After the meal, boys peel off in small groups or solo, gathered around a multitude of glowing devices. The Habs for the eldest, Minecraft for the middle bunch, even #CantStopWontStop has settled down in front of the Paw Patrol.
The grown-ups are well fed, lounging about the family room in various states of repose. With glasses of wine in hand, we are content. It's a moment frozen in time. The constant motion has slowed to a point where bodies in motion are in fact decipherable, no longer a constant blur. Did I mention there are five boys under 10?
There is actually time for conversation.
I'm leaning against the counter, in the middle of telling some inconsequential (hopefully humorous) story, when a searing pain stabbing through my foot stops me dead. The cry from my mouth has stopped everyone in their tracks.
Slowly I turn my gaze downwards, down towards the offending appendage. Rather than a view of my foot all I can see is a Cheshire Cat grin completed by bright twinkling eyes. I still can't comprehend what is happening and why foot is continuing to course with fiery pain. Quickly, he scuttles away. That's when I see it.
The push-pin from the corkboard is lodged in the joint between my third toe and my foot.
With all the composure I can muster, I bend and remove the pointy object. I calmly take the little guy by his hand and exit the room. It's time to be serious dad. Not angry dad or bewildered dad, but there are consequences dad. Behind me, I can hear the room erupt in guffaws, chortles and downright belly laughs. Most of me wants to join them, but I've got to be responsible dad. calm dad. dad who makes this a teaching moment. It's on the inside I'm dad who can't believe his own offspring just stuck him with the pre-school equivalent of a shiv.