But nevertheless, when I came up from the basement to change my little girl’s diaper, the little guy was happy and excited to see me, and that was a sweet feeling. I do try to enjoy these fleeting moments wherein my children actively want to be around me. I know the overwhelming urges for cut-loose independence are generally associated with adolescence, which means I should still have years to revel in the adoration of my own progeny, but then again my progeny have often been on accelerated schedules as far as cognitive development goes, so for all I know the little guy will have perfected the disaffected aloofness of a teenager right around his seventh birthday.
In any case, even though all I was doing was changing a diaper (and a doozy of one, at that) the little guy wanted nothing more than to be within arm’s reach of me for a few minutes, and of course I was not going to deny him that. In fact I took advantage of his relative pliability under the circumstances to go ahead and zip him into his pajamas, which were in his sister’s diaper bag, as soon as I finished changing her. The plan all along had been to get the kids ready for bed at Clutch’s house, since we’d be staying past their bedtimes, and let them fall asleep in the car on the way home. And the plan worked, for which I was entirely grateful.
The only tiny glitch came in the form of the Super Bowl itself, which was playing inches away from the three of us as day clothes were being exchanged for footed sleepwear. Not so much the game as the commercials (which rightly or wrongly are intrinsic to the Super Bowl experience), which is a subject I have touched on before. What happened was, while I was getting the little girl ready to eventually end up in her crib, a commercial started playing with a close up of a jet airliner in flight. The little guy lit right up as he yelled “Airplane!” and stepped even closer to the tv screen. He still loves vehicles and machines of all kinds, and the jet did in fact look very powerful and cool. Cut to the interior of the plane, with a horrible gaping hole in the fuselage and people scrambling and struggling not to get sucked out into the slipstream. And then people flying out the hole and tumbling to certain death? My stomach sank and it was all I could do to hope against improbable hope that somehow the commercial would reverse the awfulness of its first few seconds …
… and then OH THANK YOU JEEBUS IT’S A TRAILER FOR IRON MAN 3.
And I wasted absolutely no time pointing this out to the little guy: “Look! It’s Iron Man! He’s coming to save all the people!” Granted, Iron Man only has enough time to save two or three of the plummeting innocents before the tv spot runs out of time, but at least the idea of order had been restored. And it was the little guy who expressed to me what the takeaway should be: “Yeah, Iron Man can save anybody!” I was thankful that the little guy happens to be very familiar with who Iron Man is, because I bought him some Iron Man toys at a ridiculously young age (his first Christmas, when he was not yet four months old) more for my wife’s amusement than his, because she and I had gone to see Iron Man in the theater when she was pregnant with the little guy and the Dolby surround-sound explosions and whatnot had elicited quite the kicky response from our in utero viewing companion. So the constant presence of the character, not to mention his status as part man and part machine, has bred a certain affection in the little guy’s heart, and he knows Iron Man is one of the good guys and there’s nothing terribly scary about an Iron Man commercial. So, once again, trauma (barely) averted! One of these days (years and years hence) he and I are going to sit down and watch the original movie. By then, he’ll probably think that its 2008 special effects are quaint.