Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Uncanny X-children...The Boy lines up for a Pony of his Own...Isobels Psychic Connection...

Isobel recently learned how to snap her fingers.
Isobel: "Daddy, listen." (snaps fingers)
Daddy: Wow, very good."
Isobel: "Daddy, you snap your fingers now."
Daddy: (snaps fingers) "How's that?"
Isobel: Daddy, when you snap your fingers, it sounds like the F word."
Daddy: "What?"
Isobel: "It sounds like the F word. Try it."
Daddy: (snaps fingers.)
Isobel: "See?"
Daddy: "You snap your fingers."
Isobel: (snaps fingers)
Daddy: "Now that sounds like the F word."
Isobel: "No, when I snap my fingers it sounds more like the D word."
Daddy: " The D word?"
Isobel: "Yes, Bitch."
Daddy: "But that starts with B"
Isobel: "Oh right. I meant shit."

My children are gifted. I don't mean that facetiously, they are seriously gifted. Their powers and mastery of time and space are beyond belief, bordering on the super human. If I didn't live in the same house with them, I would scarcely believe it myself. Yes true believers it is time again for the Adventures of Thirty-Five seconds in the Past Boy and My Ass is Glued To The Couch Girl.
I walked into the kitchen to make myself an ice cream cone (the perfect food incidentally) and asked if anyone else wanted one. No takers? Ahh, Dad has a taste treat all unto himself. So chuffed, I made my cone and sat down at the computer. Thirty five seconds later..."Oh hey Sid," asked The Boy. "can I have an ice cream cone too?"...It was supper time and Mrs. Narrator had a meeting and so would not be joining us at the table. I put supper on the table and asked the kids what they wanted. "Water." says Isobel. I am met by silence from The Boy. I ask again and I am met with silence again. Naturally I sit down and raise a fork full of cheese sausage to my waiting maw. Just thirty five seconds later..."Oh hey Sid, can I have some Rolo Milk?" This episode will see me walk into the kitchen to make breakfast which will be eaten and the dishes will be cleared away but tune in thirty five seconds later to hear The Boy ask; "Oh hey Sid, can I have another English muffin."
And as a special double feature...See Isobel become fastened to the Couch.
"Isobel, can you pick up your dirty laundry?"
"But Daddy, I can't get off the couch. I'm so tired."
Watch as Malevolent phantom pains render her helpless and force her to remain on The Couch
"Isobel, come and clean up your room."
"Daddy, my legs hurt so much, I just can't get up right now."
Observe as The Couch and the girl begin to meld into one fluffy and disobedient being...
"Isobel, come and brush your teeth."
"I just need to finish watching this show for a minute. I'm just sitting on the couch for now."
Hear Isobel fall victim to the siren song of six inches of corduroy covered foam...
"Isobel, it's time for supper. Isobel...Iso..." (she lay fast asleep)
I expect Professor X will be calling on us any day now...

