Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Izzy goes to the movies...Whatever...

I got the go ahead to take the kids out to supper from Mrs. Narrator and decided I would say something cute and clever when I picked them up.
Daddy: " I'm gonna take you guys out for supper."
Izzy: "Why are we going out for supper?"
Daddy: "Mommy and I had a big fight and the three of us are going out for supper and then we are going to leave town."
The Boy: "No we aren't...You and Mommy didn't really get in a fight, did you? (I could her the nervousness creeping up in his voice) We aren't really just leaving are we?"
Izzy: Are we going on a road trip?( Barely containing her excitement) Can I get a drink of something when we get there!?!?!??"

A while ago I decided to take Izzy and the Boy to the movies. Aaah going to the theatre, one of those rites of passage that every youth experiences sooner or later. One day I fear the experience will disappear altogether with technology being what it is but for now I could still take the kids and stuff them with wonderful junk food for just slightly less that the cost of my first car. Izzy had never been to the movies before and I was excited to see what her reaction was going to be. The first time I took the Boy to the movies it was to see the Incredible Hulk in Dolby stereo. The sheer volume of the movie nearly blew the top of his head right off but this was a kids movie we were going to so I figured we would be alright.
We stood long enough that Izzy said it was taking forever and after nearly $40.00 we were on our way to the theatre.
"Holy crap, that is a big T.V.!" Izzy said.
I was going to interject and say that it wasn't a T.V. screen but a movie screen and there were various differences in the way the image arrives on both but I figured the stimulating and intellectual trivia of the workings of a movie theatre versus T.V. in the living room would go over like a fart in church, and so decided against it.
"That's not a T.V. Izzy, that's a movie screen. They're two completely different things." said the Boy.
The movie began and Izzy, who was sitting on my lap happily munching popcorn and slurping red Frutopia, buried her face in my chest and sobbed, "I wanna go home, I wanna go home. Too loud, too loud!!!" I could see she was deeply in the grips of the fear, her eyes wide and saucer like.
"It's ok honey," I said. "It's loud because there are speakers all over the theatre so everyone can hear it the same. If it's REALLY to loud for you, I'll take us home but you won't get to see the movie."
It went on like this for a bit, she would try to push her head through my ribcage to get away from the noise and every so often I would see her had stretch out and grope for the popcorn bag. The other kids in the theatre were laughing and having a good time and The Boy was laughing a and having a good time and I guess the sounds of all that out weighed whatever fear she had because she turned round and started watching the movie and all the people around us...from there it just became an Izzy show.
She reclined as best she could while sitting on my lap and put her feet up on the seat in front of her. Shovelling popcorn into her mouth and swilling her red Frutopia. All the while laughing big fakey belly laughs that were much too loud. I didn't try to stop any of it, I figured in a short while it's going to seem as though the world is leveling itself against her, telling her what she can and can't do. That and I was dozing off during most of the movie.
"Daddy, wake up this is a good part. Hah, hah, hah!!! Oh he shouldn't do that!"
Izzy had turned into Robert DeNiro without the cigar and the pesky violent nature thing... I thought the other parents would be getting annoyed at her boisterous enjoyment of the movie. After a quick look around I noticed a good many of them were smiling at us, at her...It is a powerful thing to see the unbridled rapture of kid watching a movie that they are really enjoying. I often wish I could still see the world through those eyes...

I blame Lady Gaga and her ilk for the disturbing trend that has crept into my daughter. If Izzy doesn't care for something being said to her or asked of her, the response used to be "Blah, blah, blah." Which would generally earn her a trip to her room. "Blah, blah, blah" did not last long.
It has been replaced however, with "Whatever," in completely the same vain and correct usage. I sense many impending trips to the Republic of Bedroom.

