Things I Learned at a Dance Recital

A couple quick things before I drop some knowledge on you! Does anybody else think that this Triumph song sounds like it should have been the background music during the A-Team sequence in any number of mid to late 80’s movies like Mannequin or Secret to My Success? It just sounds like an 80’s movie.

I don’t think anybody likes having their mother-in-law at the house more than me. She’s awesome. She does our laundry, picks up some grocercies, helps get the girls ready for dance recital practice and makes cookies. My clothes are folded so neatly and tightly you’d think she served in the Marines. I avoid wearing any of the stuff she folds because it looks so nice.

Anyway, back to my point, how do you know that you’ve spent too much time taking your daughters to dance classes, rehearsals and recitals? Not to mention The Nutcracker. Anyway, how do you know?

You know at the precise moment you turn to Mom and say, “Hey, I like these costumes, they’re nice.”

Wait…what? Not only did I say that but my brain never sent any SOS messages to my mouth between the time I noticed the costumes and formed the thoughts that led to the observation of the costumes which in turn led to the comment. My brain has been placed on immediate suspension pending an investigation of undudely behavior.

groganI can’t say I’m surprised though. Mom makes fun of me all the time because I’m a uniform nerd. For some reason I find it important to know the uniform evolutions of NFL teams. I love the classic simplicity of the Steelers and the Raiders. I’m glad the Broncos only wore orange pants for one season back in ’78. I think the Patriots should go back to the uni’s they wore through ’92 and ditch the current one. I think the Bengals have the worst uniforms in football. With the Bills away uni’s a close second.

whitesox1976I think it’s cool that the alternate uniform for several major league teams is a throwback uniform. The Indians and Twins do a great job with this. Need to make a tip of the cap to the Blue Jays for going back to the sweet 70’s uni’s. Thankfully the White Sox haven’t brought the vintage 1976 uni’s with the shorts. Check out these two websites.

NFL Uniforms
MLB Uniforms

Second thing I learned after nearly two hours of a dance recital last night, I now know how other people feel when I’m watching the NFL draft. Or how Mom feels when I’m watch the Big Sky Conference Championship between Eastern Washington and Montana State. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching the girls dance but I’m more bored than you just were reading about NFL uniforms. It’s not painful but man, I just don’t get it. But like I was saying, I now have a fairly decent understanding of why Mom can read an entire three volumne set of novels about vampires while I wonder aloud about the wisdom of trading up in the first round.

But we’re almost done. One more dance recital tomorrow with all three girls. With its conclusion we will have successfully navigated another year of dance and gymnastics classes.

Swimming lessons start in week or so. But not even I can find a way to complain about that…

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The Future has a Yellow Shirt

It’s Dance Recital Week. Which means last night was rehearsal night #1. Thursday is recital #1. Friday is rehearsal night #2. Saturday is the performance for all three of them. Nothing I like doing more on warm sunny Friday evenings in the spring than going to dance recitals. Then again, I have three girls so it’s not like I had plans for something else. Yesterday was also supposed to be a field trip to a local pool, I mean Aquatic Center, for Kinz and Rye. But it was 57 degrees and it rained. So it was rescheduled for tomorrow. Plus they both have different field trips on Friday too.

Super Bowl 4This is a lot for us to remember. Plus, when I was born, the Kansas City Chiefs were the world champs. So I’m getting pretty old too.

I should just ask Kinsey if we’ll make it through because she can evidently see the future.

I’m not kidding. Her future seeing powers haven’t been fully revealed yet but from what I have deduced through my Dadtastic powers of observation and exaggeration of my children’s abilities, she can really do this.

I think it’s more Nicholas Cage in Next rather than the Precogs in Minority Report.
Cage Next

Anyway, yesterday we had Kinsey’s rehearsal from 5:00 to 6:15. Riley’s is from 6:45 to 8:15. And there is no way, after last year\'s experience, that I’m staying in an auditorium for 3 hours with all three girls. Luckily, for the first time in about three years, Mom’s job did not suspiciously take her out of town during dance recital rehearsal week.

