Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Of Stinky Cheese and Achey Heads...Tripping up the Stairs...

      We were at the Mexico house, all was warm and calm and beautiful. And hot...really god damned hot.
      Daddy: "Izzy, you need more sunscreen."
      Izzy: "I'm OK."
      Daddy: "No you're not, you're a creep and you still need sunscreen."
      Izzy: "I don't want it, I don't like it."
      Daddy: " I don't like it either but you're just like me. If you don't put it on you'll burn to a crisp."
      Izzy: "But I'm OK, really."
      Daddy: "Izzy, if you're going to stay out, you need more sunscreen on. At least on your face."
      Izzy: "But it feels like shit on my cheeks."
      Daddy: "Wait, what?"
      Izzy: (singing) "On my cheeks."

      Izzy has been losing her mind all week...not in a necessarily productive way but when is unbridled excitement ever productive? We leave for Mexico the second week of February...Izzy's suitcase is already full to bursting...Can't say as I blame her but I am jealous, I only get one week this year.

     I am no exception, not to any of the rules that govern the human condition. We do things, sometimes stupid and get appropriate results. We are human and that means we often make poor choices and have to live with the consequences. I am no exception. We are human beings, we have processes that have developed over thousands of years that keep us alive and keep us healthy. Some (in fact, quite a few) of these processes come with smells. I am no exception...neither is Isobel.
     I had favourite clothes as a kid. Hell I still have favourite clothes as an adult and I wore them as often as I could. I remember my sister dated a guy from Detroit and he gave me a pair of jeans. Moto-cross jeans I think they were called at the time. Basically cargo pants now a days but made of denim. They had domes instead of regular buttons and they were just about the coolest things I had ever owned. I wore them with blue and white Northstar running shoes. I felt like Starsky ( I don't remember having a Hutch) though I am certain I just looked like a fat kid in cargo jeans with blue and white shoes.
     I loved those jeans, wore them until there were no knees in them. My mother patched them until there was nothing left of them. I can remember hiding them from her on several occasions for fear of her throwing them out. (Which she subsequently did while I was at school or they may have surreptitiously be fashioned into jean shorts) I had out grown them but refused to get rid of them. I also remember lying about wearing them only to continue wearing them. I am certain they were pretty ripe but I didn't care...I am no exception.
      Now genetics being what they are, my progeny has adopted summer pyjamas as her preferred choice of attire. Leopard skin shorts and a black tank top. She also has a pair of shorts with hearts on them ( the two shorts and the tank top were all part of a set if I recall) that will substitute in a pinch but that is the only delineation from the norm.
      Now human bodies (even eight year old ones) being what they are, the continued wearing of a garment and the lack of underclothes under said garment and the near total non compliance with Sunday laundering of the household clothing, tend to make the jammies a bit whiffy. I guess I am a little more gentile or perhaps have a bit more discretion than Mrs. Narrator. Or maybe it's because I am her father and, despite my burgeoning medical knowledge, discussing nether realm cleanliness with my daughter is still sailing into mostly uncharted waters.
     Oh I too have noticed odours and truly, meant to make mention of them but I think she would have been as mortified by the whole conversation as I would. So when Mrs. Narrator questioned the origin of the stank and began to question her toiletry procedures, I happily chimed in with "What did I tell you about that stuff before?" Knowing full well that I hadn't said anything more than "Put on some god damned underpants."
     A consensus was reached between the females of the household that underpants would regularly be worn and particular attention would be paid to technique and the washing of the aforementioned regions, or there would be no more wearing of pyjamas other than in bed where no one would be exposed to the whiffy jammies. I'm still not entirely sure what went down but I am relieved that I didn't have to play any other part than to say "It's not healthy."
      Mrs. Narrator gets headaches often. So it stands to reason that Isobel should inherit such an affliction. She seems to have and it has been quite frequent over the past few weeks. The origins have been a mystery thus far, no discernible reason for the headaches. I have no doubt they are genuine as they will often reduce her to tears.
    Tonight before Mrs. Narrator left, Isobel complained of a headache. Dutifully, Mrs. narrator recorded the time of the headache (to keep track of how many the poor kid has been having) and gave Isobel some medicine. Isobel returned to the chair fort she made in the living room and Mrs. Narrator went of to roller derby.
    Shortly after, Isobel came out complaining that she had another headache. I looked at her and noticed that her cheeks were red and her face was pale. We walked into the living room and looked at the chair fort. Isobel is obsessed with it being totally dark so she could play on the IPhone and get the whole cool at night experience. Therefore, the blankets touch the floor around the entire fort. She had been in it for about half an hour since the last headache, or just about enough time to start compromising air quality. Come to think of it, she was so obsessed with playing in the dark that she would go upstairs and play with the IPhone under the blankets. I told her to take some deep breaths and walk around to get her blood flowing.
     "Is your headache gone?" I asked her after five or ten minutes of walking around.
      "Yep!" she answered cheerfully.
      "It's a miracle!" I said.

