Category Archives: Munchkin

Her God

 

 

 

Now that she is almost through with Kindergarten, my daughter knows just about everything. Like most know-it-alls, she has no problem informing others of this fact or educating others about the things that they do not know. She still talks non stop, but there are much less questions than there used to be, instead opening discussions with “did you know?” followed by what feels like a several hour lecture on whatever topic she feels inclined to elucidate on.

Most of the time I enjoy these dissertations, if not the assumption that she knows more than me. They are proof not only that she is paying attention in school, but also that she is still excited about learning new things and is proud of that knowledge.

Other times I have no idea what she is rambling on about and am amazed by the absolute sincerity she projects while stating complete nonsense as indisputable fact. I’m often left wondering where she may have picked up such ideas or if she is just so enamored with the sound of her own voice that she’s content to simply make things up. The degree to which I pay attention can vary, but I was all ears this morning when she sat me down and informed me that “it was time for her to tell me about God.”

Some of her story I had heard before, death being a topic that we’ve discussed before though I’m not sure that she fully understands it, not sure that I want her to. During our plane ride to Florida earlier this month she was convinced that since we were above the clouds, where Heaven was, that she should be able to see dead people out the window. I’ll confess to having no idea whatsoever what to tell her.

The God that she told me about is a maker. In addition to the planet and all the people, He also made the buildings and all the food. He did this to take care of us. He spends his time in Heaven, above the clouds with all the dead people, and He watches over us to make sure that we stay safe and provided for. He wants us to be good people and to do good things for each other. He wants us to all be nice.

Her God is a parent.

 

I have my own personal beliefs, a post for another day perhaps, but religion doesn’t play a major role in our family. Sometime in the near future I’ll start taking her to church and we’ll talk about the things that we hear there. We’ll start at the same Congregationalist Church that her sister and I attended for a while, the one that reminded me of the church of my youth. Their God was a kind one, accepting and tolerant, much like hers.

Along the way she will be taught that whatever she believes, whatever road her own spiritual journey takes, there will be others than believe differently, that have their own Gods and that that’s OK. She’ll be taught that being religious isn’t always the same as being right, no matter how strong and purposeful your faith. She will be taught that there are people that do terrible things in the name of their Gods and also others that do amazing works of charity and good, often in the service of the same.

She doesn’t know near as much as she thinks, but today was a good reminder that she knows more than I think, that there are an increasing number of outside influences on her. I don’t know where she got these ideas about God, but I kind of like the one that she described. He sounds nice.

 

 

 

Conquering the Chore Chart

 

I’ve mentioned this before, but when I was a freshman in high school I spent a weekend at The united States Military Academy in West Point, New York.  It was a trip organized by the Boy Scouts, with a camp out, a running of the obstacle course, and orienteering lessons. For me the trip served a secondary purpose, a chance to look around and talk to some Cadets. A chance to determine whether or not I should seriously pursue my ideas about applying there.

It was an eye opening experience, quickly convincing me that I probably didn’t possess the drive and self discipline that would be required.  One of the things that helped me come to this conclusion was hearing from some of the students that they slept every night on the floor next to their bunks rather than in them.  The standard for how their beds were prepared every morning was so strict that it simply wasn’t worth going through the process every day.

It’s a story that I was reminded of last night, shortly before my daughter’s bed time. She had gone upstairs to clean her room before brushing her teeth and settling down and as I headed in to check her progress I instead found her at the hallway closet, removing a spare pillow and sheet set.  She was so proud of the job that she had done making her bed that morning that she was insistent that she be allowed to sleep in a small tent set up in the corner of her room so that she wouldn’t mess it up.

The only way that she finally became agreeable to getting under her covers was if I agreed to take a picture of the bed so that she would know how to replicate her hard work the following day.

 

chore chart conundrum
too perfect to sleep in

 

Both the room cleaning and bed making are new daily jobs, two of the five that she must now complete every day in order to be in compliance with the chore chart that she helped put together at Daisy Scouts.

 

almost done for the day

 

On the surface this seems like a great idea, a way to start encouraging responsibility and introducing her to the idea of expectations regarding the sharing of household duties. Habits formed now that hopefully will continue in the future. An avoidance of the endless nagging that seems necessary to get her older sister to perform even the simplest of tasks.

Instead what we have is a new obsession, an extra half hour added on to our morning routine and the potential for a stern scolding if I get caught filling up the dog’s bowl.  The nearby chart offers no room for discussion regarding who’s job that now is.  I’m fairly certain that she is now purposely throwing her dirty clothes on the floor next to her hamper so that she will have something to clean up after her shower,  a way to clean a room that otherwise may not have needed cleaning that particular day.

Fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any real anxiety involved, something that her competitive nature always has me nervous about.  To her this is just another challenge that once accepted, must be completed. Every day.  No matter how late it makes us for school.

I still think a chore chart is a great idea. Still admire her drive, her willingness to help around the house, and the ferocity with which she attacks anything new.  A slight decrease in intensity once in a while would probably be OK though.

 

chore chart conundrum
Another day on the job

 

 

Taking One On The Chin

 

 

Another first
just another day of dragon hunting

 

Our day started well enough.  After an hour of running around the woods there was still plenty of time before the end of the teenager’s soccer practice for us to go to the adjacent playground for a while.  I settled in at a shaded picnic table to “watch this” as she walked across a steel balance beam approximately three feet off the ground somewhere between twenty and thirty times in a row.

It’s an act I had seen quite a bit of on our last visit.  A demonstration of agility she was thrilled that no longer required holding my hand to accomplish.  The latest challenge faced and overcome.

One that we may have been a bit premature in celebrating.

