Thrown Milk

29 Mar

I feel this dude

Ivan is a die-hard Los Angeles Dodgers fan. He loves baseball more than anything in the world. He makes me play catch with him most days after school and I can’t tell you how many bases loaded grand slams he has hit off me in imaginary ninth innings. He also loves being a brat to his younger brother James. He really finds a nice balance between physical and verbal abuse. Today he chooses to draw from his venomous 8-year-old wit, accusing James of “eating yogurt like a little girl,” and generally just being a fart face. This drives James bonkers. This is about the time I stop making myself a sandwich and intervene. To be clear, I am not putting a stop to this because I find Ivan’s behavior out of line, bur rather I am upset with the poor quality of insults being slung and even more frustrated that it bothers James so much.
“Come on big guy. You are a boy. Clearly you don’t eat yogurt like a girl. Why is this making you mad!” I say. After I calm myself down, I remember the movie ‘Sandlot’ and the infamous line the fat, freckled kid delivers to the rival baseball team.
“You play ball like a girl!”
Yogurt eating and baseball aren’t the same, but there is precedence to James’ anger. I decide instead of scolding Ivan for being mean, I will help James exact his revenge. I think quickly on my feet, take one look at Ivan’s bright blue Dodgers cap and whisper the dagger into James’ ear that will crumple his older brother. Whenever you ask a five year old to repeat something you’ve said, especially to comedic affect, there is always “HBP” (High Botch Potential), but James nails it.
“Hey…hey guess what?”
“What?” Ivan replies.
“The Dodgers suck and the Giants are making the playoffs.” A great silence falls over the kitchen. I expect mild annoyance at best, but apparently mentioning this storied baseball rivalry brings about monstrous emotions in some eight year olds.
“What did you say?” Ivan stammers. Sensing things are getting strange; I step in front of James and repeat the line but with less gusto.
“That’s right. The Giants just made the playoffs today. It’s a fact.”
Ivan’s eyes grow big and his nostrils flare. “Shut up! No they didn’t! That isn’t true, take it back!” His voice is trembling. At this point I am both shocked and amused that this is getting so serious. I try one last time to convince him that this is actually true, it is sports fact and I relay the message to him as if I am reading the ticker.
“Ahhhhhh!”
Ivan lets out a scream like Colossus from X-men, picks up a full plastic cup of milk I just poured for him and throws his best little league fastball into my chest. It’s a direct hit to the solar plexus. I have never seen milk spray in so many directions. It’s on my chest, jeans, shoes, face, hair and all over the ground. I don’t know how long we all held our ‘some shit just went down’ faces, but it feels like a long time. They say don’t cry over spilled milk, so I don’t, but there is no idiom that accurately encapsulates the epic rage I feel over thrown milk. My full supply of blood and adrenaline rush thru my veins. Part of me almost expects adamantium to burst thru my knuckles. I almost can’t believe I’m this pissed off. If a grown man threw milk at me, I’m not sure if I would laugh or administer a swift roundhouse to his temple. This is a small child though, and right now he is staring at me with the most fear I have seen in a creatures eyes in some time. I take a deep breath and let some logic seep back into my system. Both children are waiting for my next move, which puts me in an odd position because it’s hard to severely discipline kids that aren’t yours. I choose a good ole-fashioned scream off. I drop f-bombs and s-bombs and even a few q-bombs. That’s right, quagmires. Ivan begins crying as I launch into my awkward adult tirade.
“You just can’t go through life throwing milk at people!” This is a situation I find myself in frequently when working with kids. Screaming absurd things that seemingly have little meaning. When you really prod the issue, why can’t you throw milk at someone? The only way I could think of explaining it is that you will probably get your ass kicked and it’s just a dick move. Finding a sophisticated way to explain what a dick move is to an eight year old is difficult.
I continue yelling about milk and attitude adjustments for a couple minutes. Ivan is very apologetic. He starts cleaning up the floor and offers to wash my clothes. I give him the silent treatment and wash them myself. I remove my t-shirt and throw it in the wash. James approaches me cautiously and requests my help with the alphabet. As I sit down bare chested, jeans smelling like 2% and writing lower case ‘a’s’, I realize how hard it is to be a good parent. I’m glad I get to clock out at the end of the day.

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