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Archive for May, 2008

img_May_29_2008_08_04The cup here to the right is a miracle of modern-day manufacturing ingenuity. The girls each got one of these at a neighbor girl’s birthday party, which was miraculous in itself for several reasons: They just invited neighbors, had pizza, had a pillow fight, had cake then came home. The two bigs, as I call the two older girls, had a great time. I mean, they didn’t even notice the lack of bouncy house or petting zoo.
Then they came home with these cups. I looked on the bottom to see where they were made. You get one guess.
China?
Nnnnnnnnntt!
Wrong, get it? A plastic cup with Disney Princesses embossed on it, and it wasn’t made in China.
So where was it made?
Asheboro, North Carolina. The North Carolina that is in the United States. Seriously.
Some company named Technimark performed this amazing feat: They made a plastic cup, and printed a bunch of Disney Princesses on it.
In America.
Just think what could someday be possible, right here in the new world. We could grow our own food, make our own clothes, put together our own cars.
Anything seems possible, if we can make a plastic cup.

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When I was growing up, my brother and I hardly ever played this one game that my daughters do. We never pretended to be Mary and Laura from “Little House on the Prairie.” We probably would have done that if we wouldn’t have been: outside throwing tennis balls at birds; or finding the dams built in the stream by the kids one neighborhood over and knocking holes in them; or down in the basement, trying to figure out if we could build a fort in the crawl space (Conclusion: Nah, too stinking uncomfortable even for kids).
But the girls play Little House; Fontaine’s always “Mary” because she’s older, and Elizabeth is “Laura,” because she’s in the middle and she has brown hair. And listen, Elizabeth is sweet, but don’t try to tell her she’s not Laura, because she is.
It is difficult sometimes to remember, like today, when I broke into a lecture about hitting, because Ol’ Half Pint has been breaking bad lately and whacking her sister: “Now look, Elizabeth, it is never OK to hit, and I don’t care if she teases you or does whatever, you have to learn to ignore (etc, etc with the adult stuff where you turn into your parents times twenty, etc etc with me trying not to say bad words or scream…blah, blah)…because people in this family don’t behave violently!
Elizabeth, do you understand me?
Elizabeth…?!
DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”
She blinks the blue eyes up at me:
“I’m Laura,” she says.
Oh my.
WWPD.
What Would Pa Do?img_May_24_2008_15_32

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Fontaine’s fried.
Stick a book report in her, she’s done. It’s the end of her kindergarten year, and she hates school. She hates homework.
That is correct, anyone who hasn’t had a school age kid in the past decade, she has homework. Every night. Oh, right, they don’t get homework on weekends, because after all it’s (SCREAMING PROFANITY GOES HERE) kindergarten!
That’s how they do it nowadays, because we have standardized learning and standardized tests and standardized schools and standardized kids. (In fact, now that I have used it several times, what the heck kind of word is “standardized”?)
Let’s see those hands parents…who among you wants your kid to be “standard”? Can you say “average”? Can you say, “middle-management interchangeable cog”?
Anyway, never too soon to get cracking, so, homework in kindergarten. Seriously, she actually does math.
We found out today that, due to the standardized tests being taken by the third graders, there are no gym, music or art classes for the rest of the year. I suppose those teachers are needed to monitor the standardized tests, in case the third-graders try to cheat their way into Harvard. Ivy League schools must be concerned about being crushed under the influx of geniuses applying in another decade or so, thanks to all this standardized learning.
Or, as the wasted almost-six year old put it this morning, “Why does school have to last 16 hundred fifty-nine thousand sixteen seventy ninety days?”img_May_20_2008_50_50

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5.12.08I always give my wife heck because she wants to get her hair colored, in order to achieve the purity of her “natural” hair color, which in her mind means the color when she was seven.
And so it was, the other day, that Elizabeth informed me (a lifelong blond) that I had brown hair. So OK, OK, it’s, uh, darkened up a bit over the past 50 decades.
But then, the other day, Miss Bright Blue Eyes went around the family surveying our eye colors and announced that Daddy’s are gray.
Gray.
I told my wife, “Brown hair and gray eyes, that’s a combination you don’t see often. I could completely disappear against a winter sky.”
Brown hair and gray eyes…I bet I could vanish from sight in a pile of mud and sticks. Hey, I’m looking for a new job; maybe I could be a beaver.
So I’m taking votes on which fake eye color I should choose. Chart included.
Such a contest could be the event that tears asunder the three readers of this web site, in a bitter two-to-one final vote.
May the blondest man win.

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I took down Paris Hilton.
She was on the site for a few days, the post below about being famous, but it seemed weird to call up the girls’ blog and see her glam mug on there.
There are other ways to be famous. A girl born these days could be famous any way she wanted, especially for being smart. Or she could just be smart. No fame. Lie low. Live well.

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At breakfast this morning, Fontaine announced, “I want to be famous.”
She’s almost six and has probably become used to this response – actually, it’s probably precisely the response she wanted – but the questions came fast after that:
What do you know about being famous?
Who told you about being famous?
What’s being famous mean?
“It’s when everybody knows you.”
OK, OK, smarty pants, so you know what famous means.
So, naturally, I mentioned one of the more noble paths to fame.
“Hey, you could invent something that saved a bunch of lives.”
(I thought about saying: “Hey, I could get lucky and sing a mind-numbingly repetitive country cross-over hit, wait 15 years, then pimp you out to Disney for a Tween show,” but I refrained.)
Flashing through our minds? Home-girl blondie up there, famous for being rich. I was a little scared to Google her, because you know, famous for that one thing? The one that *accidentally* got released on the Internet, which led to her getting famous by having a show about being famous and stupid?
If people just hadn’t confused “infamy” with “fame,” well, maybe heads wouldn’t turn when Six-year-old said the word.

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Sometimes, I was thinking, it pays to be the only guy. We were at the dinner table, and for once a conversation erupted instead of a screaming contest.
It wasn’t really a regular conversation, but a little girl one.
Fontaine: “I’m the Queen and…”
Elizabeth (interrupting): “I’m the Princess!”
OK, you’re the Princess.
Seemed that, since the two higher ranking female roles were snapped up, Mommy became the “Princess Knight.”
Leaving aside whatever role of servitude might be set aside for the poor 11-month-old sister, I said, Well, what am I?
“I guess you’re the King,” Fontaine reluctantly agreed.
YES! I’m the King.
Nice…
“But I’m the Queen,” Fontaine said, “and the Queen rules the castle.”
Oh.

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