Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is that all there is?...Santa, Jesus and Everybody...

We were at my sister in law's on Christmas eve. It is an annual ritual that we all enjoy and look forward to all year. Mrs. Narrator, to see her sister; the Boy and I for the wondrous spread she puts out every year of groovy snacks and finger foods of every type imaginable and even more exciting deserts. And Izzy gets the chance to perform in front of a captive audience that hangs on her every word.
She had been spending he time frightening everybody with a flashlight.
Izzy:"I'm scary with this flashlight. Daddy, you try to scare me with the flashlight."
Daddy: "It's not going to be too scary if you know it's coming, right?"
Izzy: "No, just do it. It'll be scary alright."
Daddy:(holding flashlight under chin) "I am the ghost of Isobel's father...oooohhh..."
Izzy's Aunt called out that it was time to open presents.
Izzy:"Very scary Daddy. Now let's go have a look at what I always wanted."

Christmas day started early around our house this year...very early. The boy started coming in at 3:30 a.m.(NOT and exaggeration) and proceeded to come back every hour on the hour until we relented and finally got up at a quarter to seven. Izzy to her credit, had to be roused from her bed. And so we made our way downstairs, two racing-two stumbling and complaining about the time and the need for caffeine, to discover the true meaning of Christmas...gifts. Because that really is what it's all about stuff- and how much stuff you can get. He who dies with the coolest crap wins, right?
The living room was packed full with more crap for the kids then I frankly, remember buying. And the kids lost their minds...that's really the best way to describe it...and the kids lost their minds. I remember the first instance of a sound not unlike the ripping of paper, followed by a high pitched sound in the neighbourhood of high C and not much after that. I held a video camera, figuring to catch all of this merriment for posterity. The footage is all but useless. Blurs of whipping arms and that damned high pitch whine is all that I managed to capture.
And the kids lost their minds...and why not? I don't think any of us were any different. The gifts have changed along with the price tags but the madness is the same I'm certain. I don't doubt for a second that somewhere in my past is a relative who went mad with joy Christmas morning when he found out he got a pair of wool socks, so who are we to be any less joyous?
Isobel is my child without any doubt. She had ripped through three or four wrapped packages and was on to the next before the Boy had even finished reading the back of his first. The Boy who is incidentally, meticulous and careful in his gift opening, has a line of parentage separate form Izzy and though his Grandmother always sends a little something for Izzy, the simple fact remains that he gets more presents. I was in a similar situation when I was younger and it kinda bugged me back then. it was not lost on Izzy either.
After she had gone through all hers she looked at all he had left and asked, "Is that it? Is that all there is for me?"
I tried to explain to her about The Boy's grandmother.
"She likes to send presents at Christmas time and she sent you something too. She didn't have to but she did. And it wasn't that long ago that you were more interested in the paper than the gifts."
"I know that Daddy but now I like gifts. Are there any more for me?"

I find it strange and ironic that the entire build up to Christmas, all the guessing and hoping and buying and love and heartache, is over within five minutes of the first piece of paper being torn...and the kids lost their minds...

There are a couple of things that happened this year that really put Christmas into perspective for me. Were were sitting around the dinner table at my In-Law's place on Christmas day, after coffee and cake when Izzy suggested we sing. Like the miserable adults we are, nobody wanted to. Like the retired and nothing to lose guy he is, Mrs. Narrator's father started singing and shamed us all into joining him. we started off with Christmas carols that nobody knew all of the words to and meandered into The Beatles 'Yellow Submarine'(SumBarine Isobel corrected us) until we finally landed on 'On top of Old Smokey'
The unbridled happiness and zeal that was firmly displayed on Izzy's face was a look I will never forget. She seemed to get more out of the singing than any of the gifts she received...and she loved her gifts. She was pumping her hand across her chest like an old drunken sailor, absolutely rapt with joy. Of course, my camera was nowhere near...
The second happened only today. We were down in the basement, Izzy playing and me on the treadmill when I fully took in the glory that was my daughter.(also no camera) From bottom to top as follows; pink cow-girl boots, flower print short pyjamas and matching flower print tank top and Santa hat that is at least eight sizes to big. She wandered about the basement with a brown paper shopping bag making fart noises and thanking the lord.
"Phhttt, thank-you Jesus. Phhttt, thank-you Jesus. Phhht, not now Jesus, Phhhttt Oh Jesus, Phhhttt, come on Jesus, Phhhttt, thank-you Jesus."
...god bless us everyone...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Daddy's little ham...A Christmas Carol...

Mrs. Narrator had come home from grocery shopping and Izzy grabbed the toilet paper and disappeared. We found her putting her doll to bed on it, complete with pillow and blanket.
Daddy: "Put the toilet paper back. It's not a bed for your doll, it's toilet paper."
Izzy: "It's not a bed, it's just for her to lie down on because she is a very sickly Asian."
Daddy:"A what? A sickly what?"
Izzy: "She has a sickness. A very sickly Asian kind of sickness and this helps her feel better."

It is that time of year again. The Seasonal glut of food and booze and presents and late bedtimes for the kids and sleep deprivation for the folks. And I love every second of it. There are far too few things in this life that are equal to the unbridled joy and lunacy of kids on Christmas morning. Watching the Romanesque orgy of avarice that possesses every kid from here to Tucumcari on the morning of December 25 warms my old frozen heart.
That being said, who was the bozo that said, "We're gonna have this Holiday, right and on this holiday we're going to give the kids pretty much everything they have ever wanted-with no strings attached. (OK, with you so far. Sounds like a gas) And then we're going to take these gifts and we're gonna wrap 'em up in colourful paper that we're gonna let the kids tear into shreds and throw around the house and we're not gonna care. (OK, a little messy but what the hell the kids get to have have a break too, right?) Then we're gonna let the kids eat crappy, sugary sweet food all day and run around like lunatics and we're not gonna do anything about it. (Man the kids are gonna love this one) And now here's the best bit. The kids are going to wake up at at a quarter past three on the morning of Christmas and the will be unable to get back to sleep and will continually ask 'can we get up yet?' (Wait, what's the middle part again?) Eventually you will relent and give into the kids by uttering the traditional holiday morning blessing. ("Alright, we can get up. Oh Christ, is it really six thirty?")
I loved being in the Christmas pageant as a kid and the apple has not fallen far from the tree. Izzy's very first Christmas show was last week. The drawback of working the night shift is missing these little gems as they actually unfold. The miracle of the modern age that we live in is the digital camera that Mrs. Narrator took with her.
Wow...is the word that instantly came to mind. As in wow if there was ever any doubt as to my role in her parentage it is gone now. Izzy is a super star of the highest order...OK I'm bragging a little but the fact remains she commanded the stage. Leonard Malten would have said her axe swinging was as realistic as he had ever seen. Pauline Kael would have made note of how she owned the stage by actually edging the kids on her side off of it and Gene Shalit would have noted that she may not know how to read but that Isobel knows what the number three looks like. Her hand gestures at the end of the performance (completely unscripted and improved I might add) brought a flair to the show that would have been that much less if they had been missing...The video itself is making the rounds in the family and I promise to post it up here if I am able. For now, let your imagination take you to a gym in southern Ontario, where you can watch a four year old girl in a red skirt and a green shirt live out the highs and lows in the life of five little Christmas trees...

And now a Christmas carol written by the Boy, The original occupant of the Fuzzy Blue Chair. Had me in stitches when he first sang it and will still make me smile whenever I hear it...enjoy.

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg.
The Batmobile lost a wheel
And the Joker got lost in some tall grass.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Wisdom from The Fuzzy Blue Chair!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Izzy and Buzz Aldrin...who wrote this story, anyway?...

Winter is finally upon us and there had been a sudden drop in temperature after a few days of rain. It was cold and snowy now and we all felt it.
Izzy:"Daddy, I'm cold. Real cold."
Daddy:"I'm not surprised. It's cold out. Cold and damp...it's the kind of cold that goes right through you. Gets right into your bones." (I felt a little like Quint from Jaws as I spoke of the cold)
Izzy: "I've been eating snow! BELCH."

