that perhaps I have made a mistake with my children.
For example: I was recently telling Papa Scrum that I taught Little Hoss how to do boxing on the Wii. She grabs the controllers and just goes crazy. And when she knocks the computer animated person down, she says "Get up punk!" which I also thought was funny. Papa Scrum asked me if this was really a good idea, considering my daughter's mongoness. In hindsight, probably not. On the other hand, she has a really good jab/uppercut combo. You should see her.
This last week I also thought it was a good idea to take both my children to a graveyard. It's a working graveyard but also a very old historic one. We were looking for the grave of Cole Younger and his family. They are famous outlaws that used to ride with Jessie James. I thought the kids would have a blast and I would enjoy the history. On those two qualifications the trip was a major success. However, if not desecrating graves were on the list, then this would have been a failure. Oh, we found the right graves all right. My children where so excited that they started climbing over every headstone they could find. How to explain respect for the dead to a 3 and 2 year old? We topped the outing off with both of them eating some fresh gravedirt. I know that it's just like regular dirt, but I got the feeling that this was worse somehow. Indian burial ground kind of worse and I've been waiting for it to come back to me all week.
But both of those mistakes might not compare to letting my daughter handle a fully loaded, semi-automatic paint gun. I am chock full of good parenting decisions. Are you taking notes? This is how you parent.
It was over the 4th of July weekend. Yes, we had a great time thank you. Papa Scrum invited us over for some barbecue and fireworks because that's also what you do. You get some meat and cook it just south of burnt and call it a day. We let the kids go swimming and run around outside while the adults constantly tried to push off the supervision on which ever parent was closest.
4 beers into the evening the paint gun came out. Sleek, black, full of misspent youth. Oh yes, you are Rambo my friend. You could jump out from behind a waterfall and dispense justice to those wishing to not have justice dispensed.
Father Hitman brought it out. Yes, Father Hitman. You bring a paintball gun to the 4th of July, you get stuck with a name like Father Hitman.
"You want to try it?" Father Hitman asks.
Yes. Yes I do.
But we have to be quick before the children realize that we have mechanized awesome in our hands.
They come running over. Should we let them try it? He says let them try it. Will Hossmom give me a look once she finds out that says "I'm to polite now to say anything but on the car ride home I'm going to rip your ass once we are away from all the people." Probably. But by then my plan is to be to tanked to notice anyway. Besides, HE let HIS kids do it! That is always a well reasoned argument.
Slowly the kids line up and take their turn. Little Hoss is giddy. This is better than Christmas. This is better than Popsicles in the bathtub. This is better than stealing her little brother's cookie while dad is asleep.
She caresses it, more delicate than her favorite toy. The steel feels like family to her touch, the smell of oil the scent of a thousand roses. The weight somewhere between perfect and deadly perfect. Yes, she is home. This is where she is meant to be. All she is missing now is a combat boots and a helmet with a sarcastic peace symbol on it.
Father Hitman squats down to help her aim, which is a good idea. She does not believe in aiming. Aiming, in short, is for pussies.
She places her hand on the trigger and the connection is made. Pure, sweet and simple. So simple that a 3 year old could do this.
She pushes the trigger and the gun makes a little "pop" sound and she shudders with satisfaction. Her fingers tingle, again, she wants to shoot something again! Where are you at greasy Easter Bunny. You giant polyester freak! Come to me! Let's see you try to make me sit on your lap now. And you too mall Santa, I got something for you!
Hossmom comes over with the rest of the wives.
They all sit there watching. I start to try to explain. My mind is working as rapidly as the semi automatic gun that my daughter now holds. Terroists, there in the woods, are trying to ruin our July 4th. A bear terroist. A Bear terroist who did not bring any guacomole dip. Right there, in the woods.
And then all the wives smile. They smile and continue making small talk. They hug thier kids and drink thier drinks. They talk about wife stuff. Like how to not leave bruises when they beat thier husbands for letting thier precious little babies play with paintball guns.
But no, that's not what they are talking about. They are talking about potty training and work and what they are doing the next weekend. They are laughing at the kids shooting a tree. They barely seem to notice us but instead notice that they are having uninterupted conversations.
One of two things have happened here. 1. They are all so desperate for some adult conversation without either a husband or a child pulling on thier boobs, or 2. They are terrified that thier children are now armed. Yes, yes, it's the perfect scenerio.
We are all stay at home dads. We interact with the children. We have trained them like Mr. Miyagi, they know the flying crane and the drum punch. And they are our minions.
I have created the perfect soldier. Bring on Wii boxing.