The Biscayne Times

Wednesday
Dec 13th
Honey, I Bit the Kid! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stuart Sheldon, BT Contributor   
December 2017

The three bears and the feckless guest

Wbigstock--202887265e all have ex-lovers. Meeting them later in life, when the romantic wheel has long since turned, can take us to strange places.

My wife’s ex-boyfriend and his wife invited us for brunch and a play date one sunny Sunday when both our sons were ten months old. My wife had dated this charming, barrel-chested man years earlier. She spoke fondly of him, and while I’d met him briefly a few times, he and I had never a chance to get to know one another.

As we sipped mimosas and exchanged pleasantries in his living room, his quick wit, passionate eyes, and clear love for his own chubby baby induced a kinship in me, even as I sensed in him a lingering flicker of a spark for my wife (I don’t blame him; she’s amazing).

Our wives chatted in the kitchen as the tots crawled at our feet among the multi-hued Playskool sprawl. I did my best to smile and engage, but eventually we ran out of things to say. Luckily we were saved with a call to a lovely spread laid out on wedding gift serving trays.

The master of the house sat at one end of the table and I at the other, with our wives on either side and the boys in highchairs. Their adorable son and his big rosy cheeks sat no more than a foot from me, and a few bites into my bagel and lox, he and I began a serious game of peek-a-boo. He proved to be a very good audience, clearly eager for the game to continue indefinitely.

I spent the first two years of my son’s life as a stay-at-home daddy, and I prided myself on connecting with other babies, speaking their language and holding their attention. So I was feeling pretty good with my new pint-sized pal, as our peek-a-boo game morphed into “I’m gonna eat you!” He’d stick his pudgy fingers, all gooey with spit, close to my face, and I’d open my mouth and pretend to chomp them like an alligator. Giggle. Open. Chomp. Giggle. Chomp. Repeat.

As the other adults chatted among themselves, I enjoyed a sip from my champagne flute and turned back to my smiling cohort, audibly gnashing my teeth in invitation. He extended his darling hand as his eyes flashed eager as a puppy’s. I opened my mouth extra wide and leaned slowly forward. His grin widened as I lunged and bit down. Only this time, he failed to remove his hand in time.

As long as I live, I shall never forget the look on that angelic boy’s face. How could you do such a thing to a friend, his doe eyes implored for several beats. Then the coin dropped and his dumbfounded silence morphed into a brunch-shattering scream. Totally confused, his mother bear leaped and scooped up her wounded cub. Clear, fresh bite marks marred the tender paw he held out before her.

I’ve suffered no shortage of curl-up-and-die moments in my life, but this was new terrain. My thoughts, victim to my own astonishment, could not fully form themselves into words. “I accidentally bit his fingers. We were playing a game … I can’t believe it … we were playing ... and I was pretending to bite him, and then his hand. …”

From across the table, the Papa Bear regarded me in deafening silence, his brow furrowed brow and head slightly atilt. What kind of jerk bites a baby? It’s bad enough you snagged the woman I loved. I glanced at my wife, whose hazel eyes gazed back with a mix of revulsion, curiosity, and dark humor.

Remember, I’m a baby expert. Ask me anything! Diapers, bottles, pinkie in the mouth, babycenter.com, Gymboree, Happiest Baby on the Block … been there, swaddled that. We even made our own organic baby food. Me hurting a baby is like Mother Theresa bitch-slapping a leper. And yet, with my still wet dental imprints practically glowing on his little hand and that child continuing to shriek as if I had lit him on fire, my wife’s ex simply held his glare at me across the well-appointed table.

The screeching and my feckless apologizing eventually abated, and we resumed our meal beneath a hideously awkward unspoken pall of how much longer till the baby biter goes the hell away. The red-faced little nipper refused my advances at further play. Not surprisingly, we were not invited back.

To ex-lovers of my wife’s or mine, I say hello and thank you for the good times and the wisdom our interactions provided on our respective arduous journeys of the heart. And should we meet again, please know I’ve bitten no children since.

 

Stuart Sheldon is an artist, author, and Miami native. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram at @stuart_sheldon and subscribe to his Fancy Nasty blog at stuartsheldon.com.

 

Feedback: letters@biscaynetimes.com

 

Art and Culture

ArtFeature_1A short list for getting weird during Art Basel Miami Beach Week 2017

Read more...

Art Listings

Events Calendar

BizBuzz

bigstock-Smiling-Sandy-Snowman-In-Red-S-72707650Sales, special events, and more from the people who make Biscayne Times possible

Read more...

Picture Story

Pix_PictureStory_12-17A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

Read more...

Community Contacts