Monday, March 19, 2012

A father's gift

I often tell my husband that what takes him two seconds to teach the girls typically takes me two weeks to un-teach them.  Inappropriate jokes, quotes from inappropriate movies, punching at inappropriate times and for inappropriate reasons...I think you get the idea.  Don't get me wrong, my husband is a loving and responsible father, it's just that he can't resist stirring them up, and I think he enjoys the rise he can get out of me when I hear one of our precious children hollering "say hello to my little friend!".  While some of the "wisdom" he imparts upon our offspring is purely for his own enjoyment (see Scarface reference), some of it is actually valuable, like how to throw a proper punch.  The problem is that once the skill has been taught, he and the kids get to practicing and skip over the part of the lesson in which one would usually outline when and where would be an acceptable time to put this skill to use - i.e., not at the kitchen table while we are eating dinner.  One particular skill that he has demonstrated for the girls has seemed to gained favor with them, as they see any time as a good time to use it - spitting.  I'll take a moment here to say that I do not hate that he showed the girls the right way to spit.  I was (and still am) one of those dorky kids who ended up fishing watermelon seeds out of my shirt in the summertime while trying to hide the long dribble of spit hanging off of my chin because of my inability to spit for anything.  Honestly, I still miss the sink when I brush my teeth.  It's a tragedy, and downright embarrassing.  However, as useful as it is to spit, there's something...hillbilly...about just doing it to do it.  A few weeks ago I picked up the blonde from school and as we were walking back to the car, she turned her head to the side, cleared her throat and hocked a loogie right there on the sidewalk.  I was stunned.  Here was this blonde little pigtailed girl in a rainbow skirt and fashion boots (her words, not mine) slinging loogies like it's nothing.  She didn't even think anything of it, just kept walking to the car as I stood there staring at sizable, bubbly spit right there at my feet.  Gross, and yet, astonishing.  I could never spit that coolly - it would be a big production for me to work up a good spit in the first place, and then to spit it all out at once, without any of it dripping down my front or getting in my hair on the way would be a miracle, and besides that, she was walking at the same time.  Remarkable.  Once I got over my amazement at the fruit of my husband's teaching, I realized I should probably address the spitting at school, particularly since I wasn't the only mom who saw it, and I was the only one who was impressed.  I told the blonde she shouldn't spit on sidewalks where people walk, and should try not to do it at school, unless she really must spit, then she should excuse herself to the bathroom and spit in the sink.  MISTAKE.  I should never have even said anything, because as soon as I drew attention to it, she took it as a sign that I had acknowledged her role as a "spitter", and now she must honor this designation by going into the bathroom regularly to spit into the sink, and eventually to spit into the toilet.  Naturally, the brunette takes notice and decides that she, too, must spit - only, bless her heart, with a bit less finesse than the blonde.  And a bit less concern for where she spits.  She spit on this very keyboard.  No joke, just came right up to the computer, and let it go right here on the semi-colon.  Wiped her chin and left it at that.  Now I am faced with the terrible dilemma of frequent spitter children, and the constant worry of putting my hand in a loogie.  We've long since passed the two week deadline to un-do my husband's handiwork, but I have to say, I might just deal with it for a while longer.  I hear county fair prizes are pretty sweet for long distance spitting.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ha ha ha

Anyone who spends even a small amount of time with a small child can easily discover that children often go to extremes in expressing their emotions.  It is understandable that as a new member to society and it's emotional waves, a child may have a difficult time translating what he or she is feeling in an appropriate way.  After all, it can be devastating to wrap a little mind around the tragedy of a case brimming full of donuts at the super market and not one of them getting to be eaten by you.  A tantrum is an easy example of this dilema.  In a mere moment, a docile creature becomes a raging beast to be reckoned with, and just as quickly as the beast appeared, it dissolves into a whimpering puppy-child, large teary cartoon eyes and everyting.  Heartbreaking.  And also kind of inconvenient, because aside from not knowing how to properly show emotion, kids are also oblivious to the notion that Target is not really the place to do it.  There is one emotion, however, that I really think benefits from their exaggerated range of expression - amusement.  Have you ever heard a kid laugh?  It is awesome.  Not only will a kid laugh at just about anything - a dog with it's tongue hanging out, farting and burping, the word "tortilla" - but when they do laugh, they really put a solid effort into it.  There's no demure giggling or lighthearted chuckling, it's a real, forced, highly entertaining laugh.  Whenever the blonde laughs at something lately, she really goes for it - throwing her head back, falling on the floor, clutching her stomach - and she sounds like a weird combination of Ricky Ricardo and a sea lion.  It is both odd and also entirely appropriate, because her sister trying to put chapstick on is just that funny.  The best part is that when the blonde has finally caught her breath, she stands up, rolls her eyes and lets out a good long sigh.  A satisfactory laugh.  The brunette, as usual, does absolutely nothing even remotely similar to the blonde, so when she finds herself tickled by something, she generally breaks into hysterical giggles followed by a piercing scream.  Not my favorite, but she has a pretty cute bubbly giggle, and I generally expect the scream, so I just make the necessary prepations for it.  The baby is especially funny, and I think part of it is because she has always kind of laughed weird, and now it's hard to tell if this is just natural, or if she is tapping into everyone being amused by her and milking it.  She starts out with a regular chuckle, and then it takes a turn for borderline worrisome as she sticks her tongue out just a tiny bit, leans her head forward, and lets out a motor-coughing sound, followed by a brief moment of just holding her breath (this is where I always begin to question "Is she laughing? Is she choking?  Oh, no she's fine") and a long gasp.  So, um, weird, but her sisters all think it's a riot, so as long as she doesn't ever pass out or anything, I think we'll just let this be what it is - hilarious.  As animated and over the top as they are, one thing is for certain - whether they are throwing a tantrum or rolling around laughing, there is nothing more amusing than a crazy child.