Attitude

Me: Honey, please put your shoes on.

Isabella (she’s 8, and belligerent at 7:30 am): I YAM putting them on.

Me: Sweetie, quickly. We have to go.

Iz: What do you think I am doing!

Me: Isabella, please don’t give me the attitude. Just put your shoes on.

Iz: I don’t know what “attitude” is. So, how can I give you something that I don’t know what it is?

———-

Grownups:

Now, when you or I were kids, we knew what “attitude” was. Usually at the end of a belt or a ‘switch.’ Scars. To this day.

We don’t do that today…

———-

Me: No Internet for a week!

Iz: Noooooo! Daddy I’ll do anything!!

And voila, shoes. Let’s go.

Back Talk

30 minutes before heading off to gymnastics practice…

Mommy: Isabella, let’s do your hair.

Iz: Brush out my braid, and then make another braid so my hair is straight.

Mommy: No, we are going to comb this out quickly, then re-braid your hair.

Iz: Nooooooo! I want straight hair. In a braid.

Mommy: That would take an hour of shampoo, conditioner, de-tangler. We don’t have time.

[Here begins the stand-off.]

Iz: Aaaaaaaaaaaa!

Mommy: Don’t scream in my face.

Iz: Aaaaaaaaaaaa!

[here’s the truncated version…]

Mommy: You won’t go to Gymnastics.

Iz: Yes I Will!

[Here begins a two-hour standoff. Mommy and Daddy versus an 8-year-old.]

et cetera. Things take several turns, but they are always pointed back to:

Iz: You HATE me!

Us: No. We love you.

Iz: But I don’t know how to drive!! I’m just a kid!

Me: Imagine that.

Yeah, things went downhill from there. And, by the way, gymnastics practice is over. Doesn’t matter.

Fat Knuckles

Snuggling up with Julianna (she’s 10) at bedtime, she has to crack every damn joint in her body: Knuckles, Spine, Knees, Toes, etc…

Me: You know, Mommy (with dubious facts to support her argument) said that constantly cracking your joints will make them get big and fat.

Julianna (without skipping a beat): So, how much did you crack your belly?

Social Insecurity

(This post does not involve children. You are warned/saved.)

Our garage is full of junk, much like yours. (If not a garage, then a closet, or a storage bin, or your parents’ basement. Honestly, you have too much stuff.)

We have a garage. And it is jammed with… Memories.

Too many memories.

It’s only after you decide to rid yourself of your junk that you realize: What the hell kind of memories was I saving? 35 years of menus from IHOP and receipts from Sears?

You don’t remember any of these.

So, you are jamming the Olive Garden, Hertz Rent-a-Car, and Spencer’s Gifts receipts from 1991 right into the recycling bin. But, instead of just recycling those papers, you realize that you have to check every single one of them, because:

Everyone back in the ’80s and ’90s wanted your Social Security number for their paperwork.

And, you happily wrote it down. For the Vet. The Kinko’s guy. The Burger Chef cashier. The Video Store clerk. Driver License. Voter Registration. Daily Saving Time.

For me, in college: Homework assignment: “Write your Social Security Number Here.” “Your full name and student number:” “Pledge your Student Honor Code and SS#.”

Why were the powers fixated on this. Why are we even using the Social Security Number to identify people? Oh wait, a timely article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-levin/should-we-kill-the-social_b_7075712.html

30 years later, your shredder does five pages at a time. It takes 15 seconds. Each pass. It can’t keep up. Every single paper has your Social on it. The Grandkids will know you as Grandpa Shred.

But, here’s the thing about saving your memories:

When you’re young, you save everything because you know that your biographers will one day want to recreate your every single move and thought that you’ve ever had.

Then, along the way, your realize that you won’t have any biographers because you are just another cog in the wheel. So you jettison your illusions of grandeur. Then you think that you’ll write an acclaimed memoir, but, honestly, you know that no one wants to read it.

So you look at the stuff in the garage. Stuff you’ve been moving from place to place. You are moving your memories.

Finally you realize, 20 years later, the only time you experience those memories is when you are standing next to a recycling bin, throwing away your Target receipt from 1989.

Going in the Wrong Direction

Flipping through the channels the other night with Julianna (10) and Isabella (8), my thumb stops on one of those VH1 “Where Are they Now” documentaries.

J: Daddy, who are they?

Me: Uh, I think they’re a Boy Band from the ’90s. I’m guessing New Kids on the Block, since I don’t see Justin Timberlake.

Iz: What’s a Boy Band?

Me: A group of boys who sing together. They used to be like One Direction.

Then, and I kid you not, both girls simultaneously, in stereo ask:

Girls: So they were bad, too. Right?

I’ve never been more proud.

(And you thought I didn’t know how to raise kids…)

Quantum Jesus

Snuggling up with Julianna (the 10-year-old) at bedtime, the discussion drifted towards Theoretical Physics, the Origin of Everything, and, obviously, Mario Brothers.

A typical Friday night. Not unlike yours, no doubt.

Julianna: Daddy, is Einstein the smartest person in the world.

Me: Well, he was. But he’s dead now. So, I guess that makes ME the smartest person in the world.

J: Daddy, you’re stupid… But, Einstein talked about the universe and things beyond the universe. Like, through black holes! (Her eyes light up.)

Me: Yes, he knew about black holes which have so much gravity that they suck in everything that gets near them.

