This evening Gideon was wandering around the house carrying his pants under his arm. He posed with them and smiled coyly, twirling on pudgy legs in the center of the room where I was working on a report in a nearby chair. He toddled back and forth, from one wall to the other, periodically glancing to see if I was watching this strange fashion show. A curly headed lunatic in a striped onesie having converted his pants into a stylish purse, which can now double as a scarf, and is now some sort of jump rope. I smiled painfully and nodded, unsure if this was an activity I really wanted to encourage. I tried to return to the report I was writing.
But I was distracted again as I noticed him hesitate mid spin. He had noticed something on the far side of the room. He looked back and forth between it and the pants he was now holding in a small wad under his arm. His strange little brain developed a strange little plan.
He carried his pants quietly across the room to the couch, where he very gently laid them out flat across one of the cushions. It took several attempts before he was satisfied that they were perfectly flat. He rolled his small round fingers along the straight legs of the pants, leveling out all of the wrinkles and creases.
Finally, he turned and trundled deliberately across the room to a small stack of tools that we had used the day before. I gave up on my report, folded my hands, and waited for his plan to take shape. After some significant effort, he came padding back to the couch holding a large hammer. He looked down at the pants for a few seconds, as if making some final calculations and measurements in his mind, then he lifted the hammer high about his head and began pounding on his tiny pair of innocent pants.
It was such a bizarre spectacle that I hardly had time to process what was going on. “Gideon!” I called, setting my computer aside. “Gideon, stop! Stop! What are you doing?” It took several seconds to get his attention.
He froze and looked back at me. Hammer still poised above one shoulder. He looked from the pants, back at me, then to the hammer. I waited. Reluctantly he placed the hammer gently on the couch, picked up his pants and scurried out of the room.
I watch him go. He disappeared around the corner. He bumped up the stairs. That was the last I saw of him for the evening.
I admit. I have a lot to learn about children. I can already feel my tolerance for the next wave of youth culture being stretched and challenged. I find myself wrinkling my nose at their music, and I am completely baffled by the shows they want to watch, and the clothes they want to wear. I will eventually find my way in this jungle of Fatherhood. But, I refuse to stand by and watch as my son reinvents Hammer Pants.