Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We've Got Spirit...Yes We Do

This week is Spirit Week at Kailey and Kyra's school and so far the girls have displayed their full school spirit on Pajama Day, a day celebrated numerous times throughout the school year, and Mismatch Day, a day in which parents simply let their kids pick out their own clothes for school. Which brings us to today...80's Day. Diane and I didn't know whether to be happy or offended. When we were in school, Spirit Week always seemed to include 50's Day, which in retrospect probably pissed off OUR parents. When did we get so...OLD?

We decided to cast offense aside and help the girls out on this one. After all, we LIVED the 80's, dudes and 'dettes! Last night we conducted a brief consultation with the girls as to their 80's Day options and came up with the following: polos with turned up collars, jeans, cuffed, and ponytails in weird locations on their heads, preferably on the side. Easy enough. I was excited to show the girls how dorky we were back in the 80's, but it wasn't meant to be.

It started out well and good. The girls got dressed and turned up the collars of their prob. But everything started to unravel the moment I rolled those jeans into the tight cuffs that I used to wear for roughly four years of my life.

"They're kinda tight." Kailey protested.

"I know. That's how we used to wear them," I explained.

"I don't like it," Kyra chimed in. "I'm going to look stupid."

Oh, and you didn't look stupid on Mismatch Day?

Diane managed to get Kyra to wear a side ponytail, but Kailey wasn't having any of that either. So Kyra ended up going to school with a turned up collar, a side ponytail, and loosely rolled up boot-cut jeans. I wanted to tell her, "Oh, you're right, Kyra. That looks SO much better," but I held my tongue. Kailey just has her collar turned up. Neither one would let me take a picture of their "80's" garb. Now THAT'S the SPIRIT!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Hope-less Situation

The girls have a new friend on our street. Her name is Hope and she is Kyra's age, though not in Kyra's class. She's not actually new to our street. Her family has probably lived here longer than we have, but, like us, has succumbed to the secluded nature of our neighborhood. Nobody really knows each other beyond a polite wave and possibly a smile, so parents are nervous about allowing their kids to roam. I know it's true of us.

Ever since Kyra learned to ride her bike, the first thing the girls want to do when they get home from school is ride up and down the street. And I'm more than happy to let them do it. It's so much better than fighting against them plopping down in front of the boob tube and watching an hour of cartoons. But I also fight that overprotective streak. Do I stay outside and WATCH them ride or do I go inside and get some things done. Because Kyra is so new to bike riding (or so I've reasoned), I've chosen to stay outside with them, you know, just in case she falls or to stay on the lookout for cars, that type of thing. I grab my book and a camping chair and set it up on the shaded front walkway where I can keep an eye on the girls and gleefully wave at my cold and distant neighbors as they drive by.
Ever since the girls discovered that Hope lived six houses down from us, the second thing they want to do upon their return home is to see if Hope can come outside to play. It didn't take me long to discover a pattern in this ritual. It went something like this:

"Dad, can we see if Hope can come out to play?"



Two minutes later, two dejected girls ascend the driveway on their bikes.

"Her mom said she has homework/chores/insert other excuse here to do."

Every day was the same, and though I knew the excuse was coming, I'd STILL let them go ring Hope's doorbell, knowing full well that Hope would never see the light of day, poor thing.

Imagine my surprise when the girls brought Hope over to our house to play on Friday afternoon. She does exist, I thought, and was relieved to discover Hope to be a sweet and polite little girl. Finally the girls have a normal neighborhood kid their age that they can play with! They had a great time together with no tiffs or hurt feelings, and they spent a lot of time together over the weekend.

Perhaps too much time. Yesterday, the after school routine played out as it had over the past couple of weeks with the girls jumping on their bikes and heading over to Hope's house. I later walked into the kitchen to find a heartbroken Kyra sitting with Diane at the kitchen table. "Tell Daddy what happened," Diane prompted, shooting me a look.

"I rang Hope's doorbell and her Mom answered the door and when I asked if Hope could come out to play she said 'No' and slammed the door in my FACE."

