Saturday, June 26, 2010

Holy Crap, Crappery and The Cider House Rules...

Izzy and I were watching "The Cider House Rules" one Sunday and a scene came on in which the two main characters make out. In typical Hollywood fashion, the girl leaned in, cocked her head, opened her mouth a little and kissed the boy. Izzy asked what she was doing and in typical smart- assed fashion, I said that the boy had something stuck in his teeth and the girl was helping him get it out. Micro seconds before the "How did he get something in his teeth?" question came, Mrs. Narrator said that lunch was ready and we all sat down to our tuna melt wraps.
After lunch, Izzy and I sat back down to watch t.v. and Izzy noticed I was contorting my face into the most bizarre expressions she had ever seen.
"What are you doing Daddy?" she asked. "I've got something stuck in my teeth." I replied.
There are few things in this life more disturbing than your daughter cocking her head to one side and leaning into your face with her mouth open wide.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Unstucking your teeth."

Music has always been a huge part of Izzy's life. From very early on, music could sway her mood and disposition the way nothing else could before or since. "Big music" she used to say, "I wanna hear Big Music" And she doesn't have the same tastes as the rest of her little girl friends seem to have. Oh she likes a song or two by Gaga and says she's likes Bieber but if you ask her who the coolest guy in the world is and she'll reply either The Bat (Gene Simmons) or Alice Cooper. She has a female video game character named Grandma Lemmy and she has a purple outfit that is kind of bell bottomed pants and wide open renaissance sleeves, which she calls her Ronnie James Dio clothes. She was watching Whitesnake on youtube one day and I asked,"What is this crappery you are watching?' Crappery is now a style of music as far as Izzy is concerned. Only it is pronounced crapARee. It includes the aforementioned Whitesnake, some Def Leppard, basically any of the kind of music I wouldn't have been caught dead listening to when I was a teenager...Then there is the make-up. Anything with make up. Kiss, King Diamond, Dimmu Borgir and other stuff I neither like nor understand. If it has someone in it that wears make-up, she will grab onto it like it was a chocolate doughnut. She absolutely loves the make-up bands. She wanted to be The Bat or The Coop for Halloween but wouldn't sit still long enough for the make-up, so I can't complain about her love for the theatrical. At least she didn't want to be my little pony which was right up there. I have since steered her toward GWAR whom she now loves, especially their version of School's out."Daddy, where's The Coop, this is not The Coop" my four year old asked the first time she saw the video. Now she just asks for "School's Out without The Coop." "Holy Crap" she would say if she really liked something. That was her expression for a while. Everything was "Holy Crap." Even "Holy Crap, the cat pewked on the crapet" We still call the rug by the back door the crapet.

We were in Mexico for the first time with Izzy and there was a Mariachi band playing at the hotel. Izzy really wanted to get up close to the band, this was the first time she had ever seen anyone play an instrument live. I picked her up and we walked up to see them, standing about two feet away from the bass player. Izzy sat there in stunned silence with a massive grin spreading on her face. Just drinking it all in. The song finished and Izzy joined in with everyone else as they clapped for the band. As the applause died down she said exuberantly, "Holy Crap that was a big music!"
The bass player was laughing so hard he nearly dropped his bass and bean dip was being spit back onto the plates of everyone within baby is so Rock and Roll...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Your love is making me fat...It's alive...

Izzy was spinning in the computer chair and trying to slide out one through one of the arm rest holes as the chair spun...
Daddy-"Izzy don't spin in the chair please."
Izzy- "Ok, I won't." (proceeds to keep spinning, unabated.)
Daddy- "Izzy, I don't want to see you spinning in that chair again."
Izzy- "Ok, just don't look at me then,"