Everybody has their thing...that thing that still gets inside your head or your guts and twists the knife around. It may start in childhood and may diminish with age but it never really goes away. Lurking behind locked doors and corners in your psyche, just waiting for you to relax a bit before it jumps out and reminds you that you are descendant of a timid hairy little ape and it is a vicious snarling animal that will drive you up the nearest tree and wait for you to make a mistake.
I used to think the Exorcist was my thing...it affected me on a level far beyond knee jerk reactions. It did that but it still bothers me in a way that almost defies description. I saw it censored when I was quite young and even with most of the really terrifying bits out of it, it still managed to scare the bejesus out of me. I saw the unedited version a little later and I am to this very day, still incredibly bothered by some of the images I saw.
But if any one thing altered me incredibly...indefinitely, it was seeing Jaws. I used to think I was foolish for feeling the way I did but I have met countless people who have been affected by it as I have. I don't mean that I have been so affected by the movie that I can't go in the water. I go in the water often. BUT after seeing that movie, a fear was awakened in me. Something atavistic, nameless and faceless but very, very real and very, very permanent.
We go to Mexico often, well as often as finances allow and though I swim, I don't go under the water for any length of time and I feel uneasy doing it. But the uneasiness is not limited to the ocean. I have used scuba equipment in lakes and ponds and though being able to see most of my surroundings is some comfort the fear is always there. It's not a fear of being attacked by a shark, that would be unreasonable and just silly. I have a greater chance of being struck by lightning so they say. But there is no logic in fear, that is why it has such power over us...everybody has their thing.
The Boy's thing is his own brain. I have mentioned before I'm sure that The Boy has ADD. And though he is on meds for it and these meds help immeasurably, the meds do wear off. They do not turn his brain off when they leave however. In fact his brain goes into high gear and every sound, every move and every creak and groan is amplified to the enth degree. Now bearing all of that in mind, put a ten year old boy with a very active imagination and a house that is well over one hundred years old together and see what happens. Unfortunately these episodes like fear itself, are random and unpredictable and there isn't much to be done about them.
This past Sunday night was such a night and The Boy came into our room every hour on the hour it seemed. Two parents who need to get up at ungodly hours will quickly lose sight of fears, no matter how real they are and their patience will disappear in the blink of a tired eye as the night wears on and exhaustion begins to take hold of their senses.
Threats were made and punishments given and increased in multiples and stacks were blown and tempers were raging...and this time it wasn't me. Mrs. Narrator flew off the handle as all parents do at some point and yet The Boy kept coming back to our room hour after hour. The last time I looked at the clock it was 2:00 a.m. I'd like to say that good sense and understanding were with me at that moment but they weren't anywhere near my side of the bed either and I was also becoming irate. Finally Mrs. narrator gave in and went and slept in The Boy's bed with him and all was quiet from then on...Everybody has their own nameless, faceless thing...a horrible cross we all must bear...
What if anything did we learn from all of this? That fear defies logic even in a brain that tells a body to stay in bed or risk further and more severe punishment? Or that in the event of this happening again, that Mrs. Narrator may just go sleep in his room from the get go or let him sleep in our bed? No what we learned is that Mrs. Narrator becomes so overwhelmed with guilt when she yells at the kids that she too will lavish them with gifts just like I do. The purchase of an X-Box to assuage said guilt has been bandied about...I have since been warming up the T.V. and plying the kids with coffee...

The band reunion was this past weekend and as I suspected, in spite of age affecting us all, (my god, I wore glasses on stage) it rocked. Much fun was had and too much alcohol was consumed and too many grey hairs multiplied as a result of the aforementioned activities.
Two years ago when we held the previous reunion, I felt a let down after it was all over. A sense of loss and a hollowness that it was the last time I would do anything like this and that my rock and roll days were over and what ever talents I had were waning and would die with me.
The Boy wants to play an instrument but he is very like his mother and doesn't possess a great deal of patience. He tends to want instant success and perfection. That is not a judgement of his character, nor is it necessarily a bad thing but it may prove to be a hindrance when it comes to learning an instrument. He wants to do it, rather than learn it. And to his credit, if he really wants to learn, I will teach him as best as I can.
Isobel on the other hand, has aped guitar and rock stardom virtually since she left the womb. Even the anesthesiologist said we should check her for tattoos to make sure we got the right baby. After this weekend, I have no doubt she is my kid.
I know Isobel knew I went to New York to see some of my old friends but I don't know if she knew the friends I went to see were also the friends I used to play in a band with. At any rate there was a video (which I just can't seem to post ) and a couple of photographs waiting for me when I got home...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who's the Real Rock Star here...The return of the colest Dad in the Universe...

We were standing in the kitchen discussing the habits of clean children.
Daddy: "You need to clean up after yourself."
Isobel: "I do clean up after myself."
Daddy: "When?"
Isobel: "lots of times. Can I make a table bed?"
Daddy: "What's a table bed?"
Isobel: "That's where I make a bed on the table and lie down on it. Only that accidentally turned into a fort."
Daddy:"You guys made a fort last night?"
Isobel: "Nope, just me. And I cleaned it up."
Daddy: "I knew you did something, the chair cushions were all turned over."
Isobel: "You saw the chair....this conversation is over, I need to go to the bathroom. And it's a number three."