      I don't know if I was a klutz as a kid. I suppose we all are to some extent. This past Sunday must have set some kind of record. Mrs. Narrator was on her way upstairs, not even in a particular hurry.
     "Ka-thok". Was more or less the noise her leg made as it hit the stair. 
      "Are you alright?" I asked.
      She silently nodded and carried on with her ascent.
     About an hour later, Isobel needed to go upstairs (likely to hide under the blankets with an IPhone).
 "Pok."  went her shin on the stair as she went.
   "Oh, ouchie. Are you OK?" I asked getting up to get to her. the sound of shin on stair told me there would be tears. There were but they didn't last. Soon she was up the stairs and happily trying to smother herself.
   Later she started down the stairs, lost her footing-she was holding the handrail and was nearing the bottom, spun on the stair and actually clocked her shin on the stair with a loud "Bunk."
     More tears, slightly longer and a small ice pack for approximately three minutes and it was off to watch Hotel Transylvania. After the movie, she decided it was about time to venture back upstairs for a little gaming and a little oxygen deprivation.
"Kunk." went her shin as the stair leaped out and hit her.
    "Oh come on!" she yelled as she stomped upstairs.
   I can't imagine how vicious the stairs might be once I get them finished.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 Stages of The Boy...Arcade Firing Range...

      It's been viciously cold this week. For reasons still unclear, Isobel decided she wanted to go outside.
      Isobel: "Daddy, can I go outside?"
      Daddy: "No way, it's much too cold out."
      Isobel:  "I could wear like a sweater and my hat and snow pants and my gloves."
      Daddy: "It's not a question of what you're going to wear, Honey. It's just too cold outside."
      Isobel: "It's not that cold out!"
      Daddy:"Isobel, it is minus twenty three with the wind chill. Do you know what that means?"
      Isobel: "No."
      Daddy: "It means that it is cold enough to damage your skin in a matter of minutes and damage from the cold is permanent."
      Isobel: "What's damage mean?"
      Daddy: "It means you're not going outside."
      Isobel: "Winter is stupid."
      Daddy: "It sure is...still not going outside."

