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Posts Tagged ‘moms’

ImageLet me get right to the point: Elizabeth is attempting to domesticate a Stink Bug.

Scourge of the Mid-Atlantic for the past several years, invader of our screened porch and therefore our shiny new house last fall to the extent that we had to vacuum them up by the scores every day and to the extent that we couldn’t even use our screened porch or open the french doors connecting it to the house, a Stink Bug has now been captured and shanghaied INTO our house, upstairs and into her bedroom — on purpose.

It has been named, directly enough, “Stinky.”

Stinky has been inhabiting the plastic, cheapy terrarium shown in the photo for about a week now. I don’t know what the life expectancy of a Stink Bug is, but I am imagining his week in captivity will end up being a majority of it.

The girls have been feeding Stinky the usual Stink Bug stuff: organic lettuce, organic arugula, that sort of stuff.

At night, sometimes Stinky gets placed in the windowsill between the window and the screen…for fresh air.

I wondered how long this was going to go on, and then last night I heard Wife putting a kind and gentle end to the whole domestication of a Stink Bug issue. (No, she didn’t squoosh it.)

Girls, I think it’s not entirely fair to keep something that is meant to live outdoors penned up inside, so tomorrow, I’d like you to find a nice place out in the woods or yard to release Stinky.

OK, Mommy.

In other words: The girls are going to take Stinky outside, so that Stinky the Stink Bug can do what Stink bugs are meant to do. So Stinky will spend a little time outside, then spend the entire rest of his time and life exploring little cracks around our screened porch or waiting on the trim of the front door for us to open it for a split second, so that Stinky can get back into our house.

If Stinky is particularly successful, he may make it upstairs, to Elizabeth’s room, back to her windowsill or back into the plastic terrarium.

Who says you can’t go home again?

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Last week one day, Elizabeth says, “Daddy, are you doing anything at about 10:30 in the morning on Friday?”media9

Well, there’s the paying job and all, but I was so flattered to be asked that I said, “No, why?”

“Can you come to the field trip my class is having at the Chinese Restaurant?”

Sure. Seems, the second graders were studying China, and dining at Shin Shin Chinese Restaurant was the best available option to absorb the nuances of a culture dating to 2000 BC. Any inkling I had of some rare father-daughter 1-on-1 bonding with our second daughter was quickly dispelled by a note that Mrs. Teacher sent to parents: Don’t plan to eat with your child. There will be too much going on. We need you to help feed the kids at the buffet, tend to their needs and only after they are done eating and, in fact, only after they leave, will you then be able to eat.

I got there and about 15 parents stood in the entrance waiting for the kids. This seemed like too many parents, but I would soon find out it was barely enough. All the moms knew each other and were talking about their kindergarteners lacrosse skills and stuff and pretty much ignoring the two dads.

The kids finally rolled in, one class at a time, and Mrs. Teacher comes up to me and asks me if I can help and watch a table of four boys. I guess she figured, as our girls would say, “Well, YOU’RE a boy, so you know how to handle boys.” In actuality, boys that are the same ages as our girls are completely weird creatures to me and I have no idea what to do with them.

So, the four boys and I set out for the buffet, and while I figure we’ll take things in an orderly fashion and move from station to station as I put stuff on their plates, what they seem to figure is that I can’t possibly help more than one of them at a time, so they start scraping stuff onto their plates, ducking under the sneeze guard and grabbing shit with their hands and putting it on their plates.

By the time I get back to the table with the one boy who I ended up helping, two of the others inform they have either eaten or defiled all of their food and are “ready for seconds.” Mrs. Teacher swings by and says that some of the kids haven’t even had firsts yet, so if the boys want more of something, I should go get it and put it on their plates.

I do that, and return, to find that one of the boys has discovered that there are “clams” at the buffet, and while I am pointing out that the thing on his plate is not a clam but a mussel, the other boys each call out, “I want to try a CLAM, too.”

All right, let’s go get some “clams”! We get back from that adventure, and one of the boys sitting at table next to ours, a table that I will note Mrs. Teacher did NOT put ME in charge of, points at his friend and says: “Peter ate a clam shell.”

I start explaining, again, that first these are not clams, and second, I am sure that while Peter may have eaten the innards of a mussel, I am sure he did not…

I look at Peter. He is smiling. I look at Peter’s plate. There is precisely one HALF of a mussel shell. I look back at Peter and give him a universal guy scowl that can only mean one thing: “Dude! WTF?”

Peter nods and smiles.

Mrs. Teacher then comes back to my table and one of the boys reports that he has wrapped up a “clam shell” to take home.

Mrs. Teacher looks at them and says, “No clam shells are going back to school.” She holds out her hand and says, “Give me the shells boys.”

As I am explaining to Mrs. Teacher that only the one boy has a shell, the others look at her. One pulls a shell out of his pants pocket. Another does the same. A third reaches into his jacket pocket and removes yet another “clam” shell.

Mrs. Teacher looks at me.

I shrug. I was completely overmatched by my own chromosome. I need to stick to girls.

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