In my mid 20’s, I was fortunate enough to date a wonderful gal I’ve long since lost touch with, I’ll call her Rebecca, because I can’t ask her permission to use her real name. Rebecca had recently separated from her husband. That husband is not the point of this story, but her kids are. She had two of the cutest little bugs you ever saw. While hanging with these two kiddos, I learned some great things you can do with kids.
Rebecca’s 20 month old daughter was too young to have a part in this adventure so will remain unnamed, but her almost 3 year old son, I’ll call, Kevin, he was the perfect age for this gag. If you’re a mom with children about this age, I think you should consider NOT reading this story because there are some things that only men would appreciate. Men (and women with older kids) should continue on. I think you’re going to enjoy this retelling. I’m still laughing about it.
Here’s the background you need to know. Rebecca’s kids came from a family where dad and his family were not huggers. In fact, hugging was actively discouraged and I saw up close how injurious this was, so of course I hugged them – often.
You must also understand that my family are also huggers. My cousins would tell you this is true but I don’t want you talking to my uncles about this story because they were pretty much the target of this stunt. Now that I think about it, some of my aunts would likely recall this event too, so don’t talk to them either.
Rebecca was really charming and my family had immediately fell in love with her and her kiddos. The kids quickly learned that any visit to my family translated to lots of hugs and affection so they looked forward to spending time with us. Rebecca was a very proper lady in many ways, but I also knew her to be capable of plenty of playful mischief. For example, once when we were washing dishes – she (yes – she) started a water fight. Before we ceased hostilities, we had pretty much flooded the whole kitchen and dining room. The kids stood nearby and cheered us on.
Man – that was fun!
So, here’s how my grand idea unfolded. One day I told Rebecca that my family was having a small reunion in about 3 weeks and that most of my mom’s sisters (she had 6) and their families would be there, and would she and the kids like to go with me. For the kids, it was a no-brainer and Rebecca had no reason to decline, so it was a date.
During those 3 weeks, life was normal. We worked. The kids did their day care thing and I was often at her condo goofing off with her and the kids. I also used those 3 weeks to prepare Kevin for the reunion, knowing that Rebecca would never approve, I decided to ask forgiveness rather than permission. Out of her sight, Kevin and I prepared my great bomb idea.
In short, I told him we were going to see some of my family. He was thrilled of course. I also told him that when we got there people would ask him a certain question and I wanted him to know how to answer. He did not care about any of the details beyond the fact that he was going to see my family again, but he easily memorized the question and answer. During those 3 weeks, I drilled him until he had it nailed. He was going to be a hit and Rebecca was none the wiser. We were fully below her radar on this one.
So, we show up at my Aunt and Uncle’s place, parked and unload kids and make our way to the front door.
I’m thinking through the final logistics, trying to assure a great deployment and realized that I had very little time before the bomb was triggered so had to get as far away from Rebecca as possible because she was most likely not going to appreciate this at all. Time for her to cool off was highly desirable.
Rebecca has plenty of spunk and self-confidence but she still felt new to our family and was sensitive about presenting a mature and reasonable image to everyone, so this type of foolishness might be over the top for her. Nonetheless, we were at the door, the bomb was active and there was no going back now.
The door opened and, horrors – 2 of my Aunts were right there in the entry. Safe escape would be all but impossible due to the big smiles and hugs that greeted us.
The children at our feet realized that it was show-time. A glance to their left was all they needed. The room was full of my family – just waiting to greet them and hug them and shower them with attention was all they needed and they were gone in an instant. I watched as both disappeared into the crowd of uncles and aunts and cousins. Despite the fun I had secretly planned, I was so proud of how I knew my family would welcome the children.
Except for being trapped in the entry next to Rebecca, everything was as expected. But I knew the fuse would be very short, well, because I knew how friendly my family was and what was about to happen. Now I just had to get away from Rebecca before…
“Oh no!” I thought, “There’s Kevin’s head up above the crowd somewhere in the middle of the room.” One of my uncle’s had recognized him right away and scooped him up, lifting him high above the crowd. Also – as expected. I really had to get away from Rebecca, but my Aunts were busy pulling updates about us and showering Rebecca with attention.
There was no breaking free. I was stuck. I could not suddenly remember something left in the car because I wanted to see the bomb go off, but my aunts were blocking all other paths of escape and Rebecca firmly held my hand.
Anxiously, I glanced over at Kevin again and could see it was happening. My uncle was innocently asking the trigger question and I knew Kevin would deliver the package. “Gulp! – I’m doomed, but this is going to be great!”
My uncle, with a huge smile on his face was asking, “Kevin – how are you?”
Kevin slowed his joyful squirming, arched his back for his delivery. He proudly and loudly answered, “I’VE GOT GAS.”
And the room – immediately – went silent.
All eyes turned to Kevin who noticed that everyone had stopped talking and was now looking at him wondering if they had really heard what they thought they heard.
My uncle, bless his soul, somewhat shocked by what he heard, repeated the question, “Excuse me, what did you say Kevin? How are you again?”
Kevin, with a huge smile – because he knew he had the loving attention from a room full of people, repeated that he has gas.
The whole room erupted in laughter. And come on guys, admit it, a little kid telling a room full of people that he has gas is simply hysterical. In this case, it was a laugh riot.
I began smirking, but fought off bursting into laughter because Rebecca was right there tightening her grip on my hand. Yep – she too had heard about her son’s gas and was forming a shocked face over it. She did not even pause to think about who was responsible for this disaster. I was assumed to be guilty.
Meanwhile, back in the room Kevin had just lit up with laughter and was now back on the floor. Without understanding why it was so funny, he began running around telling everyone, over and over about his gas – feeding the fire storm of laughter. He was going to milk this for all it was worth. He was so adorable.
My mom and dad were laughing. My sisters were hoping that somehow I would be punished for this outrage. My aunts and uncles were laughing, even some of my young cousins, most of who were too young to really understand the gag, were laughing, but, Rebecca – Rebecca was NOT laughing. She was turning a bright blood-red color and reached over to capture my hand with her second hand to make sure I did not escape as the wave of embarrassment from her son slowly passed and the room settled down.
“I am so busted.” I thought, but this had worked so much better than I hoped.
It took about 10 minutes for the “I’ve got gas” line to disperse and the laughter to move on to other family issues, but Rebecca’s night was ruined and she was both embarrassed and livid – which meant I now had to balance laughing at the success of the gag and sympathizing with what she believe was a ruined reputation before my family and how she wanted to beat me silly.
It took about 2 weeks for Rebecca to calm down enough to agree that she was not the only one to blame me. Everyone blamed me – but they thought it was a great gag and if anything they felt somewhat sympathetic for her, because what mom would have wanted to be her that night – right?
In the grand list of things my family have laughed at over the years, this one was not even very big. This is one of the many reasons I love my family. We love to laugh and enjoy one another – even at one another’s expense which was always assumed to be a gesture of endearment. They taught me that this is what great family love looks like.
A few years later, the story of this gag also made it to my new bride who used it as the reason she would not want me near our own kids until they were safely 21 years old or older.
Guys let me know if any of you try this gag.
I’d like to have the blame move on to someone else.