I always knew that this thing would take on a life of its own, it practically had one from the very beginning. Somebody once asked me if I would still write this if nobody was reading it and I replied that 'when I started it, I didn't think anybody was reading it. I write, I have always written...in one form or another...
About twenty years ago, I was living in a basement apartment, trying to eek out a living a s a writer or musician while working in a meat plant. I managed to do a little freelance work here and there and the band I was playing in had a steady Saturday gig and the occasional out of town show. It was just what I wanted in the beginning but my heart began to walk away from it. It wanted more out of life and this band and this freelancing just wasn't going to provide it. I had decided to pack it in, maybe start something else.
Ironically, I got a phone call from the singer of a band I had seen a few times. He had mentioned their last bass player had just quit and they wanted me to fill in. Maybe permanently. That they were making approximately what I was making in the factory and wanted to know if I was interested. (For the record, they had actually called every bass player they could think of and when none of them were available, they called me. I was their last choice. AND were didn't make even close to what I was making min the meat factory...at least I wasn't) But I jumped at it, it was a chance to get the hell out of dodge and experience the world beyond my front door. Even if it was for crap pay.
For six and a half years, we cruised up and down the I90 playing everywhere that would have us. We slept on floor and couches and in side the van and eventually, in hotel suites of our very own. We were making decent money (all of us) and then the other shoe dropped. The tension between the singer and I was becoming unbearable. I had a lot on my mind, my first marriage was falling apart and the singer and I were essentially the same person. And we rubbed each other the wrong way frequently. And though I never said anything to the other two in the band, I was beginning to hear rumours about my pay scale versus theirs and I had had enough. Thinking it would save my marriage(which of course it did not,) I quit the band.
I was fully prepared to return to Pittsburgh to repair my marriage or maybe even to Canada to start completely over in my hometown. I gave myself a year to figure something out...and then I met my hetero life partner. He was in much the same position as I was. He had just left a band that he was fed up with and was burnt out from playing endless shows in front of people who were just as sick of hearing the songs as you were of playing them. We jokingly said we should start a band of our own. But the jokes became more serious and we started to think we could actually pull it off. We talked about starting it for almost the whole year I had given myself to change something, before we actually did something about it.
But what we did...It was everything I needed, everything I thought a band should be for me. It was friendship, professionalism, great talent and a massive vehicle for my songs and writing. Playing with the band I had just left, I had amassed a large backlog of material that was just dying to see the light of day. We tried to do it as a power trio by adding a guitar player but quickly realized we needed someone to sing who could better pull off the duties of a front man. We became a quartet and the earth began to shake beneath out feet.
We quickly became legends around the local music scene. Legendary not only for our blistering live performances but for our entirely hedonistic rock and roll behaviour. We were all rock stars, all of us and we all lived the part to the fullest. It was brilliant, it was fast and frightening...it was.
Fast forward now ten years later and we are preparing to play our ten year anniversary show. I went down this past weekend for rehearsals. (which went surprisingly well considering none of us had played the music and I hadn`t touched a bass since the last reunion two years ago)
I got to see most of my band mates and time is moving on for all of us. Some of us are greying, some of us are thinning and 3/4 of us are married though I am the only parent thus far. I also got to cross paths with many people I hadn't seen in many years. And they all had virtually the same thing to say. Not 'looking forward to the show,' or 'damn it's good to see you again,' or even 'where is the god-damned money you owe me?' which could have been a definite possibility considering my financial state when I left.
No what I was greeted with most this past weekend was 'Where's Isobel?' and 'Oh I read you column all the time!' and 'that kid is the funniest person I have ever read about, you must spend all day laughing.' Even the owner of the bar where we are playing the reunion show, a man I haven`t seen in a long time asked 'where is that crazy drunken wife of yours(a story for another time involving bees and booze and derby girls) and that rock star of a daughter?' And there he said it...the student has eclipsed the master...I think I always knew I would lose the crown eventually. I just didn't figure she would be five when she took it off my head...Guess I'll just have to sit back and enjoy the ride...and keep my notebook handy