I hate winter. Loathe it. But the kids love it as all kids seem to. Izzy and the Boy are both at home in it and they both seem impervious to the cold. A trait which came from neither Mrs. Narrator or I.
Now sometime during the summer months, Isobel got a donation bag of clothes from one of the kids she used to go to daycare with. Before we get cards and letters asking about our financial situation, the donations have been happening for as long as Izzy has been in day care and to anyone who is the parent of a little girl that changes her outfits as much as Izzy does, it's a godsend.
In this particular bag of clothes, were two snow suits. The girl who donated these clothes, though older, is not much bigger than Izzy so I was a little perplexed when out came not one but two snowsuits that were big enough to fit her and my daughter both...Since the arrival of these suits, Isobel has spoken of virtually nothing but winter and snowmen and snow angels.
Are snow angels snow men that are dead? she asked me.
"Sure are." I said. But I had to step back and ponder the brilliance of this line of thinking. I had never heard this question before nor thought of it myself...it's scary sometimes just how smart she really is...
"Daddy?" she began.
"Yes my delicate tulip?" I replied.
"Daddy what's dead?" she asked...
So for the remainder of the summer and all through the fall and Indian summer and fall again that seemed to go on forever, Izzy's willing it to happen finally did and the snow fell. I picked her up from school and she could barely contain the excitement of being able to make a snow angel, her very first.
She ran from the car on a direct course to an open snowy spot in the backyard, her gigantic snow suit threatening to swallow her up as she ran.
"Weeeeeeee-hawwww!" she yelled as she ran.
She walked around for a bit, like a dog flattening it's bed and then proceeded to flop on her back and begin top move her arms and legs. Giggling and laughing as she did it. And then a scream ripped the air.
"Daddy!" she screamed. "Daddy! Daddy!!!!!!!!!!"
Horrid things flashed momentarily through my mind until I realized, thins was our backyard. How much danger could she possibly be in. Still I hurried to see what was wrong.
"Daddy!" she bellowed and cried again, worry in her voice. It must have seemed forever, the minute and half it took me to walk from my car to where she was in the back yard
There she lay, on her back like a cross between a turtle and Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon. Gigantic tears mixing with clumps of snow running down her face. I leaned over her and I could see the nervous excitement and fear and exuberance all crossing her face. It was an amusing picture.
"What's the problem, baby doll?" I asked.
She looked around and whispered, "I can't get up."

My favourite time with Izzy are story times at bedtime. Not because I love reading to my kids...which I do but because I have tried over the years to warp the behaviour of my children with the stories I read them. It is my right as a parent to deceptively try to get my children to do my bidding.
If there is a part of the story where a character does something particularly rude, I will insert a more polite scenario. For example, the Big Bad Wolf used to knock on the door and wait to be invited in and Goldilocks always cleaned up after herself before she left the house. O.K. so neither kid actually ever bought it and I stopped doing it. But I figured if it worked just once, then what the hell?
One night I figured I would give it a go again to see what happened. We were reading "Pinkalicious", one of Izzy's favourite books about a little girl who becomes obsessed with the pink cupcakes she and her mother made and eats so many of them, she turns pink. In my telling of the story however, every time she does something she's not supposed to, I read that she either did what she was supposed to or that she did the wrong thing and knew she would have to live with the consequences.
Izzy kept looking at the front of the book and back to me.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"Is that what it really says? That's not what Mommy said when she read it. Is that really what it says?"
"Oh yes," I said magnanimously.
"Who wrote this book?" she asked indignantly.
"Why?" I asked
"This book sucks."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Return to Crap...Snow falling on Concrete...

The brilliance that is my progeny:
I had just gotten out of the shower when Isobel flung open the door.
Izzy: "Daddy, I want to tell you something that doesn't matter."
Daddy:"What? You want to what?"
Izzy: "When you are wearing pants, THEN you have clothes on."
Daddy: "What? I don't understand what you are talking about."
Izzy: "Never mind, it doesn't matter."

"Daddy," she started to ask me last week. "Is crap a bad word?"
"No," I said. "I don't think crap is a bad word."
"Even for me?" she asked.
"Even for you." I said.
"My teacher said I shouldn't say crap because it's a bad word."
"Well," I began. "What's O.K. at home isn't always O.K. at school and if your teacher says you can't say crap, then you can't say crap at school. I don't care if you say crap at home. It's O.K. here at home."
"That's good," she said "I've gone back to saying crap, you know."
A few days later Isobel insisted on wearing a tank top under a sweater to school one day. In the middle of a nasty December cold snap. Both Mrs. Narrator and I told her how cold it was outside and how cold she would be all day if she didn't put on something warmer. Sometimes you have to let them, learn the hard way.
By the time I got to her after school (after approximately six seconds outside) her skin was taking on a blueish hue and she could barely speak over the teeth chattering.
"So your tank top days are over 'til next summer. Too cold, right? You'll be lucky if you don't get pneumonia." (Another vastly illogical parental chestnut that I have been waiting my entire life to use.)
"What's m-m-memonia?" she chattered.
"You get really sick." I said trying to sound concerned and fatherly.
Like how sick?" she asked, the colour starting to return to her cheeks. "like have to stay inside in bed sick?"
"Oh yes," I said.
"And would you get a temperature?"
"Burning up," I said.
"You g-g-go on fire?" she shivered again. "Holy c-c-crap, you'd burn the bed."

So Izzy was downstairs in the basement with me again, wrapped up in the old silver tree skirt again and knocking stuff over while "Queen Isobel" berated her lazy subjects again. It was a lot of;
"You people just don't get it." Crash.
"You will be punished!" Crang.
"You will respect me and listen!" Wham.
I was preparing to say something about the mess that she was creating and how she and her subjects had better start cleaning it up...and then something odd happened. The Avril Lavigne song "I'm with you" (Damn Cold Izzy calls it) came on the ipod (Yes thank-you it is on my ipod...for Izzy and me) and Izzy closed her eyes, put her head back and started turning slowly to the music. It was strange and beautiful all at once and it made me think of someone turning on a snowy day, catching snowflakes on their tongue as they turned round and round. I don't know why but that was the image that went through my mind.
My kids are brats. As was I and my siblings brats to our parents and Mrs. Narrator was to her her parents and your kids are brats and so were you and so are everyone else's kids. Brats, brats, brats... But they are precious, kids are. The most meaningful thing you will ever do in your life is raise your kids. I don't think I know anything more about parenting than I did four years ago, the only difference is now I feel like a Dad.
The holidays are coming up...spoil your kids. They deserve it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The school marm and the whistle blower...Metal before bedtime...

There was a slight nip of winter in the air and the derby girls had invaded the house to make t-shirts. In these situations, the blender usually comes out and hilarity ensues. Izzy was naturally thrilled. I remember that nobody was drinking, not even your humble narrator(which in itself is strange with a house full of derby girls!) when Izzy began chasing after Mrs. Narrator.
Izzy:"Drink beer , Mummy!"
Mrs. Narrator:"What!?!"
Izzy:"Just drink it, Mummy. Drink it. drink it, drink it. Drink alcohol, drink it!"

When Izzy was a baby and a very colicky one at that, I used to sing her to sleep. Walking back and forth across the kitchen floor. I didn't (and still don't) know many sing babies to sleep kind of songs and so I sang her what I knew. The Beatles, the Who, the Pogues, I think I might have even thrown in a Clash song or two.I marvel when I see what a huge impact music has had on Izzy, though I can't say it surprises me. At four she know what she likes and doesn't like and will listen, ad nauseum, to her current favourite song until she learns the lyrics...well her versions of the lyrics. I actually caught myself telling her to "turn the racket down!" the other day...good god, have I become old and unhip at 42? Though it is a little disturbing to hear my daughter sing about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack (with an electric dolphin toothbrush no less) I appreciate how quickly she picked up the lyrics and the nuances of Kesha's dance moves. Ok so Izzy was starting to dance like a stripper and we had to put the kibosh on her Kesha listening...but still she is the only four year old that I know who's life has a soundtrack.
She has invented her own class of music. We will be driving along and Whitesnake or someone of their ilk will come on the radio. "Now THIS is crappery!" she will say. Her lyrical interpretations are the stuff of legend...we get to hear them endlessly and so I'll share them.
(To the tune of Heaven's on Fire by Kiss Izzy's favourite band): "Feel my feet, take it to Juan. Burn with me, Heaven's own farm." Brilliance at it's peak.
She went through a Kate Bush period for a while, Babooshka was at the top of the hit Parade.
Izzy: "What is a Babooshka?"
Daddy:"It's kind of a head scarf."
Izzy:"That's stupid. What the hell does that have to do with the song? Nothing, that's what."
Is she wrong?
Lately she has been singing song about everyday events. Some of her own writing(composed on her light up play along piano), some inspired by her favourites.
Izzy: (Tickling the ivories) "I should be wearing...I should be wearing...I should be wearing...SHOOOOO-OOOOES!!!!!!!"
The other night she came up with a grammy winner. (To the turn of Def Leppard's Foolin' but in the voice of (insert low guttural death metal voice of your choice)
Izz: "Buh...buh...buh...BEDTIME! dahn, dahn, ( yes she makes the guitar noise when she sings the song) Buh...buh...buh...BEDTIME!
Rock-a-bye baby...

