Well, since before Thanksgiving, the thinkdaddy family has been passing an illness around to each other. It's the ultimate re-gift. Sore Throat. Boogers. Cough. Pissy Attitude. It's all in there.
Of all of us, Riley is the worst at handling being sick. Like most humans, the feeling of snot running out of the nose is most uncomfortable. Riley, however, takes her reaction to the event to the level of high drama. At the mere hint of moisture leaving her nose, she bellows, "Kleenex!!!!!!" She delivers the line in the same way that an actor in a war picture would call for a medic the SECOND time in a scene. You know the scene . . . you've seen it a hundred times:
EXT. BATTLEFIELD. WE'VE JUST SEEN A YOUNG SOLDIER (PVT. PAWN) GET CREAMED BY A MORTAR. HIS SUPERIOR OFFICER AND MENTOR (SGT. ROOK) RUNS TO THE FOXHOLE WHERE PVT. PAWN IS LAYING IN BLOOD.
SGT ROOK: Medic!!! PVT PAWN: Sarge . . . tell my mom that . . . I love . . . (gurgle, gurgle) SGT ROOK: You'll tell her yourself, Soldier. I'm not going to let you die on me . . . PVT PAWN: (GURGLE . . . GURGLE) SGT ROOK: Hold on, Private. MEDIC!!!!!!!
It's that second "medic" that is the key. Now imagine instead of "MEDIC!!" you hear a 3-year old yelling "Kleenex!!!!" Hearing her, you would think that her arms just fell off and she couldn't figure out how to pick them up. Once she is given (or gets) a tissue, she roughly rubs it just once, from the tip of her nose down to her chin. She really only hits snot 50% of the time.
Now . . . this tragic scene repeats itself about once every 3 minutes for, let's say, 4 days. By the middle of day 3, her upper lip is so red, raw and nigh-bloody that she looks like all we let her drink is scalding hot Cherry Kool-Aid. She's miserable. Mommy and I are miserable. Emily is as miserable as a 6-month old can be and is now STARTING to get the illness. It's a real fucking party.
In the midst of this latest outbreak, we start running out of food and (surprise, surprise) Kleenex. It's obvious that I need to load up the car and take our little viral circus on the road to the grocery store.
So now I'm the stinky, un-showered and coughing daddy who is trying to soothe the crying, snotty infant in the baby seat, while trying desperately to reign in the coughing, sneezing, snotty, Kool-Aid stained 3-year old who hasn't been out of the house for three days and is touching and kissing and coughing and sneezing on every piece of produce that she can get her hands on. She literally kissed a grapefruit and told me it was her favorite. She's never had grapefruit. By my calculations, she turned about 2 oranges, 4 pears, 3 apples, a bunch of parsley . . . and, of course, one grapefruit into her own little Petri dish.
I tried to stop her. Seriously, I did. She was crazed like a dog let out of a cage. Part of me felt like I should buy everything that she touched just to stop an outbreak. Part of me felt like I should get the hell out of there before my luck totally broke and she barfed on the shallots.
This story should be reason #532 why you should wash all of your produce. No . . . seriously . . . scour that shit because it probably has snot on it. Wash it twice if you live near us.
Somewhere, in the three years between child number 1 and child number 2, we lost the little clips that keep the pad on our Graco toddler car seat. I looked at their website, but I couldn't figure out what to get or how many to order at $2 each.
I called Graco's customer service line and was IMMEDIATELY (!!!) connected to a very nice person named, Christina. I gave her the specifics of what I was missing and she asked how many clips I needed. I told her to just order a whole set for me no matter how many there were.
After she got my shipping info, she told me that she wasn't going to charge me for the clips and that I should expect them in the next week or so.
Nice work, Graco -- way to take care of your customers, even a few years after purchase. I definitely felt my loyalty meter skyrocket.
