I decided that the perfect "big gift" for Big Pants this year would be a batting practice thing; sort of like a ball on a string connected to a stick so that I wouldn't have to pitch to him and he would stop hitting balls onto the neighbor's porch.
My ex was against it. He was sure that Tiny Pants would take a bat to the head sooner or later, but I knew he was a worry wart. I read a bunch of reviews and everyone loved this contraption. Everyone and their brother, even. No one said anything about siblings getting hit in the head. (Although, I do have to admit that my first ex husband once hit his little brother in the head with a baseball bat while using something called a "Johnny Bench Batter Up" but he was a little crazy. I'm sure it was completely avoidable with adequate parental supervision.)
Christmas morning, Big Pants was not all that impressed with the hitting thing, which not only cost a bunch of money, but also weighs as much and both kids and the dog put together. I wanted him to like it, so even though it was really freaking cold I dragged it outside and tried to figure it out.
I took the first hit across my stomach. Although he swung the bat hard, I was surprised it hurt so little. Perhaps my coat was better padded than I thought?
Or perhaps my cell phone, which was in my coat pocket, absorbed the impact. Yup, that was it. It was shattered beyond repair.
I still didn't give up. I really wanted the gift to be a success, so I stood next to Big Pants and tried to figure out how to pitch the ball. His next swing landed at the top of my thigh, and this one hurt quite a lot more.
That did it; I dragged the contraption inside while explaining that it is only okay to laugh when someone gets hurt if you first make sure they are really unhurt and if they are not your Mama.
I'll con someone else into figuring the thing out come spring. Until then, I will leave it in the corner so I can glower at it menacingly and make it properly intimidated.