One of my last daddyhood posts on Facebook before I caught blog fever was regarding an incident that transpired in Ben’s Pre-K class. Some of you might remember it…
Miss Jenny was preparing the class for some arts and crafts and explained, “Okay, today were going to do a project that involves using everyday junk you can find just laying around the house. Does anyone know what junk is?”
Ben instantly shot his hand into the air and yelled, “IT’S YOUR PENIS!”
Most of you found it hilarious, but there were one or two of you who required a backstory. Now I don’t feel like I NEED to explain why my son knows that junk is a popular slang word for one’s naughty bits, but I will…since that story is equally entertaining.
One day last summer, as in 2012, we were hanging out at a local playground here in the valley. It was during work hours, so the only ones in attendance were myself, Ben of course (otherwise that would be creepy), about a dozen other kids and a handful of Hispanic nannies. We did a couple laps to see if we could find a playmate, but no one else really had Ben’s kind of social chops. Ben doesn’t hold anything back. He likes to get right in a kid’s face and say, “I’m Ben! C’mon, let’s play!!!” Sadly, nine times out of ten, he either gets a bemused frown or a stiff arm to the chest by some kid in a fedora. So we decided to ditch the future douchebags of America and hit the empty swing section. Ben wasn’t quite ready for the big boy swings, so we had to settle for the buckets. You know, the toddler swings that look like big black rubber grandma panties.
We were having a blast. Ben wanted to go as high he could and kept asking me to push him a hundred-thousand-and-twenty times. We were completely locked into that wonderful, problem-free, father and son zone. There could have been a raging brush fire approaching us and I wouldn’t have noticed (but I would have eventually…and then rushed my son to safety).
Then, the entire vibe changed.
Ben’s expression of total joy slowly morphed into something else. He was still having fun but something strange was going on. He suddenly looked uncomfortable. I, however, was still in Superdad mode, pushing the swing and snapping pics to text to mom so she could somehow experience it too. I even captured the precise moment where his smile started to fade and his agony began:
Like an idiot, I kept pushing him higher, trying to bullshit my way to a hundred-thousand-and-twenty and sneak in a few minutes of arm exercise in the process. And then, right when the playground seemed to be at its most silent, Ben released this blood-curdling doozie — “YOU’RE SMASHING MY PENIS!!!”
Ben five minutes later with his smashed penis:
That night, during shower time, I introduced Ben to some different words he could use and the one that stuck was junk. It gave him a pretty good belly laugh so we ran with it. Now I’m not saying “YOU’RE SMASHING MY JUNK” would’ve changed everything that day, but at least it would’ve cut down on the number of nannies who took a break from their cell phones to look up and glare at me.
As far as Miss Jenny’s horrified classroom goes, at least Ben only shouted the word penis. If it was any worse, someone would’ve called child services on us and who really needs that kinda stress?
We’ll stick with junk.