I know—it’s official—I’m a hypocrite. I can live with that. It’s not like his taste buds know what they’re missing. And when they do, I’ll shove it down his throat anyway. Because it’s good for him. If one day he decides to hate me for that? That’s okay too.
Because sometimes being a father is hard. And if it’s not? You’re not doing it right.
I pour some Cheerios onto the tray and back up halfway across the room. “Hey, James, set it up.”
He opens his mouth wide and keeps it open. I hold a single Cheerio between my fingers while I bend my knees and bounce my hand as if I were dribbling a basketball. “Three seconds left on the clock, down by one, Evans gets the ball. He fakes left, he drives in, he shoots. . . .”
I toss the Cheerio in a high arc. It lands right in James’s mouth.
“He scores! The crowd goes wild!”
James holds both hands over his head. “Core!”
Then I give him a high five. See—told you. Cool, right? I shovel a spoonful of cereal in my mouth and get ready for another shot. Then Kate comes into the kitchen, texting on her phone.
All that worry about losing the baby weight? It was for nothing. Look at her—snug black yoga pants hug narrow hips, a navy Penn State T-shirt shows off her flat stomach and toned arms. Her hair’s pulled back into a ponytail, and a touch of shiny, strawberry-flavored lip gloss is her only makeup.
Kate still has that simple, low-maintenance kind of beauty. She doesn’t have to work at being hot—she just is. I maneuver next to James’s high chair and wait for Kate to look up.
Yes, it’s deliberate. Children have the power to suck the sex drive out of a relationship like a hungry black hole. So it’s important to stoke the flame—keep the coals burning hot. And something about seeing a shirtless guy with a baby turns every woman on.
Trust me—I’ve been accosted at the beach enough times to know. It’s like female frigging Viagra.
It’s different for guys. Not that a baby is a negative, necessarily—but seeing a chick with one doesn’t automatically make us want to bang her. Because deep, deep down all men are still little boys. We want all your attention on us. It’s just how it is.
I feel Kate’s eyes on me and I pop a piece of apple into James’s mouth. Then I stretch out my arms—flexing the muscles—giving her a good show. Oh, yeah—it’s working. She’s definitely wet. See how her head tilts and her eyes shine as she looks me up and down? How her lips part and she breathes just a little bit faster?
She’s remembering what we just finished doing—and thinking about when we’ll get to do it again.
Kate’s eyes shift to James. Her smile changes—no sexy, more sweet. “Hey, little man.”
She comes over and takes an apple slice for herself. “How are my two favorite guys doing?”
“So far, so good.” I nod toward the phone in her hand. “What’s up there?”
“I’m texting Billy’s manager Steven and Alexandra’s address. The one he was given is for a pawnshop in the middle of the Bronx. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”
My parents are watching all the grandchildren for the weekend. Since Steven and my sister’s two trumps our one, the whole gang’s meeting at their place and taking a car to the airport together.
I play innocent. “Who me? Nope—I know nothing.”
She doesn’t look as if she buys it. “He could’ve missed the car to the airport. Maybe the whole flight.”
“Yeah, that would’ve been a shame.”
“Be nice, Drew.”
“He’s coming, isn’t he? I think letting your ex-boyfriend tag along to my bachelor party is above and beyond the call of nice.”
Kate motions with her hands as she attempts to defend donkey dump. “You’re always complaining about how close I am with him, but maybe if you tried a little harder, he wouldn’t depend so much on me. And besides, Billy doesn’t have a lot of guy friends.”
“Which makes perfect sense. He’s a pu**y—and females tend to flock together.”
Kate rolls her eyes.
James decides to join the conversation. “Poosy.”
Oh, crap. That’s not good.
But still, I start to laugh. How can I not?
Kate frowns at me. “Great.”
Most kids speak their first word around the eleven-month mark. Because my son is a genius, his first word came at nine months. And it wasn’t Mama or Dada or anything typical like that.
James’s first word was shit. Kate was not pleased.
Between you and me, though, we got off easy. It could have been so much worse.
She turns to James and admonishes gently, “No, James.”
He shakes his head, trying to understand. “No poosy?”
I crack up harder. Now Kate is glaring. She puts her hands on her hips. “Yes—and that’s exactly what Daddy’s going to be getting if he doesn’t stop laughing right now.”
James’s eyes go wide and he tries to warn me. “No poosy, Daddy.”
Now I’m full-out laughing my ass off.
Kate throws her hands up in the air. “Well, that’s just perfect! Now he’s going to spend the next two days with your parents talking like a foulmouthed little hooligan. What’s your mother going to think?”
I sober slightly, still smiling, taking her hand in mine and holding it against my chest. “Considering she’s the woman who had to raise the first foulmouthed hooligan? I think she’ll have an enormous amount of sympathy for you.”
Kate grins. “Which is totally deserved. I swear, between the two of you, I don’t know how I keep my sanity.”
“It’s the sex. If raisins are nature’s candy, screwing is its antidepressant. It’s the best way to maintain good mental health.”
An orgasm a day keeps the psychiatrist away.
Kate crosses her arms doubtfully. “Sure it is. That sounds an awful lot like when I was pregnant and you told me women who performed o**l s*x more often were less likely to develop preeclampsia.”
I point my finger at her. “That was totally true! I read an article about it.”
How awesome is that? If I wasn’t sure before, after that I was certain—God is definitely a guy.
“In what magazine? Playboy?”
Feeling left out, James tries to get another laugh out of me. “Poosy!”