Hey Dad, want a Hertz Donut?

taffy-pull.jpgAm I the only father out there who is intimidated by a 9 month old baby? Not in the “Am I being a good father and am I doing all the right things to ensure my child will grow up happy, healthy and well-adjusted?” sense but rather in the “I’m afraid to pick up my son because he’s going to treat my neck skin like a Taffy Pulling contest” sense. At first I thought that it was just that Adam was learning to communicate with us through touch, facial expressions and his voice, but after repeated contusions, lacerations, bite marks and two for flinching I’ve come to realize that I am being bullied by my son.

How could this happen to me? Here’s the Tale of the Tape: I’m a formidable 6’0” while Adam can still stand under the dining room table without hitting his head. I tip the scales at 190 lbs and compete in the Cruiserweight division while at 21 lbs Adam barely falls into the Butterball Oven-Roasted Division. My 74 inch reach supports a devastating jab-uppercut combination yet while during a rendition of the YMCA at a recent wedding Adam had to conveniently “get some air” rather than embarrass himself by spelling out Y-M-C-Y with his stubby arms. Why is it then that the sight of him Terminator crawling towards me across the living room floor yelling like Howard Dean at a Democratic Caucus makes me break out in a cold sweat?

In my defense, it should be noted that Adam was born with a rare affliction where instead of finger nails he has Gillette Quatros while the clamping torque of his hands has been measured at 5000 psi or equal to the pressure of a junkyard car crusher. Even early on when I was holding him, when he wasn’t squeezing my larynx in his kung fu grip or shredding my eyelids, he would beat me repeatedly with a right arm that moved like a subway turnstile during the morning commute. Blow after blow after blow until my collar bone snapped and or I switched arms and let him pummel the other half of my body that I hadn’t lost all feeling in.

Now if the physical abuse wasn’t bad enough, Adam’s verbal abuse is a constant reminder of what he’s capable of if I tell anyone where my bruises actually came from or if I don’t do his math homework for him. Fists clenched, jaws set, veins popping from his neck and forehead he berates me with a succession of guttural yells that rival the audio from the Keg Toss portion of a Strong Man Competition.

Daddy: (Lifting Adam from his crib) How’s Daddy’s big boy doing this morning?
Adam: (kneading my upper lip like pizza dough with both hands) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Daddy (Fumbling for pepper spray) OW …OK …let go of Daddy’s face.
Adam (Convinced I’m wearing a mask and determined to prove it) AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Daddy (getting dizzy from blood loss) Kathleen …can you… help me… with Adam?
Adam (Giving me a Nikita Khruschev shoe beating) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I am the Millhouse Van Houten to my son’s Nelson Muntz. I’ve tried to talk to Kathleen about it but she just says things like, “He’s just a baby. Why would he try to hurt you?”, “He’s just discovering his voice.” and “Adam, stop giving your father swirlies.”

On the surface Adam appears to be an average Zwieback sucking, peach puff inhaling, breast milk guzzling, onesie sporting, belly laughing baby, but you don’t know him like I know him. Am I alone in this paternal victimization? Are there any support groups out there for BFS (Battered Father Syndrome)? Will ice help reduce the swelling from a purple nurple?

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