We have a cat, Gimmo. His name is actually Gizmo but Izzy could never manage that when she was younger and he became Gimmo. It stuck. Gimmo is roughly seventeen years old, which in cat years makes this his third or fourth re-incarnation. He has lost the ability to groom himself, he is stone deaf and arthritic and he has taken to waking up, vomiting with such force that he generally craps on the floor behind him and going back to sleep. In short he is a senile, puking, shitting, arthritic dread-locked, yowling, white hot mess. My mother suggested he should be hurried along on his journey to kitty heaven but Mrs. Narrator and I know our children too well and we don't want to give them any ideas as to what to do with us when we reach our twilight years.
Gimmo spends his days wandering the house yowling and howling for no apparent reason
"Shut up Gimmo!" Izzy will scream when ever he does it.
"Izzy, number one, he is deaf and can't hear you telling him to shut up and two, he is yowling like that because we think he is in pain." I told her.
"Oh Gimmo," she said with genuine compassion in her voice. "Are you in pain, are you hurt?"
Gimmo made a kind of burbling noise, pleased as he seemed, if not a little confused by the attention from the hell spawn that hates him.
"Aww Gimmo, see Daddy, Gimmo just told me he is not in pain now."
"Well he seems pretty happy just now, honey." I said.
Then she got right up in his face and almost nuzzled him and screamed, "NOW SHUT UP GIMMO!"
Without missing a beat, the cat let out a yowl that startled Izzy and she backed away.
"Whatever Gimmo, whatever."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Taxi driver...Kids say the god-damnedsest things...

Izzy got glow in the dark vampire teeth in a Halloween package last year and they have been incorporated into her dress up routines. She will wrap herself in a dark blue bath towel and creep around the house, menacing everyone with shouts of "Muwahaha!!!! I'm Drastic!"

One of Izzy's favourite things is to play in my car. I suppose a lot of kids do, I did. We had a big blue Buick station wagon with black and blue shag carpet in the back of it. I would play with my toys in there for hours, with the windows down, just soaking up the warmth of the sun streaming in through the windows. Until I got a nasty sunburn across the back of my legs and realized it was not such a good idea lying in a carpeted magnifying glass in the middle of the summer.
Izzy doesn't play in my car, her world has invaded it. I was cutting the lawn and she asked,
"Hey buddy, need a lift?" she asked. "Hey where are you going? I haven't got all day..."
"Umm, the airport..." I fumbled.
She cranked the wheel back and forth a couple of times and said, "Here you go. That'll be four hundred bucks."
I paid her the imaginary money and got out. She made noise like a car peeling out and I went back to cutting the lawn. A little while later I saw her slam my car door two or three time in a row, muttering to herself and making grand, angry hand gestures. She then made her way to the front porch and stood there, glaring at my car. I knew something was obviously wrong so I walked to her to see what the problem was.
"What's the matter?" I asked.
"I took somebody else to the airport and they ran out without paying me!" She bellowed.
OK I thought, I'll play along. "Well honey four hundred bucks for a ride to the airport IS a bit much. If you hope to stay competitive and not get stiffed, maybe you should think about lowering your rates."
There was a beat or two of a tense silence between us until she finally hollered,
"Daddy, it's just pretend. Can you please just go in the house now?"

Profanity is a funny thing. It's a part of language that "polite" society turns it's nose up at on the surface but it is used by so many people every day, that it has really become part of the lexicon of verbal communication. It is no wonder that when people are learning to speak the language, they tend to learn the sweary bits first. If I pressed, I can say the seven dirty words in five or six different languages. With that in mind...
Izzy and I were out driving and there was a cyclist in front of us who was meandering back and forth between the shoulder of the road and the middle of the road. Oblivious to the growing line of traffic behind him, he never moved to one position long enough for anyone to pass him. To my own credit, I muttered many things under my breath but never actually made any audible remarks to the situation.
"Get the shit outta the way, you god-damned, dirty long hair!" came bellowing from the backseat.
Now I'd like to say in my own defense that at no time have I ever actually used those particular words in that particular order. Maybe she learned it from her mother. My immediate reaction was actually pride. She had strung the phrase together masterfully. I learned early on that if you make a big reaction to these moments, you give the words power, you make them forbidden fruit of a kind and those words have far more power than they need already.
For as uptight as I can be about everything, swearing really doesn't bother me. I tend to take my grandmother's view of bad language. She wasn't a fan and thought it made you seem uneducated but if you insisted on using it she said you should dress it up a little and show people that you had a brain in your head. "Fuck me swinging" was one of her personal favourites if I remember correctly.They are just words. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the world does not share my liberal view of these things...With the Isobel's scholastic debut looming, can a phone call from Mrs. Axelrod about Izzy's telling the other children, "The stuffed cat has shit on the floor of the toy room and nobody is playing with a thing until we get the god-damned smell out of the room," really be too far away?
I look forward to the time we'll get to spend together after her first suspension...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sermon from the shingles...Child's laughter...

