Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pre-Microwave Wilderness

The latch on our microwave broke so that it won't open. It is astounding how dependent we have become on this technology. As a dad who prepares food (calling what I do cooking is a vast overstatement) the microwave is a necessity.

Yes, you can heat up leftovers on the stove, but then I have to wash a pot. It is easier just to eat everything cold (or make sandwiches.) No problem for this frigovore. But my kids are very picky and it basically knocks the leftovers off the menu. Once starting down this path, we almost invariably end up ordering pizza.

But pizza delivery does not solve every problem (although you'd be surprised just how many problems can be resolved by ordering a pizza.) When my daughter was over-tired and tantrumy, I thought to give her milk. But lukewarm milk had the opposite effect of warm milk - it only enraged the beast.

The repair guy came. My son and a friend were playing "head ball" the object of which is to bounce balls off of the other player's head. (I taught him this game - which I invented with my brother decades ago and played at the inter-collegiate level.) I could have told them to be still and stay away to give the repair guy peace, but this is not a command that seven year old boys can process. So instead I told them to get away because when the repairman unscrewed the sides of the microwave it would release deadly radiation.

The boys looked at each other. "Deadly radiation?" "Didn't radiation make the Hulk green and strong?" "What about the Joker?" "No, that was chemicals."

After some discussion, they stood very close and very still. Silent, eyes closed, but breathing deeply, trying to suck in every particle of precious radiation.

We'll see if either of them sprouts wings or a third eye (with my luck my son will become SkunkMan: Beware Evildoers, for Justice Stinks!)

The repair guy needed to schedule a follow-up appointment. "A week from today, next Tuesday - that's what the..."

"It's the sixth," I said immediately. He began counting, "Today's the 30th, tomorrow..."

"Trust me," I said, "Tuesday next week is the sixth, because Monday is the fifth."

"That is when his school re-opens," I continued, pointing to the little meditating gargoyles.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have Yourself a Very Restful Christmas...

Although we don't actually celebrate Christmas (what with being Jewish and all...) the kids did get together and give my wife and I a magnificent gift this morning. They slept until 7:30! Then they came barging into our room yelling.

The slept late because we kept them up very late, watching the movie The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I read it to my son and am reading it now to my daughter, so they are big fans.

My daughter liked Aslan and Mr. Tumnus and Lucy. But she really liked the White Witch.

"When people disagree with her, she turns them into stone! That's cool!"

Much to her disappointment, I will not be getting her a magic wand for Chanukah (Target is all sold out...)

I've read the entire Narnia series to my son, we are now listening to Harry Potter on CD, and he just saw the very cool One Man Star Wars (plus he knows the entire series by osmosis).

So I asked him which was his favorite. He looked at me for a long time, I thought his head might explode. But after a while he said, "I like them all - but football is my favorite."

I am trying to raise a geek. But despite my best efforts I may get a pretty normal kid.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Other Parents Describe my Daughter

At a recent parent's night at my daughter's school the parents were asked to introduce themselves and say something about their child. The descriptions were in the realm of what is generally expected.

"My daughter likes pink."

"My son likes cars, trains... really any form of wheeled transportation."

When my turn came I said, "My daughter likes telling people what to do."

The parent of a regular play-date partner corrected me, "No. She likes it when people do what she says."

"Right, she really insists compliance!" another parent of a friend added.

I hadn't thought of this proviso, since for me obedience always went without saying.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dental Tales

My dentist bit me.

He had his reasons.

It was my first trip and my mom had calmly explained that the dentist's job was to make sure my mouth was healthy, which meant that he would be putting his fingers in my mouth. My mom firmly instructed me not to bite him.

I hadn't planned on biting him and I was a generally trusting kid. But since my mom mentioned it...

"What happens if I bite him?" I asked.

Here, my mom had many options. She could have reminded me that you should not bite anyone, or she could have threatened consequences. Instead, she looked at me slyly and said, "He'll bite you back."

This was unexpected. "Really?"

My mom kept that sly look again.

The dentist's office was really marvelous. The crazy cool chair like a giant banana, little spit toilet, the tools, and the statues of teeth all over the place - it was a wonderland.

So the dentist began poking around and, curious, I took - well not really a bite - more of a nibble. (Dentists taste latexy.)

Next thing I knew my nose was in the uncomfortable grip of a disembodied jaw. It was a pair of the tooth statues wired together. Later I learned they were the plaster impressions used to make the terrible headgear I had to wear throughout high school.

"Don't mess with the dentist!" he smiled.

I later learned our dentist had been a ragamuffin with my father in their misbegotten youth. My mom had set me up. (Again I am grateful that YouTube was decades away.)


Years later I witnessed a bar scene. A bunch of Marines were razzing a guy a bit. The guy was definitely losing face was with a date. Not something for yours truly to get involved with. But I ran into the guy in the men's room and said something supportive. He smiled, "I'm in the Navy - a dental tech. I make Marines cry."

Glad I learned my lesson early.