Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Physics Of Apples And Trees...Izzy's History Lesson...

Nature is taking it's course in our backyard. It is littered with the corpses of baby birds. However we found one fat and fuzzy live one.
     Isobel: "Daddy, come quick I found a real live baby bird!"
     Daddy: "It's probably a fledgling, a baby that's learning how to fly."
     Isobel: "His head is all yellow. Come see, come see!"
     Daddy: "That's not his head honey, it's his beak. He wants food."
     Isobel: "Well, what do we feed him?"
     Daddy: "Well, hopefully the mother is around or he's not going to make it."
     Isobel: "Make what?"
     Daddy: "If the mother bird doesn't come back to feed him, he'll die."
     Isobel: Daddy if he dies, can I have him?"

      I am a writer. I have always been a writer. One of my earliest memories was winning a book as an award for writing a short story in the sixth grade. I think my greatest frustration with the band I left home for was my lack of writing input. I was never much of a tune smith but I am hell of a lyricist if I do say so myself. It's the words, the craft of putting them together in a way that is clever enough to impress me but also exciting enough to hold the attention and common interest of whoever happens to read them.
      And so, as it turns out my friends my progeny has started down the dark and infernal path of the writer. She has been crafting a story all year long and presented it to us only just yesterday. I was so impressed by it's honest and genuine depth of emotion that I couldn't keep it to myself. In fact, Isobel will be providing the bulk of this week's blog. It remains unabridged and uncensored, I insist on the purity of the original manuscript. So without further ado, Here is I saw a Bird in My Yard Today (It's a working title)
      I like the trtlls in the tab. And wen I dopt my watt bottl it was fanny. I liket the zoot. Is fun alt zoos. I liket it som ucn. I wat to go thar agin.
       I liked wen Babar and Cheieste got in to the car an wet nom and got clthing and Cheieste got a pritty dess and Babar got a vice soot.
      My faurit prt was wen Scre ran awae fam Freddies tem and got a hrt leg and never cen back.
      Wen I went to the Tosi Shritrc hous I lki bycing the coces. And they tosdid like sholmine and thay wr strs and moos and hrts.
      Me and my famaly want to the bech. And we plad in tho watr and we foud los of cams.And we allso foud shrc teth.
      Me an my mon wet soping at zarze. And aftr we wet to Chceces and I got a chce pop. And we all so did Das reviooshn and we did wac the wesill. And we did hit the bre. And then we lefte to nom.
      Me and my tamale are laring on tarc ond hat sune day and I am tand. The rest of my tamale are tand too! even my oqmo and my groqpo are tond toe! I like Mexacoe!
      My babysitr and me and Owen wete for a wack in the foniste and my bolde sitr woct met and I.
      Wan I wnt to the fornst with my dald I gate sprad by a skoke and it stingckt.
      Wan I wat outsid to plae. It strtid to ran and then it mad a ran bowe.
     Wqon-I wot-to Brot-Wod-Frm my-Faa-Nrt-Prt.
      Me and my daddy wet to the past ofis and wen we got into the car a bie faw in to the cor.
      Truly it is breathtaking. I have often wondered how I could express my Faa and now I have been shown the way and just the other day as I was walking to the past ofis, I was wondering if I should invite my groqpo over. I've just noticed that today Isobel brought home a folder called Isobel's Self Portrait Book. I suspect she will be having a show at the National Gallery this time next year.

      I have been driving my father in law's car for the past little while as my ancient Ford gets fixed. (again) Isobel's keen powers of observation of the painfully obvious kicked into high gear.
      "Hey, you're driving Opa's car." she said.
      "Yeah," I said. "Mine is getting fixed."
      "Again?" she asked. "Didn't it just get fixed?"
      "Well yes," I began. "but that was for the brakes. This is for the motor."
      "Your car sure needs to get fixed a lot." she said.
      "Well my car is from 1997."
      She thought about this for a while and a look of wonderment and disbelief came over her.
      "Your car is from 1997?" she asked.
      "1997, like when everything was grey?"
      Somebody wrote once that having children keeps you feeling you...it's all a god damned lie.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Best Father's Day Ever...Isobel at the Zoo...

