When Tanner was around 2, he picked up his hatchet and held it up to his eye, peering down the length of the handle like a spotting scope. I asked him what he was doing. "I'm booming deer daddy."
Yeah, is there a deer over there?
I don't know do you see one?
Yeah, I do! I see some! I'm gonna boom em Daddy!
Moms was out of the house and I figured, what's the harm in a little innocent hunting safari.
I showed Tanner how to sneak up on his quarry.
Tanner, we have to be quiet.
Shhhhhhh! Daddy we're hunting, he whispers. His shoulders hunch up and he crouches down, moving like a cat. We use the sides of walls and doors for a rest, so he could get a steady "boom", just like I learned from Miami Vice years ago. We probably got us a good half-dozen deer that day. Give or take one or two. And they were all humongous bucks. I asked Tanner and he confirmed it.
OK Tanner, now you can only go hunting with Daddy OK? Never boom anything without Daddy there. Never boom anything or anyone OK?
And, ummm, no booming in front of Mommy OK?
I boomed um! Like this!
Tanner, listen to me carefully. No booming when Mommy is watching OK!
OK Daddy. Boom. Boom.
I could see our little harmless prank spiraling out of control. I never wanted to be that parent that let's their kids run around pointing fake guns at people (or shooting them with those nerf guns) and going pow. But hey, Tanner started it. I never told him to start booming. He's just a natural. It's in his blood. Or maybe it could be all those hunting shows we watch together.
Anyways, Mommy comes home and gets boomed and she's mortified. I realize now the full depth of my incompetent, irresponsible mistake but it's too late. I cling to my guns like Charlton Heston at an NRA rally.
Babe, he already knows what he's doing, we just need to teach him responsibly.
No! He's two years old. He's been saying that at Day Care! We have to teach him that's not right! Tanner, we don't boom anything OK! That's not nice. We don't say that OK?
I try to save some grace. Babe, you're right, he's not ready yet. I won't let him say that anymore.
Tanner and I are having a guy day. We're heading out to the duck club to pick up decoys in Heymans skiff. I've got his Lightning McQueen lifejacket and the dog so we roll.
Are we going fishing Daddy?
No, Tanner we're just going to pick up some decoys.
Yeah they're like, fake ducks. They bring in the real ones.
We're gonna get some ducks?
Tanner seems a little unsure as we step into the boat, but it's a flat bottom skiff and stable.
Hold me Dadda.
Ok, you ready?
I idle through the no wake zone and the boat jumps onto plane. We're zooming along, skimming the surface like a harley on asphalt and Tanner lets out his monster cry, "yeahhhhhhhhhhahhhh". It's a mixture of pure unadulterated joy mixed with a little terror. He hangs in there like a champ though he gets a little nervous when I wade away from the boat but he's stoked at all the ducks we're getting. He keeps saying, we've got lots of ducks ha daddy! And I keep piling them in the skiff.
Look at all the ducks we got!
Yeah Tanner we've got lots of ducks. He doesn't even talk about booming them or anything and I'm pretty sure the phase has passed.
We get home and Momma wants to know how much fun he had. Did you have fun at the Duck Club Tanner?
Yeah, we got lots of ducks. We BOOMED em!