Diane shot me another look. Wow.
Now whether or not she "slammed" the door is subject to debate. Kyra is a sensitive soul and could very well be reading into things. However, I couldn't help but notice that Hope's Mom had given up on giving excuses for why Hope couldn't play, and it seems that the girls have worn out their welcome. So now we need to figure out what to do. At 2:00 pm today, the girls will return from school and will want to go down to Hope's house. Do I let them? Or do I give them a few days off?

Things were so much easier when I just let them watch TV.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Prep

Well, I think we're officially ready for Halloween. The costumes are set, the candy's been purchased and tested for quality control, and we (by "we" I mean "I") finally carved the pumpkin tonight. We picked up one of those new-fangled pumpkin carving kits at the store today. Gone are the simplistic days of opening a pumpkin up with a steak knife, scooping out its guts with a soup spoon, and then slicing out a gap-toothed grin along with some randomly spaced triangles for eyes and nose, because, let's face it, trying to carve circular eyes with a steak knife is close to frickin' impossible. This kit was amazing: two carving "saws", a plastic scraper, a marker (they even give you your own marker!), and a book of stencils. Of course, the girls picked "The Witch", probably the hardest one in the book to do. It came out alright, although my right hand is now cramping up due to all of the detail work. But, hey, it's for the kids.

I enlisted the girls help in scooping out the pumpkin guts. They were a little skittish at first, but finally conceded. Kailey went first, taking a small hand full and chucking it into the garbage can. "OH, THAT'S DISGUSTING!!" she shrieked. Kyra took her turn, and when Kailey got into position we noticed she was looking a little pale. "It stinks," she gagged, then ran over to the sink. Thankfully she held it together, but her pumpkin-gut-chucking time had clearly come to an end. I finished the project from there on out.

Yesterday, Diane had the great idea of baking and decorating Halloween cut-out cookies, forgetting the slightly expanded attention spans of 6 and 8 year olds. The girls were really excited about the project. They got out pens and paper, wrote down all the ingredients they would need, and accompanied Diane to the store. On the way home, they saw their new friend from school riding her bike. "Can we go ride our bikes with Hope?" they asked.

"We just picked up all this stuff to make cookies!"

"Hey, I have an idea," offered Kyra. "YOU make the cookies and then SURPRISE us when we come in from riding our bikes."

So Diane spent yesterday afternoon baking cookies alone while the girls played outside. This afternoon they weren't able to flake out on the project and all of us decorated the cookies that Diane so painstakingly baked.

So I think we're ready. A day early! Bring on the trick-r-treaters!

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Guess It's Just Not the Same

Getting the girls out of bed has been much easier the past couple of days with "Sexy" Rex the dog around. To make a long story short, I simply "release the hound". He launches himself from the holding cell of the family room, literally beating a path down the narrow hallway toward the girl's rooms with his spastic and potentially lethal wagging tail. Moments later the girls are startled awake from their slumber with cries of "Awwww, Rex!" What usually takes me 5 to 10 minutes, Rex accomplishes in 10 seconds.

So this morning, I decided to give it a try. My alarm went off at 6:00. I hit snooze once then got up and made my way into Kyra's room where I dropped to all fours and sidled up to her bed. Then I stuck my nose right into her ear and started sniffling like a dog. Never have I seen one's facial expressions change from joyful expectation to repulsive hatred so quickly.


"Well, that was the idea. Did you think that I was Rex?"

"NO. Rex does it like THIS!" She shot up, stuck her nose in my ear, and performed her doggy-sniffling impersonation, pretty much EXACTLY like I had just done.