Izzy has taken to wearing Mrs. Narrator's high heels and walking around the house with a pointer and asking everyone to point to a number 12. I was severely reprimanded and told to stay after school because I pointed to a number 12 instead of the 13 that she had actually meant. Mrs. Baker (I wasn't even going to begin to try and explain that one to her) told me that I was being punished for not knowing what she meant in the first place...good lord, there's two of them now...
All through out this Izzy had been asking me to play with the flashlight which I had been telling her she couldn't. She said it was the school microphone and that she needed it to make announcements. I explained that I have one flashlight left that hasn't disappeared or been dismantled and I wanted to keep it that way. Maybe I was sick or maybe she's just too cute but I relented and let her play with it.
She snatched it from my hands eagerly and held it to her lips.
Izzy: "Owen, come to the office. You have been very bad for saying crap and need to be punished. NOW OWEN!" ...tight pulled back hair and pantsuits are what all the four year olds are wearing these days, right?...

No matter how strong your relationship is or how idyllic your life, we are all human beings and we will all lose our patience and our tempers from time to time. Mrs. Narrator and I are no different. We do however, have the difference of having children that can sense when the upper hand of an argument is shifting and will jump on board with the winning team and gang up on the loser. I am seldom on the winning team.
One Sunday, tempers flared and patience boiled over and the shouting started. I quickly went from seething, to angry, to just going to go upstairs now and keep my mouth shut. And as I was going upstairs I distinctly heard my muse, my little inspiration say to Mrs. Narrator, "Oh yeah? Well he made me go to my room!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Do you know who I am...More fun than yelling at the cat...

We were at the mall once and we were in a crowd of people, waiting in line for food if I remember. Now in these situations, nature has a way of causing things to happen that make this already unpleasant experience even more so. I didn't hear anything but I could certainly smell it.
Izzy: "Oh god, Daddy who did that?" she nearly shouted.
Daddy: "Shhh, not so loud. I don't know but it sure is bad."
Izzy: "I've never smelled anything like that in my life. Somebody stinks." she said, still shouting.
Daddy: "Not so loud , honey." I said half chuckling. "But you're right," I whispered. "somebody does stink."
We got our food and made our way to the table. By the time we got there, Izzy had a look on her face that was not unlike some one holding a turd under her nose and that she was not displeased about it. It looked half disgusted and half thrilled.
Daddy: "What's the matter?"
Izzy: "Nothing, nothing is the matter."
Daddy: "Then what is that look for?"
Izzy: "It was me."
Daddy: "What?"
Izzy:"It was me...I Fahted." (she said it just like that, with a posh English accent)
Daddy: (stunned) "You rule."

Like many people, our basement is the store house for all the site specific items that would congest the entire house if they were allowed to mingle with the other, every-day use items. Christmas decorations, winter jackets, tools, paint cans, old books and boots and luggage and every other thing that has little regular use. Put a little girl with a well developed imagination in the middle of this and she will entertain herself endlessly...really.
I used to think that Izzy would come downstairs when I was on the treadmill because she wanted to hang around with me. Unfortunately, I am just not that cool. The basement on the other hand is a wondrous place where Isobel is queen (complete with Christmas tree skirt cape) and sweaty old fathers just keep on running.
I would like to think that she gets all of this from me but honestly, I am not that quick and I don't think my play universe was quite as developed as hers has become in four years. I marvel at it every time I see it and wonder where she gets it from.
She put on an old sweater of mine and wrapped it around herself and then grabbed two rolls of Christmas paper and was using them like crutches. She hobbled back and forth across the basement mumbling and waving her arms. She stopped in front of me and I could finally see and hear what she was up to. She looked up at me, with a look that no four year old should be able to make and said, "arms for the poor."
"ALMS," I said. "alms for the poor."
"Bombs for the poor?" she asked.
"Skip it," I said. I could sense where this would end up. "Where did you learn that, alms for the poor and crutches and all?"
"I don't know," she said in that way that all kids can say I don't know with out actually opening their mouth that sounds more like MM m MMmm.
Our basement houses the luggage that in general only sees the light of day once or twice a year and Isobel is usually with the luggage on one of these occasions. So it came as no surprise when I saw her racing across the basement floor, dragging a suitcase behind her.
"Where's the fire, Pick?" I asked.
"No fire Daddy, I got a plane to catch."
She raced back and forth, dragging this suitcase behind her, at least a dozen times and finally came to rest at the bottom of the steps. She looked like she was digging through the hip sack she was wearing and was in a heated discussion with the person across the steps. I actually stopped the treadmill, knowing this would be a good one.
"I am going to Trahno and I NEED to get there and you NEED to help me to Trahno. Do you understand me?"
She ran back and forth a few more times until she came to her gate, I am guessing and again she went on about NEEDING to get to Trahno and that the other person NEEDED to help her to get to Trono. And then she said something I wouldn't have expected.
"Lookit," she argued. "I need to get to Trahno today and you are going to help me get to Trahno today, right? Look do you know who I am?"... This column must be more popular than we thought...
We are going back to Mexico in February...I can see myself at the counter, tickets in one hand, Isobel in other waving her at the ticket agent asking "Do you know who this is?"

Our prehistoric cat Gimmo has taken to wandering around the house at all hours of the night yowling...for no apparent reason. He howls when there is no food or water, he yowls when there is. He howls when he is on his filthy chair as well as when he is not. He yowls before, during and after he barfs all over the house. He is a senile, smelly nappy and loud. He is also stone deaf. We all have take turns yelling for him to "shut up!" Which is more stress relief than anything else. He is deaf. Izzy doesn't quite get what deaf is and thinks Gimmo is just being rude.
He was being particularly loud one day and wouldn't stop yowling. He usually quits after a couple of minutes back on his filthy chair but today he would not be silenced.
"Gimmo, SHUT UP!!!!" Izzy yelled..."Yowl," came his reply.
"Shut up Gimmo!!"..."Yowl,"
I began to wonder how long this would go back and forth. I didn't have to wait long for an answer. She had gone into the kitchen and grabbed a small, plastic wrapped piece of candy. Obviously not a kind of candy she liked even a little. She walked back into the living room, sized him up and beaned Gimmo dead between the eyes with the candy. He didn't make a sound as he leaped from his filthy chair and hid under the kitchen table.
"Why did you do that?" I asked.
"Well, it's more fun than yelling at him."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bringing on the heartache...Daddy is still good...

There is a huge swan feather that is just sort of hanging around in the basement. Nobody is certain how it got down there and no one is brave enough to dispose of it, so in the basement it stays. Izzy was down there with me one day and picked it. She started running around with it and flapping her arms.
Daddy: "What have you got there?"
Izzy: "The biggest feather in the world."
Daddy: "Oh, are you trying to fly?"
Izzy: "With one feather?"
Daddy: "Well, you said it's the biggest in the world. So I thought maybe you might..."
Izzy:(cutting me off) "You totally don't get flying Daddy."

It's been one of those kinds of weeks where you think about your kids and how much they change...and how quickly. Yesterday I could, quite literally, hold Isobel in one hand and today she is four. I remember when she was very small I was the only one she would fall asleep with. If Mrs. Narrator tried to put her to sleep, Izzy would figure out a way to get more food and it would be an all night smorgasbord for her with no one actually snoozing. So I was voluntold and to my chagrin, it worked. Couple of minutes of watching T.V. and Izzy was out like a light.Nap time was more or less the same. We'd put on a show and off to sleep she went. Problem was, she always fell asleep in my arms which meant I was trapped. Nap time was O.K...who doesn't like a mid-day snooze? But back then Izzy was going to bed shortly after supper and so was I. Oh I tried to sneak away or roll my arm out from underneath her but she always woke up. Seemed like it went on forever but in retrospect it wasn't that long...
At some point the child who would only sleep for me and was absolutely Daddy's little girl, decided I didn't exist as long as Mrs. Narrator was around. She wouldn't listen to me, ask me to play with her and generally wanted nothing to do with me. I wasn't as hurt(though I was hurt by it) as I was confused. It came with no warning. There was no " I don't like Daddy anymore," nothing like that but there was a lot of "I loooooovve you Mummy," flying around the house. None of it was meant to hurt me I'm sure, but it did sting a little.
We were in Mexico last year and Izzy had discovered how much fun it was to come ripping down the slide in the kiddie pool, as long as someone was on the other end to catch her. Over and over and over again. I did it at least a thousand times and now it was Mrs. Narrator's turn. She caught Izzy the first time and all was smiles and laughter. The second time however, she accidentally (on purpose) let Izzy go under the water and quicker than you can say "Oh cabana boy, another Mai Tai for me and a Shirley temple for my daughter," they were out of the pool and sitting back down.
I thought this was surely going to change things for me. Izzy can't believe that that was an accident, when it so obviously was not. But she never caught on AND she never asked Mrs. Narrator to take her to the slide again. (the woman is brilliant) Oh she had no problems letting me catch her on the slide until I started to walk and talk like Igor and I could never let her go under for even a second for fear of inflicting some kind of permanent emotional scar that will send her to therapy for the rest of her adult life...and so it went for sometime.
Until that is Izzy became four and was acting so very four years old and Mrs. Narrator had had enough. Izzy got in trouble and the look of betrayal that crossed her face was a look I don't care to see on my daughter's face again. (unless of course it is the result of being punished by her mother again)
Izzy ran into my arms, sobbing as though some one had kicked her in the shins with stolen shoes. Vindication, sweet vindication had come my way and my little girl was mine again. All the next day, she was very clingy with me and a little stand offish with her mother. I was smiling inside as much as out. Mrs. Narrator seemed unconcerned with the whole situation...she must have known...All the way to school and after, there were plenty of hugs and "I love you Daddy" but as soon as soon as Mummy returned home from work, it was back to "Daddy who?"...what part do I need to let go under water so she will change her mind about dating?