We were in the laundry room, which also houses the two cat boxes I had just cleaned. Izzy came in to investigate.
Izzy: "whatcha doin,?"
Daddy: "Cleaning up the cat box, it's full and gross."
Izzy:"Why are you cleaning it?"
Daddy:"It's where Gizmo and Brooklyn go to the bathroom and since they can't flush it, it needs to be cleaned out."
Izzy:(she thought about this one for a minute) "Oh, so did Gimmo shit in here or what?"

We were having our roof done and there were bundles of shingles around our yard. Izzy naturally incorporated all of them into her routine and playtime outside began to take an interesting turn. I was cutting the lawn and I saw her out of the corner of my eye, standing on one of the bundles, gesticulating wildly. I shut the lawnmower off and tried to make sure she didn't notice me or the show would have ended.
"If you don't listen to me, you would be in BIG TROUBLE!" she intoned. Her arms were raised to the heavens and she pointed at the masses that were obviously showing their adoration and craning the necks to hang on her every word.
"BIG TROUBLE" she warned again. (she was actually working the crowd that only she could see, moving from person to person, wagging her finger at them)
I thought I detected a resemblance to Mussolini at a few spots during all of this as she folded her arms and glared toward the invisible crowd but I never did hear anything about Ethiopia so decided the world needn't worry just yet. Instead, it appeared she was channelling a televangelist, warning the unseen worshipers about the consequences of failing to listen to her.
We are not a religious family by any stretch. Rather we tend to be pushed out the front door by fate. If fate has selected my daughter to be the next Billy Graham, I'm OK with it. None of those televangelist people are starving to death or wearing old rags...Daddy's little blasphemer has a nice ring to it...

We are all animals, some of us more than others but we share so many similarities with the rest of the mammals that I an scarcely believe it sometimes. For example, there isn't a mother on this planet, from Pygmy Chimpanzee to Chibougamu house Frau, that doesn't have that insane ability to pick their child out of a crowd of thousands with pinpoint accuracy, the second their child is crying. It's uncanny that a mother can do this and be correct virtually 100% of the time.
Father's don't have this ability. Many fathers, human and animal alike, pack it in after the lovin' is done and the last cigarette has been smoked. I honestly don't get this. I mean I get it, It is a huge thing to be responsible for another life...for the rest of your life, literally but after almost five years with them I cannot honestly picture my life without the kids. They are such an all consuming, crying, shitting, spitting up, frustrating, fun-filled, wouldn't have it any other way part of my life. But I'm wandering away from the point. I cannot recognize Izzy's cry from a crowd of children but get her to laugh and I can home in on her with the precision of a laser sight. It's easy...she has my laugh.
Mrs. Narrator likes it when Izzy and other kids too for that matter , are laughing that big, out of control belly laugh that will turn into a case of room wide giggles and spread like wild fire. Babies especially are masters of this. And those laughs are good, hell all children's laughter is good. It's what kids should do more often. I have to say though, that my favourite kind of laughter comes from a sincerity and honesty that only a kid can display and Izzy is just such a kid.
When Izzy hears something funny that she knows absolutely is incorrect, she will cover her mouth to avoid any further embarrassment to the person saying it. No one ever taught her this and she does this only in this circumstance, so I believe her reaction is genuine. We were driving along one day when a commercial came on the radio that talked about a perfect world and how pants would be followed by the word "optional" and how bacon would grow on trees. With that, Izzy's hand came up to her mouth and she giggled a little.
"Daddy," she said. "He's funny. Everybody knows bacon doesn't grow on trees (sicker, snicker) it grows on the stove."...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Scarring your kids for life...sofa cushion DMZ...

