This blog is very young (and, for the past couple weeks, very neglected).
It also has a new home on the hosted site where I am gathering all my media properties and/or business ventures.
Rather than pay annually for a redirect on a blog as new and lightly populated with material as this one, how about I just tell you where to go instead?
ADDENDUM June 5, 2013: Also, as I will no longer be coming back to this old location to make updates, I’ve turned off all comments on this version of the blog. See ya at the new place!
In the grocery store tonight with my 7-year-old girl, as we breeze past the checkout lanes toward the bananas in the produce section:
The Goddess: Daddy, what’s a tampon?
Me: Well, it’s…you know when Mommy has her “lady time of month” and…
The Goddess: Oh, no! No no no no no no no…
(I pause, wondering why she’d be bothered by this discussion as often as topics of menstruation and PMS come up in the household)
The Goddess: …No, I mean…um…DADDY WHAT’S THAT THING YOU TALK ABOUT SOMETIMES AND YOU’VE TOLD ME THEY MAKE UP STORIES?!
Me (not missing a beat): Tabloids?
The Goddess: Yes! Daddy, how do they get the photos for those?
I answer her question and explain paparazzi and such but, really, all my mind can think of is: Tabloid. Tampon. Is there really much difference? They both soak up a lot of unpleasant material and get tossed away quickly.
So, for the past couple days, we’ve been hearing scrabbling sounds in the wall near our washer and dryer in the kitchen of our big, old (more than a century) house. So, the wife and I have been concerned that mice, a rat, a chipmunk or a squirrel had somehow gotten up in there from the basement and was going to chew through our wires and cause our house to burn down at any moment.
We finally got someone to come out today, after we’d already determined it was in an old sealed chimney (sealed from the bottom, at least) and not in our wall. Dude looked down there, and reported back to us we had a mama squirrel and a litter of babies sucking at the teats.
Good news? They can’t get into the house. Bad news? We need to wait until the babies are grown enough to climb up and be caught in traps, so we get to hear the scrabbling noises for a couple more weeks.
So, I tell our little goddess what’s going on.
“There are squirrels in our chimney?” she asked as I finished telling her why someone had come over and why me and her mom had been concerned the past couple days.
“Yeah, honey. A mommy and her babies. But we can’t get rid of them for a couple weeks until they’re more grown, or they’ll die down there and it will stink inside the house.”
“So, they’re going to be here for a while?” she asks, and I begin to think maybe she’s getting nervous.
“Yeah, sweetie, but they can’t get in the house. They’re surrounded by brick and can’t get through that.”
Her eyes widen, and I’m concerned maybe I shouldn’t have said anything at all.
“Ohhhhhhhhhh,” she says, in a low, sing-song voice. “Baby squirrels! We have a squirrel family.”
Then I realize she’s excited by the idea of a rodent family nesting in our house.
In my head: They ain’t stayin’ my sweetheart. Oh, no. They aren’t pets. So don’t get attached.
But I can see it now. My daughter hovering near the kitchen, waiting for the scritchy-scratchy of little pest feet.
In case you’re wondering whether my daughter realizes she has a powerful personality, the ability to get what she wants down the road in life (and often now, too) and understands what it means to be named after a goddess?
Well, here’s Exhibit A:
That’s an iPad in the foreground. (Don’t be jealous or think the little girl is *too* pampered…I got it as a Christmas gift from my employers a few years ago and it’s strictly first-generation iPad tech. I can’t even update the operating system anymore.)
Weekend mornings and the short time between breakfast and going to school, she will often watch Netflix in bed on the iPad to get in her favorite shows. Does she lay down to do this? No. Sit with her back to the wall/headboard and hold the iPad in her lap? No.
She places the cooshy Dora chair she’s had since probably three years old (and she’s almost 8 now) on top of her two bed pillows, and she sets the iPad down, gets seated, and watches it from high above in her seat.
Or, I think you all realize by now, her throne.
