|Great Balls of....|
With the political season over, I get to watch my grandson more often. The hours on my “brick and mortar” jobs are all over the map, so there’s usually a hole here and there when I can get a few hours of prime Pop-Pop time.
I have no problems with the critical Pop-Pop stuff: going to the park, heading out to Friendly’s for ice cream or driving to an airport to watch airplanes come and go. But if I said I have the complete toddler-care skill set I would be lying.
The best example is changing diapers. Sure, they’re easy-peasy in this day and age. They’re disposable. They have adhesive tabs and what-nots instead of diaper pins so that I don’t harpoon either the grandson or myself.
It’s not the newfangled diaper technology that I have trouble with. It’s the kickboxing my grandson practices when I’m trying to change him.
Now, it would seem I have the natural advantage. He weighs about thirty pounds. I weigh more than six times what he does and my ass has its own zip code. My arms are longer than his legs, so I should be able to ward off his kicks.
The little bugger’s legs move at warp speed. That speed is what the military calls a “force multiplier.” My two old Pop-Pop arms are up against what seems like eight legs at once. From the waist down, this kid is a thrashing octopus during diaper changes.
Trying to ward off an Octotoddler while removing a soiled diaper of you-know-what would challenge a battle-hardened SEAL team. A mere Pop-Pop is no match.
Yesterday’s diaper change was a high water mark for the grandson’s dominance of his aging Pop-Pop.
We were doing a puzzle on the living room floor when the aroma of a nitrogen-based waste product hit my nose.
“Did you make a fart?” (I know I shouldn’t ask him that, and I know he’ll repeat that word at the worst possible time, but he knows what a fart is and when he lets one loose he’ll grin a little if you ask him if he made one.)
He just stared back at me.
“Did you make a stinky?”
There was that little grin.
Off to the couch we went for a diaper change.
While I try to get his shoes off, Octotoddler lands his first blows. I nearly lost my glasses. Trying to get the pants off, he pummels my ribcage. I’m no match. But I still have one weapon: The dreaded “LOUD POP-POP VOICE.”
“JAMES…. THAT’S NOT NICE! SIT STILL!”
I get his little pout. That misty-eyed “Pops just yelled at me” look.
But he stops kicking, and I’m pretty proud of myself.
I open the diaper. Something in there is ripe. But I see nothing.
I open the diaper completely and see a couple dozen tiny and toxic little pellets: toddler plutonium. Great balls of stinky death that have to be handled gingerly. One wrong move and they’ll roll right out of the diaper.
I looked at my grandson’s face. Uh-oh. There was that little grin again.
Suddenly, a blur of legs. The diaper is airborne. Something is rolling across the floor. The cats are chasing it.
BAM! A blow to the face! The glasses are off.
“NO!” I shout to the grandson and to the cats who are playing hockey with the toddler plutonium.
Eventually, I regained control. The diaper was changed. All the biohazards were located and disposed of.
Ten minutes later, my daughter-in-law arrived to take him home.
I’m sure I looked tired and beaten. Being bested by a toddler takes a lot out of a guy.
“Give Pop-Pop a kiss and a hug!”
He trotted over and gave me a big kiss and a pair of hugs (one for each shoulder).
And that made it all worthwhile.
But if sometime later this week while we’re watching television the wife asks: “What are the cats batting around the floor?” …well, I’m pleading the fifth.
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