 

One to the chin
An unexpected detour

 

A lapse in concentration, a missed step and more blood than I would have expected later and we instead had our first visit to the Emergency Room, seven stitches being required to close the laceration on her chin.

As always, I was amazed by the toughness and resiliency of this kid. There were tears, there was some shock at the amount of blood, and there was fear when she was lay down for the sutures, but she handled it all without complaint.  After a numbing compress took some of the sting away her biggest concerns were over the chips in her freshly painted nails and whether or not she was still going to look pretty when her family came over for Easter dinner.

I’ll be curious to see what happens when we go back.  She has a stubbornness to her that has never really been tested in this manner before.  Will this be considered a failure that needs to be rectified, or a reason to stay away from the beam from now on?

I’m guessing that it’s going to be somewhere in the middle.  I won’t push, but if she needs some encouragement to get back on I’ll provide it.  Both of us will need her to be holding my hand the first few attempts.

There’s an old boxing cliche that a fighter can never be considered a true champion until the first time he takes one on the chin, hits the mat, and gets back up.  Today my daughter took her first real shot to the chin. I’m willing to bet she’ll be ready to go when the next round begins.

 

 

 

Pain in the Nards

 

As we watched our five year olds madly chase each other across the length of the playground, deftly avoiding collisions with the dozens of much smaller children that made up the day’s majority, the mother of the girl that Alaina was currently running from commented that all of the toddlers were “making her ovaries ache.”

Sometimes uterus is substituted for ovaries, but it’s a common phrase, meant to symbolize a woman’s yearning to have a child. What I realized is that there is no male equivalent saying.  Had I acknowledged her sentiment by replying that watching these small children play gave me a similar feeling in my gonads or seminal vesicles, I fear that the statement would not be taken in the spirit in which it was intended.

There really should be one, a way for a man to express these feelings without worrying about getting those gonads kicked in or being escorted from the premises.

There should be, because we feel it too.  We feel that desire to return to days we’ve since over sentimentalized.  We see these littles, with their smooth skin and their bald heads, eyes wide as every new discovery fascinates and delights them and we think about returning to those days, think about starting over.

 

 

It’s why I would recommend anyone contemplating a vasectomy to make absolutely sure that you ready.  Despite my wistful tone, I’m perfectly content with my choice, the occasional stray thought aside. A few that I’ve talked to recently aren’t, and I can understand that. If you’ve never read my snip story, you can find it here on liofeofdad.com, but the short version is that it’s a very easy procedure.  I went on a Saturday morning and drove myself home with no discomfort.  There was a pinch and a burn on the side that the Urologist numbed up, a weird pulling sensation on the side that he neglected to.

The worst part is the finality of it.  It’s what kept me in the parking lot for twenty minutes before going in for the procedure and what sometimes will contribute to a melancholy moment or two while watching my daughter play.

The moments are often short lived.  The mother with the “aching ovaries” carried her little girl out of the park slung over her shoulder, screaming all the way.  Left to amuse herself, mine promptly proceeded to get herself stuck in a tree.

 

stuck in a tree

 

Sometimes it’s just a figure of speech, rhetorical musings. Others the result of a trip to the doctor and sometimes it comes from a well placed kick from a panicking wanna be monkey.  Whatever the origin, kids can be a real pain in the nards.

 

 

Attack of the Joker

 

I’m usually not opposed to a good prank.  I like the guys from the Impractical Jokers television show, have owned at least one whoopie cushion over the years, and used to spend a great deal of time and energy trying to scare the crap out of my wife whenever the opportunity presented itself.  I usually prefer it when I’m not the target of this mischief, but think that I do a pretty good job of laughing at my own misfortunes when the situation dictates.

I’ve never been a fan of April Fool’s Day, however.  A day devoted to tomfoolery and hoaxes should have a good origin story – a pagan ritual to fool evil spirits or a medieval fable about a jester tricking a king into letting him run off with the royal daughter.  Instead there’s a Flemish poem about a foolish noblemen from 1539, something about the Gregorian calendar that doesn’t seem to make sense, and a theory that when Noah mistakenly sent out the dove before the water had completely abated, the date was April First.

It’s an annoyance, a day of deception without any real purpose.  Not long ago I heard a very legitimate sounding radio advertisement promoting the grand opening of a clothing optional Chinese Restaurant called Wang’s Palace and I have no idea if it’s a real place or not.  I can’t wait until tomorrow when I can go back to believing everything that I see on the news and the internet.

My daughter did not share my feelings. A day that not only tolerated obnoxious behavior but actively encouraged it being one that she had been excited for all week. Upon awaking this morning, the first thing I found was a note on my nightstand.  Her handwriting still resembles something a drunk chicken would scratch in the barnyard dirt, but after some decoding and a bit of imagination it was revealed to say : “Happy April Pranks Day. Watch out for all my traps.”

Thankfully she hasn’t seen any of the Home Alone movies and most of her traps turned out to be pretty benign.  Before taking the dog out I had to empty crumpled up newspaper from my boots and everybody’s sneakers were filled with crayons.  I spent way too long looking for my keys before noticing the giggling from under a nearby table and both my wife and I had the contents of our underwear drawers emptied onto our pillows.  She spent close to an hour hiding in the dog’s crate while I pretended not to know where she was.

 

a merry prankster
a brilliant hiding spot

 

It makes me a bit nervous about the years to come.  She hasn’t developed the sophistication of an evil genius quite yet, but the inherent deviousness is there.  All it will take is a little bit of inspiration before we start finding plastic wrapped toilets, taped water nozzles and ice cube trays filled with dish soap.  I’m going to be paying a lot closer attention to my surroundings this time next year.

 

attack of the joker
evil genius at work