It’s Friday night, the sultriest of the year so far. The rain can’t make up its mind, and the air feels close and torpid. An appropriate feel for the onset of Memorial Day Weekend, when the summer season kicks off and the city becomes blessedly empty. The sticky weather is an ominous portent for the next three months: Summer is here, and Robert's school wraps up on Wednesday. Pray for us.
Luckily, the brothers like to spend hours on end tormenting each other. One of Robert's favorite hobbies is cutting TwoBert's feet out from under him while he "tweener toddles" around the room. TwoBert is eager to take a few steps on his own, but he still prefers to swing from his parents' clothing. This is a welcome change from the depilation, but since my shorts don't fit as well since the weight loss I spend lots of time with my pants at half-mast. (Or, for that matter, my mast at half-pants.)
The funny thing is that TwoBert's desire to stand is less motivated by walking than by the propulsion of objects. If he finds a ball near the couch, for example, he’ll pull himself up just so he can kick it a few feet. (The ball, not the couch.) In the park, he swats his little soccer ball and scuttles off after it. And this obsession doesn't stop at the spherical: Last week my wife watched him conjure a game of floor hockey with a toy hammer and a baby carrot. If he can hit a curve ball, I’ll be on Easy Street.
Speaking of which, Robert and I ripped a page out of the book of father/son bonding rites and went to our first baseball game together, at Yankee Stadium. As a Red Sox fan, I was ambivalent about taking the boy into the belly of the Evil Empire--especially since it was Cap Day, and every kid got a lid with the Yankee "NY" on the front and another odious corporate logo on the back. The idea of him wearing the thing gave me pause, but the alternative was a wicked sunburn and a gateway to skin cancer. I weighed the options measuredly--Yankee cap, or melanoma?--before I came to my senses.
We sat in my favorite spot—upper deck, just inside the fair pole in left field. This is clearly the best vantage point, because it's the crow's nest--the best view of everything. You can see right away whether a fly ball is a homer or an out. Besides, observing baseball from afar fuels the grandeur of the game. When you're detached from the action, you see 18 men playing America's Pastime. Up close, all you see is a bunch of millionaires dribbling tobacco and adjusting their goolies.
Robert built up his excitement all week, and on the subway ride he worked himself into a full-bore fervor ... which evaporated after about 15 minutes in the stands. He had a hard time understanding why the green dots wanted to score a run, and why the white dots wanted to stop them. He was hot, he was thirsty, he had to pee. I spent about $400 on lunch for two, and that bought me almost five innings until Robert had finally had enough. We were home in time for the last out.
They say that one of the true joys of parenthood is rediscovering life through the uncomplicated eyes of a child. And that’s mostly true, although parents should be advised that the bat swings both ways: The mundane can seem utterly new and wonderful, but it can also be magnified into unbearable tedium. I suppose that can be a good thing; I gave his cap to Goodwill, and so far he hasn't missed it.