I’ve shared the little goddess’ drawings here before (and will again) … because they’re downright awesome baby! … and her mom and I encourage her to do more of that because we want to see her develop the skills she’s best at. However, she insists on doing craft projects, even though they usually result in strange, impractical and sometimes utterly useless items that often end up taking up valuable space in an already cluttered couple of rooms (her playroom and her bedroom).
I don’t dissuade her from crafting, because I know she likes it and she should be able to have variety, but I’ve been very honest with her that it isn’t her strength and we should always spend more time on the things we’re good at and can get even better at if we keep doing it.
So, we end up with things like the binoculars made of two toilet paper tubes and some clear plastic, even though she already has a working pair of toy binoculars that actually magnify things! … and we get the duct-tape golf club and duct-tape golf ball (which, while it was actually surprisingly well executed on the structural side, doesn’t work very well when played with) … outfits made of leftover fabric that she tries to hold together with scotch tape or staples (major structural fail there!) … houses made of boxes taped together and not much else done to make them house-like … her attempt to make a cardboard ice-ray gun, which she was going to fill with water and put in the freezer until I explained basic physics and the volatile relationship between water and paper products … and we get toilet paper roll squids that look kinda cool, actually, but she keeps making bunches of them thinking she’ll be able to sell them this summer … awkward-looking duct-tape cell phones and laptops, even though she has one of my old cell phones that still has music and game apps on it and tons of toy ones already … cardboard jewelry she also thinks she’ll be able to sell (even though she has beading stuff that would make better jewelry and owns several real pieces of jewelry already) … well, you get the idea, right?
But I have to admit that the pair of toilet paper tube and patterned-duct-tape cribs she made for a little doll a friend gave her and that friend’s more or less matching doll are kind of inspired and well-crafted:
You can’t see in this picture, but she also incorporated four little cardboard legs, which are held steady and given more stability by a patch of duct tape (barely visible on the bottom right corner) underneath them.
I’m still gonna keep steering her toward the drawing thing, though…
The goddess…she is picky.
A picky eater, that is.
Most nights, she doesn’t eat the same dinner as her mother and I do, because there’s something she doesn’t like about it, usually something to do with the seasoning. It’s too spicy. Or too sour. Or too chewy. Or it has too many green bits (oregano or basil flakes, usually) on it. She usually declares this after sticking the tip of her tongue to a bite of the food and holding it there for all of a quarter of a second. (This post from earlier in the year, recycled from one of my other blogs, will give you a better idea of the battles over food around here.)
So, we are reduced to having to put aside a portion of the meat to be cooked outside of whatever seasonings or sauces we are using…with only oil and salt to ready them for her belly, and figure out some alternate vegetable for her to eat out of the three she will tolerate. Or I have to cook angel hair pasta and serve it to her slathered in soy sauce.
We have despaired over this for years, particularly when we visit someone else’s house for dinner and dread her not eating what’s on her plate or making her dissatisfaction known by too much scrunching of the face. We have spent so many years having to be careful to only go to restaurants with kids’ menus.
We’ve stopped catering to that to some extent in recent months. If we want to go to the Indian restaurant for dinner, and she doesn’t want to eat the chicken tandoori because it’s red and therefore spicy (even though in reality it’s simply roasted chicken and isn’t spicy at all)…well, she can order some nan (Indian fried flat bread) and munch on that.
However, I give credit where it is due, and there are signs that her taste buds are starting to mature. When we went to get our first pier fries (crinkle cut french fries) of the season in Old Orchard Beach this year, and again the second time, she demanded that we slather them not only in salt but also vinegar, which is a substance she didn’t want a drop of on her fries last year. When we go to the Mexican restaurant, she now ignores half of the chicken fingers she orders to raid my carnitas (heavily seasoned and marinated, though not spicy, pork). When we went to a barbecue place tonight, she had ribs and loved them. More importantly, she had a bite of corn bread and liked it, and munched heavily on the homemade potato chips, which were thoroughly seasoned with the same dry rub used on the ribs. A few months ago, she would have declared the chips “spicy” (even though they aren’t) and spit them out with all the drama of an opera diva.
