Last Saturday, I took the boys and cousin Rory to the park for some underdogs on the swings and that timeless game, “Why is that man smoking, daddy?”
After doing the plate spinning of trying to keep three kids swinging at the same time, (“Pump your legs! Pump your legs!”) I suggested we do something, anything but swinging.
Elijah suggested we play a game of “Alligator,” which involves running between two patches of wood chips, trying not to get tagged by the it-alligator. For Luca, it also involves falling. Every. Single. Time. Within five minutes, he had blood pouring down both his legs. But his desire to play with the big kids overshadowed his desire to cry about his mangled knees.
But let me back up to the start of the game. I asked the rules and regulations and chances the game will result in mangled knees and Eli said we would officially pick our alligator by “Bubble Gum Bubble Gum.”
Do you know this? Bubble gum bubble gum in a dish, how many pieces do you wish? How did he know this? The dish gum thing was how I chose “it” when I was 6. How on earth did this custom live for the next 35 years?
Who is in charge of this? Is there some guy whose job it is to pass along all knock knock jokes, bubble gum bubble gums and nicknames for butts to every six year old? If so, how do I get this job?
It’s these things that drum up the most complicated emotions for me. I love that he knows stuff not taught by me. I love that he’s turning into his own little person. But I hate that he isn’t my sole property anymore. I hate that I have no control over every aspect of his life.
And in case you are wondering, yes, I did cheat when it came down to me picking how many bubble gum pieces I wished. Yes I did the math in my head instead of randomly picking a number out of the air.
But I cheated so I would have to be “it.” So I’m not all bad.