Our plan this year? I take Kinz and Mom takes Rye. Awesome in its simplicity and fairness. However it also means our logistics are dependent on the rehearsal staying on time. This is a significant risk. Not like MacArthur’s landing at Inchon or casting Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist, but significant nonetheless. The plan was for Kinz and I to get home with just enough time to tag Mom and Rye on their way out the door.

In an upset of the US over the Soviets in 1980 proportions, I delivered Kinz to the rehearsal with 10 minutes to spare. She was able to change into her costume and walk into the auditorium. This is a distinct change from our usual entrance which consists of running, whining and confusion. They were behind schedule a tad bit too. Unfortunately, this provided enough time for Kinsey to realize that the other girls in her dance class had put their tights on while she did not. It also allowed her to observe that the other girls, except one, all had their hair done into the performance-required buns complete with the required hair piece all enhanced by make-up.

Unfortunately for Kinsey and the other girl, they both had their Dads with them. All the other girls had their Moms. And most of these Moms had Batman’s utility belt stocked with make-up. I swear one of them had Chewbacca’s bandolier with various shades of eye-liner, etc.

“Dad, you have to put the hair thing in.”

“Sorry kiddo, I have no idea how that thing works. My hair skills end at ponytails. But it’s fine. It’s just practice.”

“No it’s not. Everybody else has theirs in. Just do it.”

I talked her off the cliff just in time for her class to be summoned to the stage for their ballet routine. Two attempts at that and they were ready for their tap routine.

Here’s where Kinsey showed off her newly acquired powers.

Her class runs off stage and another class runs out for their tap routine. This is a sign to me that I should take Kinsey’s tap shoes back to her so she’ll be ready when her class does tap. I head out a side door into a hallway where I thought the girls were getting ready. They aren’t there. Hmmm….

Maybe they are backstage. And listen, there aren’t too many places I’m more uncomfortable than being backstage at dance recital rehearsal. Here’s a short list: Kinnick Stadium in my Cardinal and Gold, a discussion on the merits of higher income taxes and any viewing of Steel Magnolias. Anyway, I’m back there and I don’t see Kinz. I ask one of her classmates if she’s in the dressing room. She’s not. I ask another if she’s in the bathroom. She’s not.

Things that make you hmmm…

I return to the auditorium via the same door I exited. Retracing my path sometimes helps me find things I’ve lost.

chancellorsvilleI see her with that confused worried look. Like General Hooker at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Or moviegoers forced to endure another Tom Cruise flick.

Just then one of the other Moms walks by and smiles at Kinsey – “Hey you told me your Dad was wearing a hat, glasses and a yellow shirt.”

Evidently Kinsey looked so frantic that one of the Moms asked if she could help her find me. That description would have helped except I wasn’t wearing a hat or my glasses. And I was wearing a white shirt with light blue, dark blue and green stripes.

The rest of the rehearsal goes well. We speed home just in time for Mom and Riley to leave. I make dinner and then go upstairs to change clothes before we head off to the grocery store.

I absent mindedly put on some shorts, a yellow Pirates spring training shirt I just got for my birthday, a hat and my glasses.

So did Kinsey predict the future? Or did she just influence it? And if all she did was influence it, what does this mean for the teenage years?

I miss summer

Do you ever sit back and think about summer?

The_Love_BoatI was thinking about this because the girls only have a couple weeks of school left and well, I miss summer. Not because I long for humidity and mosquitoes but because something about summer isn’t the same. And it’s not because you can’t wind down with reruns of The Love Boat and Fantasy Island anymore.

When you have little kids you get glimpses of what it used to be like and for a flash it feels like it used to feel. Like the mystical aura of the last day of school. Do you remember that? Didn’t matter what it was, I had a case of the involuntary smiles all day. The absolute enormity of the entire summer staring back at you without one day of math was too incredible to comprehend for me. Like victory to the French. Or the truth to Nancy Pelosi.