      It's been quiet around here...too quiet apparently. I am always amazed at how reality rears it's filthy head and makes sure you are all paying close attention. The reality of our life is that The Boy has ADHD.  It's not a secret and we have never kept it as such. Nor have we used it as a crutch for him. It is what it is and as a result, The Boy often experiences and deals with things differently that the rest of us do. Tonight was such a night.
     He was desperate to get on his precious computer because he had been doing homework for about two hours right after school. He has a certain amount of time per night to be on the electric glowing brain Hoover and he knew the clock was ticking. I have said before that I get the excitement and I get the not wanting ever stop, really I do get it but there always come the time when you have to step up and be the adult in the relationship. No matter how much it sucks. Suddenly, 'This will hurt ME more than it will you.' makes absolutely perfect sense.
      So he was given ample warning to get off the computer and supper came to the table. Supper is one of the only times when we sit down as a family with little or no distractions. It has always been that way and it remains one of the cornerstones of our family dynamic. It is not a Brady Bunch kind of affectation, were not doing it because we feel we should,  we do it because it a ritual that has built our family into what it is. For good or ill and we all four of us know and understand it. Food was served and The Boy did not come. Three sat down and still no Boy. Voices began to raise and still no. Threats were made and still nothing. So it came down to an ultimatum. "Either come and sit down or you lose the computer.'  And still he sat, so he lost the computer...And then The Boy lost it.
      In retrospect, as I sit here writing this, it was much the same as someone going through the stages of grief. If I video taped it, I bet it would make a hell of a school project. At first, in total DENIAL,  he sort of ignored the fact that it had been taken away and actually asked if he could go back on. I think we were both taken aback by that. Mrs. Narrator actually asked him if he was serious. But not in that 'I know you're joking' kind of way because the tone of his voice said he clearly was not joking.
       Then he blew up and ANGER came sailing on in. He threw a tantrum the likes of which we have not seen, literally, in years.
    "That's not fair! he screamed.
     "It's not supposed to be fair," said Mrs. narrator. "It's supposed to be a PUNISHMENT." Which brought on ore shouting and stomping and if it wasn't so light due to the hollowness of its core, I'm certain he would have slammed the holy shit out of his door. Now during the screaming and yelling with and at his mother, I watched The Boy's body posture fairly closely and even when she was doing the yelling, his posture didn't change to a submissive one...not once. He then decided he wanted to go outside. Seemed to be a theme today. He then announced that kids at our house weren't allowed to have any fun at all, they were to just do nothing all day but go to school. Of course that isn't true...but it did get the wheels turning. Then he turned on his teacher for giving him homework and not enough time to get it done in the class room. It was an old testament melt down. Thunder, lightning, stuffed sheep rocketing earthward.
      He was upstairs in his room a while and then he came down to BARGAIN. There was quite a bit of;
      "If you just let me play tonight, you can take it away for the rest of the week." which turned into "If you just let me play for thirty minutes, you can take it away for the rest of my life! Honestly, you can trust me this time!" He had by now worked himself into a lather and was almost in hysterics. Tears and snot were flowing freely and unfettered. I doff my cap to Mrs. Narrator, this is usually the point where my resolve crumbles. If that makes me a sucker or worse yet a shitty parent, then I'll stand guilty as charged. There are few things that really upset me. Seeing either of the kids that upset is top of the list. And he was  really that upset. I've cried enough crocodile tears to know when I'm being taken for a ride and these were not the tears of a reptile. These were the tears that come from way down deep and tend to bring other upsets with them. Like bashing your knee when your at school. You don't dare cry in front of your friends, so you bury it down deep and swear you'll deal with it when you get home. You never do. Tears like that always come out at times like this, times when you are so upset over something that your brain just decides to lump all the tears together and start pushing them out.
      There were more cries of 'not fair' but I just don't think he had the energy left to keep up the fight. Though he did stomp back upstairs, all remained quiet after he got up there. Mrs. Narrator gave it a few minutes and headed upstairs to deal with DEPRESSION.
      "What the hell is that about?" Izzy asked.
      "He's upset," I said. He's very upset and when people are very upset things don't always make sense. They just say and do things that they hope will stop them from being upset."
      She looked a little confused but went back to writing in her book so I assumed she understood what I said on some level.
     After twenty minutes or so, ACCEPTANCE came down the stairs and all was right and good again. He played a game on his Xbox but did not go back on the computer, nor did he ask to. I don't know if I would call what happened a victory on the parental front. I mean he didn't get the computer but I didn't feel any better about it. I don't think Mrs. Narrator felt any too great about it either.
     'This is going to hurt me more than it will you'...absolutely god-damned right.

     Izzy was at a birthday part on the weekend. A bowling and pizza party to be precise. I stayed home and did homework. (Read no bowling and definitely no pizza). When I went back to pick her up at the appointed time, things were still rolling at full speed. They had just finished mini golf-indoor glow in the dark mini golf (again..homework) when I showed up. Izzy dutifully handed in her putter and prepared to get her coat.
     "Izzy, you didn't get to go to the arcade yet." one of her friends called after her.
      Indeed she didn't. Now I can be a a hard ass when I want to get out of somewhere but sometimes you just gotta go to the arcade. Especially the kind that gives out tickets you can redeem for prizes.
     She picked two of the worst machines for ticket winnings. Some of her friends were already walking around with two or three feet worth of tickets. I wasn't about to let her walk out of there with nothing so off to the token machine we went.
     Now just as an aside, Isobel discovered SkiBall. That favourite of all old school arcade games. She rolled the ball and it rolled right back to her.
     "I don't think that's right." she said.
      "Throw it a little harder." I said.
      "KRANG!" said the ball as it bounced off the metal grate covering the digital counters.
      "Maybe not that hard." I said. "Let me see the ball."
     I demonstrated the technique with a decent roll that netted her 5000 points.
     "OK, you try now." I said.
     The ball rolled up and rolled back.
     "Just a little harder," I said. Just a whisper harder."
     "KRANG!" said the ball as it bounced off the metal grate covering the digital counters.
     "Maybe not overhand, Pick." I said. "Give it one more try."
      "I can't do it." she said.
      "Sure you can just take your time and don't throw it," I said. "Try to roll it a little harder."
      "SPLASH!" said the ball as it landed in the bubbling water trap of the mini golf course.
       "Now why would they put a golf course in the middle of the bowling alley?" I asked.
      The tokens were gone and we leaped into the frenzy of redemption. After all was said and done she walked out of there with three pixie sticks and a fizzy candy. If she'd have let me play it might have been substantially more thanks to many a misspent summer on the boardwalk of Wasaga beach but this was all her effort and she was happy with her performance.
      She was quiet most of the way home, examining her birthday gift bags and her gaming spoils.
      "Daddy?" she began.
      "Thanks for staying at the arcade."
      "Did you have fun at the party?"
      "YES!" she said.
      "That's good, that's what's really important."
      Sometimes you just gotta go to the arcade.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Playing the Heavy...Best care Anywhere...

