The THUMP happens at around 6:15. It sounds a bit like a 60-pound ham slamming into the bedroom door. Then a pair of bony elbows finds purchase in my solar plexus. My heart leaps into overdrive, and my startled, replete bladder threatens to vent itself.
"Dad! Did the Yankees win last night?"
"Erm. Yes. 3-1, I think." I know this because I was up way too late
playing Scrabulous writing, late enough to listen to the game finish on the West Coast.
"Who pitched?" This is an abnormal question, since he usually watches the beginning of games that start at 7pm. He knows who starts the game and uses this information to gauge is optimism.
"Wang pitched into the 8th. Mo got the save."
"Cool! What's Wang's ERA now?" I love this about our dynamic. He is still so enamored of my super dad powers that he is sure I can compute and summon baseball stats in my head. Which right now is still sorting out which way is up.
"I don't know. We could look it up, though." His mom and I have moved on to our separate laptops, so Robert has virtual free reign of the ancient, ponderous, tower PC on the desk. His two most commonly visited bookmarks are Bullpen Blast and the Yankees' stats. But the PC is all the way in the living room (and takes about six weeks to warm up), whereas my laptop is right there on the nightstand. A bit later we've summoned the box score. Wang's ERA is 4.30. And A-Rod got an RBI.
"Cool! A-Rod's OPS is almost 1!" This astonishes me. When I was his age I couldn't distinguish a box score from a box turtle. This kid already knows when a pitcher's WHIP is too high. "When I'm a pro baseball player, my OPS is gonna be, like, a million."
Another thump, about half the size of the first one. TwoBert bounds in, and I have to save the laptop from certain annihilation. TwoBert is fascinated by flat-screen technology--especially when you dig into it with your fingernail.
"Gmornin Daddy!" He throws his arms around me and kisses my nose, smearing my cheeks with butter and toast crumbs. Robert resolves to assert his dominance and steer the conversation back his way.
"Dad, A-Rod is totally going to have 100 RBIs this year."
"I have 100 RBIs in my BUTT!"
"Stop it, [TwoBert]! You have no idea what you're talking about! Daaaaad!"
I can go two ways with this. I decide to fan the flames. "You have RBIs in your butt? Where?"
"Here!" The three-year-old stands up on the bed, drops trou, and starting shimmying.
Robert is distressed to see TwoBert bring such discredit to America's Game. "There are no RBIs in your butt!"
"Yes there are!" TwoBert has learned not to be swayed easily. Robert relents and starts laughing.
"No there AREN'T!"
"Yes there are!"
"ARE NOT! See?" Robert starts Butt Shimmying, thinking that the best way to win the argument is to outdance his brother. Neither backs down, so they have at each other and collapse in a scrum on my now-very-alarmed bladder. I am now awake enough to separate them.
This is the best alarm clock a father could have. One that the last year and a half has taught me not to take for granted.