Then there was the anticipation of the Fourth of July. Fireworks. You know there was something magical back in the day about things exploding. All day you’d hear the cracks and booms of people lighting up black cats and blowing up M-80’s. A few roman candles and bottle rockets sprinkled with the unmistakable scent of burgers on the grill floating in the late afternoon breeze. grillburger_hero If you were lucky you got to blaze up a few sparklers and smell the sweet, sweet scent of gunpowder. Yeah, I know, but it was gunpowder to me.

Sometimes I worry that my kids aren’t getting the joy out of summer that my sisters and my friends and I got out of it.

Summer is different for them. They get up, eat breakfast and go to daycare. I used to get up, eat breakfast and get on my bike. Okay, that’s a stretch. Most days I got up, ate breakfast and watched Tom and Jerry and Battle of the Planets. Then I’d lay around all day until Spectre-Man came on channel 44 which meant I saw the old 588-2300 Empire Carpet commerical 8 or 9 times before my mom finally kicked me outside. Then I played this weird cannibalized version of baseball with a couple of other kids. You do that when you only have a pitcher, a catcher and a batter.

It was the 70’s and early 80’s so Mom and Dad were playing a lot of tennis too. My Dad even had the John McEnroe/Bjorn Borg headband thing happening. Borg vs McEnroeSometimes they’d take my sisters and I to a park for an hour or so while they played tennis and we attempted to not be bored. This resulted in us getting a can of generic pop before going to the park. I usually picked Lemon-Lime. Sometimes Root Beer. If I was lucky, I’d get Orange.

Anyway, our girls aren’t doing any of this in the summer. When I pick them up after work I’m always telling them “go outside, you’re kids, it’s summer, go get dirty.” Except they’ve usually been outside most of the day confined to the playground at daycare. So they are already tired, sweaty and dirty and just want to hit the couch and hang in the AC when they get home.

Summer is different now. Or it at least seems that way to me. Maybe it’s because I’m 39 instead of 9? Maybe…

One thing, however, never changes about summer.

Is there anything in the adult summer world as overwhelmingly awesome as going swimming is to kids? Swimming has almost paranormal properties. Seriously, tell your kids they’re going swimming and watch them. It’s like you told them they could have ice cream for breakfast, have all their friends over and be mean to their sister without getting trouble. It’s like hiring John Calipari to run your basketball program. It’s like letting a San Francisco liberal be Speaker of the House. Hey, wait a minute…

If you’re a parent, going swimming to kids is like having the 1985 version of Bo Jackson in your backfield. It’s a problem solver. You can make all kinds of mistakes but play the swimming card and it’s usually a first down.

Anyway, I miss summer. If I find it this year, I’ll let you know.

How to make your kids think you’re cool?

Have you ever watched or read \"The Guy\'s Manual\"? I haven’t spent too much time there either but I might start. For example, there’s an article about “How to make kids think you’re cool.”

PattonMy first reaction was, “What? That’s stupid.” I’m the grown-up after all and it doesn’t matter if I’m cool or not as long as my voice conveys the wisdom of Abraham Lincoln and inspires the fear of George Patton.

Anyway, here’s their list:

#1) “Be their coach.” This sounds simple. Being a coach shows your kids that you’re the boss and it gives you a chance to get to know some of the kids they are hanging with. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know their parents and potentially avoid one of them doing an impression of Earl Weaver on you. However I have girls who are in dance and gymnastics. I’m not Gilles Marini or Bart Conner. The best I can do is break out the moonwalk or the lawnmower when C&C Music Factory comes on the radio. Gymnastics? Really? I couldn’t even do a cartwheel when I was a kid. So I’ve been dropping hints here and there about the girls playing softball.

#2) “Play a cool musical instrument.” Yes, this would be cool. Best I can do here is bust out the air guitar during Metal Mania on VH1 Classic.

#3) “Take them to a game.” Done and Done. College football is the reason we can’t have kids activities on Saturdays in the fall. We’re at the game. Rye went to her first college basketball game when was 2 and a-half months old. Kinz went to her first college football game when she was 4 months old. I’m good at this. Plus teaching girls about football will make them more intimidating to boys. And that’s good.

