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Fatherly Lessons

by Mark Phillips    --show me more like this


toothless boy and girl missing front teeth
© sonya etchison - Fotolia.com All rights reserved.

One day after school, my son, Noah, gleefully told me he had a surprise to show me. “Watch what I can do!” he giggled.

He lifted up his shirt and stuck his right hand underneath his left armpit. He pumped his bent arm up and down like a rail car, but nothing happened. He was trying to make an armpit fart, of course.

“Where did you learn that?” I laughed.

“Sasha taught me, but when he does it, it makes a, well, a sound.”

“He toots with his arm!” my daughter, Clara, exploded. She then raised her shirt and mimicked her brother, without any noise either.

“Here is why it is good that you have a daddy that stays home,” I said and proceeded to teach them the proper technique for making armpit farts that actually make noise.

Even though I could teach them, I was a little surprised to realize that I could no longer do it myself. I wasn’t sure if there is a hand to pit size ratio that changed as I got older or if the hair that accompanied adolescence ruined the vacuum necessary for the “pllllt”. I bragged that when I was a kid, I could play songs on my armpit, but because I couldn’t prove it, I don’t think they believed me.

Delighted with their new skill, my two oldest spent the afternoon perfecting it and, consequently, teaching my two youngest. The twins, both two years old, didn’t have the coordination necessary to do anything but look really cute. Anna loved her new game, but Natalie tired of it quickly.

Then Mommy came home.

“Look what we can do!” the kids squealed.

Noah, Clara, and Anna, ran up to their mother with their hands in their shirts, pumping for all they were worth. The delightful sounds of gas made everyone—except their mother—fall down laughing.

“Where did you learn that?” she asked, with less of a laugh than I had.

“Daddy taught us!” they yelled.

To describe the look that followed is difficult. It said so many things: “Very nice.” “Who is the grown up here?” “And you taught them this because?” and “Why did I leave you at home again?”

My answer was short and sweet, “Noah doesn’t have an older brother to teach him these important things. It’s up to me.”

I had an older brother who taught me these important things, but I was the youngest so I have had to wait for my own son to be able to pass on the knowledge. I’ve been looking forward to it for thirty years.

“What about the girls?”

“Collateral damage.”

Our only rule was no armpit farting at the dinner table. Only Anna needed to be reminded occasionally, but she still didn’t make any noise so it wasn’t too disturbing to the meal.

And to think, if Mommy had been home when they got home from school, they might never have learned this valuable talent. Makes you wonder why any family would have it any other way.



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