“What can I pinch with this?” my son Evan asked, holding up the pair of channel locks I’d left on the bathroom counter.
When it comes to which tools our three-year-old is allowed to play with, my wife Kara and I draw very different lines, as I discovered the first time I let Evan wield a Phillips-head screwdriver. Kara acted like I’d handed him an anthropomorphic chainsaw that taught bad grammar.
“Tell them you don’t want no more dinner!” the chainsaw would yell as Evan sliced it through our dining room table.
“I’m not sure that’s the safest thing,” I started to say, but then this huge smile spread across Evan’s face as he scissored the air with the channel locks like he was trimming hedges, and I realized that there was still hope for one of us to be a decent do-it-yourselfer.
I surveyed the landscape for something suitable.
“There, my underwear on the floor,” I said.
Evan picked up my underwear with the channel locks and ran around the bathroom, waving my undies back-and-forth like he was in the color guard at a halftime show.
“Pinch, pinch, pinch!” he yelled.
For all the parents out there who are struggling to find ways to keep your kids entertained, forget the iPad. All you need is some channel locks and a pair of striped boxer shorts. Plaid might also work, but I have yet to test it.
I turned my attention back to our leaky showerhead. A good showerhead should be leaky by design, but this one was leaking out the wrong end, against the wall.
“Hey, this could be the perfect time to switch to a water-saving showerhead,” I’d said to my wife, Kara.
She carefully considered the idea by immediately saying, “No way.”
“But think about how much less you’d be getting,” I said. My persuasion tactics could use some honing.
“I really enjoy showers. Don’t take that away from me,” she said.
Point taken. The shower is the only place we can escape from our children. We should probably install a
TV in there, and perhaps a can opener and some shelves of emergency rations.
For some reason, I offered to fix the shower while entertaining both of our kids. After the first minute, I’d lost the first member of my audience to the siren call of my crumpled-up underwear, but his little brother Zack watched me from his bassinette in rapt attention.
“Now watch Super Dad fix the plumbing while taking care of two kids!” I said. Then, with a flourish, I snapped the pipe in half.
“Aw, dude, that wasn’t supposed to happen,” I said, the presence of my offspring making it impossible to apply the proper expletives to the situation, at least out loud.
Evan became bored with the channel locks and set them down, then put his nose an inch from Zack’s face and yelled, “BLAGOO BLAGOO BLAGOO!”
“Hey, Evan, don’t do that,” I said, pulling him back by the shoulders to reveal Zack’s huge smile. To Zack, Evan is David Letterman, the Cirque du Soleil, Coldplay, Six Flags Great Adventure and HBO original programming all rolled into one. Being manhandled and shouted at by his big brother is Zack’s greatest joy. Something tells me that this will serve him well in life.
“Well, show’s over, folks, until I can get to the hardware store,” I said. We left the bathroom and prepared to shatter the silence elsewhere in the house.
In some respects, the operation had been a great success. Since nobody could use the shower anymore, it was saving a ton of water.
You can plumb the depths with Mike Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.