      I came into the bedroom and saw Isobel standing in front of the mirror, admiring herself.
      Daddy: "What are you doing pick?"
      Isobel: "Just looking."
      Daddy: "Looking at what?"
      Isobel: "Myself."
      Daddy: "You know vanity is a sin?"
      Isobel: "What!?"
      Daddy: "Skip it. What's that?"
      Isobel: "What's what?"
      Daddy: "Down your shirt?"
      Isobel: The headphones."
      Daddy: "Umm, why?"
      Isobel: "I'm pretending they're my boobies."

        I'd like to think I'm pretty easy going. I don't have a lot of rules of behaviour as far as the kids go. There are the big ones, the common sense ones. Don't steal, don't bully, be polite, please and thank-you. You know, the ones we all grew up with. I have one BIG one, one golden rule if you will. Don't lie, especially to me...well either of the parents but especially me. Lying to your family is a really shitty thing to do. If you expect me to stick by you through thick and thin, then have the decency to always be honest with me. I don't care a tinker's ass about lying to your friends or other adults but don't lie to me.
     Now having pontificated all of that, I also hate being The Heavy..the punisher or the shouter. Really I do. Yes I shout (we all do around here, people must think we're all deaf ) but I almost instantly feel crappy about it and will go to great lengths to make sure neither I nor the kids feel bad about any shouting for more than a few minutes after. I blow my stack, calm down and we get ice cream or a new T.V.
      The other night my hand was forced and as much as I didn't want to, I came in as The Heavy. I caught Izzy in a lie. Not a big one and that was the first thing that crossed my mind. 'It's not a big deal, I could just let this go.' But then again I thought she knows the difference between right and wrong-she knows what is a lie and what is the truth. I didn't shout, I don't think I really even raised my voice.
      "You need to go upstairs for a while," I said. "Stay up there until I tell you to come down."
      Now here's the thing. There were no tears. No look of hurt or pleading of innocence. She had a look on her face of quiet acceptance. I imagine it is much the same look prisoners have as they walk the last mile.
      One thing we have learned very quickly is that our Isobel cannot lie to save her life. If there were an award for ratting yourself out mid lie, Isobel would have gotten the Nobel prize years ago. She cannot make it through a lie at all BUT she kept a straight face pretty much the whole time I questioned her about the lie the other night. Maybe that's why it was a bigger deal or why I needed to let her know I busted her. I caught her in a lie and I felt like shit for it.
      There was no stomping or slamming of doors from her room, from the sound of it, she sat on her bed and waited as the clock ticked down and I called her back downstairs. I waited as long as I could stand it and called her back down. I wasn't mad, I was disappointed and I tried to have a look on my face that portrayed disappointment. Truth is folks I spent many years in Rock and Roll bands having my picture taken trying to look as cool and nonchalant as possible. I have two expressions-pissed off and marginally less pissed off. She, understandably was less than eager to speak with me.
      "I'm not mad at you." I said.
      "You're not?" she asked in disbelief.
      "No I'm not, I am very disappointed however."
      She stared at me for a bit and then her gaze started to wander.
     "Do you know what I mean when I say I'm disappointed?"
      "Yes," she began. "No, not really."
      Ahh, the dreaded D word. My parents could kick me in the stones and tell me they ran over the dog in the driveway and then tell my best friend we were moving and that I never really liked him anyway. I still wouldn't feel as bad as I would if my Grandmother told me she was disappointed in something I had done.
      "I mean that you hurt me, hurt my feelings by lying to me. I don't like to be lied to. Not by my kids, because I will never lie to you."
      "Hey I do know what it means!" she said proudly.
      I bit my lip and tried to remember what this was about.
      "Go watch T.V. or something before I send you back to your room."
      I didn't and had no intention of punishing her further...or at all?  (Mrs. Narrator and I agree that being sent to your room was never much of a punishment...all of your coolest stuff is in there anyway). I finished the dishes and just kind of thought about the events. I came to a realization. I wasn't ever mad or really even that disappointed. Sending her to her room was more of a knee jerk reaction than an actual corrective action. No not mad, sad. Not because she told a lie but because she felt there was something she needed to conceal from me and in the few minutes that it took for the lie to leave her lips, a tiny fragment of he childhood fell away and her growing up started to peek through...

