on saturday marty and bella went to a wedding. bella had the job of handing out hershey kisses to guests walking out of the church after the ceremony. as she dropped the foil wrapped sweets into the passing palms of exiting people she was instructed to say, "kisses from the bride and groom."
meanwhile back at home, i took the boys kite flying. it was a stupendous day for such an outing and while alex flew his ladybug kite anthony scooted up and down art hill to the tittering and pointing delight of all nearby womenfolk. after about an hour of this utopian affair we biked over to a playground we frequent. without the girls our usual games of jailbreak and ogre were limited but we made do by teaching anthony how to slide and climb for when the real games resumed. seeing anthony confidently manage the various obstacles i excused myself to get a drink from the bike. i was gone sixty, maybe ninety seconds but during my short absence something went down. as i walked back towards the boys, anthony was scooting my way wailing loudly with alex standing guiltily behind him. a week-old scab on anthony's forehead was suddenly missing and thick throbs of blood pulsed from the aggravated wound. marty is far better at the 'if you didn't see it you can't accuse' game than me. i'm more of a 'yell first, sort it out later' kinda guy. when i asked alex what happened he shrugged his shoulders and said, 'i don't know.'
i picked up anthony, rushed him to the bike and started rifling through the carrier looking for something to stanch the un-subsiding bleeding. i was moments from using the shirt on his back when i found a sock i had been wearing earlier. i pressed the clean(er) topside of the sock to his head and sat cradling his sobbing frame tightly to my chest. after he calmed down and the bleeding stopped i resumed my harsh lecture and scolding to alex about his role in this. i occasionally caught the glances of moms and children walking by and the horrified double-takes they shot at my one year old's blood-mottled face. i so love being that guy.
not two minutes after resolving the forehead debacle alex stood up, grabbed his groin and announced he had to go potty. my eyes slowly raised to take in his panicked look. i calmly stood up and instructed him to follow me. you see, this is old terrain for he and i, so i wasn't shaken by the development. we walked into an adjacent building, covered the familiar ground to the restroom but when i pushed on the door it didn't move. i pushed on it again and the not-supposed-to-be locked door still didn't give. now i wore the panicked look. i briskly walked to the front desk and asked the lady sitting there if she could open the door to the restroom. she said because of a private event starting up she could not, but i could use the other restroom around the corner and pointed me towards it. we quickly wound our way through the milling party-goers to our new destination.
we entered the bathroom. there was one stall and one urinal. i put anthony down and got alex into the stall. he stepped in trepidatiously with his hands clapped over his ears, looked up at me and asked if it flushed on its own. alex has a great distrust and fear of toilets that flush automatically. were i small enough to fall into the bowl, i'd probably share this paranoia. i look and tell him it doesn't. he lowers his hands and begins unsnapping his pants. i turn to anthony to find he has walked to the bathroom door and is trying to push it open. seeing that it swings inward i jog over to get him away knowing if someone new entered, i'd be using my other, and last blood-free, sock to treat his wounds. when i returned to the stall alex had his pants and underwear pushed down to his knees and was slightly crouched as if he were about to sit down in a chair. i asked what he was doing. his face turned to me and through clenched teeth said he thought we were too late. just then a thick torrent of urine shot from his penis landing right in the cupped bottom of his underwear and shorts.
i stood transfixed. there are multiple reasons for my lack of reaction. for one, i've seen grown men emit less impressive streams of pee, myself included. secondly, because it kept coming. i could understand a little spurt may sneak out but this was a full-on and unwavering jet of urine. and lastly, because of the forceful way this deluge hit the crotch of his shorts that were stretched between his knees two fountains of liquid came shooting up and out. one directly in front of him and one perfectly behind. given his small stature and his frozen pose he looked like a cherubic stone imp adorning an elaborate european fountain. this is why i was staring so. the scene was mesmerizing in so many ways. it was anthony who finally broke my stupor by pointing to alex and saying 'gaaaa'.
ALEX! STOP PEEING!
what do you mean you can't. do! do stop! stop now!
i can't dad.
given the strained affect of his speech and the fact that he wasn't stopping, i accepted the point that he could not kill the flow. with my free hand i reached in the stall grabbed him under an armpit and threw him towards the toilet. he landed slightly cattywampus but close enough to straighten himself out. now upon the commode, he relented to nature and his shoulders sagged in relief while he comfortably emptied the rest of his bladder. i stood holding anthony in one hand and rubbing my eyes with the other waiting for alex's call of "i'm done." when it came i rinsed his shorts, wiped him down in the sink and with a fistful of paper towels mopped up the two distinct puddles on the floor.
as we got set to leave something dawned on me. the reason the other bathroom had been locked was due to this private, formal event beginning to form in this building and there were already a heap of black-tied men and gowned women milling about the lobby. i took stock of my ranks. alex had on an orange shirt and no shoes, socks, shorts or underwear. i turned to look at the other. he was again pushing on the bathroom door. i yelled at him to get away. when he turned to look at me, i noted he had dried blood over one half of his face and looked more like an extra from the set of braveheart than what he is, our adopted russian child. i grabbed anthony up again and knelt down to alex:
ok bud. there's a bunch of people on the other side of this door and you don't have any pants. what i want you to do is when i open this door i want you to pull your shirt down as far as you can over your front and your bottom and i want you to run out of this building as fast as you can. ok.
i stood by the door and told alex to get ready. his tiny mitts gripped the hem of his shirt and pulled it down. this caused him to bend his knees slightly to get better coverage. i opened the door and out he shot. once he hit the people he moved in a serpentine pattern weaving in and out of the tuxedoed legs. sometimes he would brush the people and they would raise the drinks in their hands and look down to see this partially naked child dart by. they'd then look up and around to find me coming briskly behind holding a blood-caked anthony who was gleefully waving at all the big-eyed humans.
this is how our blissful day at the park closed.
we arrived home five minutes before marty and bella. i jumped in the shower to begin getting ready for the reception which marty and i were due to attend. my mother was washing and clothing the boys. while i put on my suit in the bedroom, an already dressed marty sat in a chair in the corner of the room and wistfully recounted their experience at the wedding. marty commented on how hearing wedding vows now that she is married and a mother has much more impact than when she was younger. she said in this ceremony the priest had the bride and groom grasp each others hands and talked about how these were the hands that would celebrate terrific milestones together, and these were the hands that would care for one another when ill and these were the hands that would nurture their children and these were the hands that would prepare the meals their family would enjoy together, etc, etc. i paused knotting my tie, turned to marty and in a completely haggard tone said, "you'll have to forgive me but while you and bella were enjoying this romantic dissertation on the wonders of marital bliss i was trying to talk your eldest son into kicking his urine soaked shorts under the stall door of a public toilet so i could use these hands, my hands, to clean them in the sink just before i used these same hands to sop urine off the restroom floor while using still these same hands to keep anthony from playing with a pink urinal puck. i don't know if he mentioned all those uses for hands or not, but mine are a little tired and not really in the same floaty place yours seem to be."