It was right around April Fool’s Day when Buster walked into the room with one hand hiked up into his shirt sleeve. Holding out that arm, he practiced his most scared face and yelled in mock terror as he stared at the empty space at the end of his sleeve. He couldn’t stop giggles from filling the places between his terrified screams, because he was convinced the whole prank was hilarious.
It was hilarious, and a huge parent-fail that I didn’t get it on video.
It was his first joke as a two-year-old.
I bet Buster learned this joke at his birthday party. It was pirate-themed, and one of the props was a plastic hook that covered up the wearer’s hand. Likely, an older kid pretended to lose a hand in one of their many sword fights. Hooks may be comical, but empty space is funnier. That’s what Buster took away from it.
Buster always throws a good birthday bash – both times. I think this is because toddlers don’t have lots of expectations to get in the way of having fun with whatever direction the party takes. They don’t care who shows up as long as there are a few kids ready to play. They don’t stress over the menu, and they aren’t expecting presents, so anything they get is gravy. They don’t even care if somebody else blows out the candle on their cupcake, just as long as they get to eat the frosting and leave the cake part for Daddy.
All Buster really cared about at his party was having a house full of kids that he could chase around with a foam pirate sword. They didn’t have to be his own age either. The bigger the kids, the bigger the targets.
Buster likes playing with older kids. You don’t have to be careful with them. You can hit them as hard as you want. If they start crying because they got beat up by a two-year-old – well, let’s just say they should learn to not do that. It doesn’t paint them in the best light. And nobody’s going to yell at you for making a big kid cry. They might pretend to scold you, but they’re only doing it to mollify a big baby, or modern society, or somebody else not to be taken seriously. They don’t mean it.
But if a big kid hits you too hard, just turn on the water works and that kid’s done for the day. They should know better, but after you whacked them good a few times, they must have forgot. Big kids are funny that way.
When he slept two hours late the next morning, we knew Buster had a good time at his party. He must have had one-too-many Kool-Aids.
Three days later, the pizza and cupcakes were gone, the decorations put away, everything back to usual. Except that Buster was still making pirate-themed jokes. Now that was one heck of a party.