Proper Dadding requires a vast portfolio of highly specialized skills. Most of these manifest during the wife’s pregnancy as a symbiotic survival instinct, while others live within us our entire life, only growing in power when needed. Some spontaneously manifest during moments of duress, while others are only mastered after years of training and refinement.
Farting is a unique blend of these, being a lifelong talent that becomes refined through both joyous and dire circumstances. It is simultaneously the highest and lowest form of humor, talent, and Dadness.
It was a touchy afternoon. Marie had already gone to lay down, citing unusual sleepiness and tension. Both kids were on the edge of tantrums following a week of slipping bedtimes. I was valiantly pushing through a lack of coffee following a late night freelance binge. It was a minefield as I tried to quietly entertain the children long enough for Marie to gather herself so I could tag out and go collapse into bed.
We were in the basement playing a pin-the-tail style game. Anthony had won five in a row, mostly because Brianne and I were more concerned with making faces at each other than lining up our finger with the board. I called for one last round before we moved on to another game, so Brianne decided it was time to get serious. She took a painfully long time to line herself up before slowly extending her hand and hitting the billion point bulls-eye. She had won, meaning Anthony had lost.
Anthony does not like losing, especially when lack of sleep compounds his toddlerness.
I could see the tantrum gathering, so I jumped in and threw down the usual fix-all; story time. I gathered some books and grabbed the kids, plopping us all onto the couch, racing the clock before the screaming started.
“No, you didn’t win! You cheated!”
“I didn’t cheat, and besides, you won like a hundred before that, you can’t win every time!”
“Yes I can! I win! You lose!”
“The Berenstain Bears, who lived in….”
“I won that last one, stop saying I lost!”
“Loser! You lost!”
“I am not, I won, you’re the loser!”
“The cubs were discussing what to do that afternoon…..”
“NO YOU DIDN’T”
They were getting loud. And annoying. More than normal. They were going to wake up Marie, which would push back my own escape. Drastic measures were called for, and luckily I had been feeling a hail mary bubbling in my gut.
Both kids’ jaws were wide open. All arguments about who won the pointing game were forgotten. The world had frozen in wonder. Fifteen seconds long, at least five distinct tonal changes, enough rumble to be felt on either end of the couch. It was thing of beauty. Just god damn marvelous.
All three of us stated giggling, then trying to recreate the sound with our mouths, then more giggling.
After a few minutes we calmed down, read some books, and enjoyed the rest of the evening.