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...