"No, I think it's more like THIS!" I countered, sniffling back. And there we were sniffling each other's heads back and forth like a couple of dogs at 6:10 in the morning. All of our commotion woke Kailey up, so she was expecting me. When I snuck up to her and started sniffling in her ear, she smacked me in the head. They SO don't appreciate me. But what I lacked in appreciation I made up for in effectiveness: the girls were out of bed in a minute, quicker than my fastest time, but still slower than Rex. I guess I'll have to leave the wake-up routine to the dog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coming to a Head

Kailey and I had a rough day yesterday. She was in one of her crazy, manic, non-listening moods that no amount of time-outs seem to cure. In fact, she acted as though time-out was a big joke which put me over the edge. "Does it LOOK like I'm joking?" I lashed out with veins bulging from my forehead. That alone was probably worth a laugh, but Kailey wisely shook her head "no". This situation repeated at least three times last night. I'd repeatedly tell her to do something or not to do something, each time going unheeded. I was mad and things seemed to snowball from there as I started taking her disobedience personally. Almost every word I spoke to her from there on out was cross. And when Diane got home from her trip, I washed my hands of the situation. "Welcome home, Hon. Here's your girls. Have fun."

This morning, Kailey took over where she left off from last night. The girls can't be in the same bathroom to brush their teeth without some sort of altercation, even though we have a double vanity. So I usually give them very specific instructions on who makes their bed and who brushes their teeth. This morning was no different, yet Kailey decided to do her own thing and brush her teeth while Kyra was already in the bathroom. A fight broke out and I nearly lost my mind. I sent Kailey to her room to make her bed, then I retreated to the family room to count to ten before placing my hands on my child.

Kailey came in shortly thereafter and she was hot. "Why are you mad?" I asked.

"Because you are always angry at me," she fumed.

It was like a slap across the face. I don't want either of my girls to have the impression of me as an angry father. I coaxed her over to me and sat her down on my lap. I told her that I didn't like yelling at her and apologized if I had hurt her feelings. But I also explained that I would discipline her when she did something wrong or didn't listen to me, both of which she had been doing a lot of in the past 24 hours. I gave her a hug and told her I loved her, and asked her to work harder on her listening.

I did the right thing in making sure we were OK before she went to school, but the whole situation still lingers in my head. Lately I feel like I spend more time fuming about the girls' behavior than I do just enjoying my time with them. I don't know why that is, but I know that I don't like it.

I think part of it is battling the feeling of being rushed all the time. We're constantly moving or getting ready to go to the next thing: tutoring, gymnastics, softball, etc. Throw in homework, dinner, and the bedtime routine, and there's not much family time leftover. But that's just family life these days, and I don't want to spend the little time I have with the girls blowing my top because they are acting like maniacs as I try to corral them from activity to activity. I guess I'll just consider this an opportunity to step back and reflect upon what kind of father I really want to be.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Tale of Three Dinners

Diane is in smoldering southern California for her company's annual Holiday Meetings. Her folks are in Illinois visiting their son. I'm at home "batching it" with the girls and my in-law's dog, Rex. I guess that's not technically "batching it", as bachelor's are not usually charged with the responsibility of childcare, but I tried to make the most of it.

Last night the girls had softball practice. It doesn't matter how early I start the process of getting them ready for practice, we ALWAYS end up rushing to get there on time. Their practice is at 6:00, so I started the dinner routine at 4:30. The girls wanted spaghetti leftovers. Great! That's easy enough! I popped two plates in the microwave, steamed some veggies, and PRESTO! Dinner for two. I'd had leftovers for lunch, so I decided to focus on getting this gravy train on its tracks so we could get to practice on time.

I looked down at Rex's bowl and it was still full of food. I had picked him up from my in-law's earlier and brought him and that full bowl of food back to our place. He hadn't eaten all day. I decided to give him a fresh bowl of food because, seriously, who would want to eat anything that had been sitting out for twelve hours? So I mixed half a can of dog food with a cup of Ol' Roy dry, and VOILA! Dinner fit for a king! "Here you go sexy-Rexy," I gushed as I set the bowl down in front of him. He sniffed it for a second, turned up his nose, and walked away. Well if he starves, it's not my fault, I thought.

The girls finished their dinner, changed clothes, peed, and we headed out to practice. We got there right at 6:00. I guess I need to start dinner at 4:00. After practice, it was baths and bedtime. I gave the girls their final hugs and kisses goodnight, then returned to kitchen. Time for my dinner. I opened the fridge and stood staring. What do I feel like tonight? Nothing jumped out at me, so I opened the freezer door. There staring me right in the face was a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Now that's what a bachelor would eat for dinner! So I grabbed the pint and a spoon and plopped down into the big comfy chair that I usually share with Diane.