Progress is being made. One day, perhaps soon, we might be able to enjoy dim sum together. Or lobster with clam chowder. Perhaps some enchiladas.
Not today perhaps, but soon.
Her tongue has started to grow up with the rest of her.
In the interests of full disclosure, that is me at our dinner table in that first photo, but I don’t know if I was actually even upset about anything, much less her eating habits specifically. I don’t know why I’m holding my head. I don’t even remember our 7-year-old taking this shot this winter, though she did. Goddess of photography, she is not, but it’s not terrible. (Also, it is her Disney kids’ camera that took this shot). The second photo was taken by me and my iPhone, and really was our first pier fries of this year. The box overflows when you get them before tourist season begins.
Yesterday was tax day. I’m self-employed. I always owe money. The kind of amounts that really hurt. Therefore, it’s not in my best interests to file until the last minute, and so yesterday was the day (along with a good chunk of Sunday afternoon and evening to sort through receipts and such) to do the taxes.
This is, as you might expect, a stressful few-day-long period of the year for me.
Several times yesterday, my little girl had been advised not to come into my office (she’s off school this week) unless she really needed something that only I could help with. And yet, repeatedly, she decided to come in with random stuff to distract me.
OK, she’s 7-and-a-half years old. I get that she doesn’t get it.
But then she comes in at one point, and I’m tuning out her presence thinking she was just coming in to use my electric pencil sharpener or grab a piece of cardboard for some craft project.
She blares a really loud and grating sound from a homemade musical instrument.
While I’m at the tail end of adding up a large pile of receipts.
To my credit, I simply extended my palm in her direction and said, firmly and neutrally, “That’s not a good idea right now.”
Later, I showed her the pile of receipts and asked her whether she thought it would be good to make me lose my place and have to start over from scratch again.
She got it.
More importantly, though, I didn’t lose it when she came in and almost ruined my day with bad music from a questionable crafting project. I’m glad for that, because I would have hated for her to have seen me go into this mode with my office and its furnishings:
I’m not going to say my daughter doesn’t listen to me. Far from it.
In fact, it’s almost assured that if we’re running errands that require a drive of more than a few minutes and we’re the only two people in the car, she will start up a topic of discussion that will require me to answer a myriad of questions and cover a range of topics that I would never have anticipated, prior to her arrival in the world, that a 2nd-grader would need to hear about. This will usually result in me having a scratchy throat and being lightheaded from talking more than breathing.
However, at home or during short trips, chances are better than not that she will fail to listen to what I have to say on a subject and press me on topics of which I am ignorant.
For example, on any given day driving her to school (which takes less than 10 minutes and often no more than five), I can bet good money she will ask me a question. I will answer her, and while I am still in the middle of answering her, she will either try to answer the question herself (wrongly) or ask a whole new question. This will then trigger me asking her to let me finish and the cycle will somehow manage to repeat two or three times in that short span of time.
So, times like those, apparently I’m not a useful resource or I’m the village idiot.
But today, as the iPad is charging, meaning that she had to take a break from watching Netflix, she migrates to the TV in the parental bedroom and, after several minutes, comes to ask me what channel ABC Family is on.
This despite the fact she knows I don’t watch kids channels and, in fact, almost never watch broadcast/cable television at all.
So, if I know about it and it’s something I should be expected to know about, like why eating a live scorpion might be a bad idea or why the entire world shouldn’t be made of food products…I’m a know-nothing in her eyes.
If, however, she needs to know every cable channel and its corresponding network when I only watch Netflix and DVDs…or she needs to know how many children there are in the world…or how to build a functional robot with weapons and cleaning attachments…well, then, apparently I’m the Encyclopedia Deacontannica.