I'll bet Neil Diamond was a good dad or at least paid somebody to be a good dad for him while he was rocking the knickers off the blue haired brigade back in the day. The first time I was left in charge of Izzy, she rolled off the couch and ended up face first between the coffee table and my leg. In honour of Father's day, Izzy and I have decided to step into the wayback machine and see where it all began...
So yadda, yadda, yadda, living in the states, rock star, got sick, came home, yadda, yadda, yadda...
Your love is making me fat... That's what the email from the future Mrs. Narrator said but neither of us paid it much mind. We were in love and we used to be young, of course we were going to put on a little weight with all of the eating and drinking we were doing but by Mothers day we could stand the irony and tight trousers no more. So after much stick peeing and wringing of hands, we decided that the world hadn't stopped turning and a plus sign was a good thing. Well outside any way, inside I know we were both saying, " oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck."
It was a fairly uneventful pregnancy and the big day finally arrived. They wheeled her away and I was left alone to think...not a good thing in a situation such as this. " I didn't imagine I would be much of a father and quite frankly, I wasn't sure I wanted to be one.
I remember now that for whatever reason, the boy (who was five at the time) had gotten it into his head that unless we had a little girl, he could not be a big brother. He never said what he would be if we had a boy but because he was going to be a brother, we were having a girl. We purposely didn't find out the sex of the baby early on we wanted healthy. I secretly was half hoping for one of the "It's Alive " babies, then my detractors would truly fear me...I mean the father made it to the end of the movie, right?
The birthing part is all a bit of a blur, it really did happen quickly but suffice it to say that I now know my wife inside and out, literally. The doctor said that he had the top half of a boy followed by the nurses retrieval of the bottom half of a girl. A daughter, pink as bubblegum and promptly wrapped up parcel post and shoved into a glass box complete with red french fry lights. Isobel. I was told to follow and I did so silently, unsure of what my next move should be.
The nursery reminded me of a happier version of a dairy farm. There are babies and bits of equipment with babies variously in and out of them, everywhere. I was shown a chair and told to sit and someone would be with me shortly. Welcome to the world kid, it's hurry up and wait from here on out. Now I had been sitting waiting for the better part of two hours while they weighed and measured and foot-printed her and not once did I think to ask about the welfare of my child. But neither did any of the other poor schmucks in there with me. I was walking in a daze, which luckily seems to be a prerequisite for fatherhood anyway.
"Daddy, would you like to come hold your baby now?" I heard the nurse speaking and honestly, my first reaction was, "I wonder who she' talking to?" It took her moving a few steps toward me and a "Mr. Baker, would you like to come hold your daughter,"before I realized it was me she was referring to. She placed Isobel, my progeny, gently in my arms and I looked down at her tiny face.
"Holy shit," I thought. "It's alive baby."
I asked the nurse if they shouldn't clean her off a little better and was politely told that it wasn't leftovers from the birth, that it was some sort of gel they put over her eyes to prevent syphilis. What kind of child do you think this is anyway? But for good or for ill, there we were. Daddy and Izzy. We walked a little and talked a little and I kissed her forehead as she let out a little yawn. Old ladies all over the world are absolutely right, babies breath is like heroin. I think I probably sniffed most of the eye goop off of her and my mother likely smelled off the rest. We spent the next five hours getting to know each other and wandering the halls of the hospital waiting for Mrs. Narrator to come up to her room, giving each other the "They'd tell us if something was wrong, right" look. There wasn't and Mummy arrived for a quick sniff and a cuddle, followed directly by a nap.
I'd like to say that the birth of my daughter was the proudest moment of my life but it wasn't. I wasn't sure if I was capable of pulling any of this off or even if I wanted to. Many men before me have chucked it all and bought a ticket on the deadbeat dad mobile. But it was in those five hours, wandering aimlessly up and down the halls, holding her and looking at her and smelling her breath, that I came to love this child as only a parent...a father can. I wanted to hold on and not let go, I wanted to protect her and keep her safe and in a flash I saw her many years form that moment, as an adult and I felt a surge of warmth and pride that I hadn't ever before. That and I am unbelievably, stupidly, stubborn and there was just no way I wasn't going to see this through to the end. I wouldn't be beaten by a mere child!
I don't know if I'm a good dad. I don't think I am. I tend to be far too strict and not as fun loving as I should be but make no mistake, I love my kids and would move heaven and earth if it would make them even this much happier, both of them. I wasn't there for the birth of the boy but he is as much mine as she is. They are both my reason for being and I treasure them even when they don't listen.
If I have one message to give it is cherish your children, always. They are your legacy to the world and most of them can smell weakness.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nothing to see here...

I tend to be the manners police around our house and I don't really understand why. Yeah I get the irony too but I am a certified, tattoo sleeved member of Miss Manner's sinister six club. I suspect if word got out of what I used to do before, during and after shows, Miss M would point at the door and hang her head in shame after politely asking me to leave.
And it's not an admirable quality, it's not something I even like about myself. I ask for a lot of pleases and thank-yous but my particular milieu is excuse me. These are the things that I think, no parent likes about themselves. You can actually stand back and listen to yourself and think, "I have just crossed that invisible line, I have just become my mother." Now here's the real dichotomy of it all... I AM A GUY...I revel in bodily functions and I have been know to compliment the children on their abilities to vibrate the sound sphere with a good raucous belch or float an air biscuit that has the staying power Time magazine.
One day Izzy let one screech out with such force and volume, I swear the windows actually rattled. Inside I was bursting with pride, as only a father could be at a bottom burp of that magnitude.
"What do you say?" I asked, chuckling a bit.
She thought about it carefully and said,
"I would say, nothing to see here and just keep moving."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Einstein vs The Incubaby.

