Category Archives: Munchkin

Superman Can Wait

 

Mother Nature might not agree with what it says on the calendar, but according to her school and Six Flags New England it was Spring Vacation this week. On Wednesday we loaded the truck up with snacks and headed north, determined to take advantage of the only nice day forecast this week in the pursuit of thrills, adventure, and Dipping Dots.

We did, and apparently every other person with children not required to attend school that day within a five state radius did also.

There were a few thrills. Since last summer she’s gained that last inch needed to meet the height requirement for the Thunderbolt, Catwoman’s Whip remains one of her favorites and the short line and incessant pleading were enough to coerce me into the massive mistake that was the Blizzard River.

 

stay little
she stayed dry

 

There was adventure. An epic quest to find an open beer stand, swarms of people hindering our progress and a suddenly soaked rear end slowly turning to ice crystals as the last of the rapids made their way down my ass crack.

Of course there were Dipping Dots, an amusement park staple and at least 30% of the reason that she enjoys going.

 

staying little
gotta have them

 

There was also a surprising amount of time spent on “little kid rides” with no lines. Tea Cups and Krazy Kars and even an old fashioned carousel,¬† the types of rides that we usually would bypass, opting instead to take our place waiting for higher speeds and free falls. A surprising amount of time that I spent just standing around, watching her laugh and wondering why I’m in such a rush for her to gain those last few inches she needs for the twenty story drop on Superman or get over her fear of loop-de-loops.

I love how brave she is, totally up for anything that doesn’t have a loop-de-loop, but it occurred to me that we have a lot of years ahead of us for all that, a decade or more if she’s still willing to hang out with her old man into her teenage years.

It wasn’t the day that I had planned, but it was a damn good one. She got her special ice cream, I eventually found a Sam Adams, and I was almost dry by the time we got back home.

 

life lessons from the tea cups
going for a swing

 

 

 

The Perfect Comeback

 

The first couple of times I blew it off, not wanting to add weight to cruel words by acknowledging their effect. A few platitudes repeated about how we don’t say mean things, even if others do. Advice given to just stay away from the three little boys that seem to think it’s funny to call her “fat.”

After the fourth time I took a different approach. A few hours were spent working the heavy bag in the basement. I told her about how no matter how big or tough somebody was, a quick jab to the base of the nose would blacken their vision for several seconds, a knee to the solar plexus leaving them unable to catch their breath. I dusted off some of my old DVDs, starting with Bloodsport, Kickboxer and several other of the early Jean-Claude Van Damme films.

 

 

That’s obviously not what I really did. There may be a time when some boy on the playground deserves to be knocked on his ass, and I’ll support her if that happens, but there needs to be more justification for a physical response than just words said. ( There probably needs to be more justification for a physical response than just words said, we’ll make that determination at the time. )

No, instead I taught her the art of shit talking, how to identify attributes or insecurities that could be exploited in retaliation for mean things said against her. We You-Tubed old episodes of Wild N Out, watched all the Comedy Central Roasts other than the one where Donald Trump announced he was running for President and meticulously studied the rap battles in 8-Mile. It might not be OK to teach her to break noses, but I was convinced she was ready to break somebody’s spirit.

 

dont mess with this kid

 

OK, I didn’t do that either.

I actually didn’t know what to tell her. The truth is that she is going to face situations like this for the rest of her life. Not because she actually is fat, but because that’s how some people are. Some of them are show offs, trying to be funny in front of their friends. Some have their own insecurities that they are attempting to deal with by trying to bring down others. I’ve become convinced that there are some people that are just filled with sadness, a hole somewhere inside of them that they need to find others to blame for, a cruelty that they just can’t shake.

Instead I taught her the perfect comeback, the one that I always used as a kid when teased about my glasses, my braces, or any of the many other ways that I found to present myself as the biggest dork possible : “I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

If that doesn’t work, there is always tattling.

 

 

 

Where Did The Talking Gene Come From?

 

There have been a lot of shocking moments in television history, but for me the most memorable remains the ending to part two of the 1984 miniseries V:The Final Battle. For those not as old or nerdy as I am, this was a sequel to a previous mini-series that aired on NBC, one of only three channels that we had to choose from in those days, about reptilian space aliens that disguise themselves as human in an attempt to steal the Earth’s water. To answer your first question, yes it was as awesome as it sounds, and for your second, the episode I’m referring to ends with an impregnated human teenager giving birth. The final shot is of a reptilian looking boy with the blue eyes of a human and a human looking girl – who suddenly reveals a forked tongue.

My daughter wasn’t born with a forked tongue, at least not a literal one, but my wife and I will both admit to a moment of stunned surprise the first time that we saw her, that first moment when we were presented with an identical replica of my face somehow transferred onto this tiny child’s body. First pictures sent to family and friends not amused by what they initially thought to be a photo-shopped prank.

 

who's dna is this?
no doubt to paternity here

 

As she’s gotten older the resemblance has gotten less uncanny and there are more and more of my wife’s features and mannerisms that are recognizable. There is a look of displeasure that they both give me often that is particularly similar. Children inherit exactly half of their DNA from each parent but of that 49% will be identical to the half inherited from the other parent. The remaining 1% comes from the father according to a bunch of articles that I read but didn’t fully understand. Other genetic traits are passed on from ancestors but at an increasingly smaller percentage as each generation passes.

What I therefore infer is that somewhere in the family history of either myself or my wife this guy has some explaining to do.

 

 

 

Neither my wife nor I are overly extroverted people. I think that for the most part we are nice enough once you get to know us, though you could certainly find those that would testify otherwise, we just aren’t talkers, not ones to take the initiative when it comes to starting conversation or making new friends. It surprises people that I write this blog because they always assumed I didn’t really have much to say. The biggest mystery surrounding my daughter hasn’t been how such a beautiful little girl can so closely resemble a forty-something schlub, but how many words she is able to expel at such a rapid rate. Where did those chromosomes come from?

