The "Kramer Vs. Kramer" Award for "Best Performance by a Father and Son"
The Sports Gal and my daughter went back East last weekend, which sounded like an awesome idea until I remembered there were four football games. I got a babysitter for Saturday. For Sunday, I decided to wing it: tired my son out in the early morning, set him up in front of the TV in the late morning then hoped he’d fall asleep watching "Max & Ruby" or "Scooby-Doo." Within about five minutes of kickoff, he was screaming, "Outside! Outside!" I left the back door open, then half-watched him and half-watched the Pats game while also changing jerseys three different times. (Seriously, what were the odds of them winning as I did this? 100-1?) I finally hooked him on "Dora the Explorer" — the episode in which Dora had to find something and the backpack and the map helped her, and then they did it (inside joke for the parents out there) — and he fell asleep just in time for the start of Pack-Cards, allowing me to watch my fourth loser of the weekend get crushed out of the gate â€¦ but as soon as they started coming back, he woke up. From there, I had to half-watch him and the game the rest of the time. And the Pack ended up losing, as you know.
Now, here’s where you think I’m going to give you the old "The lesson as always: Don’t have kids" line.
See, I knew I was losing last weekend. (Kids + gambling = losses.) That’s why I wagered very little. But after the games, when I was super-depressed, we went to an outdoor mall called the Grove and my son threw a no-hitter. No meltdowns. Held my hand when I wanted. Didn’t throw any food when we were eating Mexican. Successfully pulled off a trip to a three-story bookstore with escalators without losing a finger or knocking over a shelf. Stayed on my lap when we rode the trolley. While holding an ice cream he even enticed two women to come over to him, then bend over even though they weren’t wearing bras or underwear. (OK, I’m exaggerating a little. They were wearing thongs.) It was more amazing than Kurt Warner’s performance a few hours earlier.
We drove home, then I gave him a bath and washed the Mexican food off his face and hair. He did his calling card — pointing down to his groin and screaming, "PEE-NISSSSSS!" then waiting a beat, pointing a little lower and screaming, "BALLLLLLLLLLLLLLZ!!!!!" — and I laughed my ass off like I always do. Then we put on his PJs, read a book and put him to bed. And as I was turning off the light, he said, "Thank you, Dada."
Here’s the point: In the old days, there was nothing that could have cheered me up after 0-4 and the ugly demise of a Patriots season. This time? My kid cheered me up. So if you’re ever wondering about the pros/cons of having kids, add this story to the "pros" list.
(And when he fed his dirty diaper to our dog the following morning, add that to the "cons.")