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Archive for April, 2008

If you have a kid, you end up going to a lot of birthday parties. Sometimes, just for one kid, you might have stretches where there’s a party every other weekend.
So I was at one today, with Fontaine, for a girl who turned six. It was at a bowling alley, what with most first-grade girls being all about hooking their fingers into a 10-pound ball and heaving it down a lane, then kicking back with a Bud Light. (Oh wait, not really.)
So I was standing around talking with the girl’s Dad. I looked over the table of a dozen or more kids snarfing down cake.
Did you invite her whole kindergarten class?
“No, we couldn’t, we just went down the list and asked her who she wanted. We were hoping for *regrets*,” he said.
Oh yeah, regrets, regrets only. That’s funny, hoping for them.
“People call and they feel bad telling you they can’t come,” birthday Dad says, “but we want the *regret* too. I’m thinking, ‘You want the regret, we want the regret, come on, just give us the regret.’ ”
Hearing all that, I think back with such regret…about a couple of parties for which we didn’t send regrets. How happy we might have made those Moms and Dads.

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Last Saturday, the two older girls and myself were out in the back yard. I was trying to get some weeds pulled and rubbish removed, so was delighted when the girls found something to do that required little Dad maintenance. We found a couple of earthworms and they started a *worm farm.* Whenever I moved a log or something (you’d think I was talking about The Back 40, but if I am, it’s 40 feet) and found another worm, I delivered it to the worm farm. Fontaine (almost 6) and Elizabeth (3 and a half) got dirt and pulled grass for food and shelter and covered the worms up.
I worked, they played, it was great.
When a worm would try to escape the farm, I would hear Elizabeth say, “Oh, no you don’t….” and drag the poor sucker back home.
Elizabeth became the worm doctor. And don’t think Dad doesn’t dig two things about that: his three and a half year old girl loving to play with worms and hold them and get dirty hands. Plus, I figure if you aspire to be the Anything Doctor, that’s pretty good.
Ten minutes passed and Fontaine came over: “Daddy, we need some more worms, because all of ours either died or broke in half.”
Oh man, what happened to the worms?
“Well, Elizabeth is the doctor and she stretches them out first to measure them.”
The worms were good for, I’d guess, about 45 minutes of wholesome entertainment, which surpasses the total amount of time they have spent playing with most of the Christmas presents we got them. If only Elizabeth could get a tiara to stay on a worm.
Today, a week later, it was caterpillars that the girls got into. We found some really colorful ones, and they made a house for them, and got greenery for food, and some water. Fontaine said at one point she got one to drink water out of a crevice in the porch. “He must’ve been thirsty, because I think he looked up, and I saw a bit of a smile.”
The girls think these things are going to become Monarch butterflies; I think they are going to become whatever bag worms turn into.
Oh, what a grizzled old fart I am.img_Apr_13_2008_01_46

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Cock-a-doodle-do?

Cock-a-doodle-do?

Tomorrow is Saturday, but we will wake up at the same time as every other day: 6:30 to 7 a.m. We’re on daylight savings time right now, or it would be 6. Our kids don’t change. They are like farm animals.
It’ll start with one of them popping open a bedroom door, then making the floorboards of the old house moan, then the other one will get up. Even though our neighbors have kids, their house will be dark. We NEVER sleep in.
A couple of weeks ago, I told the almost-six-year old, “Now, tomorrow is a weekend day, you can sleep as late as you want.”
“I know,” she said, “Mommy told me that too.”
One time, my neighbor Paul asked Fontaine why she got up so early on weekends. She said, “Because I’m afraid I’d miss out on something fun.” (Anybody know anything fun going on at 6:30 a.m. on a February Saturday? Well, there isn’t anything…we’ve looked.)
About a month ago, crusty-eyed on a dark Sunday morning, I begged to know why we all had to be up so early. Was there something, some noise or whatever that woke them?
“Well, I heard that rooster, and I knew it was morning,” Fontaine said.
“Yeah,” said the three-year-old.
I heard that, I said, that wasn’t a rooster…it was a crow!
So, for the city kids, I’ve posted a couple of pictures. We can fire up the computer tomorrow morning and look at them: We’ll be up with the birds.

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We still sleep with the “baby,” the nearly 11-month-old baby in our room. Her room is a walk-in closet (hey, it’s nice and big and bigger than most kids have for a bedroom). But every morning, when I hear one of the older girls pop open her door, I scramble out of bed, grab some clothes off the floor and try to get out of the room before she comes into our room and wakes the baby.
So, I was doing this on Sunday, and my back was stiff, so I grabbed my jeans and long-sleeve shirt and carried them out of the room to meet the three-year-old in the hallway. The nearly six year old joined us while we were going down the steps, when three-year-old announced:
“Daddy doesn’t look good with none pants on.”
Two things: For the record, again, I did have boxers on. Second, I’ll have more than boxers on from now on. And three: Wait ’til their in college and I get a pair of those giant sunglasses that go over your other glasses. How good is Daddy going to look then?

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