I downed about a third of the pint before finally coming to my senses. I can't eat this whole thing for dinner! So I put the pint back in the freezer and looked for something else to eat. Since I had already checked out the fridge and freezer, I turned to the pantry. Hmmm...what looks good...POPCORN...AND BEER. Popcorn and for me! I chucked a bag of Orville Redenbacher into the microwave and popped the top off a bottle of Red Hook ESB. Now THAT'S dinner fit for a king. I looked down at Rex's bowl. Still full. He hadn't touched it.

I had just settled back into the chair when the phone rang. It was Diane checking in from California. We were filling each other in on the happenings of our days when I told her about Rex's apparent hunger strike. "Oh, didn't Mom tell you?" she asked. "You have to put his food in the microwave for one minute or he won't eat it."

Are you frickin' kidding me? I looked at the dog laying in the middle of the floor, then to his bowl, then back at the dog. He sat up wondering what was going on. "You mean I have to nuke his food or this high maintenance animal won't touch it?"

"Yep. I can't believe Mom didn't tell you that."

"I can't believe I'm doing this," I muttered as I got up from the chair and put the bowl of dog food into the microwave. Rex's ears perked up as I closed the door and hit the express cook button. A minute later I placed the bowl of piping-hot dog food at Rex's feet. He devoured the whole bowl of food. It's amazing what people do for their pets. I returned to my chair and finished my beer and popcorn meal as well. And both of us went to bed, satisfied.

The End

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Answer to Everything

Kyra is an inquisitive soul. Kailey, not so much. Kyra has a hunger for learning and wants to know ev-er-y-thing. Her favorite follow up question is "Why?", with "How come?" as a close second. Her hunger for knowledge is a constant reminder of just how much I DON'T know about stuff in general, and most of the time that I attempt to give thorough answers to her barrage of questioning I end up sounding like a complete moron. For example, here's a question from this afternoon:

"Daddy, are there trees that touch the sky?"

OK, immediately I am doomed from the start. What exactly does she mean by "touch the sky"? These are the type of things I need to filter from the get-go in order to give a thoughtful, semi-intelligent answer. Oh, and I'm driving. Being a man means that multitasking is not my forte. "We-ell, there are these trees that are called Redwoods. They're really big, tall, big trees that go way up into the sky. I think they're the tallest trees in the world. There's a forest of them in California. Did I mention that they were big?"

"Do they 'touch the sky?'"

"Y-yeah...I guess so."

pregnant pause

"Maybe you should Google it."

She's six. And I'd be lying if I told you that it didn't hurt a little bit to have a six year-old tell you to Google something in order to come up with a satisfactory answer to her questions. What's worse is this has become Kyra's default response to ANY of my answers. I've heard "Maybe you should Google it" no fewer than a half-a-dozen times in the past 24 hours. I'm telling you, my confidence is shot! Never have I felt so much pressure to give a satisfying answer to a little kid. Telling me to Google something is the equivalent of saying, "Daddy, you're so full of crap that I need to pull up my boots!"

I wanted to say something like, "Oh yeah? Well if you're so smart why don't YOU Google 'Trees that touch the sky' and see what kind of 'satisfactory' answers YOU find. And don't you pull that but-Daddy-I'm-just-learning-to-read baloney on me either." But being the semi-mature adult that I am, I refrained. Instead, I Googled "Trees that touch the sky" just to see what brilliant material I would find. Suffice it to say that I'm quite satisfied with my big, tall Redwood tree answer. Perhaps one day Kyra will come to appreciate my brilliance. Or perhaps her teenage perception of her father as an idiot set in a little early.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Junkie In Training

Kailey has had a lingering dry cough for about a month now. It originated from a cold, but decided to stick around for awhile after the cold went away. And it annoyed the crap out of all of us during our trip home to Illinois. Kailey couldn't go 30 seconds without coughing, usually just a single, steady, staccato hack. Try sitting next to her on a 4 hour plane ride or a two hour road trip:





"Sweetie, try breathing through your nose."



