When you bring your baby home from the hospital after he’s born, your mind is reeling with the possibilities of parenthood. Mostly, you see rainbows, imagining afternoons at the park playing baseball and making macaroni necklaces for Christmas presents. What you can’t imagine is that at some point during your tenure as a parent, you’re going to have to say the phrase, “son, don’t lick your sister’s feet.”
You’re not an idiot. You know there will be ups and downs. There will be tantrums in the Fun Depot. Smoothies spilled in the car. Maybe some light biting. But having to tell one child not to lick the other child’s feet never even crosses your mind.
But it’s going to happen. The first foot-licking incident will be accidental. They’ll be wrestling barefoot and an errant foot will cross in front of someone’s face and that kid will seize the opportunity and stick his/her tongue out and take a lick. It’s an act of curiosity mainly. The other child will giggle and then it’ll be an all out foot lick fest, at which time you’ll have to say, “son, don’t lick your sister’s feet.”
It’s such a weird thing to say, you’ll actually pause and think, “I can’t believe I just had to say that.”
Soon you’ll be saying it so often, you’ll have to write it on the dry erase “rule board” next to other gems like, “don’t put mom’s pearls on the kitty,” and “don’t tell strangers their hair looks funny,” or “glow sticks are not food” or any number of bizarre societal norms that most of us take for granted.
But the foot-licking thing will be the weirdest. At least for a while. Then the kids will come up with something even weirder that makes you long for the simplicity of the foot-licking days. I don’t know what that thing will be yet. I’m just warning you, it’s going to get weird. Then it’s going to get weirder.
Does anyone know where I can get a used starter pistol? The kids have begun riding their balance bikes in earnest, and they’ve already discovered the joy of racing each other down the hill next to our house. I think a starter pistol will make each race a bit more official. I’m working on a yellow jersey in a size 4T too.
As for that racing hill, there’s nothing to worry about: it’s just a ridiculously steep hill with a blind curve on either end and heavy traffic during daylight hours. At night, it’s a popular hangout for prostitutes, so broken glass and used condoms fill the gutters (no kidding). Oh, and it’s surrounded by poison ivy.
Standard Chinese Downhill Rules apply: cheating is encouraged and the kids can use any means necessary to knock each other off their bikes. These are their rules, not mine. My daughter’s favorite thing to do is let her brother get ahead of her, then speed up and sideswipe him. To be honest, I’m hoping the starter pistol will give me a bit more authority when I try to enforce basic rules like, no running over someone after they’ve fallen off their bike. You know what they say in those inner city movies: “no gun, no respect.” That certainly applies in my household too. It seems the older the kids get, the less control I have over any given situation. I can strongly suggest they eat their vegetables and not throw beer bottles at each other, but ultimately, it’s up to them what they throw at each other. The best I can do is surround them with soft items like plush toys and marshmallows and hope they make good decisions. Sadly, they always manage to arm themselves with something sharp that will likely result in a tetanus shot. The sharper the weapon, the funnier the situation is to them.
Oh, to be three and parented by a man with no sense of authority. Lucky little bastards.