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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Toooooooo Pre-School…and Beyond!

“Let’s play spaceship!” She says to me from the back seat, as we negotiate the rush-hour traffic on the way to pre-school. “You be Buzz, I’ll be Jessie, and Tinkerbell will be Tinkerbell.”

At 7:30 in the morning, before my first cup of coffee, I’d prefer to ease into the day with a little sports talk radio than engage in a spirited game of make-believe. But I have a hard time saying no to my daughter, so I play along. Besides, at least she didn’t ask me to play that maddening kiddie music CD for the gazillionth time.

Both of my kids are obsessed with the “Toy Story” movies, those Disney-Pixar cash cows about toys that come alive when no one is around. My son actually wakes up reciting lines from the films; he’s got Buzz Lightyear on the brain. This particular morning my daughter has brought her new Tinkerbell doll into the mix, too, making it sort of a Disney reunion.

As we cruise down main street, I channel my inner Tim Allen: “Tooooooo infinity…and beyond!

“Watch out for the aliens!”

“What aliens? Where?”

“Right there, Daddy…I mean, Buzz. The cars—they’re all aliens! Get them with your shooter!”

I press the imaginary button on my right arm and blast away at the “aliens” all around us. “Whew! I think I got them all,” I say. Meanwhile, other drivers stare at me like I’m a lunatic.

“Woody! Look out—Zurg’s on the roof!!”

“Woody?” I say. “I thought I was Buzz?”

“No, you’re Woody now. Buzz is back at home with Mommy.” My daughter’s imagination is rather flexible.

“Oh. But I don’t have a shooter like Buzz,” I say, in my best Tom Hanks voice, which, by the way, sounds nothing like Tom Hanks. “What should I do?”

“Don’t worry,” she says, “Tinkerbell has a shooter, and she already got Zurg!

“Nice shootin’, Tinkerbell!” Three words I never thought I’d say.

“And I have a shooter, too—and it shoots water!”

“Oh, good!” I say. “I feel so much better now.” At this point I try to stay quiet for a few seconds to see if maybe we can take a little break from make-believe, which can be surprisingly rigorous first thing in the morning.

But my little girl is just getting warmed up. “BUZZ!” she yells out. “Get ready for blast off!”

“Wait a second…I thought you said Buzz was at home with Mommy and that I was Woody now?”

“You can be Woody AND Buzz,” she replies. “Now get ready for blast off! Five…four…three…two…one…BLAST OFF!”

I step on the accelerator, taking my Hyundai from 30 to 35 m.p.h. in two seconds flat before decelerating back down to 30. It’s a high-performance vehicle.

“Go faster, Daddy…I mean, Buzz!”

“I can’t fly the spaceship too fast in town, honey. The space police will come after us.”

“More aliens! Get them with your shooter!” This goes on the entire 15 minutes or so to pre-school.

Flash-forward to later that afternoon when I pick her up on the way home from work. After a long day at the office, I’m really not in the mood for improvisation. So I try to strike up some easy conversation to distract her. “So…how was school today, honey?”

But my little girl has other plans. “Daddy,” she says, “you be Woody, I’ll be Jesse, and Tinkerbell will be Tinkerbell.”

And so, we blast off again—tooooooo  infinity…and beyond! Or at least to our house.

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Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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BFFs (Best Frienemies Forever)

Best Frienemies

On the cuteness meter, few things register as high as two adorable little four-year-old cousins playing dolls together. It really warms the heart.

“Her’s being nasty!”

“Nuh uh! She has my favorite baby doll and she’s not sharing!”

“I’m not playing with you anymore!”

“Well, I’m not playing with you ever again! So there!”

Isn’t that sweet?

Every once in a while, when my wife and sister-in-law head out to the gym or maybe the store, I have the privilege of watching my kids and my niece for a few hours. It sounds simple enough. All I have to do is let the little munchkins run around and play while I pour myself a cup of coffee and grab a good book, checking up on the them periodically, of course, just to make sure they’re not cutting each other’s hair or feeding their LEGOs to the garbage disposal.

Of course, it’s never that simple.

As I curl up on the sofa with my book, the girls start playing this make-believe game they call “Happy Family,” where one is the “mom”, another is the “kid”, and my son, fittingly, plays the part of the “dog.”

However, just minutes into their game, their happy little family transforms into a dysfunctional one, as my daughter and my niece begin to antagonize each other.

First comes the tattling. “She’s not sharing!” or “Her’s not being nice!” or “She just said a bad word!” By this time my son has lost interest in the game and crawls off to go find something to destroy.

