Somewhere around a child’s first birthday they become the Death Star. After a year of accelerated research and development they discover the ability to move about their galaxy freely and have mastery over the art of destroying every object they can reach, using a combination of teeth and fists and savage force of will. If you turn your back on them for even ten seconds they will use that time to wander to the outskirts of their known universe where they will promptly obliterate your home planet with callous indifference. They will do this just to prove a point concerning fear and control. By the time you are done brushing your teeth or arranging your hair, you have nothing but a trail of smoldering ashes marking their passage through space, and they are at the other end of it happily chewing the head off your vintage Han Solo action figure.

To defend my family against this dark and sudden tyranny I invented a baby containment system. I am on child number three and it has worked beautifully with the first two. The way it works is to take a long object, like a wooden spoon for instance, and insert it down the back of the child’s shirt. This sets off the child’s proximity sensors since something is rubbing against the back of their head. They will maneuver in circles for a few minutes trying to see what it is, and then when they give up on that idea, they will spend the next few minutes flailing with their pudgy little arms over their head, grabbing at the object which they will be unable to reach. This will give you several minutes of uninterrupted freedom to take care of other things. Eventually the child will agree that it is no longer in control and will come to you for assistance. You have now painlessly reestablished dominance over the evil empire.

So, the other day my 10 month old was tearing apart my bottom dresser drawer, aimlessly examining my valuables for half a second and then tossing them over his shoulder like some kind of Jawa searching for a new power converter, his diapered Jawa bottom sticking straight up in the air. I realized he was ready to be placed in baby containment for a few minutes while I went in the closet and got dressed for the day. I glanced around the room looking for a suitable item to put down the back of his shirt. By chance, his older sisters had left their toy light saber laying on my bed side table. This diminutive saber with its fat clear plastic shaft and heavy weighted handle was the perfect shape and size for the job. So, I sat myself on the floor next to my little man and wrestled his attention away from the drawer. I placed the sword down his back, pressed it firmly in place, and waited.

He looked confused at first, his eyebrows furrowed and he glanced down at the floor as if deep in thought or meditation. He tilted his head back and shook it once or twice to feel the object rub against the back of his head.

“Good… Good…” I smiled at him. “It’s down the back of your shirt.” I pointed. “You can’t reach it.” I leaned closer. “You have lost.”

He looked back up at me, staring deep into my eyes and hesitated for a moment, just a single slow motion breath of a moment, before he suddenly reached over his shoulder with his right hand, extended it down the back of his onesie and instantly returned holding the lightsaber in his clenched fist. Somewhere in the process he even managed to squeeze the large red button on the side which made the weapon light up with a “Psschiiiwrrrnnnnnnnn!”. The humming red blade glowed dimly across half of his intense face. Seeing the object for the first time he giggled madly and began shaking it in my direction. “Noooo!” I yelled in shock, as I was forced to roll backward to escape being hit in the nose. It took an embarrassing amount of time to pry the ancient Jedi weapon free from his cackling fists.

Panting, I turned it off and tossed into the corner of the room. He looked at it, then back at me, and then promptly returned to taking apart my dresser.

The force is strong with this one. I feel a shift in the balance of power might be approaching. Already I have seen it in the hallways of the citadel. Silent communication via hand gestures between children. Encrypted notes passed in secret covered in nonsense and abstract stick figures. Items delivered under the table during dinner, conveniently eaten by the dog before they can be retrieved. There is a new rebellion coming over the horizon like a storm, and I fear my wife and I are powerless to stop it.