Diane called the doctor on Tuesday and she told us to come in. Great, I thought, she's going to collect our co-pay, look at her for one minute, and tell us that it'll go away on its own. Imagine my surprise when she actually prescribed an inhaler for Kailey. Great, I thought, Kailey freaks out when we try to get her to take Children's Motrin. Getting her to suck on an inhaler three times a day should be tons of fun! Boy, when I'm wrong, I'm really wrong. Kailey couldn't wait to get her inhaler. She wanted to go to Walgreen's and get it right then and was completely bummed when I explained to her that I first needed to drop of the prescription and then give them time to fill it. "I'll pick it up and have it ready for you when you get home from school."

"OK," she groused.

The first thing she asked when emerging from the gate at school? "Did you get my inhaler?"

"Yes, I have your inhaler. It's at home."


She burst through the door and ripped open the Walgreen's bag to find a red inhaler, which she thought was pretty nifty. She coughed and asked, "Can I take it?"

"Please do," I replied, thinking this would be the only time she would voluntarily take the medicine. I guess when I'm wrong, I'm wrong in threes.

She placed the inhaler in her mouth, released the medicine, and took a deep breath. " tastes like...something. Kinda fruity. Can I take it again?" Thank goodness I was wrong, except now she wants to take it all the time. Every time she coughs, which is still with great frequency, she says, "I think I need to take another puff on my inhaler." That's all I need is for my eight year-old daughter to get hooked on prescribed inhalants, all because it tastes kinda fruity and comes in a hot red dispenser. I smell a lawsuit.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oskee Ouch

I hate Michigan. I frickin' hate 'em. I hate losing to them, and I hate watching their fans celebrating in Memorial Stadium...our turf. It drives me crazy. There's nothing I love more than to see their smug mugs ground into the turf and I nearly peed myself with glee when they lost to Appalachian State earlier in the year. I hoped that tonight would be our night to finally stuff Michigan at home in a nationally televised game, but it wasn't meant to be. Illinois played a great game tonight, but too many penalties and one costly turnover ultimately did them in. I hate Michigan. I frickin' hate 'em.

We need one more victory to become bowl eligible for the first time in six years and we've got Ball State at home next week. I think it's time for Illinois to take out some two-game-losing-streak frustration on them and get us to a bowl game. Whatta ya say?

Hey Ump! Where's Yer Glasses!

Kailey and Kyra had their weekly softball double header this morning, meaning that we were up early and at the ballfields at about 7:20. The girls were warming up and Diane and I were setting up our chairs and chatting with another parent when the coach approached me at the fence. "Our umpire didn't show up. Do you want to ump?"

Hmmm. Let me think about that for a millisecond. "Do I WANT to ump? Hell no. Do you NEED me to ump?"

"We need an ump."

I looked down at Diane who was snickering at me from her camping chair. "Can I bring my coffee?" I asked.

"I'll HOLD your coffee for you," he replied.

And so that's how I came to ump my first girls "fastpitch" softball game. And I think I did a pretty darn good job...until Kailey came up to bat. Up to that point, I had established a pretty wide strike zone: literally from the knees to the chest. If the girls got the ball over the plate without putting it in the dirt, I called it a strike. And that didn't happen very often. I had called a few higher pitches for our pitchers and was ready to do the same for the opposing team, but they weren't getting the ball anywhere near the strike zone...until Kailey came up to bat.

After taking the first pitch for a ball, Kailey swung at and missed the second pitch. She took ball two and ball three, then the fifth pitch came in over the plate, chest high. Crap. It was probably a little high, but it was a pitch that I had been giving to our pitchers. "Strike two," I whimpered.

Her coach gave me a good-natured ribbing. "Oh MAN, that's your OWN DAUGHTER!" he yelled from the dugout.

I shrugged and lamely shot back, "Hey, I've been giving you guys that same pitch all morning." He just laughed. I felt sick.