I got Riley a kid's meal at Chik-fil-A yesterday. It had the obligatory "prize/toy" enclosed. This one was lamer than usual. It was a roughly 2" X 2" cube that had questions on each side. The intent, I believe, is to spur conversation during a family meal. Everyone takes a turn rolling the "die" and answering a question.
There were some fun ones like:
"What would you like to be famous for?" "What's the most fun you've ever had?" "What is the strangest food you have every eaten?" (Chik-fil-A nuggets maybe?) "What's the most amazing thing you have ever found?" "What's the most physical pain you've ever had to endure?"
Wait a minute. What was that last one? The most PHYSICAL PAIN? Who's writing this shit? So much for light family discussion.
Do they think that John McCain is going to be playing the game? Are they working with Child Protective Services?
Here are some suggestions for the next edition:
"Have you ever laughed at someone less fortunate?" "Does you body humiliate you during gym?
Something that Riley and I both enjoy, is watching The Muppet Show together on DVD. They've recently released Season 2 -- and it's as good as I remember.
Kermit and the gang have also unleashed a whole new level of complexity to my 3 1/2-year old's imagination. In simpler times she was happy just playing princesses. Disney Princesses. She is able to be Jasmine one minute (while Mommy or I play Aladdin), and she's Cinderella the next. It's fun, if not a bit tedious.
Well NOW, we play Muppet Show with Cinderella as the special guest star. "How the hell would that work?" you ask. Like this --
I play Kermit, Riley is Cinderella. She puts on her beloved "princess dress" (a white flower girl dress that her Grammy got for her) and her "romantic shoes" (a pair of pink mules that are twice the size of her feet -- they look just like the shoes that Eva Gabor used to wear on Green Acres). They kind of look like this.
I put on my best Kermit voice and begin:
"It's The Muppet Show . . . with our very special guest star Princess Cinderella!! Yayyyyy!"
Riley pops up from behind the couch and dances to my performance of the theme song ("It's time to play the music . . . It's time to light the lights . . . etc.). Once that is out of the way, Kermit intros the star --
"And now Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for our special guest -- the beautiful and talented Princess Cinderella doing her exquisite ballet dance!! Yayyyyyy!"
She holds her fingers together over her head and galumphs around the living room as I offer encouraging commentary that she has SPECIFICALLY instructed my to say --
"Look at the grace of Cinderella . . ." "She is the most beautiful dancer in the whole kingdom . . ." "How can she move like that . . .?"
When the dance is over . . . back to the beginning. Rinse. Repeat.
As odd as it is, I guess it's better than her pretending to be one of the real guests that we see on the show. Somehow, I can't help but believe that she thinks the big stars of today are Harvey Korman, Kaye Ballard, and Sandy Duncan.
That said, I'd love to see her be Ethyl Merman for an evening.
I had forgotten the joys of the "poopy face" (patent pending). It's that comes-from-nowhere moment where your darling little baby looks you in the eye, puffs up their reddening face, and makes a lovely deposit in their (usually freshly applied) diaper.
Most parents will tell you that THEIR baby makes a CUTE poopy face. Here take a look -- this is Emily's fecal visage:
I like to think that this beautiful pose is a herald to an extremely successful comedic movie career. Don't believe me -- check this out:
Everything old is new again.
By the way, if you are looking for a GREAT autobiography, check out "Harpo Speaks" by Harpo Marx. What a life he led. And it all started with a simple poopy face.
I just read one of the greatest answers to the "what do you do all day" question. I get asked that a lot by my friends. It's always hard to answer to their (or my) satisfaction. Here is an excerpt from the article. You can read the whole thing HERE.
When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention,
from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out
of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two
arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even
the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece
of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the
library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them
lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the
kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its
It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends,
well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek
short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.
It's doing all
this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language,
manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity.
With daughter number two being only a couple of weeks away from arrival, this article especially hits home. When it's all said and done, though . . . I love my job and my family and wouldn't have things any other way. That should probably be answer enough to the question.