Lay Off My Tomatoes: A Story of Testicular Fortitude
Being A Father Means Guarding Your Tomatoes
Flash-forward six months: I’m on the floor and I’m making fists with both hands, clenching my teeth, and my son is bouncing on me, having the time of his life (see pic below). Every time he slams down, my vision goes white-hot. I’m holding my boy under his armpits as he crushes my bits over and over, and I’m occasionally trying to support his weight on my arms a little, disguising it as play-tickles. Because of course, if I show any pain, he (of all people) starts crying like he’s the victim, and then I feel like the jerk that ended playtime.
On weekends, I lay on the floor with my boy as we watch the same cartoons that were on Nick Jr. all week. I bought a body-pillow that we share, but most of the time, it’s me, laying on the ground in a half-sleep state and him running back and forth with toys, crashing into my balls. If I’m really lucky, he’ll get on top of me and do this creepy “worm” move where he puts his head on my chest and kicks his legs down into my diamond pouch. There’s nothing quite like going from mostly-asleep to momentarily flat-lining.
If I’m ever laying on the couch, I have to stay conscious of the “rock-climbing” technique, where the boy runs up to me, and for whatever reason, uses my nuggets to help himself up next to me. So there he is, all 30lbs, leveraging himself on my cod and boosting himself up. Again, if I show a sign of pain, the boy will cry and I’ll be the a-hole. So I grin and bear it, constantly listening for the infinitesimally small screams from my son’s possible future siblings. Just kidding. Probably.
Before we had our son, I’d come home from work, and my wife would be either on the couch or at the computer. I’d walk in, we’d grunt at each other, and I’d go straight to our room, where I’d do a Mr. Rogers-like comfort-transformation; take off my sweater and shoes, look in the mirror and tell myself I was the friggin’ king. These days, by the time I get to the front door, my kid hears me jingling my keys, and I hear my wife ask him “who’s that at the door? Who do you think it is?” I hear my boy scream out “daddyyyyyyy!” and as I open the door, he’s charging at me full-tilt. For the first two weeks, I let him slam into me, head directly into my onions. It hurt bad, but it was so new and wonderful that I risked the sharp pains and nausea because hot damn it was good to be loved. At the end of that two weeks, I learned to cover myself when I walked in. It’s not as intimate of a hug, but I also don’t have to throw up immediately after getting home.
And so it goes when you have a son; it’s like when one junk is created, another must be destroyed.