Day 2: Dino-Boy, Taming the Shrew(d) Hair, and Life Without the Wizard
Finley wore his dinosaur hat to the babysitter's house today. He's been wearing it everywhere. My parenting philosophy for my Dino-boy goes thusly: he'll one day figure out that he's not, in fact, a dinosaur. Some kid or adult will undoubtedly be having a bad day [probably caused by their father who didn't allow them to be a dinosaur] and feel the need to rip that cold hard truth from his poor heart and it's not going to be me. So, I let him wear his dino-hat whenever he wants. It's actually the top to a costume my wife made for him a few years ago. It looks like this:
We have only been without my wife and youngest son, Harry, since Saturday. They are on a trek to Romania to test Harry's wizardry skills and to visit family. They'll return to us in 10 more [long] days. Until then, our stated family goal is "Survival is love. Love is survival." I've talked to them about putting each other's needs before our own and how we help each other when things are different [like when we're surviving without something really, really important to us.] If this mantra doesn't work out, our goal will simply evolve to: SURVIVE: EVERYONE FOR YOURSELVES! RUN!!! SAVE YOURSELVES!!!! WE'VE BEEN ABANDONED!!!!!!
I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that, though.
My alarm went off earlier today than normal. There are few things that I dislike more than being late, so I compensated by getting up well before the sun rose. My daughter tried to convince me that it was still night. I told her, "With that attitude, it is still night." No one really knew what I meant by that comment [including myself], but they didn't really question it either so I turned around confidently and went to make breakfast. It was clearly a moment that I needed to retort with something parental, but I'm not always adept at coming up with those bits of sage wisdom. I am learning that a key to successful parenting is sounding confident in bad advice and axioms. It doesn't necessarily have to make any sense, as long as it sounds true-ish and is said with the confidence of a brilliant scientist. "Make your bed or the trolls under your bed will eat your blankets." "Eat all of your food or I'll give it to the brother we've got locked in the basement that you've never met because he didn't eat his food." I'll probably never be asked to write a parenting book, though.
Dino-boy started the day crying. He has yet to figure out that his brother will not be back anytime soon. He went to The Wizard's bedroom and found no occupants. Explaining the concept of time to a 3-year old is quite the exercise.
ME: Mommy and the Wizard won't be back for 10 more days.
DINO-BOY: Oh. So, we'll all go grocery shopping tonight?
ME: Wait. Are you serious? 10 days.
DINO-BOY: Is that soon? Or later?
ME: It's 10 days. Not soon. A week from Wednesday.
DINO-BOY: So, they're coming back on Wednesday?
ME: No. A week FROM Wednesday.
Tonight before bed, we're going to sit down and go over the intricacies of the Gregorian calendar. He'll have some fun facts to impress his friends at preschool on Tuesday. Either that, or he'll be crying on Wednesday when he finds out that his mom and brother haven't returned from the land-o-Romans. BUT, DAD, YOU SAID THEY'D BE BACK ON WEDNESDAY!! Nora and I will then take a vote to see if he'll continue in our newly formed familial alliance or not. Understanding the nuances of the Gregorian calendar is a must.
Speaking of my lovely Nora, we strategically got her hair cut in a more management hair style before my wife left. We know my limits. Braiding hair is just not happening for me. Prior to her new do, she was sporting her best impression of Rapunzel. Trying to do something with her Rapunzel hair would be like starting out with a marathon after my lung surgery. It just wouldn't be prudent. You have to know your limitations as a parent, folks. Now she just looks like a miniature version of my wife.
Something happened to my daughter over night when I wasn't looking. I haven't decided what to make of it. Either she:
1. survived a tornado
2. had a run-in with a vicious hair-messing badger, or...
3. was the victim of a weird robbery where the perp didn't take anything but gave noogies to the only 5-year old in the house.
Her hair was a mess. I asked her if she knew how to fix it. She said that she did. But, here's the thing; she lied. Her attempts to fix her own hair was met with futility and disgust (on Dino-boy's face and my own.) I grabbed the comb that looks like it came from a horror movie and started going to town. There was tears and gnashing of teeth, possibly even some blood on the scalp. Dino-boy went to his room and changed into some sackcloth to denote the mourning that should happen for the fallen hair. But, after a few minutes, the chaos was starting to get tamed. The knots were out, the tears were dried, and we still weren't late for school.
One problem. Though the hair was straight-ish and the wildebeest previously living on her head was freshly slaughtered, there was still a decent amount of renegade strands of hair that went rogue. They floated towards the ceiling and mocked the comb that I just used to destroy their will. I did the only thing I knew how to do to manage unruly hair. I went to get some of my "products." Now, we should probably get this out of the way; I am a man that uses a decent amount of hair products. Most of them are "old" hair products that your grandfather probably swears by. I love them as well. They work. Save your modern-man Crew gel for the next guy, I'm using Pinaud's Clubman and you can tell by the smell. If you look through my medicine cabinet, you'll also find some hair tonics that work masterfully at adding a bit of character to an uninspiring head of hair.
I reached for the hair tonic. Nora looked at me with a sense of panic.
NORA: Daddy, is this what mommy uses in her hair?
ME: No. Mommy's not cool enough to use this product. Only really cool people use it. Plus, she's not a huge fan of the awesome smell.
NORA: Will it make me smell like a man?
ME: No. It will make you smell awesome. Like some men do. But, it will also make those lame stragglers in your hair be tamed. I'm out of other solutions, sweetheart. It HAS to be this way.
NORA [resigned to the failure of this moment]: Ok.
It ended up looking well and not smelling like a man. We got to school on time even.
Tonight I will pick up my two Muggles and we'll attempt to grocery shop. So far, we're all missing my wife something fierce, but we're surviving. After all, survival is love. Love is survival. For now.