Little buddy balanced a steamroller Hot Wheel over the mouth of a glass. He had a bulldozer atop an upturned rubber tub atop the same table. He had a grater in tenuous balance on yet another glass.
What was he doing? Imagining? No idea. We’ll call it “independent play.”
All I knew is that it was growing later. I’d procrastinated for too long already, dreading this moment, me interrupting his fun. It was time to put him on the shaking machine he wears every day for an hour.
“Time for your vest, Eli!” I chirped, bracing myself.
He screamed “NO VEST!” at the top of his lungs, bending over, as if to push the volume out of his lungs with more gusto. The chords in his neck throbbed.
“NO VEST MOMMY! NO VEST!”
Shit. Think fast mommy.
“Oooh…I know! Want Mommy to wear it first? Ya wanna see Mommy on the vest?”
My offer hung in the air between us.
If my son were green he’d be the spittin mini image of the Incredible Hulk in transition. I half expected his clothes to tear away, his muscles to erupt.
His eyes showed a flash of mischief. He uncurled his fists. Unclenched his jaw.
“Yeah,” he said. He gave me a crooked little smile.
And so here’s what commenced.