#4) “Become the king of the pancakes.” The Guy’s Manual says Dads need to be come the king of their favorite meal. I think I’m okay on this too. Mom makes the pancakes but I can hold my own pretty well when it comes to making dinner. Plus their favorite meal is corndogs. Can’t really screw those up. Of course it was also pretty tough to screw up Nebraska football but a one well-placed moron managed to do that.

#5) “Learn how to make fart noises.” Oh, don’t even tell me this. Are you kidding? I am the Titan of the Fake Trouser Trumpet. The King of the call of the Reclusive and Deadly Barking Spider. Nobody can make the familiar sound of stepping on a duck better than me. Hey are your pants talking? Nope, that’s just Dad. Is that rolling thunder meeting the wind? Do we have a piper down? You can use your hands, the inside of your elbow, your armpit, and if you’re really good – the soles of shoes. Hey, was that you? Nope, brown Volvo honking for the right of way. Um, Excuse me but I have an urgent telegram from Ft. Sphincter to Commander Nostrils announcing the arrival of General Stank.

Anyway, I like this website.

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 10:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sidewalk Wounds

A couple things of which I am now aware. Rye and Kinz eat their corn on the cob across while Bails and I eat it around.

Also the fastest way to get Rye to finish her dinner? Tell her she only has minutes until Dancing with the Stars and American Idol start.

Fastest way to get Kinz to finish? First you have to ignore the whining and excuses. When you are doing this you really have to mean it too. She can sense weakness. Once you’ve established dominance, tell her our neighbor is outside playing. Then she’s like a commercial grade street cleaner.

Fastest way to get Bails to finish? Let Kinsey go outside first and then tell her as soon as she finishes, she can go outside too.

Fastest way to get Kinz back inside? A wipeout on her new birthday scooter. Luckily I’m a Dad and I’m trained to field dress a sidewalk wound. There’s really an art to this. Actually all it really involves is some water, a paper towel and a band-aid. If it’s a Barbie band-aid that usually helps. Scooby works too.

When I was a kid my Mom would always bust out the Bactine just prior to the application of the band-aid. Dispite it’s cool smell, the use of Bactine was usually unpleasant. But your wound was clean. Or at least it smelled that way.

But I don’t have any Bactine. Which is probably a good thing because I do value my sense of hearing and everything associated with my auditory capabilities. Of equal value is my sense of balance. I like these things. But I know Kinz pretty well and I’m pretty sure that if I squirted some Bactine on her skinned knee she could deliver a Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween scream if Jamie Lee were screaming into a megaphone that was aimed directly at a microphone plugged into the sound system for an AC/DC concert.

So I’m just going with the band-aid.

Published in: on May 19, 2009 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Monday, Monday…

I heard “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart and “Edge of a Broken Heart” by Vixen back to back on the radio this morning. It was excellent but weird. Furthermore, what was Cheri Oteri doing drumming for Vixen back in ’89? Interesting juxtaposition of songs, although I’m not sure what 1979 and 1989 had in common. I mean besides Star Trek movies and Billy Joel.

Anyway, I had one of the mornings where you don’t realize you’ve lost control until you look up and and you’re surrounded by MiG-28’s and Maverick is disengaging. One of the things Mom bought to put into the goodie bags for Kinsey’s friends at her party on Saturday were stick-on earrings. Circles, hearts, stars, etc. All different colors too. Well the girls were pretty normal for the most part during breakfast. Riley made up names for each of them and Kinsey didn’t like hers so she whined. Bailey liked hers so she modified it by adding a few syllables and broke out into song. But they were all still sitting at the table and still eating.

Then they finished and the two little ones went upstairs. You know when the police interview bystanders at the scene and they invariably all say, “well, I heard some yelling and what sounded like a scuffle and then silence…”

Well this is what I heard. Except right after the silence was that whiney yell with the distinctive sound of crying coming from Bails.

