BY JARED KAROL
I'm the adult around here. And as the adult, it is my responsibility to make rational, calm decisions in the face of tumultuous and trying times. That is precisely why I threw the wooden glider chair off the front porch and listened to it crack as it landed on the concrete up against the hedge of the neighbor's house. It was not done out of frustration, rage, or any sign of immaturity, but rather with a clear and envisioned plan to replace a piece of poorly designed furniture that only procrastination had prevented me from doing already.
Said glider had been bought to rock and glide our twins during their infant days, and was used often for just those purposes. Many a nap of a small child was taken on my lap as I glided with grace and tranquility, singing the same few songs over and over and over again until I wanted to puke, kill myself, or both. But, being the adult around here, I sang those songs with love in my heart. I didn't kill myself, for that would have been childish. I didn't puke either, although I came close during the many times a watery dookie seeped out of the child and onto me.
As our kids got older, more mobile, and more interested in attempting to hurt themselves and then crying about it as if it was our fault, we started using the locking mechanism on the glider when we weren't sitting in it. This was to prevent them from using their natural sense of exploration to push and prod the glider until their tiny appendages got smashed and mangled in the intricacies of this swaying manmade wonder. Being the adult around here, I have the responsibility to look out for the interests of all in the household. I know that waiting in hospital emergency waiting rooms is boring and depressing, and not something to which young children should be subjected, especially ones with broken fingers. Young children cry when they are in pain. The pain, combined with the boredom and depression of the waiting room, would make for an awful, traumatizing experience. I do not want to expose my children to such horrors. Children are our future. I know. After all, I'm the adult around here.
Since I am the adult around here, I am able to use my critical thinking skills to condemn companies whose products aren't made to last a reasonable amount of time. After a year or so of gliding and rocking smoothly, the glider chair began to lock on its own without warning or provocation, jolting me to hostile and sudden stops. Being the adult around here, I directed many belligerent words toward the chair itself, and toward the company who had the conscience to make such a chair. The words I used were adult words, and they were used with the understanding that the purpose they served in conveying my dissatisfaction far outweighed the lasting effect they may have on those who were in the vicinity to hear them. After all, I'm the adult around here, and I have earned the right to make tough decisions regarding self-conduct and vocabulary usage.
I'm the adult around here, and thus take an extreme dislike to crying when a simple phrase or even a word would do. When my almost 2-year-old son woke up from his nap wailing like a banshee, I marched up the stairs with my loaded rifle to expunge the intruder who must have been causing the cacophony. Seeing no intruder, or anything else that would cause such dissonance, I put the rifle back in the closet, and I deferred to my adult logical communication skills. In an aggressive and exasperated tone, I asked: "What the *&*%# is wrong? Why are you crying?" Being a child, he merely cried more, unable to participate in the adult communication techniques that I was trying to expose him to. Apparently, when I changed tactics and said: "Use your words. Tell Daddy what's wrong," he felt that repeatedly screaming "Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!" was meeting my demands. Children have a lot to learn about adult expectations with regard to communication.
But, being the adult around here, I took him down to a relaxing and familiar place: the glider chair. I unlocked the locking mechanism, and began to sing a nursery rhyme as I swayed back and forth. That is, until the glider chair locked in an unceremonious, jilting manner, causing more crying and discomfort. After a few unlockings and a few more jiltings, and not much headway in the crying realm, I remembered that I was the adult around here, and therefore had the responsibility of handling the situation. I set the still-cacophonous child down on the ground and ordered him to look out the window at the trees. With superhuman-like strength I picked up the glider chair and headed toward the front door. I stepped onto the porch, and with the grace and finesse of a shot putter, I tossed the chair off the porch, down the three steps, and into the hedge. It landed with a thwack, not unlike the sound of a clean bone break. Leaves and sticks fell from the hedge and cluttered the seat of the chair. The thin liner between the seat and the springs fell in front of the chair resembling a dog's tongue after having run for an hour. I had defeated the glider chair. I wiped my hands, raised one finger, and turned around and walked into the house. I closed the door on the glider chair forever.
Now that we had more space in the room, my son and I spread ourselves out with a couple of our favorite books and read them together for the eighty-millionth time. He stopped crying, and he was getting an education. Both are important. I know. After all, I'm the adult around here.
Jared Karol is a writer and the father of twins born in January 2009. That is seriously no joke. But writing about it is. He thinks he's funny and occasionally others do as well. He is the author of the wildly unknown blog: Lick The Fridge.