This is a bit off topic for what I had intended to write this week but it so clearly illustrates the staggering intellect that I have passed on to my child...
Isobel is smart. Yeah, I know that all parents say their kids are smart but Izzy really is. Like scary smart, like evil genius kind of smart. Like the kind of smart that if she didn't have Barbie, the world would tremble at her Dora slipper clad feet. She stood unassisted quite early and, though we got her a tricked out walker, she really didn't use it for too long. She spoke early, though I don't consider it early, she just hadn't anything to say up until that point. She learned to dress herself at quite a young age and reveled in playing dress up, a skill that has not diminished in the slightest since that day. Hell, she even knows who Einstein is, he's the guy with the wiggly head in Night at the Museum part two.
Now we often get gifts of clothing from some of the other mothers that share the babysitter. We aren't poor or anything but why spend wads of cash on clothes that won't fit in three months when someone else's mother already has. Isobel will take these bags of treasure and dutifully go through them item by item and sort them into two piles, for keeps and give backs. After which my wife will go through both piles and decide which items are actually fit to be worn in civilized society. So when we got a bag of bathing suits the other day, I had no doubt that Izzy would try them on and determine which ones were right for her. She made mention of a coloured one that had boobies, (a bikini) a purple one that didn't have two pieces apart (a one piece, still with me?) and then she found the one that spoke to her, a snazzy pink number.
After she had it on she came over to me looking a little dismayed and said,
"Daddy, this one doesn't have a top."
"Look around, it has to be there somewhere. I don't think we would get only half a bathing suit."
Ok," she said and walked back over to the couch.
And as she headed back to the swimsuit covered sofa, I could clearly see the four year old bum through the hole that would normally house the four year old lower torso. Found the top...

I love to travel, a love I came to traveling with a band. Roaming up and down the highways and bi-ways in a vehicle packed with stuff or climbing aboard an airplane jetting off to an exotic locale. More to the point, I love to travel with my children...really. My kids are the kind of kids you dream about traveling with, especially on a plane. The are quiet, polite and for the most part, are able to occupy themselves for the entire journey. I have heard "are we there yet?" only twice that I can ever remember. And despite photographic evidence that may seem to the contrary, I love to vacation with my kids. It's what it is to be a dad. When your stepson crushes himself into you because he is absolutely shitting himself with the possibility of the gondola breaking on the way up Blue Mountain and all of us plummeting ten feet to certain doom, the family vacation fun has officially commenced!
But Mexico is the place I think, that means the most to all of us. All of us have very fond memories of our little villa by the sea and we try to go there as often as we can...never often enough...Izzy was still quite young the first time we went and still required a daily nap and I was the only one she would nap with for whatever reason. Sometimes it was a complete inconvenience and interrupted whatever I happened to be doing at the time, most of the time it was a blessing and now that she doesn't take them anymore I miss them.
We had been at the beach all day, as was our daily ritual. I mean if you're going to Mexico in the dead of Canadian winter, you want to spend every waking moment soaking up the sun. Even the kids got this one quickly. Nap time had arrived and Izzy was ready. In fact, she had been kind of cranky all day. When I carried her back to the villa, she wasn't as chatty as she usually was but again, I didn't think much of it. I was quite tired too and was looking forward to a little shut eye.
"Are you tired and sleepy tired?" I asked and as I did I noticed she had chocolate around her mouth. I set her on the counter and reached to get a cloth to wipe her mouth. As I did, Izzy began to cry. Not the cry of a baby that was overtired, I had become much too familiar with this one.(oddly enough it is eerily similar to the crying of an overtired daddy) No, it was a different cry, one that portrayed a betrayal by one's own body. A cry that said "this is not the way I should be feeling because this is not how I felt an hour ago, why the HELL is this happening to me?"
I leaned down to face level to ask her what was the matter and she vomited and I just wasn't quick enough on the draw. Now I am no shrinking violet, I have seen and done many things in my life that would make a great deal of people run for the hills. That being said, I was totally unprepared for the sensation and experience of my little girl throwing up not on me, but directly into my mouth. Yes I said it and I wasn't kidding. She vomited directly into my "what's the matter honey?' asking pie hole. I spit out as much as I could but I know I swallowed a little.
Shortly after this everyone else came home and I was temporarily relieved of duty to go and sterilize myself..inside and out...but it was really just a matter of time. Anybody that came with a hundred feet of Izzy got sick. By ten thirty, the boy was puking himself into dry heaves and screaming for mummy to come, poor kid I didn't envy him. As a direct result of tending to the boy, mummy was struck down by about midnight followed shortly by the father-in-law, who went down for the count about a quarter to one.
By about two o'clock, after hearing somebody shuffle to the bathroom and ask what was left of their dinner to leave their stomach, I was thinking myself pretty lucky. I actually ate vomit and it appeared I was going to come out the other side unscathed... Oh I am fortune's fool. By two thirty I was pacing the room with that familiar feeling of impending doom. I wasn't sick but it was in the mail. By two thirty one and seventeen seconds I was dashing for the bathroom hoping I would make it. By two thirty two I was glued to the seat clutching the trash can for dear life begging it to stop on at least one front. It didn't. In fact, it went on for the better part of our last week there. My father-in-law and I got hit the worst though we did manage to salvage the last two days of our second week. Mummy and the boy were virtually done with it the next day, still a little out of sorts but otherwise ok. Isobel slept for about three or four hours after delivering a street pizza into my mouth and then was completely well. My mother-in-law was the only one that never got it. Izzy did always like her best.