His name is "D" as in Little D because his dad is Big D. He is a good looking, bright boy who goes to the same school as and is in love with my daughter. For her own part, Isobel is also mad about D. They are virtually inseparable when they are together and the first time I saw the two of them, he was sucking his thumb and running his fingers through Izzy's hair. It's a comfort thing so I am told and shows that he trusts Izzy and feels very close to her. Whatever gets you through the night, was my first thought.
When we arrive at school in the morning, Izzy and D disappear and Heathcliff and Kathy emerge. They will literally drop everything and run for each other, arms outstretched and calling each others names. The will smash into each other and embrace in a kind of revolving mutual headlock. "IZZY!" "D!" Slam! Every morning it is like this.
But oh a woman is a fickle creature and it doesn't matter what her age. The other morning as I awaited for the ritual to unfold, D came running toward us calling Izzy's name and was met with silence. I saw the look come over him and it was a mix of shame and confusion. Much the same look that all men who love women have. I felt for him and wanted to say something but thought better of it...better that he find out for himself, he'd never believe it coming from somebody else anyway. The bell rang and inside the two of them went...separately. After school, they were still not speaking. I asked Izzy what was the matter, why was she not talking to D.
"He NEEDS to hug me too much, I don't like that."she said.
This would be one of those moments near the end of the film when love songs play in the background and the older, wiser man offers the younger a drink or a lifesaver candy and tells him that it gets easier as you get older and you will eventually understand women... And then the film ends and the look of confusion and shame fixes itself firmly across you face as you willingly trudge across the parking lot in the pouring rain to get the car...ain't love grand?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Izzy sinks the Titanic...the Devil's carousel...

Izzy:(As she was walking backward through the living room) "Daddy look at me!
Daddy: Be careful you don't walk into something like the coffee table.
Izzy: "It's easy to know where you're going."
Daddy:(Tongue firmly in cheek) "Especially if you know where you've been!"
Izzy: I've been in the living room."

Mrs. Narrator was gone for the weekend and it was the first P.D. day of the school year. (Cripes it wasn't even a week past Halloween) We were all sick of the usual P.D. day activities of sitting around whining about how bored we all were and so we decided to do something about it. We went to the Museum.
"We're going to go to the museum, they have an exhibition of Titanic artifacts let's go see them."
The boy thought it sounded like a great idea. He had an inkling of what the Titanic disaster was and it would get him out of homework for the day and so was all for it. Izzy seemed a little confused, excited but not sure how excited to be.
"Do you know what the Titanic was?" I asked Isobel
"It was a great big dinosaur, Titanic- saurus -rex." she said matter of factly.
"Good guess bur not quite. The Titanic was a great big ship that sank a long time ago and has been on the bottom of the ocean and they have brought up things from the ship, stuff that belonged to the people that were on the ship when it sunk."
"What happened to the people on the boat?" Izzy asked.
"Some of them survived but a whole lot of them died." I tried to explain gently.
"Coooool," they both said.
When we got to he museum and paid our admission, we ventured up the stairs and were magically taken back to the maiden voyage of the Titanic. OK so really the upper level of the museum was made up to look like a gang plank and rope lines and Izzy kept asking why anyone would want to walk on boards when they could just get on the ship. The attendant handed us our boarding passes and explained that the names on them were the names of real people who had been on the Titanic and at the end of the exhibit, we could find out whether or not they had lived or died. The kids also thought this was cooool.
"BEEEEEEEEEEP. Do you hear that?" The attendant asked as she was stamping the last of our boarding passes. "That is the sound of someone touching one of the displays. I can see that you have young children with you but we ask that you kindly do not touch the exhibits." I assured her that my children were very well behaved and would not intentionally touch anything.
"Daddy," Izzy cried out. "Look at the size of that (BEEEEEEEP) toilet seat!"
"Honey you have to be careful not to touch any of the stuff or that alarm is going to go off the whole time we are here, OK? And that's not a big toilet seat, it's a porthole."
"OK," she said. "I'll be careful. Oh my god, Daddy. Look at that!" (BEEEEEEEP) We walked on to see the first class cabins.
"Is that where people slept?" The Boy asked.
"Yes, the very rich people." I said
"What is this rope here for?"(BEEEEEEP) Izzy asked.
I was starting to think that we were going to be asked to leave or that the attendants would single out Isobel and give her hell for touching everything she shouldn't. I have to say that for every sensor she set off, there was at least two other kids around her that were setting them off too. She is good.
As we neared the end of the end of the exhibit, there was a large piece of ice that you were allowed to touch and a sign that said the ice the Titanic hit would have been many times colder than the piece of ice here. I told Izzy what the sign said and explained how cold it would have been.
"Oh god," she said. "I'm never going on this boat again. It's cold and rotten."
The list of passengers let us know that we had all survived and went on to prosperous if not happy lives. Just before the sign was a case full of perfectly preserved tureens that had been on the bottom of the ocean for 98 years.
"Daddy look, mac and cheese dishes." (BEEEEEP)

Izzy and I took a little road trip today and ended up in a mall we had never been to before. Normally I wouldn't write about this kind of thing but as Izzy sat on The merry- go- round, that cost a fortune to operate and so remained immobile, we both noticed a big red button that said stop.
"Push it Daddy." she said, thinking it might make the ride somehow come to life. It came to life alright. The music that began to emanate from the wretched horses sounded like John Carpenter might put it in the next Halloween movie.
"What kind of music is this?" Izzy asked.
"Kinda creepy, huh?"
"Yeah." she said.
She got off the ride and we wandered around the mall and talked about how spooky the ride was and how scary the music sounded. We slapped our feet on the tile as we walked and when we decided we had had enough, Izzy said it was time to head for home. On the way out we passed by the creepy carousel again. She looked at me and I looked back and we moved silently to it. She got on and I pushed the stop button and we both giggled in a creepy kind of way...at least she comes by it honestly...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Up yours Cutesy...Hallowhat?...

Izzy was standing in front of the full length mirror in our bedroom, underpants pulled down a bit with a clearly proud look on her face.
Daddy: "Izzy what are you doing?" She would normally be startled by me interrupting her in the middle of something like this. She didn't flinch and she didn't miss a beat.
Izzy: "Just looking."
Daddy: "Just looking at what?"
Izzy: "My butt cheeks."
Daddy: "Oh OK, that's nice...wait, what?"
Izzy: "My butt cheeks" I'm certain I heard 'DUH' after she said it but I can't be certain.
Daddy: "Why are you standing thee looking at your butt cheeks?"
Izzy: "Daddy, I have nice butt cheeks. They're cute."

As I suspected, Cutesy the Skeleton went the way of the Dodo three days before Halloween. Izzy had a Halloween party at school and decided she had had enough of the costume and wanted to dance a little closer to the gates of hell. She went as a kitty so she could wear the fluffy ear headband she got from the neighbour's kid last year...Much to my disappointment. However, by the time trick or treat hour was looming she had decided she was going to be a vampire and I was to put make-up on her. I sighed and did a mental high five. I asked her later why she didn't wear Cutesy and she said it was because vampire's were more cool and Cutesy kinda sucked. The princess of darkness had been reborn.
The first year she went out, Mrs.Narrator and I froze our asses off and carried Izzy everywhere as the boy asked for some candy for his sister too. As time went on she learned to walk and learned to say trick or treat by herself but still needed me to stand on the porches with her, freezing my ass off, as she got candy of her very own. This year, the little vampire was bound and determined (and practically running from house to house) to do it all herself. So Mrs. Narrator and I stood at the end of many driveways, freezing our asses off, where we were told in no uncertain terms we were to remain. It was a proud moment that would have broken my heart had it not already been shattered by numbing cold that had caused it to seize ten minutes previous.
As we walked along, Izzy noticed a house across the street that had a crowd of people and decorations all around it. Izzy lost her mind.
"Look at that place, it must be where Halloween lives!" There was a cedar bush that had a skeleton and flashing lights wrapped around it. "Look at that! It's a Halloween tree! And look at that skeleton, it's glorious!" The house was done up well and we all admired it and decided we would trick or treat there on the way back.
The rest of the night out was uneventful and cold for us but entirely rewarding for Izzy and the boy. We went to a different neighbourhood this year and they got twice the amount of junk than previous years. And then we came to the house where Halloween lives. Izzy was still excited about getting candy from this wondrous haunted mansion right up until she clapped eyes on the life sized motion activated witch stirring a cauldron and cackling about all the delicious children she would eat. Mrs. Narrator offered to take her to the front door to get her treats and had actually picked Izzy up as she was saying the words...and that is when the person we all thought was a mannequin kicked the garage door and began to move...Halloween ended, right there and then... If that kid with the scary mask would have seen Izzy in all her glory, I think he would have been the one screaming... when she wakes up from the sugar coma, I'm sure she will have forgotten all about him...