I am starting to notice that the subtleties and nuances of Izzy's humour really come to the surface when we are watching television. We were watching a movie and one of the characters reveals himself to be a centaur and then refers to himself as a real horse's ass. This naturally brought fits of giggling but then she got quiet and I could see the wheels were turning.
Izzy-"How is he doing that?"
Daddy-"Doing what, what do you mean?"
Izzy-"Doing that with his legs, how did he get them in there?"
Daddy-"Get them in where, honey? What are you talking about?"
Izzy-"Well, my legs would never fit in a horse's ass and I'm just little. So how is HE doing that?"

Somebody told me once that you should never have more kids than you have windows in the back seat of your car but with the arrangement of some of today's mini vans, you could be looking at ten or twelve kids with face pressed up against windows as you scream down the road toward Disneyland or madness, whichever comes first. I think a better rule of thumb is no more children than there are cushions on the biggest piece of furniture in your living room. I remember an unnaturally large green thing in our living room with three cushions. One for each of us though I was the youngest and so was always plunked square in the middle. No arm rest meant resting your arm on a sibling which inevitably turned to the sort of confrontation that has become commonplace in our living room these days.
Our sofa is an average sized, brownish sort of couch that might be a tad overstuffed and is more comfortable than I thought possible for a sofa. It is also the most sought after piece of real estate we own. Neither of our children are currently over four feet tall but put them on the couch and they both suddenly need the entire nine feet of the sofa for themselves. There are two cushions...large cushions on this couch and the dividing line between the cushions is a sort of no man's land that belongs to neither child and neither is allowed to sit in (sitting between the cushions warps the ends of them, just ask my mother). More often than not the void between the two becomes a settee Siegfried line and all hell breaks loose in the living room. Shouts of "She's on my side," or "He's touching my cushion," descend into taunts and cruel atavistic games like throwing toys across the room and then stretching all the way out, which is one of my favourites because there is a little bit of psychological warfare in it.
"Well he/she got up." The truth is, the other person did get up...The one simple, immediate solution for this is for Dad to sit on the living room couch. Not because I have some great authority or power to soothe the savage breast but whenever I sit down on the living room sofa, the kids have a tendency to get up and go away. I'm not kidding. If I watch the tiny four and a half inch television in the other room, both kids will often come and sit with me and watch along. If I come into the living room with the big twenty two inch television and start to watch what the kids are watching, suddenly they both have other things to do.
We have recently begun to enforce the "On Child Per Cushion Act" of 2009 to keep the peace and there is a detente for the time being but it is tenuous at best and we expect noise on the western front any day now.

Izzy is tough. When she fell off the couch, I think I was more shaken up by it than she was. When she run full tilt into the rocking chair, both times, she let out one of those air raid siren, starting off slow and building until it is full on wailing, cries that warn of non-specific total system melt down but even that was over before she got into the car to go to the clinic. She frequently picks up bugs (including icky Japanese beetle grubs) and feeds them to birds in our backyard. She has tried to stick her hand in the cages of large predatory cats at zoos and wondered why the kitty won't come and play with her...tough little girl.
I was out cutting the grass and noticed a small toad, seriously no bigger than my thumbnail, so I picked it up and cupped my other hand over it. I thought my little nature loving, barefoot hillbilly girl would get a kick out of it...I have never in my life, apart from the movies, heard a scream like that come from another human being. If I had bought her a pony and then sacrificed it to the Devil in front of her, right after telling her that we were going to Canada's Wonderland without her, she wouldn't have screamed like that...to this day if I mention that I have seen toads on the grass, she gets sweaty and a look of uneasiness crosses her face. But she has had her revenge on dear old Dad. One of Izzy's favourite books, indeed many a parent and child's favourite book, is a little gem called "Love you Forever" and Izzy insists that I read it to her at least once a week. I am going to become very unpopular shortly but this is one of the creepiest most disturbing tomes I have yet read. It makes some of the Grimm brothers works look like happy rainbow fun time stories. I now have visions of my mother climbing the trellis and knocking on our bedroom window at three or four in the morning, because she thinks I need a good rocking to sleep...at four in the morning, sneaking in the window, it's not a mother's love anymore and an unbreakable bond with her child. It's a mother's separation anxiety and breaking and entering...