      The school year is winding down and soon we will all get to sleep in a little while longer but for now it is still up and at 'em at 'oh my god' o'clock.
      Daddy: "Time to get up Pick."
      Isobel: (rumble, groan, moan) "What?"
      Daddy: "Time to get up. Wakey-wakey. Eggs and bakey!"
      Isobel: "Ooooh. I had a dream. A very bad dream."
      Daddy: "Oh yeah? What was your dream about?"
      Isobel : "It was about my butt."
      Daddy: "You had a dream about your butt?"
      Isobel: "Yes."
      Daddy: "And?"
      Isobel: "My underwear lost the fight."

     Father's day was this past weekend and it was the best Father's day ever. Even if it wasn't, you have to say it was-haven't you? Last year I remember that Isobel was quite excited for the day to come around so she could give me her school made trinket but this year she was positively beside herself. It was all I could do to stop her from telling me what she made for me.
      "Look," I said one day after school. "Don't tell me. I want to be surprised on Sunday. If you have to tell somebody, tell Mummy."
      This hadn't dawned on her, that she could tell her mother and get the information safely out of her system before she burst and I would remain none the wiser. With relief visible on her face, she shuffled me out of the room and spilled her guts to her mother. Though this wasn't nearly enough to satiate her desire to share what she had done. In an hour she was willing to tell me what she made me.
      "I'll tell you what I made for you if you want."
      "No honey," I said. "I don't want to know. I want it to be a surprise."
     "But I really want to tell you." she pleaded. "Can I please tell you just one thing?"
      "Do you just have the one thing?" I asked.
      "No!" she insisted.
      By the sincerity in her voice, I knew that she did have more than the one thing to present to me on The Day so I gave in.
     "OK," I said. "you can tell me one thing."
      "I made you JAM."
       She breathed the last word out, as though it were something slightly sinister but something I couldn't live without.
      "Oooh, jam. I can't wait." I said all the while visions of the six year old version of 'jam' racing through my mind. I was a little nauseous already.
      Sunday came and I was up before anyone else...come to think of it, when am  not? Remnants of the night shift I suppose. Anyway, soon enough Isobel was marching into the living room with my Father's day goodies. First came out a card, the usual hand drawn fare. A snappy rendering of Isobel and me stopped beneath a stop sign. (we are so very safety conscious) Next came a Father's day faux Newspaper front page. Written by Isobel and Angel (a child I was unaware of perhaps? Clearly I was not consulted when she was named..) A picture of me in the top corner-complete with new Warby Parker glasses.
      My parents have been telling me most of my life that I was special. Actually they told a lot of people that I was special....some of them were complete strangers if I recall. Well now it is official. According to the Father's day edition of The Scoop, I was voted #1 Dad because I am special. It is in print therefore it is true and I won't discuss it any further.
     Now as for my credentials...let's just have a look see at what my progeny has listed as my finest qualities. (beyond my explosive specialness of course) According to the paper;
 My Dad and I like to: Go get Cow Ice Cream. Now I am not entirely certain what that is assuming that all if not most ice cream is cow ice cream in the strictest sense of the word but in Isobel's world I wouldn't doubt she was hoping for toad ice cream and they were all out that day.
I Love My Dad: When he feeds me. This is by far the funniest thing I have ever seen attributed to my child. I was unaware that there was an option to not feed them. I assumed it was some sort of rule. Things will be different around here on the weekends, I can assure you of that.
3 Fun Facts About My Dad: 1) He is the coach of my soccer team.
                                               2) He takes me to Victoria park to play
                                               3) He takes me to school everyday.
     OK...I have never coached any sports team in the entirety of my 43 years on this planet. Not one. While we are on this particular subject, Isobel has not yet ( in her six and a quarter years on this planet) signed up for, let alone played an organized sport of any kind.
      Further more, the only time I took her to Victoria park, she was spooked by a sinister looking junior kindergarten kid and she panicked and wanted to come home. I have no doubt of course that Isobel is my child. She is far too moody and black of humour to be anybody's but mine. It does however, beg the question; 'Who in the hell doing all of this fun and exciting shit with my kid? And is he available to baby sit once in a while?'
      But that wasn't the last of the goodies, no no. Next came the jam...I know what you must be thinking, worm jam or some other vile dark smelly ooze that kindergarten teachers allow their students to spring on kindly, unsuspecting Fathers. No in fact it was a lovely strawberry compote that seems to go best with slightly melted peanut butter on a toasted english muffin...On the label it says 'To Daddy. Love Isobel'
 Best Father's Day ever...