The sixth pitch missed just outside. Ball four, which in this league means that the coach then comes in to pitch. He jogged out the mound to pitch to Kailey with two strikes. She fouled one off before striking out swinging. I felt like a traitor as I watched her walk back to the dugout. I didn't have long to dwell on those feelings because Kyra came up to bat next. The pitcher mercifully threw no strikes and Kyra hit into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

As I was walking back to the dugout to retrieve my coffee (coach must have decided against holding it for me), I ran into Kailey as she was taking the field. "Thanks a lot, DAD," she teased with a big grin across her face.

"Hit the ball," I teased back. "That way you can't blame ME for your strikeouts." She just grunted and jogged out to her position.

The game finished without much incident, but I didn't enjoy umping all that much. I couldn't root for our team and had to keep repressing my excitement over hits and scored runs. So I've come up with a plan. Next week I think I'll intentionally arrive five minutes late to the game so they'll have to ask someone else to do the umping. I think I've fulfilled my softball obligations for the season.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Anything You Can Do...

I've been trying to take the training wheels off of Kyra's bike for months, and every time I'd broach the subject, it was met with the same panicked response: "BUT WHAT IF I FALL DOWN!!" This would be quickly followed with the whiny excuse, "Well no one else in my class rides their bike without training wheels."

"Wouldn't you like to be the FIRST person in your class to ride without training wheels?" Kyra can be a little competitive and she really really likes to be FIRST, but her fear of bodily harm seemed to override that competitive streak.

"No," she'd whimper. So the training wheels stayed on.

That is until she saw someone younger than her riding without training wheels. We were hanging out at my brother's house last week while back in Illinois and the girls were playing with my nieces, both of whom are roughly Kailey and Kyra's age. They wanted to ride their bikes, so I went outside to supervise and make sure that no one ended up as a hood ornament. As soon as we got outside, Sydney, my youngest niece who recently turned six, weighs about 20 pounds, and is the cutest little thing you'll ever see, scooped up her bike, sans training wheels, hopped on and zoomed down the driveway. I shot Kyra a look.

Not wanting to be outdone by her younger cousin, Kyra marched over to the remaining bike, a tiny purple Disney-Princessy looking thing, picked it up and walked it to the end of the driveway. "Daddy, will you help me?" she asked, piercing me with her bright blue eyes and batting those long thick lashes.


The bike was about a foot tall, so I was done "helping" after roughly three passes. My legs and back screamed out in pain from hunching over the teeny bike and trotting along behind her. But I could tell in that short period of time that Kyra had good balance as long as she kept pedaling. So I took up a position on the driveway and coached her from the sidelines, and ten minutes later, she was zipping along from driveway to driveway. "I'M DOING IT, DADDY!! I'M RIDING A BIKE!!"

I strolled back to the house to get Diane. "Do you want to see your youngest daughter ride a bike?"

"NO WAY!! That didn't take long!"

Kyra spent the rest of the afternoon perfecting her skills, and when we finally got home from our Illinois trip the first thing she wanted me to do was take the training wheels off of her bike. She's been a bike-riding fool ever's all she wants to do. I think she'd sleep with her bike if I'd let her. And now she wants to start riding her bike to school, all of this sparked from a little family rivalry with her younger cousin. I guess we should've headed home months ago.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Returning From My Vacation-Imposed Silence

Greetings to my tens of readers, and by tens I mean my eleven readers! We were in Illinois visiting family, bemoaning the Cubs' pathetic post-season appearance, and taking the girls down memory lane. Every night before bedtime, the girls want us to tell them stories about our childhood, so this was a great time to show them the context of many of those stories, where we grew up, where we went to school, where I got into that fight, where Nana tracked me down with the stolen trash can lids, where Diane taught swimming lessons, etc.

All in all, it was a good trip, with the exception of the 24-hour flu bug I came down with on Friday that left me heaving several deposits at the porcelain ATM. Who knew I had so much to give? I've recovered and am finally enjoying solid bowel movements once again (sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference), and we're back into the full swing of family life here in southern AZ. Ah, there's no place like home.

Saturday, October 06, 2007





Three and out. Cubs are done.

A pathetic postseason display.

It's not really news for these lovable losers,

I guess "There's always next year" starts today.