Isobel has been spending a lot of time with me in the basement lately and I didn't really understand why until just recently. Our basement is like most unfinished basements. Cobwebs, dust, too much crap lying around in random little piles and an old man running on the treadmill...wait, what? (It's funny that whenever Izzy is in the basement with me, she will scream at me to make herself heard over the noise of the treadmill whether I am on it or not.)
The basement is also home to the Christmas crap. Hats and dancing Santas, garlands and strings of lights and boxes and buckets of decorations...and a stocking with Isobel's name on it. I began to put two and two together and realized that one of the things she has learned in school thus far is how to recognize and write her name. The stocking was the first thing she had found and then (I discovered the other day) had begun stockpiling Christmas things in hopes of hurrying it along. Halloween was over before it began. 'Yeah we'll put on a cool outfit and some make-up and go scare the pants off the neighbours so they give me some candy but let's get on with the real holiday season that goes on forever.' I'm sure the words had been running through her head. She had been coming downstairs everyday with me for a couple of weeks now
She had a mini tree set up on top of her stocking and a Santa hat beside that. There were a few randomly placed decorations on the mini tree and a few Christmas cards sent to us in past years.
"What the hell is that on that on that Christmas card?" I asked her.
"It's a candy cane!" Izzy said, opening her mouth to lick it.
"Holy crap, don't lick that. Candy canes are not supposed to be black and look like a turd."
"They're supposed to be red and green, right? There's a little bit of green there, that's what I was going to lick."
I told her that Halloween was only just over and it would still be a bit before we were ready for Christmas stuff. She reluctantly put away all of her holiday favourites and slowly went upstairs but she is far to committed to be dissuaded that easily. I will be telling her to clean up again, I am sure of it...the scary thing is, she's not that far off the mark...in the blink of an eye we will all be dashing through the snow...that really is a scary thought...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scary glasses...Can I pet the kitty...

We were driving at night and Izzy was looking out the window, looking up at the stars
Izzy: "Daddy what are stars made of?"
Daddy: "Stars are big, swirling balls of burning gas."
Izzy:"But you can still walk on them, right? I told my friend that I could walk on a star."
Daddy: "No honey, you can't walk on a star."
Izzy: "Daddy, what would happen if you touched a star?"
Daddy: "It is so unbelievably hot that it would burn your arm off before you could get close enough to touch it. Remember how hot it was when you stood too close to the fire? A star is even hotter than that."
Izzy: "Oh god, I'm definitely not going to touch a star then.
I heard her whispering from the back set a few moments later
Izzy "Crap...can't touch a star...now what..."

Ah Halloween!
Izzy and I love Halloween. Not for the reasons that most of you are thinking, though the candy is pretty good. It's the whole thing that we love. The costumes, the scary movies, the going house to house...all of it.
The first year we took her out, she was wrapped in the standard unable to walk yet, so we will make a costume that will make you the size of a fairground toy... Making it nearly impossible for your parents to carry you comfortably for more than a few feet...she was a bumble bee and she was cute as a bugs ear. And the neighbours rained candy upon her as though she were a golden calf. Sadly, Izzy had little interest in the candy and really was more into pushing it into a pile and crawling around in it. We gave most of it to the boy, who had been sneaking the best of her stuff into his pile anyway.
The best thing about Izzy and Halloween is that it makes no difference whether it is actually Halloween or not. Any day is a good day to be scary, it just happens that the scary stuff only comes out around Halloween. One year she got a pair of bloodshot eye glasses from the baby sitter about three weeks before Halloween and insisted on wearing them day in and day out. She would hold her hands menacingly and say "Scaarryy glasses." to anyone within earshot. So it came as little surprise when she said the scary glasses were her costume. Just the scary glasses. She wore her regular old clothes and a fall type flowery jacket...and the scary glasses. We went from house to house and she still wasn't brave enough to say the magic Halloween words but would raise the glasses to check out what had been put in her candy bag. She would the put her glasses back on smile. This usually resulted in the person giving out the candy putting more in Izzy's bag. It happened repeatedly, to the point that the boy was complaining about her getting more candy and she wasn't even wearing a costume. It was strange...they were like X-Ray Specs that saw right through you and made you ashamed of how little candy you gave to the little girl with the green bloodshot eyes...

I have seen some things over the course of my life that defy any rational or logical explanation. I am not saying they were ghosts...I don't know what they were. But it has been my experience that it is best to keep an open mind where the other world is concerned. With that in mind, I give you a little Halloween spook story...
We had rented a cottage in Port Elgin a couple of years ago. It was our first real vacation as a family that was more than just a day trip or weekend at the lake. We were all excited about it as it was within walking distance to the beach and it was all ours for two whole weeks.
It was a big two story cabin that smelled the way a cottage should smell, that mix of must and a large body of water in close proximity. The decor was more Brady Bunch than the rustic backwoods cottage or the ultra modern rich man's get away I had been picturing. The Ronald Mcdonald red carpet was almost too much but again, it was ours for two weeks.
The trip itself was uneventful and we were unpacking and settling in and I was bringing in one of the last suitcases when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a white cat in the living room. It had short hair, white as snow and ice blue eyes. I saw it, I know that I did. So certain of what I had seen that I actually looked around for it thinking it had run outside.
Now I toured with a band for a bunch of years and I enjoyed it thoroughly...if you catch my meaning...so seeing things that are not necessarily there is not a new experience. However, when I walked back into the living room a short time later I found Izzy looking intensely toward the dining table.
"Whatcha looking for. Pick?" I asked.
"The kitty." she replied.
What kitty?"I asked, my heart beat quickening a little.
What she described was the same white short haired cat with ice blue eyes I had seen earlier that day. I was freaked out but not terribly concerned about the evils of a ghost cat. I told Mrs. Narrator about it and she was a little weirded out too but there was no more talk of or encounters with the white cat so we more or less forgot it.
One of the last nights in the cottage, Mrs. Narrator had gone upstairs to bed for the night and I had stayed downstairs to watch T.V. where naturally, I fell asleep. It wasn't the first time since we had gotten to the cabin that I had fallen asleep down there and I knew Izzy would wake me up when she woke up in the morning. I was a little surprised when I woke up before Izzy and I was downright terrified when I went to look in on her and she was not in her bed.
My heart was trying to explode through my chest and my brain was throwing out every terrible scenario it could come up with...Had I locked the door? Had she some how escaped? Been kidnapped...I rushed toward the back door as quickly and quietly (it was 6 A.M. after all) as possible and there, lying in front of the dryer near the back door, was Isobel. Curled up in a towel she must have gotten out of the hamper. I was so relieved that my legs began to shake and I thought I might throw up. I picked her up, towel and all and hugged her. She woke up and asked me what was wrong.
"What are you doing out here?"
"I followed the kitty. He went outside so I waited here for him. Is he coming back?"
"I think he lives here, baby. He'll be back when he's ready." I told her.
(true story)

Happy Halloween Everyone.,..save some peanut butter cups for me and Izzy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Were Woof cub cries out for shoes...I am Death, destroyer of worlds...

We were out shopping and we walked past a group of people wearing red sweaters and waving placards. They were shouting their support for candidate somebody or other, I think they may all have been wearing white pants too. Izzy tugged on my leg and asked;
"Are those the people who fight cavities?"