J: Yeah, but when things gets sucked in, they end up in a completely different universe. A multi-verse!

Ok… Things are really starting to veer into an area that I am not qualified to discuss with adults, much less to put into terms that a 10-year-old can understand.

Dammit, there’s just too much science being taught in our schools! (Oh… Wait. No.)

Then Isabella comes to my defense:

Iz (she’s 8): Daddy, was Jesus a real person? Because my Jewish friends at school don’t talk about him or Easter.

Crap! A subject I am even less prepared to discuss at bedtime with an eight-year-old.

Me: Well, Honey, that’s a really complicated question. Lots of people think a lot of different things. You see, Jesus…

Then Julianna swoops in to save me:

J: So if Einstein was right, then that You Tube video makes sense where Bowser from the Mario Bros. travels through black holes to other Times and keeps kidnapping Princess Peach!

Me: Ummmm.

Iz: So, Jesus died on Good Friday. Why is that Good?

J: But, Mario and Luigi keep trying to save her! That’s hysterical.

Iz (after contemplation): Daddy, couldn’t Mario go through a black hole and save Jesus?

Maybe he could come back and save me from this conversation. (Read into the “he” as you wish.)

Cheerios

Isabella (she’s 8): Daddy!….

Me: What? What?!

Iz: I need more cereal.

Me: Is it an emergency? Really? At 9:00pm?

Iz: I’m starving! Daaadeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Me: Stop! What do you want?

Iz: More Cheerios. But it gives me a stomach ache.

Me: Then, maybe we should slow down what you’re eating. Maybe it’s too much milk.

Iz: You hate me!

Oh, look… It’s Thursday.

Tubing

A couple weekends ago it was unseasonably warm (i.e. hot) even by Los Angeles mid-March standards. The temperature was in the mid 90s.

So, we did what any reasonable family in such a situation would do: Daddy/Daughter Fun Time frolicked in the snow.

An hour and a half from our swelter is Mt. Baldy, altitude about a mile-and-a-half. Temperature upper 50s. Man-made snow.

Getting there is half the fun: A fifteen minute, white-knuckled, please don’t break, please don’t break, please don’t break ski lift ride 200 feet above the steep sloping side of a mountain. Then the lift inexplicably stops. We sway. Rock… Rock… Rock…

Isabella (she’s 8 and riding with me) stating the obvious as she yells to Mommy: Mommy! We stopped!

Mommy (from above the abyss): Yes, Sweetie… I know.

Julianna (10, yelling from beyond): Isabella! Now we can look for woodchucks!

Me: You do that, Honey.

Then it starts again. I’m good.

I didn't take this shot.  Certain I'd just drop the camera.  Or fall to my death.

I didn’t take this shot. Certain I’d just drop the camera. Or fall to my death.

Once you get to the top, there are additional lifts to take you up another 1000 feet to the ski slopes. I’m good here, thank you very much.

Mile-and-a-half high.  Need some oxygen.

Mile-and-a-half high. Need some oxygen.

Now, the girls have never really experienced snow before. (Northern friends, I know this is hard to believe.) They think it is the greatest thing on earth! (Northern friends, I know this is hard to believe.)

So, we throw some snowballs and make snow angels.

We even built a snowman:

Camera trickery.  It is actually 8 feet tall

Camera trickery. It is actually 8 feet tall

And then we head to the Tubing run.

Totally tubular!

Totally tubular!

Isabella:  Snow is AWESOME!

Isabella:Snow is AWESOME!

And, the day was awesome. Tiring, but awesome.

But, it wouldn’t be complete unless our resident Daddy ended up humiliated. So, at the risk of becoming some kind of Internet meme, I offer this:

Perhaps a better mascot than the Washington NFL team.

Perhaps a better mascot than the Washington NFL team.

At least I know my sunglasses block UVA rays. Yes, I’m a freak. Now, please stop staring at me at the grocery store.

Out of Stock

Vegan friends, please turn away…

Heading in to Gymnastics with Isabella (she’s 8)…

Then, out of nowhere:

Iz: Daddy, how many types of stalkers are there?

Me: Um… Wait, what? You mean, like celery stalks.

Iz: No. Like people who follow you and know everything about you.

Me: I… Uh… (Damn Hollywood!) Don’t know what to sa…..

Iz: Then, there are the people who stack food and stuff at the grocery store.

Me (breathing a sigh of relief): Oh… STOCKERS! Not Stalkers! Stockers. 2nd Grade English. Too funny!

Iz: Shouldn’t the grocery store people really be called Stackers? Because, that’s what they do.

Me: Well, Darling. Stuff that is ready to go on a shelf is called “stock.” So, people who put things on the shelf are called stockers. They keep everything neat and clean on the aisles.

Me: And, the cows that become beef for our hamburgers are called LiveStock.

Iz: So, shouldn’t they be called DeadStock? Because, they are dead. And, we eat them and all. How does that happen?

Me: Um… You were talking about Stalkers.

Hugs

Isabella (she’s 8): Daddy, I want to hug you again.

Me: But, you haven’t hugged me yet.

Iz: I know. Before I hug you Again, I have to hug you first. So, can I?

Me: Of course, Sweetie.

She hugs.

Me: Honey, you can hug me anytime.

Iz: Ok, can I hug you again?

Me: Absolutely!

She hugs. Again.

Me: Do you want to hug me again. Again?

Iz: Um… No, I’m good.