At this point I start to feel the blood begin to bubble inside my veins. I remain calm, however, and refuse to let them get to me. “I don’t want to hear about it,” I say, washing my hands of the situation. “Go figure it out yourselves.” My wife first shared with me this brilliant style of parenting, which not only teaches your children how to resolve their own issues but which also sends them back to whence they came with a puzzled look on their face.

It’s really quite satisfying.

But of course, this is only a temporary solution. Minutes later another one comes running in to tell you that the other just called her a “poopie head.”

Soon my patience runs out and I begin to make bold declarations: “That’s it!” I declare. “Unless someone is bleeding to death or about to be, I don’t want to hear about it! Do you understand me? NOW GO HAVE FUN!”

By this time I’ve given up on my book and begin to stare out the window, longingly, like a puppy yearning to be out chasing squirrels.

Once they realize they can’t tattle anymore, the girls resort to something more sinister: spite. My daughter and my niece are both masters of malice, and each knows exactly how to push the other’s buttons.

For example, this one time they were fighting over the same coloring book page, so I jumped in to resolve the dispute. “This is your side,” I said to one, drawing a line down the center of the page, “and this side is yours.” Problem solved. Or so I thought. Immediately they both started coloring as close to the center as possible, their elbows crossing the line of demarcation and colliding with the other’s Crayola.

“Her is getting in my way!”

“Know I’m not! She isn’t staying on her side!”

It’s usually around this time that I go and pour myself a stiff drink. A double. Meanwhile my son is off somewhere mutilating a book or guzzling sour milk from some long-forgotten sippy cup.

But as long as he’s not bothering me, I really don’t care.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Animal Strikes Again

The crash was tremendous. It sounded like the china cabinet had fallen over. Then I remembered that we don’t have a china cabinet.

I was sitting behind my desk in the den talking to my daughter when it happened. First I heard a dragging sound. Then came the crash, followed by my son’s screeching. I jumped up and followed the sound of his cries, my daughter trailed close behind.

When I turned the corner of the kitchen, I found my son sprawled out on what appeared to be a bed of ice. But it wasn’t ice. It was shattered glass from the door of the oven.

I immediately scooped up my little guy and dusted off the little flecks of glass that covered his arms, checking for any cuts. Luckily he was fine; he was more scared than anything.

Once I determined he was OK, I began to piece together the clues of the crime scene using the detective skills I acquired at a young age from reading Hardy Boys mysteries.

The Scene of the Crime

From what I could surmise, The Animal spied a sippy cup on the kitchen counter. He then went to the dining room to retrieve his sister’s high chair, which he dragged into the kitchen and climbed on top of before attempting to grab the cup. But as he reached out for his prize, the chair must have slipped out from underneath him, sending him falling toward the floor. On the way down, his head or possibly the sippy cup made contact with the oven door, shattering the outer layer of glass.

Of course, this is just my guess at what happened. As the shards of glass continued to crackle and pop all over the floor like a bowl of Rice Krispies, I decided to ask my boy for an explanation, which he provided. Sort of:

“I was falling in the cup, and it keep going in the cup. I twying to get one cup. It A-B-C cup. I keep falling, I keep falling. It keep going in that cup.”

That certainly cleared things up.

He seemed pretty shaken up about the whole thing, so I asked him once more if he was OK.

“Yeah. It was not falling. It was falling on that oven. It was keep going in that oven.”

Well, at least he was speaking clearly, which ruled out a concussion.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to having a boy. The kid’s been around for over two years now and I’m still not accustomed to his adventurous nature. Boogieface never attempted anything like this. We didn’t even have to gate the stairs for her; she just wasn’t interested. The Animal, on the other hand, is constantly building makeshift ladders in order to reach things we try to put out of his reach. And if we forget to secure the gate at the bottom of the staircase, he immediately senses it and makes a mad dash up the steps, where he can then raid his sister’s bedroom or make for the bathroom and clean his teeth with the toilet brush.

For the next half hour or so, my wife and I scoured the floor for the tiny shards of glass that were scattered throughout the kitchen. Meanwhile, my daughter stood in the doorway and worked as a spotter.

“There’s another piece of ice!” she said, still not grasping what had just happened.

“It’s not ice,” I corrected her. “It’s broken glass.”

“Look, Daddy, more ice—over there!”

“Thanks, honey.”

Once we got all the “ice” cleaned up, I called the local appliance store to see just how much this little sippy cup fiasco was going to cost us. It turns out our oven is so old that it might cost as much to replace the glass as it would to buy a brand new oven. Splendid.

But of course, boys will be boys, and accidents happen. The important thing is that my son wasn’t seriously injured.

As for the oven, I’m not really worried about the money. We’ll just take it out of my son’s college savings.

 

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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