Stunted Adults

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Bad Idea Batman

Now that I’m squarely in my 30s, I am a regular on the toddler birthday party circuit.  Rarely a weekend goes by that I do not find myself face-to-face with a mob of sugar-fueled munchkins.

When I was in my 20s, I could immediately spot the person at the bar who could provide whatever was needed should someone need to increase the fun level of their night.  Now, I can immediately spot the parent at the party who can provide whatever is needed should someone need to increase the fun level of their juice box.  I can also identify the source and deliciousness of a chicken nugget based on sight alone.

These are my new life skills.

On Sunday, I went to one of these birthday parties at my close friends and neighbors’ house for their four-year-old son, who holds a very special place in my heart for many reasons, including because he was the cause of the great nun-cident of 2009.

As Country Boy and I were about to leave the house to walk to the party, our friend called and asked if we could bring over the ladder that we had borrowed from him years ago because he “needed to put Batman on the roof.”

We assumed that our friend was referring to a Batman cardboard cut-out that he wanted to put up on the roof to greet the kids since the birthday boy loves Batman.  We thought that was a very cute idea, albeit a smidge dangerous that someone was going to climb up on the roof.

We had assumed wrong.

Shortly after we arrived, a man started gathering all of the kids in the backyard.  I figured this was just some parent who wanted to lay down the rules of the sandbox because his precious little wonder had a shovel swiped out of her hand.

But then this guy started whipping the toddlers into a frenzy.  Their hands were in the air.  They were screaming.  They were AMPED UP.

This guy wasn’t a parent.  He was a hype man.

Just as I wondered aloud “Why the EFF is there a hype man at a kiddie birthday party?!” this happened:

Batman Roof

Not a cardboard cut-out.

That was Batman, he rolled with a hype man, and he was on the damn roof.

I thought it was kind of questionable that a grown man in tights and a speedo was standing on a roof, but I figured that he would be safe if he stood still and just waved to the adoring kids below him.  And, it was an amazing surprise that all of the kids absolutely loved.

But, Batman didn’t stand still.

Batman decided to dismount the roof.  And, instead of using that nice, safe ladder that we had provided, he was going to jump down.

While I don’t know much about kids, I know a lot about bad ideas.

And this was a bad idea, Batman.

After some obvious hesitation, Batman hung himself off the ledge, dangled for a minute in a decidedly unsuperhero-like position, and then dropped to the ground.  Everyone at the party over the age of 4 held their breath while waiting for the telltale yelp and crunch of a broken ankle.

Because that is the look you want on your audience's face when you make your grand entrance.

Because that is the look you want on your audience’s faces when you make your grand entrance.

Batman, however, shook off the rough landing and began working the crowd.  He was a professional, after all.

Shake it off, man, shake it off.

Shake it off, man, shake it off.  And, yes, that is the hype man in the background working it for his boy B.

I assumed that the period for bad ideas had passed, that Batman would greet the kids, that Batman would lead everyone in singing happy birthday, and that Batman would then be on his way.

I had assumed wrong.

Batman decided, after that roof debacle, that he should do more stunts.  Specifically, he decided to do a flip over the head of the adorable birthday boy in a small backyard filled with toys and unpredictable children. Batman commanded the newly four-year-old to “not move” and then he ran at him full speed and  jumped.

Bad idea, Batman.

Someone really needs to introduce Batman to the concept of Safety First.

Someone really needs to introduce Batman to the concept of Safety First.

And this was not just a bad idea, this was a very bad idea, because Batman could not actually stick the landing on a flip.  Instead, we were treated to many minutes of watching a grown man in tights repeatedly run, jump up in the air, flip over a small child, and then crash-land into a garden shed, a hedge, and a fence.

When it comes to awkward crash landings, Batman is tops.

Batman is no Keri Strug.

I assumed that, once he finished his series of unstuck landings, Batman would have met his bad idea quota for the day.

I had assumed wrong.

Not satisfied with risking death or serious injury to one child, Batman decided to make a bad idea worse.  He invited a gaggle of unpredictable toddlers to sit still in a straight line on the ground.  He was befuddled when the kids didn’t really grasp the concepts of sitting, a straight line, or stillness.

But, yet, this still happened.

But, yet, this still happened.

As is obvious from the final picture, this jump ended with a horrific head-first crash landing.

I assumed that, once Batman somehow managed to jump over the small children without killing any of them and only lightly concussing himself, he would get going while the going was good.

