Archive for December, 2009

Look at her sitting there. Poor Molly McIntire.

Barely out of the American Girl box on Christmas morning when she was fated to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

Let me explain by backing up. Fontaine and Elizabeth asked for American Girl dolls for Christmas, and “Gram and Poppop” stepped forward to buy them each one.  Wife  and I then had to choose which doll for which girl, which meant I had to do something that only a strong, confident man can do: Form a staunch opinion on the advantages of “Ruthie” over “Molly,” or “Emily” vs. “Kit.”

(Hey, that’d be a fun March Madness style bracket: a tournament  of various American Girl dolls facing off against each other, until fourth-seeded “Julie Albright” crushes top-seed “Nicki Fleming” in an action-packed final at the Superdome.)


We picked Molly and Emily, after I took Ruthie down a notch by dubbing her too homely.

Backing up once more: For a couple of years now, when Fontaine draws a bunch of people, she always puts one of them in a wheelchair. I think it’s a tribute to her now late “Grandma G” who was in a wheelchair for some time. So Fontaine wanted not just a doll, but her first choice of accessory was a wheelchair.

She opened that gift about 15 minutes after Molly was first freed from her box. Fontaine immediately shoved her into the wheelchair, and she’s been in it ever since. She rode six hours from Pennsylvania to Virginia sitting in the wheelchair, sitting on Fontaine’s lap.

She does get a reprieve at night, when she is gingerly removed from the wheelchair and put to bed in Fontaine’s closet. But first thing in the morning, back in the chair she goes.

My only hope now is that the American Girl collection does not contain a “Handicap Van with Real Fold-Out Ramp.”

And that we don’t have to install a hydraulic lift on our stairs.

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The appeals to Santa for more gifts have now reached the Praise Phase. Straight from the corporate management books, Fontaine’s throwing morale-boosting sentiments at the Jolly Old Elf.

“Dear Santa,” she began her fourth amendment to her Christmas list, “thanks for your hard work!”

(Not to mention, I could really use two more things.)

You have to pump up the Big Man when your first list contains 18 items, not counting numbers 19 and 20 that were added to the back of the envelope. (I took the opportunity to scan the list, before sending it to the North Pole.)

Now, here’s one of the many great things about really young kids. Her entire list could be had for, probably, less than $250. If I listed 18 items – a new car, Bose surround system, some exciting home improvement like gutters or a new AC unit – it’d probably run $2.5 million.

I’d have to say my favorite item on Fontaine’s list is: “Black kids telescope,” referring to the desired color, not that it should be made for use by African-American children.

I also like that the items are not prioritized by number, but by number of times the word “please” is written below an item. I have to assume, “would be nice” makes it a completely optional item.

But if I were Santa, my feelings of self-worth would have rocketed higher than my sleigh when I was thanked for my hard work, and I’d probably bring her even the “would be nice” items.

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So Rosebud, she’s just two and a half. Third kid. Total rock by necessity, both physically and, uh, attitudinally.

She’s not big, but she’s massive in personality. She speaks like, I don’t know, a five-year-old, a six- or seven-year old? The point being, I had just read her three pre-bedtime (HINT HINT, CHICKIE!) books and was ready to put her into the crib, and she stiffened like a board and refused.

C’mon, it’s bedtime, let’s get you into the crib, said I, using the common parental plural “let’s” in an attempt to seem like a whole bunch of parents in order to get what I want. It’s time for sleep.

And here’s where it came in, a round-house uppercut from the right side that I just didn’t see coming.

“That’s your idea,” Rosebud said, “That’s not MY idea.”

What? I wasn’t sure I heard that. Then I suggested the bed thing again, and she came back again with that.

“That’s YOUR idea. That’s not MY idea.”

Oh man, what a rhetorical steel wall. Wouldn’t it be great to use that, say, at a corporate board meeting after listening to a really long, boring build up for a proposal?

Couldn’t you shut up somebody like even Rush Limbaugh, or wouldn’t you like to, with a, “That’s YOUR idea. That’s not MY idea.”?

Oh, the possibilities were running rampant in my mind when she interrupted me one more time.

“Daddy, what’s a IDEA?”

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