      The kids are in the final weeks of school which for all concerned (teachers included it would seem) it really just a matter of counting down the days until it is over. What better way to do that than to cram in as many field trips as humanly possible in the last two weeks of school?
      The Boy just brought home permission slips for three field trips...decent ones too, not the wandering around outdoors or going to some local farm to pick beans kinda crap like I got. No, The Boy is getting to go to the Warplane Heritage Museum among others. It's a good thing it is for school and the legalities would boggle the mind because if I found out he got to go up in a bomber or fighter plane, I might not let him back in the house purely out of spite and jealousy.
      Tomorrow, Isobel is off to the zoo. The zoo! I think I went to Waterloo park when I was in school where they had a couple of peacocks in cages, a couple of raccoon refugees and one mouldy, foul tempered porcupine. Are you frigging kidding me?
     So she is off to the zoo tomorrow and when she was talking about it, describing to me what she might see I sensed something a little unsettling in her voice.
      "Daddy, do you know there are bears there?"
     "Oh yeah?"
     "Yeah." she said "And birds and deer and a petting zoo."
     "Oh, a petting zoo. Aren't you lucky."
     "And there's wolves." as the words left her mouth, the tone in her voice told me she was nervous about the wolves.
      She had not been to a proper zoo since she was very little  and I think maybe she had not been told a vital piece of information regarding her upcoming trip and the animals featured in the petting zoo portion
      "Honey, you know all the animals are in cages, right? and that only farm animals are for petting?"
      She thought about this for a bit and I could see the calmness wash over her.
      "Yeah, I knew that."
     The animals will be very thankful for the bars after tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stranger Danger...Ms. Mixalot...

      We were watching T.V. and Isobel started a conversation with another of her highly logical interjections.
      Isobel: "Daddy?"
      Daddy: "Yes my petulant petunia?"
      Isobel: "Daddy if you picked my nose..."
      Daddy: "Wait, what?"
      Isobel: "If you were picking my nose..."
      Daddy: "No."
      Isobel: "Wait, what?"
      Daddy: "No."
      Isobel: "What do you mean no?"
      Daddy: "I mean no. I don't pick noses, that was your Mother's deal."
      Isobel: "What do you mean?"
      Daddy: "When you were a baby, your Mother picked your nose. Seemed liked every time she fed you, she was up there digging around."
      Isobel: "Seriously?"
      Daddy: "Seriously."
      Isobel: "What kind of monster is she?"