So you can't go on a trip and not come home with gifts of one sort or another. The kids would never let me in the house empty handed. I told both of them that I would bring them something home from New York when I went. The Boy thought I was going to go to FAO Schwarz and was disappointed to find out that that particular store is in New York City and that I was going to Rochester. He wanted something never the less. I figures he might. It is often difficult to explain to your non parent friends the earth shattering importance of bringing home things for the children when you take a trip. But for his part, my drummer took it all in stride and helped me get to the store in the mall I needed to get to.
There is a chain of stores in the States that carries goth and punk themed clothing for the hip urban teen. It also carries the t-shirts of a band that Isobel is in love with. The choice was clear for what to get her. I also knew what to get the Boy this time around. He usually presents a rather large and fussy road block of what to get him but he had been dropping not so subtle hints when I left... I was besieged as soon as I walked in the door
"What did you get us?" and never being one to disappoint, I told Izzy to close her eyes while I rummaged through the shopping bag they had already found. I held up the Who t-shirt I had bought for myself and the look on her face was the same look I imagine I would have gotten if I handed her a teddy bear smeared in poo.
"Oh wait, that's mine." I said pretending to play dumb(pretending?) "close your eyes again."
This time I held out the correct shirt and she let out a squeal when she saw it. A Black Veil Brides shirt with all the members of the band in full make up and full glory. She hasn't taken it off since...It is the size of a prom dress.
I told the Boy to close his eyes. Knowing full well that he was expecting me to have gotten him Lego, I wasn't surprised when he held out both hands. I gently put the small package in his hands and told him to open his eyes. He erupted with joy. To the point I actually though he was going to cry. I got him the sequel to one of his favourite video games...it also has not been off since I got home.
Last night Isobel woke up with a start.She thought she had heard thunder and she called out to me. Something she hasn't done it sometime. I was still asleep and so naturally ran downstairs looking for her. When I finally got to her room, I told I went downstairs looking for her.
"Why would I go downstairs in the middle of the night?" she asked.
Cool Dad returns.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What is that noise?...He did what now?...Isobel returns to Normal...

We found a new second hand store, the kids and I. Naturally we went to explore and the kids knew if I got something, chances are they would too. Somehow I missed out on this arrangement. The Boy got himself a new chapter book and Izzy found a small electronic keyboard. It has an auto-play feature which Izzy soon discovered...sort of.
Isobel: "Daddy, listen to this." (Plunking on the keys)
Daddy: "Very good honey."
Isobel: "Listen to this one now." (more plunking and accidentally hitting a chord) Holy crap! I'm playing! Daddy, I can play piano."
Daddy: "Awesome honey."
Isobel: "Ok, you call me when it's my time to play and I'll come to play."
Daddy: "Do you mean introduce you and you'll come and play?"
Isobel: "Yep, you tell me and I'll play."
Daddy: "OK, Isobel!"
Isobel: "Ok, wait.(Tinkering with keys and hitting auto play) Jingle Bells! Daddy, Jingle Bells! I can play Jingle Bells. Seriously, I can play piano. I really rock now."

