The youngest Marx brother

(Disclaimer: If you have never seen a Marx Brothers movie, shame on you. Go watch one and then read this post…cretin.)

Yes, that would be my son. A conversation this morning:

The Boy: “I’m not going to school today.”
Me: “Okay.”
The Boy: “I’m wearing sandals.”
Me: “To the place you’re not going to today?”
The Boy: “Yeah.”

That’s one of the great things about kids. Logic no longer applies and you can occasionally live life just like it’s “Duck Soup” all over again. Like when he comes trotting down the steps and yells, “Let’s play with poisonous snakes.” You just take up the mantle with aplomb and head off to play with poisonous snakes. Sure they’re not real poisonous snakes and I had better not bring any home because he will, most likely, play with them, but he sure acts like the fake ones are real.

Parental training should probably include a few Marx Brother movies, with an introductory voice-over saying, “This is what your life will be like at times.”  Sure, you will have lucid moments but many times you’ll either be cleaning up messes or (hopefully) get entertaining wordplay . I try to enjoy it all.

So remember, if the rug rats are ever getting you down, it’s all just another skit. Pick your role and play along.


The Perils of Security

My son has a baa-baa. It’s an old, ratty (at least after three years it is) nightgown that he pilfered from my wife to use as a security blanket. On it was his ‘spot’; a special place that felt just right. I still curse the day that his grandmother (her mom) suggested that he have some sort of security item. It is NOT a good idea and is NOT cute…especially when your child is still lugging it about at five years old.

The ‘spot’ became detached at some point when his grandfather (her dad) cut it off so he didn’t have to carry the whole thing around with him. Of course, it was a Bad Idea and my wife ended up sewing it back on to the main mass of the baa-baa.

Flash forward to my wife’s birthday. The piece (his ‘spot’ if you recall) had come loose at daycare and needed to be restitched. No prob, we’ll do that at home later. Later comes and so do my in-laws (the virtual wellsprings of great ideas) for dinner. In tow is their puppy, Buddy. At some point during the festivities (I was cooking some nice chops with an awesome dry rub at the time so I bear no responsibility for what comes) the ‘spot’ detaches much to Buddy’s delight. He grabs it and summarily eats it. Jake gets bent. Wife comforts. Dad (me) thinks, “Glory be, maybe we can get rid of the rest of the dammed thing.”

For consolation, Grandma says, “I’ll get it back for you,” to my son. Knowing there’s only one way to get it out (barring a carving knife) I cast her a dirty look for good measure. She winked and shook her head so I allowed myself a mental, “whew.”

My wife however, said, “Let me know when you get it back.”


Aghast, I waited until the boy was out of earshot and let my wife know that if the ‘spot’ show up in the house, it’s going nowhere near the boy. Ever. I don’t care if it gets boiled in bleach and dipped into the photosphere of the sun for sanitary purposes. I know where it’s been.

“But he’s really upset.”

“I know, but life happens sometimes.”

“That’s just callous.”

Blink. “I’m going to light the candles on your cake now.”

Changing the topic is one of the top domestic survival skills I’ve developed over the years. That and smiling and nodding.

Take heed parents. The psychs might say it’s not harmful to have a security blanket, but there is pain involved. I’d say avoid it at all costs.

My son now carries his original baa-baa plus a T-shirt that’s “soft and smells just like mommy.” I just can’t win.

So it goes…