Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GoofBoy's Love/Hate Relationship with P.E.

GoofBoy is distraught.

“Dad, I’m having a problem at school”

“What is it?” I ask, ready for anything.

“I don’t like phys-ed.”

“I know what you mean,” he smiled. We always called it gym, but at orientation day, when I said that the teachers got all huffy. Just like everything else in our society, gym teachers are prone to title inflation. So I have learned to call them phys-ed teachers so they won’t push me up against the lockers and give me wedgies.

“I didn’t like phys-ed when I was your age. We always played dodgeball and somehow I always got hit in the head and the lenses in my glasses would pop out.”

“I wish we could play dodgeball. No, the problem is we are always doing drills and never actually playing anything. Phys-ed used to be my favorite, now I hate it.”

“Are you sure you are my son?”

I hated gym as a kid, it involved everything I disliked - competition, sports, sweat, other children, and big people yelling at me. I can't shoot a basket, climb a rope, or remember not to use my hands playing soccer.

MamaGoof had similar feelings. Is it possible MamaGoof and I – two awkward, strange people – have some recessive normal chromosomes? Like when two dark-haired people have a blond kid? I ended my reverie on genetics and focused on my son. “Trust me buddy, it could be worse.”

“How, I am a boy, I need to play sports.”

“I had a square dancing unit in gym when I was your age.”

GoofBoy’s eyes grew wide.

“It was the worst. First you had to pick a girl to dance with and everyone would say you liked that girl. Then she would yell at you for doing everything wrong. Plus you had to hold her hand.”

“Dad, you were soooo lucky!" GoofBoy exclaimed, "I love to dance and at least we’d be moving!”

The kid is so normal - it’s weird.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cats are too Dangerous

“Daddy, why don’t we have a cat? You always say you love cats,” GoofGirl asked.

“But I love mommy more and she has allergies,” I explained for the two hundred thousandth time.

“Really?” she looked skeptical, so finally I leveled with her.

“Cats are very, very dangerous.”

“No, they are cute and fluffy and cuddly,” GoofGirl protested.

“Remember how I always tell you stories about my cat in Boston?”

“Right, Kitty,” she grinned.

“His name was Teddy Roosevelt. My roommate called him Teddy because he was cute and I called him Roosevelt because of his patrician mien.” We were strange guys – we brewed beer, baked bread, played with Legos, and occasionally juggled fire.

“But you called him Kitty?”

“Yes. Anyway, Mommy was getting very friendly with him and I had to speak her firmly about this. I told her, ‘Do not give that cat any money.’"

"Why can't you give cats money, what would they do with it?" GoofGirl asked, just as her mother did almost two decades ago.

"Cats use money to buy guns."

“Daddy, that’s ridiculous, how could a cat use a gun?”

“No one knows, because if you see a cat with a gun, it is the last thing you will ever see!”

GoofGirl rolled her eyes at me, just like her mom did almost two decades ago.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Whose Daughter

She sure is your daughter, I tell MamaGoof when I get home from synagogue where GoofGirl made straight for the kitchen to help prepare after-service snacks.

Come talk to your daughter, MamaGoof calls when GoofGirl won't accept MamaGoof's answer to a question. GoofGirl wanted to know why our bones were on the inside of our body, not the outside. I told her bones on the outside would be too crunchy, and bit her. That would dissuade most children, but not GoofGirl. So I tried to explain evolution, but her follow-up questions quickly outstripped my knowledge.

Look what your daughter did, I told MamaGoof when I came downstairs to find GoofGirl had packed the lunches and made breakfast for herself and her brother. "Should we let her make dinner, I wonder what she can make without knives or heat?"

Then, while studying her atlas, she asks MamaGoof why they mostly speak Spanish in America. "Come talk to your daughter," MamaGoof calls. I tell her about Columbus, but that isn't enough. Why didn't the Native American make people in Europe speak their language? I explain about the missionaries, technology, and disease.

"Your daughter says laundry looks like fun, you should take advantage of this," I tell MamaGoof.

Upon receipt of her allowance, GoofGirl asked, "Where does money come from?" MamaGoof answered, "The bank."

But that wasn't good enough. "Go ask your father!"

We talked about gold and the Federal Reserve.

"Mi Nina, I know you want to help. But please, just let me make dinner," I pleaded as GoofGirl tried to hustle me out of the kitchen.

"But daddy, I need to know how to do these things, for when I'm a mommy."

"I'll make a deal, stay out of the kitchen and while I fix dinner, I'll tell you how the solar system works."

"Sweetheart, I don't know why dogs bark and cats meow. If you wait until your father gets home and ask him, I'll let you help me do the dishes. Deal?"