This past week we met with her teacher for our quarterly conference and when we asked Alaina what she thought her teacher would report she asked us not to get upset or surprised if we heard that sometimes she talks more than she should in class.

After going over her academic progress her teacher asked us if we were familiar with this meme:

 

so much talking

 

We weren’t surprised.

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Pants on Fire

 

pants on fire

 

This morning went how most go. Around 7:30 I started cleaning up from breakfast and making my daughter’s lunch, sending her upstairs to get dressed and brush her teeth. Unfortunately it also went how the last several have gone. Upon returning downstairs in an outfit completely different than the one agreed upon the night before I again asked her about that teeth cleansing and she once again answered in the affirmative. After I performed a newly necessary breath check, she headed back upstairs to actually brush her teeth.

This morning was slightly different, however. After three straight days of this charade, today I got angry.

 

About six months ago I was sitting at a traffic light and took a minute to look at a notification on my phone while waiting. A town police officer pulled up next to me, rolled down his window and yelled at me for it. I had already put the phone back down, held up my hands in what I thought was a gesture meant to convey that I was done, and carried on my way when the light turned green. Apparently he interpreted these hand signals differently, pulling me over and subjecting me to what might have been one of the most severe beratements I’ve ever suffered through, at one point causing me to have concerns about a possible imminent stroke.

He wasn’t mad because I was looking at my phone. He was furious because he thought that I had lied to him.

What is it about being lied to that causes such a visceral reaction? I’m going to assume that this particular officer had something else going on in his life that morning and that I was the unfortunate recipient of anger that was really directed elsewhere, but the truth is that there really isn’t much that is as painful or disappointing as the knowledge that you have been intentionally told untruths.

 

It’s silly really. We all do it, ¬†probably more than we even realize. Sometimes it’s even for noble reasons, the sparing of somebody’s feelings and such. Other times it’s to avoid confrontation or consequences. Sometimes it just seems easier. How many times have you told somebody the truth about something and then actually wished you hadn’t? How many times have you found out the truth about something and then wished you hadn’t?

I have no idea why my daughter hasn’t been brushing her teeth. It only takes a minute, she likes the flavor of toothpaste we have and her Avengers electric brush enables her to reach areas of the bathroom that she wouldn’t be able to spray toothpaste all over otherwise. I’m guessing that she just gets excited about whatever ensemble she’s put together to wear and can’t wait to come down and show me, forgetting the other half of her assignment.

I do know that I was pretty mad, angrier than I should have been to be honest.¬† I didn’t threaten to wash her mouth out with soap, something that I once did when her older sister was caught lying too many times for my patience, but I was close.

After school we talked about why daddy lost his shit this morning. About how it makes a person feel when they can’t believe what they are being told, about how fragile trust can be and how much harder it is to re-gain than to lose. I gave her the Mark Twain quote about how “If you tell the truth, you never have to remember anything” and then spent twenty minutes explaining who Mark Twain was and why she should listen to what he had to say.

I also told her that her nose would grow, her pants would catch fire, and that I’d be keeping a closer eye on her for the next few days. The most nefarious thing about lying is how easy it is, how quickly it can become habit.

 

 

 

Why We Do It

 

I’m just going to throw this out there – kids can be a giant pain in the ass sometimes. Other people’s kids especially, but even your own. More and more frequently I find myself frustrated by a complete inability to accomplish even the simplest of tasks while my daughter is not at school, constant requests for food and nonstop chatter interrupting any train of thought that I attempt to follow. Yesterday I challenged her to a game of “hide and seek” and took a stack of bills that needed paying out to the garage to write out while she was searching the house for me. They got done but now the beer fridge needs to be refilled and I don’t think she’ll agree to a rematch.

I know that I am partly to blame for the situation. Work keeps me away from her most nights of the week and guilt about this has led me to overcompensate somewhat. We’re always on the go, always doing something. I’m pretty sure that I’ve been to the movies more times in the past year than the previous five or six combined.

 

overcompensating for dad guilt
just here for the popcorn and comfy seats

 

So today I ran away for a while, took a break from coloring and kid’s television and my four foot extra appendage. Instead I spent the afternoon having lunch with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while, somebody with older kids but still sympathetic to my plight.

I expected to feel guilty while I was out and I did. I expected her to remind me that there would be a time when I would be begging my daughter to spend time with me, to remind me of our own teenager, no longer living at home. I expected her to talk about her children’s father and how much they wished he had been more involved in their lives.

These conversations all happened and I appreciated every word, needed to hear them, but weren’t what ultimately had the greatest effect, what had me hurrying home so that we could get a few hours in at the arcade.

It was my pictures. Like any parent, whenever I run into somebody that I haven’t seen in a while I immediately pull out my phone and start showing them pictures of my kids. Its something parents have been doing long before smartphones but makes for much thinner wallets than it used to.

There were pictures of her roller skating, pictures of her in front of the vampire snowmen that we made last weekend, a few really stupid looking selfies of the two of us that won’t be making my Instagram feed anytime soon. The typical pictures that anybody would have, that we all begrudgingly look at because we know that next time it will be us showing them, that unspoken agreement to smile and tell each other how cute our kids look.

She didn’t comment on my kid’s cuteness, obviously an oversight given how cute my kid actually is, but said something that meant a lot more, something that reminded me why we do it. Why we sacrifice so much time, money and energy on these ungrateful little turds.

“She looks so happy in all these pictures.”

 

 

dad guilt
not a bad way to spend a rainy Sunday