      I was early picking her up from school and she came bounding down the hallway when she saw me and jumped up to give me a big hug.
      "You're early," she said. "did you have to wait in the office before I came?"
      "No I just walked down the hallway toward your class," I replied. "I think pretty much everybody at the school knows me. There's no stranger danger here."
     And it occurred to me that I have never had kind of talk with her, the kind of talk where I try to drill into her tiny little psyche, all of the information that will keep her safe from the predators that all parents think are lurking around every corner...and sometimes they come out from around those corners. Anyway, I asked her what she knew about how to behave around people she didn't know.
     "Well," she began. "My teacher said that I should stay away from the ice cream truck unless a parent or other adult is watching me."
      "That's probably a good idea..." I started. "Wait, what? she said you should stay away from the ice cream truck?"
      "Yeah." said Isobel "She said that sometimes people who work in ice cream trucks are bad and they like to take kids away."
      "I think your teacher has seen Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang too many times." I said half to myself.
      "What?" Izzy asked.
      "...or read too much Stephen King." I muttered some more.
      "What?" Izzy asked again.
     "Skip it, Pick." I said. "Be too hard to explain anyway.
        But I didn't want to drop the subject so we continued our conversation.
      "But you know not to talk to strangers, right? Like if someone you don't know, comes up and tries to talk to you, you know to not talk to them?"
      "Yep." she said nonchalantly.
      "And you know to tell an adult right away?"
      "Even if they say they know Mummy or me, you don't talk to them or go with them or anything like that, right?"
      "Daddy, they teach us this in school." she tried to reassure me
      "I know Pick, I just want to make sure you understand." I said.
      We drove to the hardware store in silence and I think she might have thought I was upset with her, she had an odd look on her face.
      "Yes Isobel?"
      "Daddy, do you think I should spit on a stranger if they come near me? I think I should do something like that to keep strangers away from me."
      "I don't know if spitting on a stranger would keep them away from you or not."
     "I know, I just said that." she said. "What I really meant was puke. I would puke on a stranger if they ever came near me."
      "Well, that might just keep them away from you." I said, realizing my point was now long gone. Awash in a sea of mental vomit.
      "I can't wait to throw up on a stranger, I've never thrown up on anybody before."
      "Well," I began. "That's not exactly true is it?"
       "What do you mean?" she asked.
       "You threw up in my mouth."
       "Oh yeah." she said. "OK, from now on I only throw up on strangers."
      Something tells me she's going to be pretty safe.

      So the kids participated in 'Jump Rope for Heart' a fundraiser type thingy at the school. They bring home catalogues full of all of the things they can win. The extravagance of the prizes is directly proportional to the amount of money they can leech out of their parents. Grandparents and co-workers are the usual go to folks for this kind of thing. You know what I'm talking about, we are not the only family infected with the fundraising Ebola.
      So both kids managed to get $100.00 in pledges thanks to generous friends and very kind aunties and grandparents and managed to jump rope about six times combined. (OK, that last bit isn't even close to the truth. Isobel had a headache from all the jumping and The Boy was walking with touch of a limp,the next day due to exceptionally sore legs)
     For their trouble they got mostly crap. Light up Frisbees and light up balls. Stuff that look like the Heart and Stroke foundation did a lot of shopping at the dollar store... ho-ho! But all is not lost true believers!
      The last thing to come out of their prize packs was an inflatable bouncy ball with a handle. Like the kind I remember wanting desperately as a kid but never actually getting. They have thrashed each other a few times and had a couple of ear splitting bounce offs. So they CAN find fun in the mundane. Well, time to get rid of the PlayStation...
      Isobel has found a new use for the bouncy ball. She will hold the handle between her knees with the ball part on the other side of her...like a big red butt.
      "Look at my big red butt." she said. "It's giant. I've never seen such a big red butt."
      And then it was on. There was no more bouncing, ( OK, there was a little bouncing)  there was only revelling in the majesty that is the big red butt.
      "Excuse me," she started. "are you looking at my big red butt?"
      "No, I am not." I said.
      "It's not my fault that I have such a big red but and I am sensitive about it, you know."
      She started to try and walk with it and was, of course, bouncing into tables and rattling anything within a foot of her big red butt.
      "Hey, just be careful that you don 't break something with your silliness...and your big red butt." I barked.
      "OK, maybe my red butt is a little too big for that." she said.
     Soon it was bed time and she stopped on her way up the stairs.
      "Where are you going?" I asked.
      "I forgot something." she said.
      "What?" I asked.
      She came back a minute later with a little note book I had given her sometime ago.
      "I forgot my blog book." she said.
      "Your what?" I asked.
      "When something funny happens to me, I write it down in this book." she said. "And my big red butt is funny, funny stuff."


