"Dad, can you play with me?"
I wondered how many times had I heard that request in the past few weeks while on paternity leave. It had to be a lot. Although I do my very best to try to accommodate my son's enthusiasm to include me in his imaginative games, with a new baby in the house it has been much more difficult of late.
With that in mind, and the lovely Mrs. LIAYF otherwise occupied preparing to leave for work, I turned to see Lukas - with a smile as long and impressive as the Great Wall itself - looking at me with an extended plastic blue light saber pointed directly at me. On the dining room table next to him sat another identical light saber, also extended.
I knew what this meant.
Thankfully Annabelle decided at the same time to take a break from her bottle, so I gently set her into her baby swing, turned on the power to medium swinging action, then made my move for the unclaimed saber. I knew my window with the baby was limited.
As I grabbed the plastic blade, Lukas took a swipe at me, serious but gentle of course. I jumped backwards with light saber in hand. "Missed me!" I chided. And with that we moved around the kitchen in a somewhat graceful dance, dueling with each other. He moved fluidly, like a young Baryshnikov in the classic 80's movie White Nights. while I was more his Gregory Hines - not quite as skilled but determined nonetheless.
Only, in this game I was not the dark figure you would expect.
Then he swiped his weapon across my right shoulder with glee, and laughing said "Gotcha!". I dutifully switched the saber to the other hand placing my right arm behind my back. "Just a flesh wound!" I loudly replied. And when he next cut the other arm from my torso I also placed it behind my back, and hopped closer still...threatening to 'gum him'.
You see, in this game I am always The Black Knight of Monty Python fame. Lukas eats that up with endless laughter. And so do I for that matter.
All of the sudden my window quickly began to close as Annabelle started to loudly protest her lack of attention. At the same time Lukas decided to heal me for yet another duel. And with both kids now demanding my full and utter attention, the stress level mounted a bit. Then I thought of my role as the Black Knight, and also of the White Nights reference.
And it hit me.
Quickly replacing my blade with my trusty iPhone I deftly pulled up an app which Lukas has been quite enamored with of late. I looked him in the eye to get his attention, "Lukas, do you want to play Chess on my phone while I feed Annabelle?". "Sure", he replied, taking the phone from my hand and immediately becoming engrossed in a duel against the app.
Then having successfully made that transition, I once again took up the most trusty of weapons in this new fathers parenting arsenal, the bottle. And Annabelle feasted heartily on victory, and on milk.
While Lukas battled Kings, Queens, and Black Knights clearly more skilled than I.