Baked Chicken and Little Genghis Khan
Ok, let's tell a story.
I want to eat my dinner. Such a simple thing, such a small request. There is food. It is on my plate. I would like to eat it. That would be great. It would be the greatest. It would be a monkey riding a baboon great.
I can't eat dinner however and my food grows cold. To my right, standing in at a grand total of a foot and a half tall, is the Interrupter. A vicious fiend that has broken off the shackles of his high chair and now brays at my feet.
He utters no words, nothing intelligible. He screams, he grunts, he shakes the table of the heavens with his tantrum. Tiny hands flail in the air, passing through his hair as his frustration becomes my frustration. I just want to eat.
His own kind, other 2 year old boys of fury, cannot understand his speech. However, his intention is clear. I. Want. Up. Motherfucker.
But no, I can not give into his demands. That would be folly, a fools decision that would perhaps silence the pain of my ears but would never quell the rumble of my stomach. It's baked chicken. I would not see it eaten for the sacrifice of the rest the baked chickens of my future.
Bacon Hoss sees that I am ignoring him. He does not like to be ignored. In his anger, his ferocity, he grabs the shirt sleeve of my right arm, my dominate hand. A shrewd calculation of one so little and young. I cannot fill my mouth if my fork can never reach it. And If he can't sit in my lap to enjoy throwing my dinner, then he will be damned if anyone else can either.
I continue to ignore him. It's my only defense, the only one that will work. Give in to a tantrum now and you will set the precedent for the future. Never again will a quiet dinner be had. Only the promise of more little, but surprisingly strong, tiny hands.
I switch my fork to my left hand. It is awkward, untrained into filling my pie hole with glorious baked chicken. A piece falls from it, lands perspicaciously on the edge of the table and with last hopes, falls to the floor. I hear a grumble and slobber as I know that that piece of chicken has been swept from present, never to again adorn my plate. The dog ate it.
Bacon Hoss does not want the chicken nor does he want the rice that goes with it. He certainly doesn't want the salad or the broccoli. He only wants to sit on my lap. Such a simple request and one must think me a beast for not allowing it. A father and son sitting in an embrace as we break bread together. That's how it looks from the outside, to the ones that see nothing but the light of the situation.
The truth is that he wants in my lap so that he may lord over everyone at the table. You there! The one with the milk! I require that! Woman! Fetch me my sippy cup! Fat man, try and drink your water and see it slapped from your hand in futility. I bet I can break this plate if I throw it to the ground. Watch!
And he will laugh. He will laugh.
I don't ask much. I consider myself a simple father and a good husband. I attend to my families needs, I engage with them. 99% of the time I am the floor mountain that they must all climb and conquer. I read books with one hand, I tie shoes with my teeth. I vacuum with someone hanging on to my leg and another one on my shoulder because someone is afraid of the vacuum cleaner. I embrace this role, the walking interactive jungle gym.
Just not at dinner. At dinner, don't touch me. Don't hang on me. Don't scream near me. Don't throw food at me. I just want to eat dinner. It's not to much to ask. Although as he finally utters the word "Daddy!!!!!", it may be.
"Do you want a time out?" I ask him. My final card, the ultimate judgement for a 2 year old boy. He stops screaming. He cannot speak much yet but he understands what I have said. He hasn't let go of my shirt. He is deciding. Does he want a time out or does he want me to not eat. Those are his choices.
I want a time out. I want to sit in the corner and eat baked chicken.
Posted by Team Hossman