I have said on several occasions (and will likely say on several more) that I did not want to be a parent. But I am so let's move on. It was a rare occasion this past week and the children were trundled off for over night visits on no less than two occasions. Ho ho!
For the first time in a while Mrs. Narrator and I were left to our own devices and we did what all parents do when they are left without their children over night. I went to band practice and she went to derby practice.
Now all during their absence, I heard something, low and quiet. Barely detectable, I couldn't put my finger on just what it was but it was definitely something...different.
"What the hell is that?" I asked out loud.
"What is what?" Mrs. Narrator asked.
"Nothing," I said. "I'm hearing things." And with that I went back to sleep and didn't pay any more mind to what I had heard.
By the time I got up for work in the morning, I was still aware of whatever it was and it was still very much aware of it. Now more than ever. I began getting ready for work and the cat meowed. It seemed loud and overwhelming like it was projected through a loud speaker. I began to think my mind was slipping, too many nights of not enough sleep followed by early morning rises for work.
I walked into the living room to try and shake away the cobwebs when I kicked the stool that Izzy uses at breakfast time. Suddenly something dawned on me.
"I'll be god-damned." I said.
It wasn't a sound or a noise or a thing, it was the lack of it or rather, the lack of two its. The kids weren't home. I hadn't heard a single peep from anyone under the age of eleven all night. The level of noise and chaos and sheer presence of the children, multiplies exponentially from suppertime until bedtime and The kids had been gone since early that morning.
I never wanted to be a parent and for my sins, I am one. I find it odd and oddly comforting all at once, that I cannot conceive of a day without them or at the very least the cacophony that surrounds them. I am certain that this longing and need to have my children around me always will run for the high country as soon as the teen years kick into high gear but for now I'll smile knowing the kids are home and safe and that my headphones really are noise cancelling...

Today is my birthday, I am forty three. I became a parent later than a great deal of my friends and considerably later than most I know. I was thirty eight when Isobel was born and I didn't really think much of it then but I will be in my fifties when she is in the throes of her teenage years...
Even that didn`t bother me much until a couple of years ago, when I took a long look in the mirror and started to see a few more grey hairs and a few more care lines turning into full on wrinkles. Couple that with still smoking, still boozing way too much and still carrying on like a single, living on his own, general nit wit of a bachelor and it`s no wonder I was shuffling around like an old man and getting winded as I walked up the stairs.
So I changed. I quit smoking (as painful and god damned near impossible as it was) cut down on drinking, started exercising (no really I do it regularly now. No really, me Sid, exercising) cut out a lot of crap food and generally started giving a crap about my well being for the sake of my children.
It is my dream you see, to sit on my front porch one day with my pipes in hand and watching as a young man comes down the drive way in hopes of dating my daughter.
"Good evening Mr. Baker," he might begin. "is Isobel at home?"
To which I will hand him my bagpipes and say, "When you can play A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick, you may date my daughter." And maybe that boy will take my pipes from me and play me the piobaireachd I ask for and maybe he will love my daughter forever and a day and maybe they will marry and give us many grandchildren. I feel sorry for the poor girl that comes down the drive way in hopes of wooing The Boy, Mrs. Narrator is REALLY going to be hard to win over...
Now with all this in mind, I recently read that Paul Stanley and is wife just had a baby. Paul Stanley is fifty nine...FIFTY EFFING NINE. In thirteen years when Izzy graduates high school, I will be fifty six and I will likely be the oldest parent in the room but I would like to think that with the choices I have made now I will be possessed of all my faculties and still able to get around.( my father in law is nearly seventy, exercises regularly and still has less grey hair than me)
When Paul Stanley's newly born daughter graduates high school, he will be seventy seven years old. I don't care how well you take care of yourself, nearly eighty is god awful old. If you have spent the majority of your adult life living the excesses of a rock god, it is going to take its toll. Even if your excesses were on the low side of the scale.
I know that the natural course of things is that parents are meant to pre-decease their children but how do you (of good conscience) have a child knowing that chances are, you will never see that child into full maturity and adulthood of their own?
I myself intend to live to a ripe old age and become a large burden to my children. Incontinence and all if possible. When Isobel was a baby and I tried to change her for the first time on my own, I did not attach the diaper properly and she crapped on my pant leg. I told her then I would return the favour one day...Daddy always keeps his word.

