My one-year-old son Liam and I have rough-housed since he was an infant, so it was no surprise that recently when he got angry with me for thwarting his plan to pour milk into my computer, he hauled off and slapped me across the face. It felt like that episode of Chappelle’s Show when Rick James showed Charlie Murphy what the five fingers said to the face. It was a complete shock and the only thing I could think of was that this little dude must think he’s Tupac.
Discipline was swift. No Thomas the Train, Wiggles or games on the iPad for the rest of the day. As we both sat in the living room in silence, I started to think about how strong his slaps had gotten and how much my life had changed since becoming a stay-at-home dad.
For one, I was a hardcore sneaker addict with close to 200 pairs and counting. Most of them were either limited edition runs or exclusive releases from overseas. I meticulously kept them in near mint condition, attempting to break the law of gravity when I wore them.
My gadget game was impeccable as well, upgrades galore on stuff that would make an Idris Elba James Bond scream like Flavor Flav if he saw them. Video games were never a problem either. I had every system with a library of the hottest titles. It was a young man’s American dream so the day Liam arrived, I had no idea what the adjustment process would be.
One of the first lessons learned was that babies have a gift of identifying the most expensive and/or fragile items in their surroundings. If you think military drones are no joke, put a baby in a room full of pillows and a $900 tablet. You’ll find out how quickly a screen can crack with the pillows untouched. My son still points to my expensive paperweight and laughs, mocking my parental naivete.