      There are times when Dad will still do. Tonight was one of those times. I am still a little fuzzy on the particulars but she came into the room I was sitting in, wincing and limping.
     "What happened?" I asked.
      The tears were very real and really very big. They must have made gigantic splashing and sloshing noises as they rolled off her nose and hit the floor but I confess I couldn't hear them over the weeping explanation of what happened. I still don't know. There was however, I scratch, about an inch long, across her thigh.
     "I...s...sc...scratched my...leg...on the...pimple taker." she sobbed.
     "You what?" I asked.
     "I scratched my leg on the printer table."
      "Well that makes a whole hell of a lot more sense." I said still thinking about the logistics of a pimple taker. "How did you do that?"
     Not the best choice of questions. The resulting answer was more full of sobs and soggy indignation, than actual words.
     "OK, let's get you cleaned up."
      She declined a band aid. What? A kid that doesn't want a band aid? We settled on peroxide and a little unguent.
      "There you go," I said. "Best care anywhere."
      "Wait, what?" she asked.
      "I said, Best care anywhere."
       "Really?" she asked. "Are you really the best care anywhere?"
      "No, probably not." I confessed.
      "Daddy, I thought lying was bad?"
      Can you still have a shit eating grin if you have no front teeth?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Noise, Noise, Noise...Two Little holes...

      She had done a few new drawings and was eager to put them on the fridge. There was not however, a lot of room left on the fridge thanks to her many works of art. Things came off the fridge and piled up in front of it.
      Daddy: "What are you doing?"
      Isobel: "What?"
      Daddy: "What, what?"
      Isobel: "What?"
      Daddy: "What are you doing?"
      Isobel: "When?"
      Daddy: "Just now, what are you doing just now?"
      Isobel: "What do you mean?"
      Daddy: "I mean what are you doing now, what are you taking all the pictures off of the fridge for?"
      Isobel: "Why didn't you just say that? I'm making more room for my new pictures, I am agonizing the fridge."
      Daddy: "That's not the only thing you are agonizing."