“Kinsey! Those are my earrings!”

“No they’re not Bailey! Mommy got them for my birthday!”

Riley starts up the stairs because she can’t resist the urge to intervene if there is the chance she might get to boss somebody around.

“Riley! Freeze! Don’t go up there. You’re not involved. Get your shoes and your backpack ready and wait here.”

I thought those were fairly clear instructions but she literally said, “okay, Dad,” as she took the first step up the stairs.

I stopped that and called the other two down the stairs. Bailey comes down, tears flowing, face red, barely able to form words. Kinsey appears at the top of stairs – and you’ve either seen your kids do this or you did it yourself when you were a kid – she tries to sell the “Absolutely Confused Why You’re Angry Dad” look to me.

Yeah, she’s standing there like all the yelling that just happened was an illusion that maybe I didn’t really hear and if she acts like nothing is going on then I might just buy it. If I actually fell for this could you imagine the power she’d feel? It would be like Margaret Thatcher in the Cold War.

Anyway, I took all the stick-on earrings away from them, which led to gallons of tears from both of them. Riley, of course felt compelled to comment which didn’t help things. But we managed to get all three of them school without any tears in the car. In fact, once we got in the car it was like nothing had happened. Tomorrow we’re just going to eat breakfast in the car…

Published in: on May 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm  Comments (3)  
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Birthday Party Notes

You know what? I think some people put way too much time into planning and decorating for their kids’ birthday parties. In preparation for our first grader’s 7th birthday party yesterday, I spent a little time looking for ideas for games to play during the party. I was a little anxious about finding things to do to occupy the 12 little girls who were here during Kinseypalooza.

I’m sure this won’t surprise you nearly as much as it surprised me but people put a lot of time and thought into the decorating aspect of the party. Our idea was just to let them make their own ice cream sundaes. I dropped three scoops of their choice of ice cream into a waffle bowl and then they got to load it up with various tasty treats from our toppings buffet. They weren’t shy about it either.

Anyway, I googled “ice cream parties for 1st graders” and read with stunned wonder through the numerous accounts Moms have posted on the web for other parents to envy. I have to be the only Dad who has actually read any of this stuff. Here’s my conclusion about it – the planning and decoration is all about the parents. Why? Because we didn’t decorate Jack Squat and the girls, if screaming is any indication, had a really good time. By the way, just for future reference, the best activity for the first 10-20 minutes of any birthday party for 7 year-old girls is too let them run unfettered around the backyard without any limits on speed or volume. At one point three of them, running at top speed and holding hands, rounded the two big White Pines in the corner of yard and they came upon a dead bird. I’m pretty sure the girls knocked him out of the sky with the sonic ripples created by the screaming. There were a few smoke trails too so I made need to talk to the FAA at some point.

Ironically, the discovery of the dead bird led to cessation of the screaming. However, it also led to an onset of a chorus of “Eeeewwww…” What is it in the DNA of small children that compels them to poke a dead bird with a stick?

Anway, back to our lack of decorations. Kids don’t give a crap about them. All they care about is presents, ice cream and barbies. It’s a freaking birthday party. You’re not planning the Ardennes Offensive in December of 1944. You don’t have to come up with a game plan to stop Jamelle Holieway and the ’85 Oklahoma Sooners. There will not be judges from the Louvre stopping by later.

You want to know our plan?

Play games, eat ice cream, open presents. That’s it. Now we put a little thought into the games and gave Kinsey final veto authority. We ended with a couple old stand-bys and a new one. Musical Chairs, Simon Says and a relay game where they had to run to a chair and pop a balloon by sitting on it and then running back and tagging their teammate. All three proved hilarious.

Musical chairsWe didn’t have enough chairs for all the girls to play Musical Chairs. Solution? Grandma went next door to our neighbor’s garage sale and bought four chairs. I’m not kidding. It saved the game. But it also almost left me with four new chairs to store somewhere. I told her that if she left them at the house, they’d be firewood. Interestingly, Grandpa was ordered to find a way to make them fit in the Buick.

