Daycare Noir – Part 2

7 08 2014

DAYCARE NOIR – PART 2 – Toilet Humor Edition

It was almost 5pm when I picked up Ellis at daycare. That’s later than usual. Daycare gets a little tense at the end of the day. A sense of impending doom or possibly a group tantrum was in the air.

All the kids from different classes were in the “gym” together. It’s really just a carpeted room with a regulation hoop on one end and chairs scattered about. It’s like an exercise area for people that get tired easily and need a good place to lie down.

There were a couple of card tables set up and two clearly exhausted teachers were sitting at one of them. They were talking to each other while aggressively ignoring a couple of toddlers that kept pulling at their arms. If they were allowed to smoke I think there would have been an overflowing ashtray at the center of the table.

There was a little stereo in the corner of the room and for some reason “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaack was playing.

A boy with one shoe on was running around trying to get everyone to smell his sock. And everyone was smelling it. This was an easily entertained crew.

The teachers pretty much ignored me. At this point they were happy that someone, ANYONE, was going to make one of these demons disappear.

I was walking to find my child when a blonde boy tugged on my jeans. He pointed to about 5 balls that were stuck behind the backboard 10 feet in the air.

“You’re tall” he said. “Can you get those down for me?”

I looked up and realized I would have to jump to get them. Then I thought about how long it had been since I had jumped for any reason at all. I pictured myself landing and all the bones in my body breaking at once – leaving me a pulsing, gelatinous blob on the center of the carpet. I would stay where I landed forever, unable to move or speak, emitting the occasional pitiful groan. The kids would eventually start using me as a beanbag chair.

“I could” I said to the child. “I CHOOSE not to.”

He looked confused. I counted this as a victory.

Ellis was on the floor with her usual posse – her buddy Kynlee, Raymond the spitter, a boy named Jaden who Ellis always calls “little boy” because he hasn’t turned 4 yet, and a quiet fella named Noah who seems to just do what Ellis and Kynlee tell him. I suspect Noah will eventually join the postal service and spend endless hours alone at home – cleaning and loading a massive array of weaponry.

I sat down next to Ellis on the floor. She introduced me to the crew even though they all knew who I was. They were collectively un-impressed.

I guess Ellis felt like she needed to brag on me because the next thing she said was “My daddy can pee-pee standing up. He does it all the time. ”

Amazed silence from the crowd. They just looked at me.

I nodded my head at them.

“Yup” I told them – bragging a little because I CAN pee-pee standing up but rarely get the praise for this I feel I deserve.

“I can too” Jaden spurted out.

Jaden was taking mouth sized chunks out of a Nerf football with his teeth. I doubted his claim but didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his chicks.

“I wanna pee-pee standing up!” yelled Kynlee.

I looked behind me and the teachers were starting to pay a little bit of attention to our gathering.

Ellis stuck out her bottom lip and did her well-practiced pout ” I NEVER get to pee-pee standing up!” she said.

“Um” I said.

“It looks like so much FUN!” Ellis added.

Kynlee nodded.

Jaden acted like he knew all about it.

Noah just looked terrified about all this talk of pee-pee.

“Um” I said.

“Can I practice when I get home daddy?” Ellis begged. “PLEASE!!”

“Um” I reiterated. I had absolutely no idea what to say and couldn’t get the image out of my head of Ellis cruising around the house trying to perfect stand-up urination so she could show off to her friends. And I was dreading the parent/teacher conference that would inevitably follow her first demonstration.

“Yes” I said. “Yes you can. I’ll have Omah help you. ”

Ellis clapped and we got up to walk out. Her little friends staring at us – clearly in awe of my abilities. It felt good to be properly admired.

“Daddy” said Ellis, “Did you know “poo-poo” rhymes with “I Love You”?

I stared at her for a second.

“You are sort of a genius in your own creepy way” I said.

“Yeah” Ellis said and smiled. “I know.”


Daycare Noir

27 07 2014


I don’t get to pick up Ellis at school very often – my dad usually does it – so when I do it can get kind of weird.

I’m not so sure we should call it “school”. I feel the educational environment is less than rigorous. She has to pack a swimsuit all the time in case they have a “water day”.

So it’s a Thursday – around 3pm. It’s somewhere just south of 100 degrees. It was my afternoon off and for some reason I had decided to go for a run earlier. Large fat people shouldn’t run in 100 degree heat. This was my lesson for the day. I was pretty sure I had a second degree burn just from thigh chafing.