I was beginning to get worried for a while that Isobel was going through something. She hadn't cursed or swore in forever and was interested in Bieber and Gaga and all things non-rocking. This week has seen Isobel come back to the purer faith.
"I saw that, Isobel Don't step on her tail!" said Mrs. Narrator.
The Boy chimed in with "You don't have to be so mean to the cat Izzy."
"But she pees on the floor." said Izzy.
"And she gets punished for it. Mommy sprays her with water when she pees." said The Boy.
"Daddy doesn't." said Izzy.
"No, Daddy picks her up and puts her outside," said The Boy. "You don't have to kick her or step on her tail or be mean to her."
"But I love it..." said Izzy.
Izzy did some colouring this week that should probably scare me a little but really kind of warms my heart knowing that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...and it usually hit a passer by on it's way down. She has done several others of a similar theme but this is the pick of the litter...Isobel's black period...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Asking the big questions...Isobel Booth...

I often wonder how things like the death of a pet affect the kids. There is inevitably the sadness but once that has passed, what remains? My mother had come over for a visit and she noticed Brooklyn, our cat wandering past her feet.
Nana: "Oh look, there's the cat."
Isobel: "That's Brooklyn, Not Gimmo."
Nana: "Oh that's right, Gimmo isn't here anymore. he's in kitty heaven."
Isobel: "What?"
Nana: "He went to kitty heaven because he was very old."
Isobel: "Gimmo had a heart attack and had a very lonely death. Betty was sad and I was on the beach at the Mexico house."

Shortly before Isobel was born, I remember a guy I worked with was asking me what I wanted out of life. I replied, after some thought, that I wanted to be a good father. he didn`t like that answer. `No, what do you really want to do?' I thought about it again and gave the same answer.
I didn't want to be a parent...really. I was quite content to be the cool uncle for the rest of my days. That would mean I could maintain a kind of family ethos but still go on living the selfish bachelor life I had grown accustomed to. So when Mrs. Narrator said that she was up the duff (I'm paraphrasing) and when she last checked the world hadn't stopped turning I wasn't entirely certain that it hadn't.
It's not that I didn't like kids, I love them but they were always somebody else's. I got to breeze in, tell a few jokes, get some big laughs and breeze back out. It was win win and keep on winning for your humble narrator. I never gave much thought to whether I would make a good parent or not. I wasn't going to be one...Fate loves me.
So five (nearly six) years later and I find myself asking THAT question. Probably more often than not. 'Am I a good parent?' And the simple answer is I don't know...On the surface I guess I must be. I mean my kids are both well fed and clothed and I have assisted them in not being dead up to this point and I will continue to do so up until they seem to be able to do so on their own or until they are required to return the favour for me.
But that isn't it...that's not the real meat of the matter. All of that stuff makes me an adult, maybe even a parent but is it enough to make me a good parent, whatever that may be? Will I be remembered as somebody's father or somebody's dad?
I know that I am often too hard on the children when I don't really need to be. I am often surprised about the things that I am strict about and even more surprised with what I am completely lax about. I grew up in a house where children had no voice and we did what we were told. if we didn't we were punished, often physically and we seldom made the same mistake twice. I don't want to make it seem as though I grew up in an abusive home-I didn't. Nor did any of my friends who were all raised in similar households. It was a different time and we all had parents with old world values. If your attitude was not the status quo, it was adjusted. There were a couple of kids that I went to school with who came to school with black eyes. We all knew why. They were abused, not us...I'm wandering...My point is would I consider my parents good parents with all of that in mind. And I have to say not particularly. I don't say that to be cruel but I don't look back on my childhood with a lot of emotional fondness. Though grand-parenting seems to be the road to redemption. I don't get many warm fuzzies thinking about growing up. It is what it was.
But how will my children remember their childhood, is a question that frightens me a little. They say that you tend to bring your childhood into your own parenting and in my parents case, that is certainly true...it is sometimes very difficult to not repeat the 'sins of the father'.
Kids need discipline...that's not the word I actually mean. Guidance is a better way to put that but the trick is when to lead and when to let them wander from the tour a bit...and I'm not certain I have found the best way to do this. I am certain I can't be the only one that thinks like this, not the only father anyway. The real tragedy is that there are far too many...especially fathers who don't seem to give a shit about their children one way or the other. It should be important...to be a good parent first and foremost but to be remembered as a good parent in your children's minds.
The other day, The Boy actually came to me for reassurance of a sort after being bawled out by his mother. it was the first time it happened and it was an important step for both of us. Today both children were right back to ignoring most of what I said and trying to suffocate their mother by seeing who can sit closest to her.
I know that I am at least in the running for coolest parent by letting Izzy shave one side of her head and for making her up like her favourite band and not getting too hot under the collar when she gets black make up all over the house. It is a fine line between cream-puff and caveman and the best any of us can hope for is a decent equilibrium.