Riley ran the music and chose the soundtrack from “The Last Days of Disco.” 1st graders love disco. Ever see 12 little girls breaking out the Travolta moves to “To Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn?

We moved from that to a couple games of Simon Says. I was Simon for the second one. Quick, when was the last time you played and Simon said, “Simon says everyone do the robot!”

It was hilarious. But not as hilarious as when I went from that to “Simon says stop doing robot and start doing the running man!”

They must teach this stuff in P.E. because they all could do it. I went to the trusty ol’ eliminator and told them to stick out their right arm. Naturally, most of them stuck out their left arms.

Finished up with the balloon game. At first they couldn’t get the hang of it. They run to the chair and sit on the balloon and then roll around on it for awhile. The air in the balloon just kept shifting. It was like trying to get a bead on Joe Biden. Then a couple of them figured it out and it was like watching Dominique and Michael sky in the ’88 slam dunk contest.. They’d get a running start, jump, do a 180 and land on the balloon. POP!

Screaming and hilarity ensue.

The BullMoved onto the ice cream cone shaped piñata. This thing was made of concrete reinforced rebar with some type of space age steel on the inside. Four rounds of swings and almost no progress. And man, a couple of those girls could swing the stick. I mean Greg Luzinski circa 1977. They could bring it.

Finally Mom stepped in and took a Hobbsesque cut and broke that thing open. You should have seen them go after the contents. It was like we threw some bailout money on the floor of Congress. Mom suggested we fill with things other than suckers and Smarties. I thought she was nuts when she started putting those fake witches fingers in there. Big hit the fake fingers. Fake Fingers

Finally we got to the ice cream and presents. Barbies, a webkinz, a Furreal Friend and some play makeup among other things. After that we finished up with tree climbing and some screaming. I put a sign out front to the parents coming to pick up the girls to just follow noise and they’d find us…

Theories on 3

8802001P OLY 100MBailey is not a drama queen. Drama seems to follow Kinsey everywhere and sometimes rears its ugly, infuriating, tearful head with Riley. While I get caught up in it sometimes, I never become infected. I’m also not a carrier. I have a natural immunity to drama whether it is at work or at home. I’m repelled by the energy drama creates. If drama was a chair, then I’m Bailey’s backside. Wait…If drama was the 1984 Men’s 4 x 100 meter relay final at the Los Angeles Olympics then I’m Carl Lewis and drama is the Jamaicans. If drama was Howard Dean in the 2004 Democratic Primary, then I’m the nomination. If drama is the Losties, then I’m Bernard and Rose.

So while Bails is frustrating at times, it’s not because of the drama. barrysandersIt’s usually because she’s using the back of the couch as a spring board for some Louganis-type flip or she’s demonstrating her Barry Sanders like quickness as she’s running with her eyes closed through a store filled with easily breakable items.

Some parents think birth order plays a large role in the development of children. I don’t disagree. Some tell me that if you have all girls or all boys then that plays a big role. No argument here. Other folks tell me that having both boys and girls is a bigger deal. They could be right. Still others think a bigger factor is if the parents are selfish, arrogant hippies who grew up indulging in every thing they could get their hands on and have now raised a generation of smug kids who think success should be handed to them instead of earned. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, there are a lot of things that are influencing Bailey that aren’t us or her teachers. But drama is not her thing. At all. For example, Bailey’s class at daycare has a gerbil. Or had a gerbil. Her name was Hope. And Hope died. It was quiet and nobody really noticed for awhile. Sort of like the mid-range jumper in college basketball.

Bailey’s teacher told me that Hope untimely demise led to a great deal of drama from a couple of the girls in the class. Tears, sadness, sleepless nights. At first I felt a bit sorry for the parents of these girls because you can just imagine how that tendency toward drama is going to mutate during junior high and high school into the Kathoga from The Relic. But then I realized that I’m one of those parents with Kinsey.

Anyway, Bails reaction to Hope’s death was fairly instructive. She evidently reacted along the lines of:

“Yup, Hope’s dead. She died. What’s big deal? We’ll just get a new gerbil and call her Hope 2.”