I was looking SWEET for my child pick-up. Long, baggy, shiny-black shorts. Birkenstocks complimented by ankle socks. A sweat-wicking neon yellow running shirt that was a tad snug – revealing just a hint of the outline of my belly-button and possibly suggesting to an unkind observer that I might be well advised to add a sports bra to my ensemble.

I looked GOOD is what I’m saying.

There is an alarm code that needs to be entered to get to the classrooms. I know the code but on this day my brain was a bit oxygen deprived and it was using the functioning brain cells to monitor my thigh pain so after three incorrect attempts the lock pad started making a noise. A loud noise. A fire alarm type noise.

I stood there, in front of the glass door, dripping sweat, looking longingly and pitifully inside. Somewhere in there was my child. But I would never get there.

Fortunately the blaring siren I set off drew the teachers from their rooms. A couple stared at me for a second and whispered to each other. Apparently they decided I looked SO lame that I wasn’t even considered a threat to be a possible pedophile – so they let me in. (Interestingly I felt vaguely insulted by this).

“Ellis” I said to the teachers and they just nodded and pointed to the correct room – as if they had been expecting me in all my glory.

I trudged up the hall, inundated by the lame artwork of 3 and 4 year olds that we were supposed to be impressed by but instead seemed the product of demented surrealist painters with untreated palsies and a fetish for hand prints.

Inside the classroom the kids were milling about. I saw Ellis’s blonde curls over in a corner with two other kids. She was lecturing them about something or other – probably explaining that “sharing” meant that she got to do whatever she wanted with their stuff. Ellis is good at that kind of sharing. She saw me and waved.

“In a minute” she said.

The teacher walked up to say hi. She was very attractive – aside from some weird and wild eyebrows that needed some tending. Then I realized she was probably about the same age as my stepdaughter and I threw up in my mouth a little.

“We just LOVE Ellis!” she said. “So much PERSONALITY!”

I wonder if this is the sort of compliment/warning I will be receiving on report cards about Ellis for the next decade – eventually followed by the phrase “We were wondering if you were interested in getting some medical treatment for Ellis’s PERSONALITY”. Sigh.

I gathered E’s backpack from her hook and turned to go find her. I tripped and realized I almost crushed a little guy that was staring straight up in the air at me. He had brown hair and a cow-lick that pretty much covered his whole head. A glob of grape jelly was on the front of his Spider-Man t-shirt and he had a scab under his left nostril.

“Are you a GIANT?” he asked. He seemed pretty calm considering he thought I might be a fairy tale villain.

“Uh – sort of”, I said. “Are you a dwarf?”

“No – I’m Dwaymon” he said.

“Draymon?” I asked.

“NO! – Dwwaaaayyymon” he said – looking exasperated. I suspected he had this conversation a lot. “Will you play tic-tac-toe with me?”

I didn’t want to play tic-tac-toe with him. He was a little grimy and I could just picture tiny viral particles oozing from his snotty and scabby nose. Plus I was afraid he might win.

“Cwiss Cwoss Applesauce” he said and plopped down cross-legged.

Defeated, I slowly creaked into a sitting position, my long sore legs straight in front of me.

“Cwiss Cwoss Applesauce” he ordered. I complied because his tone was authoritative and I am a natural follower.

He had some paper and a crayon and he handed them to me and stared. Just stared. Like he was daring me to start. I was, quite frankly, intimidated.

I took the paper and made the small checkerboard we needed. I offered him first move. He just shook his head, still staring. A little cocky, I thought.

I decided to be “X” because DUH, everyone wants to be “X” and took the center square. I wanted this little person to know I wasn’t some sort of rube. I thought about asking him if he wanted to make it interesting with a little side bet but I noticed his shorts only had fake pockets so I doubted he had much cash.

He took the paper and studied it. And studied it. And studied it. I was becoming convinced he might be having a petite mal seizure.

Finally he began to write. He scribbled a mark (it wasn’t even a decent circle!) in three straight squares and handed it back. “I win!” he yelled.

I started to call for the teacher so I could lodge a complaint about blatant cheating but stopped myself. I would let the prison system deal with this kid in due time.

Ellis came by to rescue me – tugging me to my feet. The kid (Draymon?) got up as well – wiping his nose on his sleeve and staring at me the whole time – as if waiting for me to make a false move.

Ellis said, “Hi Blaymond – this is my Daddy. ” Blaymond?

I put down a hand to shake in what I thought was a traditional male greeting. He just stared at it, then up at me.

“Ellis is your Daddy a GIANT?” he asked.

Ellis just shook her head, like she fielded this particular question all the time. “No – he just looks like a Giant. Giants hoard GOLD. He doesn’t have any gold. ”

I nodded. I did not, in fact, have any gold.

