Twice this week I have been fortunate enough to experience my toddler's classic soliloquy of discontent. No, he does not stand erect with his little hand on his littler hip, wearing tights and an oddly sexual codpiece while reciting Richard III. He breaks down into a confusing puddle of tears and snot whilst trying his best to explain his misery. It is usually caused by a train car out of place in his toy room or an uneven placement of a blanket on the side of the crib. Perhaps today, he was set off because he felt there were too many gourmet ingredients in his fresh, homemade breakfast frittata. No, it must have been the overwhelming emotional experience that occurred after mommy wiped his fanny clean and begged him to stop kicking her as she tried her best to reapply A+D ointment and a clean, over-priced diaper to his nether regions. These are the same regions of which he will soon come to care more about than any other region of the world. “Darfur? Where’s that? Not in my pants, bitches!”
What am I thinking? It must have been the unending exhaustion from all the paparazzi-like attention he garnered from his father the previous afternoon, a man who took enough photos of Prince Nucleus of The Neighborhood to start a children’s white trash, above- ground living catalogue. As every child in the neighborhood drifted over to play in Otto’s ten dollar pool, sit at Otto’s tiny, stained Ikea table made by angry, Swedish midgets and share kid friendly, organic food stuffs Otto’s mother made in a kitchen as hot as it is infinitesimal, the strain must have really tuckered him out. But being cunning and focused, with the memory of an aggressive elephant, he held onto the moody blues until this morning when it could do the most good. He ate breakfast; he played car crash and then decided that it was time to express himself, as only Madonna could in 1985.
His daddy took him upstairs and had a long, father-son, rational, calm, hug-riddled and reassuring chat. I have no doubt their tete a tete most likely involved basketball references, Bruce Springsteen lyrics and airplane tickles, a sure fire combo of calm when the winds kick up in our house. I finally walked in after the cries of unbridled hysteria had stopped, to find man and boy on a hand-me-down sofa The Salvation Army would shun, reading “Curious George Flies A Kite.” His puffy eyes and disheveled hair made him look like Nick Nolte after a particularly long AA meeting complete with food-stained shirt and dirty cheeks. My tiny, little recovering cry-a-holic looked up at me, patted the torn cushion to his left and asked me to join them. My heart broke a little, my belly ached a bit and I took my place in this trio of turbulence knowing that this was only Act I in a very long play, a play I will always love to read.