Awesome.

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mother’s Day Hot Streak

So Mother’s Day was good. On Saturday, as a gift, Mom was able to walk around the mall for almost two hours – alone – while Kinsey was at a birthday party at Build-a-Bear workshop. A party they had to leave gymnastics 15 minutes early to attend.

I gotta admit it made me a bit uneasy having Kinz leave gymnastics early. Why? Well, you’ve watched the Olympics. Those Chinese girls probably have to hit the triple lindy or whatever the hell it’s called three or four times in row before they’re allowed to eat. The East German translation for “gymnastics” is “pain.”

Anyway, Mom dropped Kinz off and went shopping. She used all the gift cards she’s collected over the last few Christmases and birthdays. She evidently had a lot. To Brighton. About every twelve hours or so since mid-day on Saturday, she’s shown me a new piece of jewelry.

“Like my new necklace?”

“Like my new earrings?”

“Like my new bracelet?”

So that’s nice.

Sunday was good to Mom too. We only had 4 kids in our 3rd Grade Sunday School class. They all behaved, listened and participated. It may have been the highlight of the weekend.

This afternoon, one of Bailey’s dolls arrived back at home. Gracie is one of her three babies that she sleeps with every night. Gracie spent the last few weeks at the hospital where Dr. Grandma performed limb reattachment surgery. It went well. Gracie is not only home, but she also has some new apparel. Dr. Grandma runs a small clothing shop on side evidently. Homemade stuff, nothing fancy. So Bails is happy. And that always makes things easier.

Today was show and tell day for her. It was “I” day. That’s a tough letter. She tried to bring her spider because it’s an insect. Except it’s not. Spiders are arachnids. Ever try explaining that to a 5 year-old?

“It has 8 legs so it’s an arachnid, not an insect.”

“Dad, it’s a bug.”

“Right. How about something else?”

I found it imponderably inconceivable that our combined imaginations and could not illuminate an inspiration to help us identify an “I” word. After contemplating “igloo,” my Billy Idol Greatest Hits CD, and “incense” we settled on “inches.” Bails dragged out a bright neon yellow yardstick. I substituted a 6 inch ruler. She was happy.

This Saturday we have Kinsey’s 7th birthday party. There is a possibility that we could have 15 little girls in our house for two entire hours. It marks the beginning of May Madness. May is a cluster month for us. Kinsey’s birthday, my birthday, Mom’s folks are visiting twice, my sisters, my nephew and my folks are visiting Memorial Day weekend. Plus we have two dance recitals and three recital rehearsals.

Let me know if you have birthday party ideas for 1st grade girls. The only thing we’ve settled on for sure is to let each girl make their own ice cream sundae. It should be messy.

But we’re on a hot streak. And I’m not messing with the streak. You mess with the streak and you end up like the ’90 UNLV Running Rebs against Duke in the Final Four. As long as the streak lasts through Saturday, we’re good…

Field Trip, Star Trek and 1986

I had a good day today. Went on a field trip to the State Capitol in the morning, saw Star Trek in the afternoon, listened a string of hits from the spring of 1986 at dinner and actually found a Scooby movie the girls hadn’t seen yet at the movie store and brought it home.

Almost had the day ruined when I got caught up watching Game 7 of the ’92 NLCS on the MLB Network. Damn you Jose Lind for dropping that routine grounder! But seriously, how bad is your arm if Sid Bream beats the throw? Barry Bonds chokes as soon as the leaves start turning…

Anyway, I took Riley and two of her friends to the Capitol for a mini-field trip. We visited the House and Senate, got to walk through an underground tunnel and sit in the Speaker’s chair. As a bonus, I was treated to a staggering array of usage for the word “like.” Do they not teach English in public schools? I did, however, get to hear about the girl who threw up during math. And then again on the sidewalk.

Capitol Field Trip 011

Here’s something I learned – third grade girls can quote The Suite Life of Zack and Cody at nearly the same pace with practically the same accuracy rate as my buddies and I with Caddyshack and Fletch quotes. Impressive.