I had assumed wrong.

Next up, our questionable superhero had his hype man take out a rope, stretch it across the yard, and place approximately 10 rubber playground balls that were inflated to maximum capacity along the rope.  He then divided the kids into two teams and said the word every parent dreads: dodgeball.



Who would ever knowingly arm a sugar-fueled toddler mob with actual weapons?!  And command them to use said weapons?!  On each other?!

Bad idea, Batman.


Did you learn nothing from Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn? Dodgeball is for serious athletes only.

After three separate kids devolved into tears, the balls were put away and Batman grabbed the rope.

I assumed that, finally, he was going to call it a day.

As always, I had assumed wrong.

Instead, Batman decided to play tug of war with the toddlers.

Bad idea, Batman.

This activity required getting all of the kids to all stand on the same side of the rope and understand the concept of pulling.

Tug of War

They didn’t get it.

Once the tears of the fallen and dragged kids were wiped away, I assumed that this really had to be the end.  How could this possibly get any worse?

I had assumed wrong, and it got worse.

Batman and his not-so-trusty sidekick brought out giant hard plastic swords.

More weapons?!

Had we learned nothing from dodgeball?  Four year olds are unpredictable and subject to intense mood swings.  Who would ever give a weapon to an unpredictable and unstable person?  This would be like arming a herd of feral bipolar puppies.  There’s a reason why we don’t do that.

Bad idea, Batman.

Someone was definitely going to poke an eye out.

Someone was definitely going to poke an eye out.

And, as we have come to expect, Batman turned this bad idea into a horrible idea.

The whole point of having Batman at the party was that he was the birthday boy’s hero.  The birthday boy thought that Batman would protect him from the bad guys and save the day.  But, during the ill-advised swordplay, Batman let each and every child, even the birthday boy’s incredibly sweet two-year-old brother, handily defeat him.

Way to crush the dreams of every child at the party Batman.

Killing Batman

Not exactly the guy you want to rely on to save the day.

Finally, after all of that, Batman took his leave.  He waved goodbye to the kids, handed out his business card to all of the adults in the yard, awkwardly hopped over the fence, and ran towards the front of the house.

I assumed we were done with Bad Idea Batman once and for all.

I had assumed wrong.

Instead, Bad Idea Batman climbed back up onto the roof for his grand finale.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  Just stop while you are really, really behind Bad Idea Batman.  Please.

After waving goodbye to the enthralled kids one last time, he took off running towards the front of the roof.  No one saw him jump, but, also, no one saw him climb back down the ladder on the side of the house.

There is at least a 60 percent chance that Bad Idea Batman has taken up permanent residence on my friends’ roof.

Because I look out for my friends, I decided to use the information on the business card to figure out who the superhero squatting on their roof really was.

Turns out, when he’s not Bad Idea Batman, this dude is attempting to make a living as a parkour instructor.

Bad idea, Batman.

But, it does explain everything.



The Bachelorette and the Bidet — A Modern Fable of Friendship

Once upon a time [last weekend], eleven women in their 30s and 40s, many of them mothers and all of them professionals [my friends], gathered in an idyllic beach house [my aunt’s] to celebrate the impending marriage of one of their own.

Because the beach house belongs to one of my relatives, I was the de facto organizer of the weekend.  Given our ages and stations in life, I figured that it would be a fun albeit relaxed weekend full of spa treatments, nice dinners, maybe some light dance partying, and perhaps a smidge too much champagne. It would be nothing like the raucous and out of control girls weekends that we shared while we were in our 20s.

There would be no strip beer pong after a night of fancy wine tasting.

We were classy adult ladies now.

Lady Grantham would approve.

Lady Grantham would approve.

I had no concerns whatsoever about hosting this crew at my aunt’s amazing and pristine vacation home or taking them out to my favorite spots.

And, for the first 36 hours, we kept everything classy or at least classy lite.  On Friday, we relaxed on the beach, we went for a dip in the pool, we drank fine wines and champagne, we cooked a nice dinner together, we had a dance party that favored Michael Jackson and Madonna, we told funny stories, and we all put ourselves to bed at a reasonable hour.  On Saturday, some of us went for a run, we had a little breakfast wine, and then we spent the day at a luxurious spa where we didn’t get kicked out or reprimanded, even when we mistook the fountain for a dipping pool and hopped in to cool off.  We were so smooth and elegant that the spa employees just assumed that they had been the mistaken ones and that their belief that the water feature was a fountain was wrong.

