Thursday, February 24, 2011

Learning to Skate on Thick Ice

GoofGirl went to an ice skating party over the weekend. It was her first time and I was worried. I knew she wanted to learn to skate, but she was also scared about it because she knows that learning involves lots of falling down. I was also worried because she gets frustrated easily and unfortunately, I cannot skate and thus cannot teach her. The hosting parents did a good job trying to teach her, but they had their own children to watch. After innumerable falls she was in tears. I tried to console her, pointing out that her friends who had skated a few times before could only hold on to the edge and walk-skate around the rink. This didn't help.

I know my daughter, and she inherited an unfortunate quality from yours truly - a quick frustration with steep learning curves. I hated to see her give up on something so soon. I even offered to put on a pair of skates and go out with her myself (hoping, vainly, that the shared experience of falling down with dad might make it better.)

Then an angel appeared. A little girl, the same height as GoofGirl but four years older (my daughter is really tall) skated up, took GoofGirl by the hand and taught her how to skate. She taught GoofGirl how to fall and get up (a major accomplishment on slippery ice.) She told GoofGirl stories about her own experiences learning to skate and falling all the time. She made many, many, many circuits around the rink with my daughter (I did too, but on the outside.)

I thanked this angel profusely. She was there with friends but chose to teach my daughter. I even offered her a modest gift. She waved away my bills, saying, with surprising maturity, "I appreciate the gesture, but no thank you."

Soon GoofGirl was making circuits around the rink on her own. She fell down some, but got back up. She only held onto the wall briefly. She took a break for the birthday cake with tremendous reluctance. As she sat with her friends eating, she kept saying to me, "I just want to go back out and skate!"

And she did, around and around. Faster and stronger each time. Rather then try to follow her on the outside, I stood in a few spots to video and photograph this magic moment (and text it on to MotherGoof!) The angel skated by, waved to me, and pointed proudly to her student on the other side of the rink. I smiled and gave a big thumbs up.

My daughter has a new hobby, an expensive and inconvenient hobby.

But I couldn't be happier or more proud.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GoofBoy Growing

I've been writing about GoofGirl a lot lately. She is pretty awesome, and going on seven she is at a super-adorable age (and she knows it.) But GoofBoy is also a great kid: sensitive, tough, smart, and funny. But as he heads towards his second decade, he is moving away from mom and dad. He isn't a bitter teenager. He still likes his parents and talks to us, telling us (in exhaustive detail) about everything that he is up to.

When he was little I used to draw pictures on his lunch bag. Darth Vader, footballs, cars - that sort of thing. He liked it. I slacked off for a few years. But recently, after reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid I started again. Every day the Wimpy Kid's mom writes on his lunch bag:
Dear Greg,
I hope you have a happy, healthy day.
Love Mom
I thought I would do the same. So I began writing him sappy, cheesy sentiments. At first he appreciated it - ironically. But then, when he saw me get the marker as I was making his lunch he yelled, "DAAAAD! Why do you always have to write stuff on my lunch. It's SOOOO annoying."

We had also had a sweet little morning ritual. When he wouldn't get up, I would get in bed next to him, snuggle up, and bite him. For a long time he liked this, he even stayed in bed when he wasn't tired so I would do it. But recently it has become "SOOOO annoying."

At least he doesn't think I'm annoying - yet.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bully for Her

GoofGirl's school is cracking down on bullying. In carpool I was handed a flyer about an upcoming anti-bullying program. GoofBoy and the carpool clan all had after school activities so it was just the two of us. She asked me about the flier and when I told her about she informed me that she had never been bullied.

"Is that because you are the bully?" I asked.

"No," she replied, horrified that I could think such a thing.

On the way home we discussed what just the two of us would do till mommy and her brother got home. It turns out she had plans.

"It is time for your beat down!" she announced, "because there is a new bad guy in town!"

"Are you bullying me?"


"Are you going to make me do everything you say and jump on me?"


"Are you going to sit on my neck and steer me around the living room by pulling my hair?"


"Are you going to make me give you horsey-back rides while hitting me in the tush with a wooden spoon and yelling 'Mush, mush!'?"

"Yes. Also, you have to give me piggy-back ride, don't forget."

"So maybe you are bullying me?" I asked.

She was silent for a moment before saying, "No, you're a daddy, you like it!"

She's got me there.

Monday, February 07, 2011

PuppyBowl Disappointments

GoofBoy, unsurprisingly, watched the SuperBowl. He was going to watch it with Carpool Buddy as a little celebration for Carpool Buddy's 10th birthday. This could not work out, since Carpool Buddy's dad is a Canadian and consequently does not understand that in America the Superbowl is way more important then bedtime consistency.

I should have watched with GoofBoy, male-bonding and all that, but I am not actually interested in football. So I watched the PuppyBowl with GoofGirl. It is even cuter then it sounds.

Besides tussling puppies, it features cheerleader chickens, a blimp piloted by hamsters, and best of all a half-time show featuring cats (way better then the Black-Eyed Peas).

GoofGirl really likes cats, so she asked me (inevitably), "When can we get a cat?"

"We can't get a cat. Mommy is allergic to cats."

"I never get what a want," she sulked.

This is a nice bit of divine justice, I spent much of my childhood demanding a dog, to which my mom responded, "Your father and brother are allergic to dogs."

"So?" I would demand.

"So, if we got a dog we would have to get rid of your father and your brother."

I didn't see a problem with that at the time, in fact I saw it as a win-win.

To head off this conversation, I tried to re-direct.

"You know when she was a little girl, Bubbe thought all cats were girls and all dog were boys," I told GoofGirl. Stories of her grandmother as a little girl are fascinating to GoofGirl.

"Hmmph," GoofGirl grunted, "Bubbe must have been pretty stupid. Is it because they didn't have the Internet?"

"You should ask her."

GoofGirl glared at me, "I'm not stupid! Maybe Bubbe will get me a kitten."