      Is it wrong to call your kid an asshole? I mean not out loud...OK maybe out loud at Walmart strictly for the purposes of fitting in while you thumb your way through racks of Budweiser muscle shirts or discounted neon green thongs but is thinking your child is an asshole morally reprehensible? I've been struggling with it for the last week or so...
    It seems that since the beginning of the Christmas break, Isobel has found the remote for herself and turned the volume way up...and chucked the batteries away. The Boy has his loud moments but they are usually site specific. With his fellow loud brother or over the excitement of his online gaming, I get that. (Read understand and tolerate not like.) Isobel has been steadily increasing the volume of everything. It is running and it is dancing and singing and play of all sorts. Play with dolls, play all on her own, play with the cats and play with the minions (though they don't come around much anymore) and it is all very, very, LOUD.
      Now in the normal run of things, I don't care about play of any sort. Really I don't. I have done tea parties and timed Frank Booth races through the kitchen. (Look at it!) But lately I am noticing that I simply don't have the ability that Mrs. Narrator possesses. She can tune out virtually anything-any and all forms of noise that distract her from whatever she is doing. I lack this ability, totally and completely lack it. Somebody can be speaking right to me and I can miss half of what they are saying. Incidentally the somebody speaking is generally Mrs. Narrator, this of course irks her no end. We can discuss this at a later date. However, I can be in another room, wearing headphones and listening to bagpipes at an uncomfortable volume and still hear the slightest change in volume or pitch coming from the kids.
      The Boy I get...OK, I don't get it but it's excitement-that I get. Izzy is just loud. Loud upon volume upon cacophony upon tumult. Not for anything in particular it would seem. Loud for the sake of loud.
      "What are you shouting about?" I asked her.
      "I am playing," she said. "I'm not shouting."
      "What are you playing that is so loud, let's rattle the windows and drive Dad insane?"
      And then came the dancing. Stomping and shouting and more VOLUME.
      "Why are you being so loud?"
      "It's dancing," she said. "It's a whole body kind of thing."
      "I know a really good whole body thing, it's called mime."
      "What's that?" she asked.
      "Well first, there's no talking. In fact, there's no sound at all."
      "What fun is that?" she asked.
     "I think I would enjoy the hell out of it."
      Mrs. Narrator reminded me that "She is six, sometimes she needs to just be loud and six." (Incidentally, Isobel has been seven now has been for eight days and would want me to point that out.)
      "Yes but does she have to be SO loud and six?"
      An hour later  Mrs. Narrator was asking if everything had to be loud. It apparently did because it didn't end there.
      I came to the conclusion that she was doing it on purpose, solely for the reason that she knew it was bothering us. If somebody was doing something to annoy you, because they knew it was annoying them what would you suggest that they were?
       Let me interject a bit of history here. My old man always claimed to be deaf in one ear-still does last time I spoke with him but my brother and I could be fighting inside the house while he was outside running the lawn mower and he would come in screaming, telling us to knock it off. Now I can't be certain if there was a suggestion made to barrel ever onward or my brother was being a jerk or if we simply knew that it would drive the old man buggy, but we definitely did not knock it off.
      Within seconds he was back in the house.
      "I told you two assholes to knock it off. Now KNOCK IT OFF!"
      And so dear friends the question remains...my old man called us assholes all the time and I'm sure he felt very justified in doing so....and the best we could manage was the Husky jeans rack at Kmart.
      Now I can't be certain on the particular expletive but I have heard a few muttered softly by Mrs. Narrator and directed at one or both of the children...if it were at me, it would have been loud and clear. This is how I knew the difference. I guess the best course of action is to keep my head down and join in the next time she lets one fly. Hell in a couple of years, the kids are going to be saying it about us, might as well get a few free ones in while we can.

     It was Izzy seventh birthday and so following the ancient blues tradition of the first biological child of a second son (Wait, what? ) Isobel was off to get her ears pierced. Now we had toyed with the idea of getting them pierced by a piercer-like in a tattoo shop. It seems that the piercing gun of old is not the way to go. It crushes the surrounding tissue and doesn't so much pierce the ear as it forces the piece of jewelry through the skin and all. We wanted it to be as quick and painless as possible, she was already nervous about the whole idea. They say the sharper the needle the quicker it is over and the less painful. We found out it would likely be upwards of $100.00 to get her ears done by a piercer. We decided she's tough, guns don't scare her.
     There was only one woman there capable of piercing which meant she would have to do one at a time. To her credit, Izzy was fine with it. I told her she could hold my hand if she wanted-she did. One thing I have noticed since embarking on a career in health care, I am now obsessive about watching people perform hand hygiene. The woman washed her hands and then used hand sanitizer but started to put gloves on before the sanitizer dried.
      "You know if you don't rub the hand sanitizer until it dries, it doesn't do anything." I said.
      "Oh really?" she asked.
      "Yes, really." I said. "You might want to try that again and put on a different pair of gloves. You are going to make a wound in my daughter's ears, you should have clean hands."
      It could have gone incredibly badly from that point on but she complied without further issue and I'm sure I became the storied asshole who thought he was a health inspector. She made the marks on Izzy's ears and we were off to the races. I held Izzy's hand and the piercing lady counted to three. Izzy's eyes opened wide as did her mouth but she didn't make a sound. Round two followed soon after with more wide eyes and open mouth but still she remained silent. I paid the woman who I thought might be checking out how clean my hands were and we walked outside. I thought maybe Isobel was keeping a brave face so she wouldn't be embarrassed about crying in front of the piercing lady. As we got out side I knelt down to her.
      "Are you OK?" I asked fully expecting her to burst into tears.
      "My damn ears are on fire!" she said.