But then the lipstick started to come off the pig.

By the time we got into the cabs to go to dinner on Saturday night, everything got a little hazy.  I think that the restaurant appreciated our fun-loving and effervescent spirit since they sent over multiple rounds of complimentary shots, but we also sent several nearby diners fleeing the joint with horrified looks on their faces.  From there, we stumbled into more drinks, and dancing, and then more drinks, and then more dancing.

The good old days were starting to come back.

Long past all of our bedtimes, we stumbled back to the beach house with everyone miraculously accounted for.  After some late night binge eating, we crawled into our beds and passed out.  My last thought as I drifted off to sleep was that I was really proud of us for all making it home without anyone getting lost, losing her purse, getting into a fight,  crying, or vomiting.  That never would have happened in our 20s.  We had done good.

If we weren’t classy, we were at least classy-adjacent.

I woke up on Sunday morning to the smell of coffee and the happy chatter of my friends in the kitchen.

I swelled with pride thinking about what lovely and responsible people we had grown into.

I was a little bleary eyed, but managed to stumble out of bed and into the master bathroom to brush my teeth before joining the others.

When I went into the bathroom, it smelled a little rough.  I thought to myself “DAMN!  Someone dropped a bomb in here!”  I opened the window and grabbed my toothbrush.  As I was brushing my teeth, I woke up a little and then something caught my eye in the mirror.

I dropped my toothbrush in the sink.

My eyes grew wide.

I was afraid to turn around.

Oh Alan, I totally feel you brother.

Oh Alan, I totally feel you brother.

I took a deep breath.

I closed my eyes.

I counted to five.

I turned around.

I saw what I thought I had seen.



Who let Melissa McCarthy in last night?

I just couldn’t.

I walked out of the bathroom and out into the hallway in a daze.

I took back every thought I had about us being classy.  We were not even klassy.  We were feral animals.

I ran into some of my friends in the hallway.  I was speechless as they asked me if I was okay.

They assumed that I was hungover and started making offerings of Excedrin and water.

That was NOT my problem.

Finally, I managed to mutter: “Make it go away.”

They still thought I was talking about a headache and pressed the Excedrin.

I pulled my words together and said ” Just go in there and look in the bidet and MAKE. IT. GO. AWAY.”  And, with that, I just keep on walking down the hallway and right out of the house in my pajamas.

PinotNinja Out.

Although no one knew who committed the bidet blunder, my friends all pulled together in my time of need.  No one said “it wasn’t me” and walked away.  No one seriously accused anyone else of being the secret shitter.  No one feigned illness to get out of helping.  Instead, while I was outside having a mini-meltdown over the fact that someone had defiled the bidet of my aunt’s fancy home, they worked together to immediately remove the offending item and bleach and scrub the bathroom within an inch of its life.  That bidet had never been more sparkling.

If that’s not classy, then I don’t know what is.

You know what those little embroidered pillows should say?  A true friend is someone who will clean the shit out of your aunt’s bidet even if she doesn’t remember if it’s her shit.

That’s definitely what Dionne, Whitney, Stevie, and Luther were singing about.


Cheese, Glorious Cheese

Something strange happened to me after I turned 30.

I suddenly started to REALLY like cheese.


Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t opposed to the stuff before.  I ate it on my burgers and my pizza.  Sometimes I would have it with a cracker.

It was really nice and was always there for me when I needed a snack, but I never really paid it much attention.

And, then, all of a sudden, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Cheese is really awesome.

Cheese is perhaps the most delicious thing out there.

Everything is better when cheese is there.

Simply put, cheese is the Chandler Bing to my tastebuds’ Monica Gellar.

How had I not noticed it before?  What is wrong with me?  Why did it take me so long?  How could I take something so fantastic for granted?  Was I too immature to get cheese before?

But, now that I have realized the power of cheese, I let nothing stand in my way.

I have gotten into a near-wrestling match with someone at the cheese counter in the market over the last piece of a 6-year-old Mahon.  I have given people death stares at parties when they get between me and the baked brie.  And, if given the choice between going out to the club or sitting at home on my couch and enjoying a fabulous plate of french cheese, I would pick the cheese plate.  Every damn time.

A lot of good things have happened to me since turning 30, but I think discovering my love for fancy cheese might be one of the best things.

We will definitely live happily ever after together.

cheese 2

This will never get old.