Unless it belongs to my wife, you won’t find the color pink within a 300 foot radius of my house.
If you should so choose, a quick inspection of your immediate surroundings will usually turn up a random matchbox car. Pick up any pillow, move aside a magazine, look under the couch, check between the cushions, even take a peek in the kitchen sink and you will definitely find something with 4 wheels. Feeling brave? Just walk around barefoot and you will eventually step on one.
Need anything from the Cars or Cars 2 merchandise collection? Close your eyes and put out your hand and make a fist once you touch something. You’re welcome.
If my house screams anything, it’s boys.
It’s never more apparent than when a friend brings over their daughter or my niece comes by. The pink, the airy giggles, the delicateness; it’s all just so…foreign.
How so? Here is how hugs go in my house: one of the boys falls for my trick of “What’s in Daddy’s hands?” and ends up in a bear hug upon inspection of said hands. The other boy, seeing the commotion, immediately gets jealous and runs over to join in. A very nice moment follows for about 3 seconds where I have both boys in my arms and a big smile on my face.
That moment always ends very quickly.
First, one boy’s arm makes its way into the other boy’s vicinity. A slight push back and a whine alerts the intruding limb to the encroachment and signals a request to please return to the other side of Daddy. After complying for another 3 seconds, the arm returns and the resulting pushing and whining get louder. Next, legs enter the equation.
When all is said and done, I have a diapered bum sitting on my head, a foot in my neck, a knee in my stomach and an elbow in my side as both boys push and scream at each other as if they are fighting over the last morsel of food on earth.
Snack time offers up another reminder about the culture of our family. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park when they feed the Velociraptors the cow? That’s essentially how snacking goes with my boys. Keep your distance, lower the food carefully into their lair, and then back away quickly and quietly.
It usually starts out slow. A request by one boy for Cheerios or a cereal bar seems innocent enough at first, but in a flash his impatience hits as Mommy or Daddy rummage through the snack cabinet or travel bag to find the correct item. As typical with everything, once the other boy gets wind of what is going on and the realization that he might get left out of anything sets in, the mayhem starts.
There are two approaches at this point. Give them the same snack or go with different snacks and hope to divide and conquer. Both have their pros and cons. The same snack leads to fighting over who has more and sometimes even the color of the other’s bowl, while different snacks lead to eyeballing of the other’s bounty, usually with intentions of theft. Since the results vary, I really can’t say which approach works the best, but tweak as you see fit and be sure to keep your hands away from moving parts.
The problem is that once they start snacking, the hunger seems to build like an avalanche. One snack doesn’t satisfy them for some reason. It’s like when sharks taste blood in the water and they just want more, more, more. It’s basically a snack frenzy. Cheerios beget Cheez-Its beget strawberries beget squeeze yogurts.
Pretty soon all I’m left with is messy faces, dirty hands and empty bowls as I make a mad dash for a wet paper towel to wipe them down. A garden hose works well if nearby.
Screaming is another thing. Screaming for fun that is.
Whether it’s in the car or just at home, screaming isn’t just for anger anymore. Truth be told, the screaming is usually started by the little guy, but encouraged and escalated by his older brother. Car screaming tends to be a back and forth, tit for tat kind of thing. A short scream by one is echoed with a short scream by the other. A long scream yields a matching long scream and around and around we go.
But at the house, where they aren’t strapped into car seats, screaming matches usually turn into wrestling matches (seems to be a trend here). The “concern” here is that the little guy is very nearly holding his own at this stage of the game. We don’t call him the “Freight Train” simply because it’s one of his favorite books, but rather because that’s him on top in the second picture below.
Part of me wonders what things would be like if a girl was in the mix. Would that 3 seconds of peace I get during a group hug turn into 10 seconds? Would snack time be less volatile? Would there be less screaming and more giggling? Would the color pink actually make an appearance in our house?
But as I dislodge the latest matchbox car from the bottom of my foot and pick a few Cheerios out of my hair, I truly know I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brad the Dad’ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter at keyword: readbradthedad
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 7/14/12.