Saturday, February 7, 2009

'Evil Crasher' makes its debut

Can children scheme to inflict pain on their parents, and make sure they get away with it?

Such dark musings are in the wind after Sonny came up with what Pa is calling the 'Evil Crasher' game earlier today. The little fella first waits until a parent is lying on the floor. Then he'll toddle along and, using the unsuspecting adult as a support, lever himself into a standing position. Releasing his arms, he rears up dramatically, then collapses onto his victim's stomach/ groin/other sensitive part of the anatomy. The exercise is then repeated.

Naturally, there's a built-in justification for this cruel game: The little fella is "learning to stand upright and walk". The adult would feel rather guilty about disrupting this essential process - and ends up gritting his teeth and absorbing the punishing blows. However, it's just as likely, or so Pa suspects, that the little fella - unhappy at the slow delivery of food, or lack of slavish attention or some such imagined slight - is simply getting a bit of his own back.

'Evil Crasher' actually features a further embedded excuse: It can pass for a "bonding experience" between parent and child. This, in fact, had been Mum's initial reaction ("How's the bonding going?", she had blithely asked Pa as his body was slammed again and again). After all, the little fella is smiling beatifically throughout and exhibits utter absorption in the activity, in which the parent is an integral part. And how heavy can a not-quite-10 month-old be anyway, an unsympathetic observer might respond to Pa's whimpers? (To which the answer, apparently, is "pretty darn heavy").

Anyway, Sonny spent no more than 10 minutes perfecting his technique with Evil Crasher. Enough for the first day, he probably figured. He had quickly worked out how to stand as upright as possible, so there would be maximal distance between himself and the target (Pa) and so maximal acceleration. He also learned how to vary his arm position at point of impact, presumably to keep Pa guessing and to hammer at different pain points each time. All of which dredges up yet further excuses for his wicked conduct: He is simply "learning to assess and improve his control of his body", his lawyer might be able to say, a well as "getting a good work-out". With so many babies overweight these days, who would deny Sonny his chance to sweat away some calories playing bouncy-bounce?

He can even learn his numbers the next day, with a round of "Count the bruises" with Pa. How charming!