Tonawanda News — Having completed my tour of duty as a little boy, I remember doing my fair share of ... shall we say, judgmentally challenged acts.
I collected the bugs I dug up from the dirt and put them in little jars.
I rode my bike at full speed into a building. While standing up on the pedals.
I lit matches and set the ends of bush branches on fire. And then I was shocked when one of the fires spread.
So, yeah, what they say about little boys being impulsively aggressive is largely true. That little part of their brains that hints at an activity being a bad idea definitely takes some time to develop (mine came in this past April).
But, with all the moronic things I did growing up, I do not recall making my parents black and blue.
Yet both I and, more so, Mommy have been lately, a result of Rigby not knowing (or not caring about) his own strength.
Nothing is intentional, mind you. He’s just learning how to juggle his ability to hurt others with that uncontrollable boyhood urge to whirl around 14 hours a day as though he were the Tasmanian Devil.
Like climbing. He loves to climb, and my shoulders are a favorite apex. So he will declare, “I want to climb you,” and then make his way up me utilizing mainly his knees and elbows (and, one time, I’m pretty sure I felt a pick axe wedged between my ribs). He bumps, claws, scratches and pokes his way up me with a fervor that would make Everest conquerors proud. Once atop me, he likes to stand on my shoulders and bounce his butt repeatedly on top of my head, much to the delight of my future chiropractor.
But I haven’t even born the brunt of his youthful exuberance. Poor Mommy’s arm is black and blue halfway up her arm, the result of a 3-year-old who neither knows when to quit nor realizes just how sharp his teeth are. He likes to play a game called Pretend Bite. I probably don’t need to elaborate much from here, but let’s just say he has a tendency to get carried away and pit bulls envy the Rigger Man’s jaw muscles.
All children have energy to burn. Boys just seem to funnel theirs down a more destructive path. Even when they get hurt, they’re back at it again after 30 seconds of kisses, usually repeating the same task in the same fashion and expecting not to get hurt this time around.
Penny loves to play ball in the back yard, taking great care not to hit/kick the ball to far. Rigby tees off like a field goal kicker, then can never fathom (even after the 12th time) why we can’t retrieve the ball over the fence.
Penny squeezes me as hard as she can when I pick her up, enough so that she can keep herself up when I let go. Rigby squeezes, looks at me, bears his teeth, growls and then head butts me just enough times to revive my post-concussion symptoms.
Penny carefully dribbles the ball in their soccer games, trying so hard to not kick other kids that she sometimes passes up goals. Rigby also passes up goals, but he does so when his zeal compels him to blocks his judgment and he kicks away a ball a teammate is about to strike into the opposing net. He will then chase the ball well out of bounds and feverishly celebrate when he kicks it some random direction.
Penny wakes me up with a hug and a kiss, climbing next to me on the bed in the process. Rigby prefers to practice his WWE moves, standing at my feet and dropping — stiff as a board — straight forward, delivering the mother of all head butts.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, that’s just how little boys are. And that, I now realize, is the real reason my parents had so many Band-Aids in the medicine cabinet.
A quick follow-up to our last story about Penny outgrowing her need for me at Martin’s Fantasy Island.
Rigby has grown just enough this summer to get him onto most of the adult rides there now, too. He was intimidated but excited to ride the Full Tilt, which rotates around in a circle and tilts riders so they face the ground.
As the ride started, he insisted on holding my hand. Four rotations in, he was throwing my hand away and declaring, “This is super fun!” He then protested just about any other attempt by me to ride a ride with him, preferring his big sister’s company instead.
So if you’d like to keep me company some time, I’ll be the guy sitting on a bench in the middle of the fun park holding cowboy and Hello Kitty hats.
Contact Paul Lane