Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Daughter's Better Than You and Other Schmaltz

Okay. I haven't been blogging lately. Actually, I'm surprised you are here. Hello!

There's a story I want to record tonight, and that reminded of other things I've been wanting to add here. So here are a few stories from our family.

Youngest did two things the other day that continue to qualify him for "cutest kid in the world," which he is.

Here's one.

I found a buckeye tree on my run and I stuffed a bunch of buckeyes in my pockets for the kids. (So for the rest of the run, my shorts kept sliding down. The dog looked embarrassed.) At home, I called Daughter and Youngest and I dumped the buckeyes on the table. Eldest is not so interested in buckeyes, though he is quite interested in Buckeyes. Capital B.
Anyway, lots of interest and mild fun ensued as they cracked open and explored buckeyes and, I don't know, did stuff with neat looking shiny nuts. For a couple of minutes. Then Daughter scampered off. Okay, I can't guarantee that she scampered. But she went away. Happy-like.

At this point, I'm into the newspaper, and Youngest is next to me, looking at a buckeye. He gently scratched the pale little top part of a buckeye, looked at me, and quietly asked, "Dad, is this really peanut butter?"

Hee hee.

The other little story:

Youngest fell asleep on the couch. I hauled him upstairs, he was just a lump, and I sort of murmured nice daddy things, more to myself than to him, he's asleep, all the way up the stairs. I put him in his bed and just sort of murmured "You going to have nice dreams?" and he mumbled "Yes, please."


So, we're well into Schmaltzville. It's parenthood. Whadaya gonna do?

Here's what I really wanted to write down. It's more schmaltz. But it's true.
Both Daughter and Eldest took class trips this week. Eldest is still in D.C. I'm hoping he'll add some of his stories here when he gets back. About Daughter:

Daughter got back from an overnight field trip to Greenfield Village, an historical site in Michigan where kids look at Henry Ford memorabilia and they laugh at pigs and pose friends in front of fountains and eat Rice Krispie Treats for lunch.

Some less happy stuff for context: Daughter hasn't been very happy at school lately. The transition to middle schoolhas been a little rough. (5th grade is middle school at The School. Another issue.) So we were really hoping Daughter would have a great time on this trip.

And she did. At dinner tonight she talked and talked about the trip. We took her out for Mexican - she loves Mexican, and Eldest hates it, so with him out of town, we thought "Hey, we'll take Daughter out for Mexican!" and she was so excited! She ordered chicken fingers.

Okay, so we had given Daughter some money for souvenirs, and at dinner we asked her if she bought herself anything. She got really quiet and a little sad. Not a lot. Just a bit less excited. I asked her what was wrong, and she made it clear that she did not want to answer in front of her little brother. Also, I was an idiot for asking in front of Youngest. Dad, how could you be so stupid? You are a big dumb stupid idiot for asking me to answer that in front of Youngest. She said all this with a glance, reassuring me that she will be a proficient teenage daughter in just three years.

At dinner, my job became to distract Youngest.

I distracted Youngest, which is really really hard ("How's your root beer, Youngest?" "Really good." "Good.") while Mother and Daughter hid behind a menu and Mother got the full story.

Okay. Here's the deal. My daughter is awesome. She is, probably, better than you. She might even be better than me.

Just kidding. She is waaaaaay better than me. So just imagine how much better than you she must be.

Here's why she was sad:

Daughter had had some pocket money left. A little more than $8.00. So she bought two candy sticks, a little Oscar Meyer Weinermobile whistle, and a cheap necklace with a small Civil War bugle pendant.

Those are tiny things. That's because she spent eight dollars on a Greenfield Village decorated souvenir baseball. Cool!
Okay. Listen. Daughter is not all that into baseball. The baseball souvenir? She bought it for Youngest. The candy sticks, our favorite flavors, were for me and for Eldest. The whistle was for Mother (Mother has a thing for the Weinermobile. Really. Always has. Excuse me, Mother? Sigmund Freud on line one for you.) Daughter ran out of money before picking out anything nice for herself. She only had enough money left for the cheap little pendant.

Daughter was a little sad at dinner because while talking about the trip, she realized what a great time she had, but she didn't really get herself anything (much) to remember the trip. This had not occurred to her while shopping.

I'm convinced that I would have been touched by this even if they used a lower quality tequila in the margaritas.

I was very touched by this.

There's a happy ending, though, and it's not this: Daughter gave the ball to Youngest and Youngest is so happy that Daughter feels fine about the whole thing. Maybe you would have let that happen, and maybe that would have been the right choice, but you weren't there, and you hadn't had a margarita and some really good chicken cooked with spicy sausage and cheese sauce.

Here's what really happened: I told Daughter not to worry, that we had spoiled Youngest a bit while she and Eldest were away (true) and had gotten him two new toys for no reason (also true) and that the baseball will look great on her bookshelf, and every time she sees it there she will remember her great trip to Greenfield Village, even if she's not that into baseball.

"I'm not asking," I said. "I'm telling you this." And she was relieved.

When we got home, Youngest couldn't wait to show Daughter his new Spider-man and Goblin action figures, and he thought his new candy stick was delicious, though perhaps not his favorite flavor.