Friday, March 31, 2006

Mercury Rising

So the other day, Sam, Lily and I are just sitting around and as usual (without me even trying to make the day funnier) I'm caught up in how absurd and hilarious the whole parenting thing is. First of all, Lily learned this strange dance thing this week. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't even sure it was dancing at first, and since Sara hasn't seen it yet (it seems that when she is home, Lily just wants to hang on to her and isn't really in the dancing mood) I couldn't get a second opinion. It starts with her doing a side step - and a pretty deliberate one, as if she is counting off "a one and a two, a one and a two" in her head - and moving around the living room in a big circle as if she is imagining herself as one small part of a large wedding dance around the bride and groom. The next step in her (remarkably well choreographed) routine is to fall down on to her butt and violently flair her arms and torso from side to side like she was doing some early street version of the twist that never really caught on until it was changed into the relatively mild dance that it is today that has very little chance of poking out an eye or sending anyone to the hospital with a lumbar fracture. I have to admit, the first time I saw the second half of the dance, I was a bit frightened. She laughs while she does it too, which might seem cute when you read about it, but actually, for the uninitiated, it's a little Children of the Corn. That first night after I saw it I even checked the back of her head for three sixes while she was sleeping... only found three nines though, so I slept like a baby. All is well, it turns out... last night I asked her to dance and she happily did the whole routine for me. As you might imagine, I was relieved, and even egged her on with a little song that went pretty much like "dancin, dancin, Lily dancin.." (you have to add a little tune to that in your head) which she thought was just hysterical enough to repeat the routine another 137 times until Sara got home... and then acted as if she had no idea what I was saying. Now that I think about it, our house is kind of like Footloose. I'm Kevin Bacon (encouraging the dance) Sara is John Lithgow (who Lily - Lori Singer - doesn't dare dance in front of) and Sam is more of a Chris Penn, the one who yearns to dance but can't seem to stop spinning into furniture.
Now the dancing alone wouldn't really make the day all that funny, but Sam's odd little brain occasionally bowls me over. Lily is dancing, and Sam is sitting around drawing in Turtle magazine ("crafts" is what he calls any art project, which he doesn't pronounce well when he is excited and often will jog up to me and say "daddy, do you want to make some craps with me?") when he sees a picture of a box of Trix cereal on the back of one of his cereal boxes. "Hey daddy!" he shouts, "we should get some of that!" So I reach deep down inside myself and struggle not to yell out "MY GOD YES! TRIX ARE DELICIOUS! I WAS NEVER ALLOWED TO HAVE THEM AND VOWED THAT ONE DAY MY CHILDREN WOULD BE RAISED SOLELY ON TRIX, COUNT CHOCULA, BOOBERRY, AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL RIP THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH TO SHREDS WITH ITS CRISPY GOODNESS THE GODFATHER AND UNDISPUTED CHAMPION OF ALL SWEET CEREALS, CAPTAIN CRUNCH. My son, open the box, and together we will go down the rabbit hole..." Instead I say, tears welling up in my eyes, "No, we can't get that, its not good for you." Really. Even though I felt a little piece of me die, I said it. As if he understood how hard it was for me to say like deer somehow know when it is going to rain, he was respectfully quiet for a moment.... and then said the only thing in the world that could have made me feel better at that moment. That is, precisely the last thing I ever expected my three year old to say...
"But dad, it's part of a nutritious breakfast."


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