Every week at our family meeting, we talk about what has worked and what has not worked for the family. (Still a pretty big fan of The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler.)
And every week we all agree that time spent together outside makes us feel good about the ways in which we interact. We’re nicer outside. Hiking, running, playing ball, and exploring make us kinder to each other. Kinder makes us all feel warm, fuzzy, and proud. And it begets more kindness. Cycle of goodness, circle of life, and all that.
But tonight trumped even the best hike.
Some second-grader at school taught Peanut and his whole class to use their armpits in the way nature intended: to fake fart.
He was so excited walking home. “Mom! Mom! Did you know this? You can make a toot with your armpit. Watch!”
I was so proud. I recalled my aunt armfarting with her sons, and relished the thrill of finally feeling my role in the tradition of the lone-woman-in-a-family-full-of-males tradition. It is my sworn duty, in this pivotal of all parenting moments, to produce better fake flatulence than my kid.
So I tried. And tried. Nothing.
Peanut didn’t notice my colossal failure. But later in the evening, he produced his new, Harvard-entry skill for the rest of the family. And I renewed my efforts to show him how it’s really done.
I tried so hard, so unsuccessfully that I made the little guy laugh. “What’s wrong with Mommy?” Spouse asked Butterbean, as I flapped my elbow furiously, trying to make my barely audible puffs of air into the best nonverbal noise available to humans.
Peanut rolled his eyes. “It’s so easy, Mom. I’ll bet Dad can do it.”
Oh, boy did he. We all laughed ourselves teary as Spouse put on an armpit symphony. He grinned, and bowed.
No way. I will not be shown up. I build furniture (sure, from Ikea, but I do it myself and it doesn’t wobble, so it counts), I change lightbulbs, I replace batteries, I splice wires, I build circuit boards. I won’t be bested in the simulated arm-gas competition.
I changed my hand position. I cupped my pit more carefully.
I tried the other side.
And I realized why.
There wasn’t a complete seal. Because of my undergarments.
So I shoved Spouse out of the way, for his demonstration was wearing on my patience. I casually employed the quick and easy unhook-and-yank-out-through-a-sleeve.
And I let out four of the most beautifully resonant arm farts you ever did hear.
All I’m saying, is if you’re fighting a fake-flatulence war with Y-chromosome-bearing armpits, ditch the bra. In all other cases I say unto you, “wear what you want to wear, when you want to wear it, if you want to wear it.” It’s your body. Support your Cooper’s ligaments as you see fit.
But if you need to rip a fake one? Remove the interference.
[This post will self-destruct before I apply to law school or run for public office.]