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's Pukka Up Time...The Big Clean Up...

We were getting ready for supper and Izzy came into the kitchen.
Izzy: "What's Mummy making for supper?"
Daddy: "Homemade Chinese food."
Izzy: "Really!?!?"
Daddy: "Yep. Go see for yourself."
Izzy: "Daddy, She's making everything I like; noodles and meat and my favourite, Chicken Pox!"

     Mrs. Narrator was away this weekend playing at the roller derby and Izzy, The Boy and I were left to our own devices. The first time for a while and it seemed greatly overdue. Off to the mall for dinner and then off to the thrift store for a little shopping. Izzy had five bucks from the Tooth Fairy that was burning a hole in her pocket so off we went.
    The Boy unfortunately is not so easily amused anymore and the toy grab bags at the Thrift store don't get his heart racing the way they used to. The new BBQ wrap..man...thing however, was more than enough to get him to agree to come along.
      I know The Boy isn't so thrilled with the Thrift store ( I think he figures it to be looking through other people's old crap...which it is) but Izzy and I love it and will almost always find something. This time being no exception.
     At the Mexico house, there is a mall (I know, right?) and in that mall is a McDonald's. They have had the same happy meal toys for as long as we have been going to Mexico. Pukka...Some sort of Japanese seizure inducing bit of fluff that is on at some ungodly hour here. I seem to remember being in the throws of post-op infection laying awake and writhing on the couch when it came on. I remember it made me feel worse. To my knowledge Isobel has never seen this program...unless she has been waking up at 4:30 on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons...I wouldn't put it past her.
      So there we are in the bowels of the thrift store when lo and behold, Isobel finds a Pukka alarm clock and a fairly big one at that. She had found what she wanted and we weren't even in the store ten minutes yet. It was $0.99 so I had my doubts that it would even work. For  less than a buck, I was willing to take the chance.
      We got home and I put batteries in it. It worked and she wanted to go to bed.
      "Maybe you could wait a little bit." I said.
      "Whew," she sighed. "I am so tired Daddy. I really need to go to bed."
      "Pickle, it's 6:30 and it's a weekend. You wouldn't normally go to bed for another two and a half hours."
      "Oh." she said. "Maybe I'll wait a bit."
      Bed time finally came but not without her asking every few minutes if she could go to bed. We set the alarm (not too early) and she went to sleep.
      You know those times when you're really excited for something that is going to happen the next day or worried that you might over sleep so you wake before your alarm? Izzy does now and she doesn't care for it.
      "My alarm clock doesn't work." she moaned.
      "You woke up before it," I said. "If you go back to bed for a bit, it'll go off."
      She didn't like that idea and decide she would try again the next day...a school day so in her mind there was a lot riding on it.We set and checked and rechecked and adjusted the time and off to bed she went, confident in the knowledge that she would no longer need to be awakened for school. No, now she was self sufficient.
      I got up the next morning and expected to have to wake her up when I normally would. She came down with her school clothes in hand and an odd expression on her face.
      "Morning Pick. Your alarm clock worked I see."
      "It worked alright. That thing scared the hell out of me."
      Rise and Shine.

     Izzy's cleaning obsession came and went and her room went back to it's usual state of chaos. I told her she had to clean her room and begrudgingly, she went. She came back down after a few short minutes, couldn't have even been ten and announced she was finished. This I had to see.
      She was not...in fact, she hadn't done anything but play with the cat.
      "Clean this mess up, for real." I said.
     She relented and set about to cleaning. This usually involves being distracted and generally playing more than actually cleaning but she was at least making an effort. After about a half an hour, she came downstairs and asked me to come back upstairs to check on her room.
    All was good but for a Barbie Corvette in front of her dresser.
      "What about that?" I asked.
      "What about what?"
      "The Barbie car," I said. "Why didn't you put away the Barbie car?"
      "Because it looks perfect where it is."
     I can't argue with that kind of logic...