“We’ll see you later Brayden” I said.

“DDWWAAYYMON!” he yelled.

“BBLLAAAYYMON” Ellis yelled.

I just nodded again, thinking I had never realized speech impediments came in such rich and interesting varieties.

On the way out Ellis held my hand and we looked at the pictures on the wall. One had the name “Raymond” at the bottom.

“Is his name Raymond?” I asked Ellis.

She gave me a look that said “DUH”.

“I’m not sure I trust that Raymond” I said to Ellis as we got to the car.

“Me neither” said Ellis. “He spits sometimes.”

“Yeah” I said. “I hate that.”

“Daddy” Ellis stared at me. “Why are you walking funny?”

“Thigh chafe ” I said.

“Yeah” said Ellis. “I hate that.

The End

Kids These Days

27 07 2014


A couple of weeks ago I took E to get a bite to eat at Sweet Bay Coffee Shop.

When we sat down she started pulling stuff out of her backpack. She had a little-bitty container of motor oil – the kind you use for a weed eater – that she had picked up at Wal-Mart on a trip with her Poppie.

“Why do you have oil with you Ellis?” I asked.

She doesn’t look up. She is busy. “It makes things run smoothly” she says.

I made a mental note to restrict the hours she spends with Poppie.

The Carpenters “Just The Two of Us” started playing in the background as Ellis threatened to pull a fire alarm.

Then she opened an imaginary restaurant in the seats outside.

She charged 10 dollars for imaginary fruit salad.

“That seems excessive” I said.

She shrugged. “That’s the price. It’s a good salad. Lots of flavors. ”

I made another mental note. No more “Barefoot Contessa” with Omah.

She was sucking on a strawberry smoothie and eyeing a toddling girl with a giant bow in her hair who was wandering on the patio.

“If You Leave” by OMD started playing. Ellis started dancing a little.

Ellis was now approaching the other child – slow-ly. Very very slowly. Trying not to frighten.

Ellis was on her knees about 10 feet from the kid. She was holding out a Teddy Graham as an enticement, waving it slowly back and forth – luring the child like she would a stray pet – or maybe some kind of prey.

The day before Ellis walked up to me and asked “Could we make a kite from people’s teeth?”

I suppose my answer wasn’t the most appropriate thing.

“Well I guess we could use teeth for the tail of the kite. Maybe the frame. We need something else for the fabric.”

I try to be encouraging.

I’ve decided to parent based on the rules of improv comedy. Say yes to everything. Just go with it.

In retrospect relying on gems of wisdom from Carol Burnett and Robin Williams to form my philosophy of parenthood may have been a bit short sighted.

A while back we were wrestling before she went to sleep and she said “Daddy I’m gonna eat your skin!”. She’s such a cutie.

“No salt?” I said.

She went to get some.

They grow up so fast. One minute they are in diapers. The next they are experimenting with cannibalism.

Those were my thoughts as she lured that be-ribboned toddler. Maybe I should’ve shouted a warning.

Instead I checked to make sure Ellis didn’t have any salt.

The End

Bad Dad

28 06 2014

Dancin’ Ellis

12 06 2014

Fairy Tales – Ellis Style

8 06 2014

Memorial Day Lessons

25 05 2014

Doctor Ellis Takes a Nap

17 05 2014


12 03 2014

So the windows are open at my house. Screens pulled across. There is a breeze in my bedroom.

On the ceiling are two helium balloons – the birthday kind- big and metallic looking. One is heart shaped and one is oblong. The balloons are scooting across the ceiling almost randomly – propelled by eddys of air flow. They have come alive.

There are literally half a dozen balloons like this scattered throughout my house – their strings (leashes ?) brush against your face sometimes as they meander about.

Ellis insists on 2 things every time we go the the grocery store – flowers for her Omah and a balloon for herself. Refusing leads to the sort of public meltdown I would just rather avoid.

So my house is filled with these (mostly ignored) balloons. But tonight they have come alive.

Ellis and I are laying on my bed watching them move while we listen to Jack Johnson. We speculate as to where they are going. Ellis is convinced they are trying to “ex-scape”. More than once she walks over to the window to touch the screen, convincing herself they are hemmed in.

We talk about where they would go if they got away. I talk about castles and rivers and faraway places with chocolate rivers and candy trees. I ask Ellis where she thinks the balloons want to go.

“To find their mommies”, she says and pats my head. Then she closes her eyes and goes to bed.

Snowman …. The Resurrection!

4 02 2014