One thing I'll never understand about kids is how they can run around outside without shoes on.
My back yard is littered with sticks, fallen walnuts (or, "bastards" as I seem to increasingly call them) and rocks (dropped by the dog - or, "bastard" as I increasingly call him. So when the kids and I saunter out there to splash around in the naff little pool I insist on them having footwear on. My daughter wears these atrocious clunky sandal things that - if worn by an adult - would strongly indicate the degree of whoriness that they are going for. My son wears water-socks. Of course as soon as my daughter gets within ten feet of the pool - which is pretty much the back door of the house - she kicks off her sandals and runs across the lawn. I myself wear a nice pair of all-weather sandals. Got them for free at the Old Forge thrift store - which is a graveyard for ridiculously high-end outdoors clothing that has never been worn by the insanely wealthy people who vacation up there. If I'm milling about outside - or simply dazzling everyone with my fine football-fondling skills - I'm wearing something on my feet. So much so that my feet now look ridiculous when naked.
Yesterday afternoon I wandered out the front door shoeless to find out if there really was someone wandering about the cemetery playing bagpipes (yes there was). My daughter did too. I ended up traipsing about on the grass grimacing and whining about how pokey every third step was. My daughter ran around entirely carefree - even going so far as to run full pelt up the gravel driveway seemingly without noticing that it is incredibly uncomfortable. It's this sort of complete resistance to noticing pokey things that has made reading stories like The Princess and The Pea more difficult for her to believe. Which is why I have modified the story ever so slightly to become The Princess And The Pee - a story about a young woman unable to sleep because she's certain that someone has recently pissed all over her bed.
This level of discomfort tolerance showed up yesterday too with the kids belting down metal slide they have as well. If it's in the direct sunlight it is red-hot and they can't use it. But using little-kid logic they carry buckets of pool water over to pour down it to cool it off - unaware that in 95 degree heat that fifteen seconds later this makes it even hotter than before. But if it is cool enough to tolerate they rocket down it in damp bathing suits and exposed legs - making a loud squeaking noise as their skin rubs against the slide all the way down. My daughter has pleasingly decided that this isn't just something that happens due to physical circumstance. Rather it's a symptom of a disease called Bum Cheek Squeak that she and her brother are often afflicted with. I know if I slid down that thing (and it somehow didn't collapse from the weight) that if my body and the slide joined in union to make that sound that it would sting like a bastard. They don't seem to care at all.
Perhaps the disease though might explain my daughter's graceless attitude during the game we play. It's actually not snotty, rude, mean or spiteful as it will sound. It's amusing and cheeky and she clearly understands that she's playing the role of rule-changer and I'm playing the role of idiot (three and a half decades in this role so far and all of it impeccably flawless). Basically we run around kicking a ball for a bit until she declares we have to score a goal. The goal is the pool - the ball has to go in it. The important point here though is that no matter what I do I can't actually successfully score. I might think I have - as in I chipped the ball majestically forty feet across the lawn into the pool. But then she'll run over and pounce on it declaring that I not only didn't score, but that she did and I lose a point. And not just lose a point - but I lose a point for extenuating circumstances. As in, "....and you lose a point because there's a banana in your ear." Her favorite reason for my failure yesterday being, "you lose ten points because you're big and round and your bum drags on the ground." I'm also often disqualified from the game for wearing the wrong color, being, "too hairy" and also due to the fact that, "only people without a winkie can touch the ball."
Thankfully I know (and more importantly she knows) this is all a big game and she isn't really a rude monster of a child because she'll do things like ask me to hold the ball, tell me there's an elephant up a tree, then grab the ball and rush off to score a goal - gloating afterwards about her ability and my alleged round, ground-rubbing arse - before thanking me in a whisper for playing along. She'll flat-out say, "can you pretend to be really bad at the game Daddy?" and I will. I'll fall over theatrically, pretend to be stuck under a towel and spend way more time than is needed looking up the tree for the elephant - which makes her laugh even harder.
I did manage to get a photograph of her winning the game though. I'm sure you'll agree she was a gracious winner.