The Were Woof was a terrible, snarling, sleep deprived beast that is (for the time being) gone. However, his legacy lives on in the cub he helped to create. Ah yes my friends our little Izzy is going through something just now that can only be described as supernatural. There is all the snarling and yelling and cursing that we have come to expect and love from Izzy but now there is a new wrinkle. The cub cries...at length...for no apparent reason.
"Izzy, clean up your mess in the living room." I said one day.
"Waaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllll" she wailed. I'm not kidding she went to full on, falling apart sobbing in the blink of an eye. You'd have thought I had asked her to eat a cat turd served on a bit of broken glass. It has turned into a test of wills and for now, the Were Woof can still out wit the cub but how long will it last...
A little while ago, Mrs. Narrator bought Isobel a par of black shoes which although cute and agreeable to the cub, we nevertheless too small. The sobs that went up from her were by far the worst (and biggest and fakest and most drama filled) we had heard yet. I had gotten so bad we told her that if she couldn't get a handle on the crying, she would have to go do it in her room because none of us could hear the television...which of course only brought on bigger, more outrageously fake tears.
"Just ignore her." Mrs. Narrator said
"What?" I said cupping a hand to my ear.
The kids knew that when the Were Woof was me, if I was shouting it was because I was tired and just blowing off steam but they also knew that if I got quiet and spoke in measured tones, I had reached the end of my rope and they shouldn't go any further. It clearly had an effect on Izzy as she leaned in one day and said, almost in a whisper.
"Daddy, I want you to get me black shoes an I want you to get them...right...now." She had a look in her eye that told me she was saying this with all sincerity and I tried very hard to keep a straight face.
"Honey, I'm not even sure where Mummy got those shoes let alone what size your feet even are."
"...Right...now..." she replied.
It went on like that for a couple of days with me and whenever Mrs. Narrator would come through the door, home from work she would be greeted with,
"Mummy did you get my black shoes yet?"
"No Izzy, I work in an office not a shoe store."
Aaarrrghhh...." the Were Woof cub would growl.
Finally a pair of black shoes came through the front door and the savage beast was soothed. She tried them on and walked around the house almost until bed time. And now they sit near the door amid a pile of almost unworn shoes... there must have been silver bullets in the soles...

In the fall, as the weather begins to cool we are often besieged with Box Elder Bugs. The don't do anything particularly harmful but they have a fairly high creep factor. The look kind of like a red and black cockroach. This year has been especially bad. The antidote for these things is dish soap and water in a spray bottle and have at them. It is like pouring acid on them. I don't quite understand it but Izzy and I love to go out and spray them down. Saying particularly potent and evil sounding things as we spray soak them.
"From Hell's heart I stab at thee..."(foosh goes the spray bottle) I say.
Or "I am Death, destroyer of worlds..."(foosh)
"You damn bugs suck and I HATE you..."(foosh) says Izzy. Not nearly as dramatic but she hasn't devoted as much time to the classics as she has to the Grinch. Her heart is in the right place and full of Box Elder hating venom.
When the days are sunny, the bugs will warm themselves on the door of the garage and try to fly away as we spray them. This tends to up the creep factor and even I have been covered with them and gotten completely skeeved out by it. Izzy took it in stride when they were on her and sort of just brushed them off. But she let out an odd noise and I thought one had gotten in her hair or ear or something but her look said it was worse...much worse.
Daddy, I need to go in, I need to go in!"
We went inside and I finally got her to tell me that she though a Box Elder was in her underpants. Trying hard to be the brave father and not the totally creeped out, just removed all the bugs from me and my daughter but still feeling oogy, Dad that I currently was, I took her into the bathroom and asked her to "drop 'em". Nothing there...thankfully. She was a little sweaty and I'm guessing some sweat had started to run down there and with the bugs flying around and crawling all around...hey it could happen to anyone. I had to let out a small (kinda grossed out anyway) chuckle after Izzy went to bed and I was getting ready for a shower, when what should I find in my underpants but a dead Box Elder Bug...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Costume Drama...Damn Fine Duckies...

A computer repairman came to the house and after some toying around he went outside and toyed around for awhile. After a short time he reappeared and chuckled a little after Izzy said,"That was pretty quick." He announced to me that he had found the problem outside and he would be gone for a bit until he fixed the problem.

Izzy:"Daddy why did he go outside?"
Daddy:"He has traced the problem to outside the house."
Izzy:"What, he is playing outside?!!?" She went to look and noticed that his truck was gone.
Izzy:"Oh god daddy, he's gone. The computer guy is gone. He took his tools and his truck and crap and just left."
Daddy:"No, honey he has traced the problem to outside and now he's gone to fix it."
Izzy:"Oh he's traced the problem outside , has he? I thought you said he was playing outside but you said he traced the problem outside. That makes sense now. (Insert big fake almost uncomfortable laugh here)
Izzy:"What does trace the problem outside mean?"

We will soon be in the midst of Izzy's (and my) favourite Hallmark holiday... So we started the beginning of the festering season off on the right foot by going out to get costumes for Izzy and The Boy. Izzy was absolutely certain, as she is every year, of what she wanted to be. A vampire...Count Draclia (he's more worse than Count Drastic says Izzy) The Boy was also set on being the maniac from the Scream movies.
We got to the store that had a big sale on Halloween stuff and lo and behold, nearly every child size costume had been sold...well any with an ounce of interest. The Boy lucked out and found the last small adult Scream costume in probably 50 miles. Things like that always work out for him. I'm hoping to take him to Vegas for his 12th birthday and turning him loose at Slots of Fun.
No child of mine would show the slightest interest in little witch costume with crinoline underskirts that light up and big pointed hats, no Izzy went looking for a vampire cape and big Bela Lugosi looking medal and when she couldn't find it, headed straight for the sexy Pirate Captain costume and the sexy She-Devil. Thankfully they didn't fit, I can't imagine the tales I would have to make up on wear your costume to kindergarten day.
"You see, we went to the cheap store and this was all they had left...well, this and the sexy She Devil and that was damn near obscene..."
But then, like a ray of sunshine something caught Izzy's eye and we were just about to leave when she let go of my hand and went back to the rack.
"I want this!" she burst out. It was a black smock with a hood, a rubber skeleton torso and rubber bones on the arms and legs. Complete with bone hand and shoe covers, it came with a evil looking skeleton mask or you could get a less intense looking mask. She was in love with it.
"Are you sure this is the one you want? If you change your mind, you can't get another one. This is it."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I want it."
"Ok," I said. "Which one do you want? The scary looking evil one or the cutesy one?" I tried to inflect my voice as much as I could to get her to pick the evil but no such luck.
"His name is Cutesy?!!?? Oh god, Daddy I want to be Cutesy. I love Cutesy."
So off we went with bloody knives and cutesy skeletons, the kids barely holding their excitement at the prospect of trying them on when we got home. Normally in these situations Izzy would have handed me the costume the second we opened the door and demanded that I help her put it on. This time she showed to her mother and then set about putting it on herself. The only help she needed was the hood but who wouldn't? And Cutesy the skeleton came to life in the living room. I secretly still wished she would have picked the scary one but it was pretty damn cute.
The Boy also loved his costume in all of it's blood dripping mask gore. I knew he had never seen the movies but I thought he had known who"Scream" was.
"What does Scream like... do?" he asked on the way home.
"He was a killer in the Scream movies." I said. "I don't think he was ever actually called Scream I think they called him the killer or the Ghost Faced killer but whatever you call him, he was the killer in the movies."
"Oh, he was a killer..." his voice trailed off a bit and I could tell he was figuring something but he must have rectified whatever crisis of the soul he might be having because ten minutes after we got home, he had the costume on and was going about the house saying "Trick or treat, time to die!"
Izzy was not nearly so amused by The Boy's choice of costume until I explained just how difficult it was going to be for all of us to go Trick or Treating and leave The Boy to his own devices and that her brother did not disappear when the scream character appeared anymore than she disappeared when Cutesy came out to play. I got a "Oh Daddy!" from her and a roll of the eyes but I think the point got through...Now to break it to her that Halloween is still three weeks away.

We were remarking the other day about how well Isobel's drawing is becoming. It has gone from random blobs of colour to virtually recognizable faces...and random blobs of colour in a very short time. The faces look like faces and trees are starting to look like trees...ok maybe it's not a huge deal to the uninitiated or non parents out there but when your child comes up to you and says "Look Daddy, it's you." and it is instantly identifiable as a human face, it's a major milestone. But it got me to thinking of the old days, when it really was just random scribbles and she would say "Look Daddy it's a ducky."
"That is a damn fine ducky." I said to her without giving it much thought. From then on she would ask Mrs. Narrator or me , "can you draw me a Damn fine Ducky." or "Can you make me a Damn fine Horsey."
Now the boy had been sitting back for sometime and had not said much but when Izzy asked HIM to draw her a Damn fine Ducky, the language police showed up and he couldn't stop himself.
"Izzy, can you stop saying that word!!?! You're going to get us in trouble. It's just a Ducky, a plain Ducky."
A while later, she asked me to draw her a Ducky.
"A Damn fine Ducky?" I asked.
"No," she said. "Just a plain Ducky. Damn fine Duckies are troubled."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Scents and Sensitivity...Aww Bindlesticks...