The Boy had gone to his grandparents for a couple of days and it was just Izzy, Mrs. Narrator and me. Izzy was walking from the kitchen out of boredom and flopping on the couch...face first. This naturally progressed to jogging from the kitchen and jumping about a foot away from the couch to full on running out of the kitchen and launching herself in the general direction of the couch from as far away as she could.
Mrs Narrator said, "Izzy, that is got to be some kind of record for couch jumping."
Which of course, caused Izzy to treat it as such. She went to the toy room and came back out with her approximation of a stop watch. A spinning top that looked like a chicken in a neck tie.
"Mommy," she said. "When I run past, you look at this and tell me how fast I am going. Ready? Go"
And off she ran a toward the couch she leaped. This went on for a while, back and forth and she was getting more and more tired until she began sucking huge helps of air before she would run. "Mommy, you're not looking!" she said.
"Oh sorry honey. " Mrs. Narrator said. "Ok, I'm ready now." and then she appeared, Frank Booth's little girl. (for those of you playing the home edition, Frank Booth was Dennis Hopper's sadistic character in Blue Velvet)
She would start in the kitchen by snorting and gulping for air and as she began to run she would scream to her mother "Look at it!" It went on like this for forty five minutes or more..."Snort...LOOK AT IT!" and end with a double axle and dismount onto the couch...ok more of a full faced flop on the couch.
"Snort...LOOK AT IT!" (flop) "Snort...LOOK AT IT!" (flop) "Snort...LOOK AT IT!" (flop)
If the acting career that she so obviously needs to pursue doesn't pan out, she may have a future in the furniture strength testing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Izzy courts Controversy...All Natural Herbicide...

Isobel has been obsessing about getting her ears pierced. Despite our best efforts to convince her otherwise, she is bound and determined to get it done.
Isobel: "Daddy, can I get my ears pierced?"
Daddy: "What? Get your ears pierced?" Jeez, Pick I don't know."
Isobel: "Why not?"
Daddy: "For one thing, it hurts to get your ears pierced."
Isobel: "But you have your ears pierced."
Daddy: "So does Mummy. I pierced mine myself and it hurt like hell."
Isobel: "Where did you pierce them?"
Daddy: "At Nana's place when I lived with her."
Isobel: "I want to go to Cambridge to get my ears pieced. It doesn't hurt to get your ears pierced in Cambridge. Only in Kitchener."
Daddy: "Who told you that?"
Isobel: "Alexander. He also said that when he got his ear pierced In Cambridge that he wore a blindfold because if he didn't, it would hurt his eyes too."