Note to other parents out there: The Hannah Montana movie? Not that good evidently.

The girls verdict on the Capitol? The Senate chamber smelled bad. As did the elevators. I didn’t argue. With amount and type of stuff coming out of that chamber, it’s bound to emanate the odiferous scent of…um…decaying matter.

The underground tunnel got the thumbs up. As did the immense cabinet in the building which contains dolls of each of Iowa’s first ladies. Each of the dolls is adorned with the dress the first lady wore to their inaugural ball.

Holy Crap. This was like a combination of Dancing with the Stars and What Not to Wear – if that combo were run by third graders incapable of making a decision. Thankfully none of it was as annoying as that chick from What Not to Wear. However, we did spend our time ranking, re-ranking, erasing and ranking again, our top three dresses. The first ladies from 1999, 1957 and 1838 consistently rated near top according to our panel of 9 year-old judges. So I guess that means if you’re nine years old and a girl, you’re attracted to fashion from the late 90’s, the 50’s and dresses worn during the administration of the father of modern Democratic party – Martin Van Buren.

The weird thing about the whole trip was that…well…I’m not sure how to put this…it was a really good time. It really was. I highly recommend to anyone that has had to deal with a tough, tiring and frustrating stretch of time at the office to round up some third graders and take them on a field trip. Doesn’t matter where you go. I suggest taking them to a place that you generally consider to be important and serious. Then, once you’re there, ask them lots of questions and pay attention to their answers and impressions.

If you could pass a law what would it be?

“Cell phones for third graders.”

If you worked here what would you do?

“I don’t know but I’d ride the elevator a lot.”

What was your favorite part about the field trip?

“Lunch. And the dolls.”

They were a little unclear on the whole Senator and Representative thing.

3rd Grader: “So if I had an idea that I wanted to be a law, I could call my Representative and they’d make it a law?”

Me: “Well, yeah. You could call them up and say, hey, I think every third grader should get a cell phone.”

Riley: “AWESOME!”

Other 3rd Grader: “But do we have to pay the bill? Because, that could get expensive.”

See that? I almost launched into a detailed lecture on the dangers of government trying to do too much and the law of unintended consequences. But instead I just told them that sometimes the best thing the legislature can do is just leave us alone…

We ended the visit with the girls doing some mock interviews of each other as if they were TV reporters. Interestingly, their questions were astoundingly similar and equally insightful as the reporters who normally visit the Capitol.

Dropped the girls back at school, picked up Mom and went to see Star Trek.

What’s a better, more descriptive word for awesome?

Holy. Crap. If you like going to the movies and having your hair set on fire, you’ll like this flick. I’d kill to be able to sit and write with JJ Abrams. Mainly because I’d be able to write into the LOST script a grisly yet entirely satisfying death for Kate. Regardless, the movies are supposed to be something you can’t see on TV. It’s supposed to be big and loud and long.

Man, I hope Terminator is as good as Star Trek.

Finally, we’re at dinner and as we’re finishing I notice that it suddenly became the spring of ’86. My evidence? When was the last time you heard All I Need is a Miracle, Invisible Touch and If You Leave? In a row. Is the flux capacitor in Mom’s car? Did Jean-Claude Van Damme from the Time Enforcement Commission show up? Are Dennis Quaid and Jon Caviezel conversing on a HAM radio?

Anyway, it was weird. Had Live to Tell and Danger Zone come on next I would have been looking for a kid and crazy wild eyed old man who claimed to be scientist. Thankfully, Beat It was next nobody is going to mistake that for the property of 1986. On a side note, if you really want to hear a great but underappreciated song from the spring of ’86, dig out Go For Soda by Kim Mitchell. Ignore the big ol’ thick slice of velveeta in the video. I’m just saying…

Tomorrow we have gymnastics, a birthday party and then we’re teaching Riley’s Sunday School class again. So that’s a good Mother’s Day gift for Mom…

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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