I was watching the Wizard of Oz and Izzy was asking me for something with little success. She came loping into the living room to see what had me so wrapped up that I couldn't answer her.
Izzy: "Daddy, what are you watching?"
Daddy: "The Wizard of Oz"
Izzy: "The what?"
It was just to the part before Dorothy leaves the house in Oz, before it switches to colour.
Izzy: "Daddy the T.V. is broken."
Daddy: "No honey, it's not broken it's black and white. Everything used to be...
Izzy: "Holy crap what is that?" she cut me off, utter amazement filling her voice
Daddy: "That is a munchkin."
Her hand came up to cover her mouth and she tried to stifle the laugh.
Izzy: "Daddy, those are NOT Mexicans."

We were getting ready to go to the mall and as I buckled her in her car seat, out of the blue Isobel said to me, "Daddy there is a hobo living in our back garden."
I was a little startled by this revelation and even more surprised that she knew we had a back garden.
"Oh yes?" I responded. "What was he doing in our back garden?"
She gave me a look that said said you stupid, stupid man. "They were looking for worms." she said.
"Oh, very good." I fumbled.
"Daddy, what's a hobo?" Izzy asked
"Well, it used to be someone that rode around on trains looking for work and they carried all their stuff in a handkerchief on a stick. Now it pretty much just means a homeless person."
She thought about this as we took off toward the mall and she finally spoke up.
"Daddy, what does homeless mean?"
"It means you don't have anywhere to live."
"Oh god, then I don't want that. I want to live at home for now...No, really Daddy. Is that what it means because I don't want to live nowhere. I don't want to eat worms."
"What did you think it meant then?" I asked.
"I thought I just made it up." Izzy said.
Along the way we passed a group of men standing outside a coffee shop. Now from the look of the men, not meaning to cast any aspersions on anyone. They could have just as easily been homeless or construction workers but when Izzy has something on her mind.
"Look at those guys. I'll bet they're looking for worms."

When Izzy and I wander around the mall, we like to walk like babies. Well that's what she calls it anyway. It is walking around stiff legged so the soles of your shoes make a loud slapping noise as you walk. We have done it for as long as she has been walking and we do it every time we go to the mall. She is usually roaring with laughter shortly after we start doing it.
On this particular day we had been walking like babies for a little bit and I didn't notice right away that Izzy had stopped and I hadn't.
"Daddy," she whispered and made a motion to the person walking behind us.
I noticed that the man was wearing orthopedic shoes designed for someone who's legs are of uneven lengths. As he walked he made slapping noise not unlike what Izzy and I had been doing, though he clearly was not enjoying it as we had been.
I could see by the look on her face, that it was truly having an effect on Izzy and I was seriously touched at the humanity and sensitivity just displayed by my four year old daughter. I know a great many people who could benefit from a few lessons with Isobel. She didn't say much to me as we walked on until the man was out of sight.
"Daddy, did he have a sore leg?"
"It looked like he did." I answered.
The mall is a veritable ant farm of the human condition. I have always loved going there for the sights and smells and people that you encounter. Izzy and her new found respect for people also enjoyed it.
"Somebody pooped!" she said as we walked through the food court. I thought of saying something stifling and parental but so many people had heard it and were smiling at her that it hardly seemed worth it.
"Holy crap Daddy, crazy hair!" she thought she whispered. The guy with the crazy hair glared at her but even Izzy wasn't buying anger from a beet red face...and he did have hair like Beakman.
"Go away, little girl. Go find your Mother she must be wondering where you are." I said to her
"DADDY!!" she said. "Can we go home now?"

Monday, September 27, 2010

God of Thunder meets Count Drastic...who's kid are you?

Izzy: "I don't want to leave school. Like not ever leave school."
Daddy: "You wouldn't want to see me anymore? Wouldn't that make you sad?"
Izzy: "A little but then I would have my friends at school to play with and I wouldn't be sad."
Daddy: "But what about food and a place to sleep? Wouldn't you want to sleep in your nice warm bed and have supper here?"
Izzy: "No, they have this kitchen with food and play mats for nap time."
Daddy:"Izzy, that food isn't real. It's plastic food and it probably wouldn't be too good for you."
Izzy: "Some of the boys in my class we chewing it and they're OK ."

There are several characters that have become regulars in Izzy's routine. There is the Bag Lady, the one who walks around the house dressed in virtually every piece of play clothing Izzy owns, The Punisher, a vicious brute who threatens everybody with a time out, Isobel's sister, Vreenilla Cinderella Crayon (who could make that one up?) who incidentally is also played by Isobel. Watching her do that one is a bit "Sybil" and a bit "Whatever happened to Baby Jane." The Great Orator, who struts about telling all in earshot about the glory that is Isobel and my personal favourite and also one of the newest of this motley group, Count Drastic. It used to be Izzy wrapped in a dark blue towel (always a dark blue towel) wandering about saying "Muahaha, I'm Drastic." a lot but it has turned into so much more.
Lately she has given up on the blue towel in favour of a yellow and orange patterned beach towel. The maniacal laughter has been replaced by hissing and attempting to put people in her powers.
"Oh the humanity in my life!" she said and wiggled her fingers at me.
"What's with the fingers, Count?" I asked.
"I am putting my powers on you!" she said in a mysterious accent.
Now Izzy has always had a bit of a bent towards the dark side of things. Skulls and death metal bands have always been her sort of thing. There is our Halloween tradition of going to the Costume shops and pushing all the buttons on the animatronic toys and howling with laughter. She has been called the princess of darkness, virtually since birth. I blame myself...and maybe Gene Simmons.
I went through a period of rediscovering classic, full on make-up Kiss. Izzy loved it from the beginning in of the fire breathing, blood spitting glory. She saw a video for "God of Thunder" and asked "How is the Bat going to be O.k if he is spitting all that blood?"
"It's not real blood honey, it's fake blood." I said.
"How is it fake blood, do you drink it?"
"No," I explained. "It's like a pill that you keep in your mouth and then you bite it, it's mixes with your spit and then it turns into fake blood." A very odd look came over her, as though something had just made itself clear in her mind.
"Coooool," she said and disappeared upstairs. I could hear her rummaging around. She re-emerged wearing her bathing suit and her new, colourful Count Drastic towel and headed straight for the bathroom. After a couple of minutes she came out wearing some of Mrs. Narrator's glitter make up and at least seven inches of lipstick.
She made a noise like she was hocking up phlegm and stuck out her tongue in her very best Gene Simmons pose.
"Can I have my pill now?"

I have always considered myself pretty intelligent, I'm sure there are many who would disagree but I can walk and chew gum at the same time and occasionally, can find the door to get out of the house in the morning, with little or no assistance. Mrs. Narrator is no slouch either. With that said, I feel I must talk about the staggering intellect possessed by my daughter.
We were sitting watching television the other day and spontaneously she started speaking with an English accent. Not perfect but there was no doubt that she was speaking in a Cockney accent.
"Where did you learn to talk like that?"
"I don't know," she said.
I made a mental note of it and started watching her at a distance over the next couple of days. At first I thought it was just mimicry but after what I saw, I started thinking she was a genius...my progeny is a genius and she is going to make her parents rich beyond our wildest dreams!
After only two or three viewings, she could recite almost entire passages of dialogue from movies, she could recall (with maximum clarity) events that happened to her when she was still virtually an infant. It was pure brilliance...but here was the really scary and impressive part. She watched a video on youtube twice. I sat beside her as it happened, so I can vouch for the superiority of her brain. After the second viewing of the video, she began a third and sang along with most of the song. Missing only a very few words here and there but generally singing the whole song...in German...I'll bet Mensa has a spot reserved for her...I hope they have make up and a good tea set. She still wears her underpants backwards and smacks herself in the side of the head when she gets too excited but I don't think they'll mind much about that. She can't seem to make it into the living room without tripping over the threshold that has been there since she started walking and the other day she walked into a glass paned door that has been closed almost her whole life but Einstein wore his underpants backward too, right?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thrown under the playskool bus...SUPASTAR...

Izzy was climbing up on one of the end tables with the intent of leaping off of it onto the couch.
Daddy: "Izzy, what do you think you are doing?"
Izzy: "I was going to jump. It will be fun."
Daddy: "Izzy, I want you to think about this. If you jump off the table onto the couch, do you think this is going to make me happy or not so happy?"
She looked as though she was deep in though but still she moved into position.
Daddy: "Izzy, did you think about what you're going to do?"
Izzy: "No thank-you." and she leaped onto the couch.

I didn't get my driver's license until recently and had prided myself in the fact that I had a spotless driving record and I had intended to keep it that way. Izzy was with me the day that all came crashing down. I am always amazed at the often, brutal honesty and infallible logic of children...especially Izzy's logic.