I - L- L !

continued it's trend of upsetting ranked opponents by beating #5 Wisconsin 31-26, which means the Illini might quite possibly be the real deal this year. I about fell out of my chair when I saw the final score on (a Disney company). I heard all of the pregame hype where the "experts" predicted an upset, but I wouldn't allow myself to believe it (the way I believed their hype about the Cubs over the D'backs. Fool me once...). It's about time. Keep it up Orange & Blue!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Time To Grab Your Rally Caps

Cubs are down 0-2 to the "young and playoff-inexperienced" D'backs. It has been painful to watch, even though I really like this Diamondbacks team. The series resumes tomorrow at Wrigley, and we'll see if Chicago can become the 8th team in major league history to come back from an 0-2 deficit. One of the seven teams to accomplish this feat was the '83 Padres...against none other than...the Chicago Cubs. We're due!

Get those rally caps on!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

And the Oscar Goes To...

I've heard it said that if a shark stops swimming, it will die. There are some days that I believe the same of Kyra's mouth: that if it stops moving, she too will perish. This is why I sometimes affectionately refer to her as Mouth. She doesn't like my little pet name, so I use it sparingly. To say that Mouth has a flair for the dramatic is the understatement of the century...and last century. Mouth has an answer, explanation, excuse, complaint, gripe, scapegoat for EV-ER-Y-THING. Mouth always wants the last word and fights like hell for it. One day I hope that her appreciation for the arts and her fondness of many, many, many words pays off for her, perhaps in the form of a Pulitzer Prize or an Academy Award or at least president of the damn debate club, because I'd hate to think that I've been put through years of endless verbal-Olympic-babble-jousting for nothing.

Those of you readers who have never met Kyra probably think that I am being cruel to write about my baby girl this way. Those of you who HAVE met her are laughing your asses off. We are not parents who wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to our kids. We know from years of butt-wiping that their crap DOES stink. At our recent parent-teacher conference, we found out that Kyra is doing great in school. She is incredibly bright and is testing at the top of her class. But when we asked her teacher how Kyra was doing in the "drama queen" department and getting along with the other kids, her teacher replied, "Oh, you're aware of that?" She was relieved that she didn't have to "break the news" to us that Kyra could be a little overly sensitive when it came to dealing with the other kids. Yeah. We kind of figured that out. I've stopped asking her how her day at school was because her answer is always, "Horrible, so-and-so stuck their tongue out at me, or so-and-so looked at me weird." Even as I write, at 10:02, Diane is attending to Kyra, who can't go to sleep because she has "aches and pains" in her head, chest, back and feet.

Yesterday, I tried to get the girls to help me out by cleaning their rooms. Kailey jumped right to the task, no questions asked. Kyra pouted. I decided to take a different tack. "Let's all work on our rooms and when Mommy comes home we'll surprise her with how clean our rooms are!" For a second I thought she was going to take the bait. But then the tears started to flow. "What's wrong? Don't you want to surprise Mommy?" I asked.

"It's not that." Kyra cried. "I'm just sad because you and Mommy go out on a date for your anniversary and you don't take me and Kailey and we can't decorate the house for you and we can't celebrate your anniversary with you. I just wish you would let us decorate for your anniversary."

The tears gushed down her cheeks as she stood there sobbing.

"But, Sweetie, our anniversary was TWO MONTHS ago."

"I know and you didn't even let us decorate for you. You just dropped us off alone with Grammy and Papa and didn't even let us be a part of your anniversary."

Harder sobbing.

"But what does that have anything to do with CLEANING YOUR ROOM."

"I just wanted to decorate for your anniver..."

"OK, OK, OK, OK, OK...I promise that I'll let you decorate the whole freakin' house on our next anniversary if you'll just settle down and go CLEAN YOUR ROOM."

And the next two hours were filled with
explanations, excuses, complaints, gripes, and scapegoats as to why she couldn't clean her room. My earnest prayer is that this is just a phase that she will soon grow out of. Otherwise I pity the fool who has to listen to this crap for the rest of his life. Eighteen years is about all I am legally required to take.


blogger templates 3 columns | Tech Blog