There is a new hairstyle that is making the rounds among girls. Its shaved on one side and long on the other. Like an anti mullet or a partially committed Mohawk. It apparently, runs rampant through the roller derby world, according to Mrs. Narrator. I first saw this hairstyle on one of the VJs on Much Music. She is a pretty brunette with a handful of tattoos and this hairstyle. It suited her and framed her face. Izzy was sitting beside me when I happened upon this young woman and her hairstyle and I was forbidden from touching the television from that point until the woman was off the air.
And so it began, the endless inundation of "I want to shave off part of my hair." from Isobel. I wondered how long it would take before Mrs. Narrator or I asked the other 'What do you think?' We both were uncertain of what to say or think about the whole thing...Isobel has had many a whim like this and if we entertained them all we would be broke and Isobel would likely be in a full body cast (see "Daddy, can I jump off the garage roof with a big umbrella?") but when two or three days had gone past and she was still going on about shaving part of her head, we figured this was one we might have to let her have.
Mrs. Narrator spent the better part of her Sunday morning looking through pictures of 'roller derby hair', trying to find a picture that would show Isobel exactly what she was in for. Mummy found just such a picture.
"Izzy, this is what your hair will look like. Is this what you really want to do with your hair?" she asked.
"Oh god, yes. That's what I want to get!" she was beaming and aglow with excitement.
Mrs. Narrator looked to me and asked if I would have a problem with Izzy getting her hair cut like this. I should probably interject that I had a Mohawk haircut when I was seventeen. It was baby blue with black tips. I was so long that in order to put it up in it's full massive fan, I had to hang my head between my knees and quickly dowse it hairspray and grab the blow dryer. Mrs Narrator too, had a Mohawk haircut.
"I don't care if you shave all of her hair, it's just hair." I said.
Somewhere in the back of my head there was a little gray haired old woman saying 'proper parents don't allow their children to get their hair cut like that.' but the teenager with the blue Mohawk quickly slammed the door on her...I mean really, how could I say anything and not feel like...well, my Dad? He was a rebellious teenager in his own right but when it came to me an my funky hair and torn clothes, he wanted nothing to do with and had no problem kicking me out to prove that point. Once I started doing the rock-a-billy thing I was the prodigal son but I was persona non-grata for a long time before.
So appointments were made and plastic aprons were affixed, clippers were oiled and turned on and Isobel was set to go. I wish I was there for the whole happening but alas, work beckoned. Mrs. Narrator told me that there was an older lady sitting in the chair next to Isobel and asked what kind of haircut Izzy was getting. When the hairdresser told her what she was about to do to my daughter`s hair, her eyes nearly leaped out of her skull. Mrs. Narrator said that made her feel all happy and gooey inside...me too.
They next went to visit the grandparents, who to my surprise were not too happy with Isobel`s haircut. I figured they of all people would be understanding. I try to be as non emotional about these things as possible, really I do. They are from a different generation and things like asymmetrical hair I think tend to mystify them. Short hair they get but why in the hell would someone get two haircuts? It bothers me a little bit that somethings don't change deep down in the roots even when the surface looks like it is a brand new thing...It's just hair, it grows back and then you can screw it up all over again. They'll get over it, what Grandparent doesn't love their grandchildren? Even if they get haircuts that frighten them?
It brings to light an interesting question though. We have given the children a long leash on things like hairstyles and clothing and even "dirty" language (really this one is primarily used by Isobel) so when the teen years inevitably show up on our doorstep, what exactly are they going to rebel against?...somewhere a tidal wave of dread just began to roll toward our house...

We have several gardens around the house and despite being unbelievably busy this spring and summer(insert roller derby games and piping competitions) we have managed to maintain them to at least a degree of attractiveness.
Along with gardens come garden pests. Mostly snails around here. Snails and slug eating holes in the leaves and generally destroying the integrity of the plants. I have noticed recently that many of the flowers are blooming...dead. it's the only way I can describe it. The flowers open up as they should but they are dead and withered when they do. I thought at first we had some new sort of parasite and was prepared to buy what ever chemical necessary to rid us of this pestilence...I didn't have to go far to find my answer.
I was in the yard picking up some branches that had blown off the tree in our front yard from a storm that blew through the night before. I heard what sounded like someone popping large sized bubble wrap. POP.
I came around the corner and there stood Isobel with an un-bloomed flower bud pinched between her fingers. POP.
"Izzy!" I hollered. "Don't do that. You'll kill all the flowers."
"I don't care", POP she said. "I like it." POP.
"I do care, stop it." I said.
"I just can't stop Daddy," POP "I tried and I just can't" POP.
Thankfully we only have one or two flowers that she has targeted as her personal plaything... now if I could only figure a way to get creeping Charlie to flower like that...