Izzy: "Why are we stopping, Daddy?"
Daddy: "We are getting pulled over by a cop."
Izzy: "Why, what did I do?"
Daddy: "Nothing, honey. I was driving too fast and the policeman caught me."
Izzy: "Is the policeman going to yell at you Daddy?"
Daddy: "No Izzy, he's not going to yell at me. He's just going to give me a ticket for going too fast."
The cop walked up to the car and we exchanged the usual pleasantries of ticketor and ticketed and he walked back to his car to check my license.
Izzy: "What is he doing daddy?"
Daddy: "Just going back to his car to check out somethings on his computer."
Izzy: "He has a computer in his car!?!" she craned her neck trying to look at the police cruiser. "Where is the plug?"
Daddy: "The what?"
Izzy: "The plug, for the computer. Why are we waiting here still?"
Daddy :"We are waiting for the policeman to give me a ticket for going too fast. Maybe if you start crying, he won't give me a ticket."

As the words escaped my lips, I felt a monsoon of regret hit me. I knew full well the instant I said it, exactly where it was going to lead me. The cop walked back up to the car, leaned in the window and handed me the ticket.
Izzy: "Daddy, were you REALLY going too fast? (chuckling) W
ait, why did you want me to cry again?"
I heard a sputter of laughter escape the cop's mouth as he told me to mind my speed and have a nice day.
Izzy: "No Daddy, really why did you want me to cry? I'm not sad..."

I was remarking the other day at how different the two kids are. The boy, before he discovered the mind numbing vegetation of video games, did not like to be alone and always wanted someone to play with. This usually fell on Mrs. Narrator and I. It is not a bad thing at all and ultimately it brought us closer together. Izzy, on the other hand, could not care less if she were the last little girl on the planet. She carries most of her friends with her everywhere she goes.
She has a massive invisible friend network that I had wanted to
name but honestly, there are too many of them. Believe me when I say if they were real physical things, we would need a much bigger house. She interacts with them on a level that most kids don't reach with their real friends.
I am told that I was much the same way when I was her age so I'm not surprised she carries on the way she does. I can remember making up silly little songs that became silly little operas, that developed into silly little arguments with the lighting crews and actors who wouldn't follow direction. Izzy's world tends to be a little more political with a good deal more shouting than I remember from my own life. And Izzy is absolutely in charge and rules her world with an iron hand. She is always threatening someone with punishment or time in their room.
"You will be expended!" she bellowed at one of her lackeys the other day. I'm not sure what it means but she damn sure meant it.
If you're not actually watching her Izzy will turn up to full on the perform-o-meter. I was outside doing something, just sort of watching her out of the corner of my eye while I did what I was doing and I saw her start to really get into it. She had a card board tube and was going on about "The Government is going to be called and you will be punished!" waving the tube about like a kind of swagger stick.
"Damn you!" she swatted the tube at some unlucky member of her entourage. If I could see the poor soul, I'm sure there would have been a nasty red welt on their person somewhere.
She came running toward me for whatever reason, tripped and slid for about two feet
down our gravel driveway. The tears naturally began and I ran to pick her up. She was all but unharmed and now was covered in enough dirt to make her look like Pig-Pen from The Peanuts cartoons. She milked it for a good five minutes and I moved her along after I was sure she was alright. NOW, here is where Izzy truly shines.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her go between taking full on opera style bows and raising her hands in the air saying,
"I am alright, I am completely OK!"
And if you listen just hard enough, you could hear the throng of her adoring fans all chant... SUPASTAR!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Izzy sings Zappa...The Impending Death of the Were Woof......

Izzy: Daddy?
Daddy: Yes, Pick?
Izzy: When will I be bigger for boobies?
Daddy: What?
Izzy: You know, BOOBIES? When will I be bigger for boobies?
Daddy: Oh jeez, I don't know. I'm not really ready to talk about boobies and you just now, can we talk about something other than your boobies?"
Izzy: They're just boobies, everybody gets boobies.
Daddy: I'm just not ready to talk about you and boobies yet. Can we talk about something else?
Izzy: OK. (Pause) Daddy?
Daddy: Yes, Pick?
Izzy: How come BOYS don't get boobies?

I don't normally do this sort of thing, this is not what I intended for this column but this is important. I have a couple of friends who recently participated in the Walk to end breast cancer. I have a mother in law that did it a couple of times too. I really didn't pay much attention to breast cancer, any cancer for that matter but I took a step back and thought of all of the women in my life and if they all went at once, I really wouldn't have too many people left...So if you'll excuse the soap-box oratorio, Do you have a mother; girlfriend; wife; daughter; aunt; sister; close family friend; grandmother or maybe you just really like boobs. There that about covers everybody and now you have no excuse. Go give some money. I'm not saying give until it hurts because these days, there are enough wallets hurting already but give what you can and save the boobs.

We are a passionate bunch, all four of us. And like all people of passion things can sometimes boil over and passions can ignite and the yelling can begin. We are all yellers and are all quite practiced at it. Isobel for example, is the only person I know who can get yelled at and be crying (real or crocodile tears) and still be yelling right back. It is almost exclusively just blowing off steam and there is never any real intent to hurt or to cause hurt feelings. On any one's part, not even Izzy's. It's not to say that we (the parents) or they (the kids) are yelling all the time (god what a racket that would be) we aren't. We are an average normal family that sometimes gets frustrated and let's our anger get the better of us. Anyone that says this has never happened to them, especially with kids, is either a saint or not being honest with themselves. It's not glamorous but it is real life.
However, I recently have been working on a graveyard shift job and not getting enough sleep. Whatever rational part of my brain that stops me from flying off the handle has dwindled to a mere pilot light and I have found myself flying off the handle for no good reason. I hate it. It's like watching someone else blow their stack and being powerless to stop it. Izzy said this job is turning me into a "were woof" because I growl a lot in the morning and she is probably right.
One night I snapped her over nothing and felt bad about almost immediately after I did it but I didn't say anything. I put them to bed and got ready to go to work. Guilt was gnawing at me but I was unsure what I should do and I couldn't actually do anything until after she got up the next morning.
At break time, I sat down and opened my lunch box and there it was...a big rubber tarantula. I started thinking "she put this in here for one of a couple of reasons: 1) she thought I was mad at her and figured a rubber spider would be just what I needed to make me not mad anymore.
2) She thought she had done something wrong and figured a rubber spider would erase any wrong doing from my mind and all would be forgive or
3) She thought "I'll show you, you swine. You'll be reaching into your lunch box for a tasty treat and KAZAM! it's into a horrid retching, painful death for you."
Either way I felt like a complete dirt-bag and had to finish my lunch out side because I was getting a little misty in the lunch room. When I got home that morning and she got up, I hugged her...and hugged her and hugged her until she asked,
"Daddy, why are you hugging me so long?"
"Just because I need a good hug."
She pulled my head down to her level and kissed my forehead.
"I love you Daddy," she said.
"I love you too, I'm sorry I shouted at you." I said.
"You're too tired," she said.
"Thank-you for my present." I said.
"What present?"
"The spider in my lunch box." I said
"Oooookay," she said in that tone that states, the old man has lost his mind, "can I go watch t.v.?"
The light has finally come to the end of the tunnel and I am approaching the end of this rotten assignment. The were woof is in his death throes and we will all celebrate when he goes. Then we can get back to what is really important, Tuesday tea parties and boys turning ten and opening a pop can by yourself for the very first time. All of the things that make up what life is really all about.

"Why does it hurt when I pee?" was the cry that came from the bathroom.
"Wait, what? What did you say?" It was not something I expected to hear from my four year old.
It hurts when I pee, why does it have to hurt when I pee?"
The first thought racing through my mind is 'Just what in the hell is going on at the baby sitter's house?' but I remembered that she is four and the cause of this question is something far less sinister.
"Does Mummy know about this?"
"Yes, she says I'm not wiping right. Can you show me what to do?"
Now some may think this subject a little odd or a little off putting but many other things I am discovering about being the father of a little girl, I just don't know what to say in instances like this. Which I'm certain Izzy revels in. Something that can finally shut the old boy up!
"Oh well, you just...no, that's not it. Ummm...maybe if you....nope won't work either. Hey how about...no, no that definitely won't work.
Now it may seem fairly straight forward and a little self explanatory-and to a certain degree it is but when we are dealing with an area that is already tender from an angry looking red rash it got a little tricky. At least in my mind. I started to think of what I did when she was a baby to get rid of diaper rash, which essentially this still was but figure it would be painful and embarrassing for both of us if I tried to hoist up her ankles and wipe her off that way.
In the end ( pun generously intended) we managed to get Izzy cleaned up and a little soothing cream applied to the offensive area without too much distress for either of us but it got me to thinking that there is a whole lot of girl stuff that Dads aren't readily equipped for. Like the time in a little girl's life when she starts using everything like a fairground ride. I am told that this is completely normal and I shouldn't draw any unnecessary attention to it...we had a dog that did the same sort of thing and my father used to hose it down with a spray bottle. I've been told this is unnecessary attention...the book the nurse told me they send new Dad's, I'll bet it's just lost in the mail.