Last week, I had to leave work early a couple of times and even take a day off. My wife has been unwell, and seeing as how caring for our two kids would drive a perfectly healthy person into the realm of madness, it’s been a bit too much for her while sick, so naturally I’ve had to miss some time to help out. Truth be told, I wasn’t too pleased about this. Understand something: I fucking hate my job; it’s tedious, boring and perfunctory, except on those occasions when it’s hectic, stressful and perfunctory. I suppose in many ways, you get what you put in, but I have no passion for it. It pays the bills, so I swap my time, and some labor for cash. Yes, I’m a whore. And yet, I wanted nothing more than to stay there until quitting time today. Because my house is fucking nuts.
Today, my wife and I have been working on a system of segregation, which has worked reasonably well: she’s been upstairs, napping with the baby in a mellow Lennon-Ono style love-in, whilst downstairs I have gradually been losing the will to live trying to keep my son happy. And by happy, I mean not yelling and screaming and hopping up and down making the floorboards shake (his latest trick). The changeovers have been the worst; he’s up with her now, trying to sleep, while she’s currently vegging on my lap, in that glorious, post-bottle stoner haze. Unfortunately, for the child trade to take place, they had to be in the same room as one another for two minutes. And so my wife and I were treated to a fucking world-class mini person scream-off. Two tiny kids screaming in some kind of perverted, fucked-up harmony, perfectly keyed to drive my wife and I out of our minds. Dante, if you’re reading this from somewhere beyond the grave… there was a tenth fucking circle.
Anyway, most of the day was spent hanging out with the little dude, watching DVDs. And if you don’t have kids, you probably just read through that line like it was nothing… right? But if you do have kids, you’ll know the pain involved in sitting down to watch a movie with your child. My favorite movies range from comedy, to action, to drama. Films such as Star Wars; E.T.; The Shawshank Redemption; Planes, Trains & Automobiles; Goodfellas. The list is not perfect, but there are two notable things about it: 1, the target market of these movies is above the age of six; 2, I’ve only seen these movies a few times each (I’ve seen Star Wars maybe 5 times). My son’s favorite movies, however, include the groundbreaking “Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”, the award winning “Smurfs”, and the timeless classic “Stuart Little 2”. And guess what? I’ve seen each of these movies, and more – many, many more – about five hundred-fucking-thousand times each.
Watching movies with your kid is a strange sort of torture. At first, you’re not even aware of it: you sit down with your little boy or girl and watch Shrek, or Wallace and Gromit, or one of the many wonderful Pixar movies, and you enjoy it. “This is awesome,” you think, “I don’t see what’s wrong with this.” And you laugh at the jokes aimed at adults, and you even laugh at some of the ones aimed at kids, and your child curls into your lap, and you both laugh together… and all of these things only lend to the nightmarish qualities of the eventual horror in store for you.
So the movie ends, and you wonder what you’ll do next. You could do painting, go to the park, maybe read a story… then a little voice pipes up: “Pwess pway, daddy.” Hmm! Not too sure you’re in the mood to watch it again, you acquiesce as your child’s impatience steadily grows. So you watch it again, and this time you might smile knowingly at the adult jokes, maybe laugh at one you missed on the previous viewing, meanwhile your child cackles manically at the jokes aimed at kids, he or she curls up into your lap, but you nudge them away so you can play with your phone. And then the video ends. “Pwess pway,” your crazy little spawn demands again. What? No! Not again, let’s watch another one… anythi– “PWESS PWAY!!!” Ok, ok. And gradually your descent into madness begins its inexorable crawl “Do it to Mommy!” you scream, “Do it to Mommy.” While the monster you bore laughs on.
Try it. Put your favorite movie on and watch it two or three times, day after day, after day. If you can handle that shit, you are stronger than me. If it doesn’t forever destroy that movie for you, you are inhuman. Fucking Soviet Russia could’ve learned a thing from this. The Nazi’s, the Japanese, you name it. Unit 731? Dr. Mengele? They have nothing on my three year-old and his DVD collection.
My wife and I are up to speed with all the DVD release dates, just to inject something fresh into the mix, to allow our minds 80 minutes of relief. We obsess over them “Oh My God, look – Wreck-It-Ralph is out next week, honey.” And a round of high fives ensues. As an act of rebellion, I’ve started quoting long stretches of dialogue from the movies. For some reason, my son abhors this. He begs me to stop. But I don’t. It’s all I have left.
Of course, now my daughter is just a few months old, so roughly when my son grows out of this current batch of kids’ movies, she’ll be there ready to take his place, forcing me to sit through them all over again. I think I’m going to need a hobby, or a drug habit, or something to get through this. Anyway, I gotta go… my son is asking (demanding) to watch “The Smurfs” for the eight billionth time.