Daughter: Did that girl take a poo to school Daddy?
Me: Yes honey, she did.
It's August 7th. Already at the beginning of July (when garage sales were in full flow) my daughter began getting excited about Halloween. In the past week or so we've visited a craft store and a Walmart. Both of which had huge displays up about Halloween (the Michaels we were in was completely kitted out as if Thanksgiving was in a week as well). Halloween isn't until October 31st. Combined with the bizarrely early death of all plant life around here (it's too dry so the leaves are all dying) it feels like mid-September. Even the mornings are all wrong as the sunlight that was battering through the windows at 4am a month ago is struggling to get here at 6am. Now my daughter is absolutely certain that Halloween is in a week or so. I'm happy she's excited about it. But I don't think I can take three solid months of that. She genuinely cannot contain the whelping thrill-shriek that wells up inside when someone mentions Halloween as it is. And she's five. Anyone with a five year old can tell you that if they wake up at say 6.30 in the morning and are aware that something moderately exciting is planned for around 5pm then that day is practically unbearable for everyone involved. We still have 80 days of that to go through before Halloween as it is. Add it's currently 48 degrees outside (a huge anomaly as it's been ridiculously hot and humid since May) and all the windows are open. If she so much as feels a goose-bump this morning she's going to insist I break out the pumpkin-spice coffee for myself, hot chocolate for her and the cinnamon apple-umpkin candles because clearly it's Halloween in a few days.
Fact: My wife is either an alien or a terrorist. How do I know? Because in the middle of our camping trip when the thermostat read 95F she put on a fleece. That's all seven kinds of wrong. Combine this with her weird ability to sit and spoon-feed half a jar of anything that is a condiment (the Pomegranate Sauce Incident comes to mind) into her mouth without shame seals the deal. She also recently asked if she can legitimately wear a bra to work that has extra padding. She was genuinely concerned that it would confuse her staff who, one day would think her boobs were huge, but the next day be unable to work because her norks would be markedly smaller and therefore her staff wouldn't be able to concentrate. This is not the behavior of a stable, human being. To really top it off my wife has started doing this amusing thing where no matter what I say she responds by pretending it's an arousing double entendre. So I'll say, "now kids be careful, the potatoes are very hot" and my wife will come up with something like, "your spuds are always hot baby..." That descended into brutal absurd vulgarity by my wife taking a comment I made about digging in a garden hole to in a similar sordid manner. All of which hit a brand new nadir yesterday when I inexplicably thought that I could smell cat food despite not being anywhere near any. Thinking that I might be having a very odd stroke (I'm not sure what kind of stroke that is, but it can't be a good one) I told her, "I can smell cat food...." To which she replied in her that-so-arousing voice, '.....wanna find the source....." Worst. Chat Up Line. Ever.
My daughter is currently obsessive about what she calls, "girls music." That's not a reference to that weird genre of weak-angtsy-girl naff that Natalie Merchant/Neko Case/Jewel etc do. Nope - it's more simple than that. It's any song that sounds like it has a lady in it. Her mother seems to have indulged this by flipping through the car radio to foster some sort of bonding. Except it has resulted in my daughter picking stuff that either has a tiny contribution from a singing woman (Gotye's song is always on the radio and she picks that one) or is boringly dull, like gospel music. Amusingly for us we were driving about yesterday and she made a comment that she didn't like the song I had on (this, if you're interested) and, "can I have some girl's music please Daddy?" I poked my Mp3 player and this next song came on. It's not relly appropriate for a 5 year old so I was going to turn it off but ended up pointing at a tractor before I got around to that. My daughter didn't like it on principal until the singer said, "I hope you like listening to music made for girls." Now she says it's her favorite song. Snort.
My children have also really started to bicker. Two weeks ago they didn't do it much at all. Intermittently sure - but not all the bloody time. I've often remarked to myself at playgrounds and such that maybe my kids won't be as intolerably argumentative as other people's kids seemed to be. But after that camping trip (I'm blaming it for everything, legitimately or not....) they haven't stopped coming up with excuses. If one is playing with a toy the other will declare that they intended to first and that they're sibling used some sort of mind-reading trick to find this out so they could deliberately be a dick. If they sit on the couch together it will inevitably end up with one of them stretched out at absolute full length trying to kick the other one - but somehow oddly defending the whole thing by yelling, "Daddy he's underneath where I'm stamping and it hurts my feet!" Sunday and yesterday they even had moments where they didn't even make any effort and just growled at each other - each becoming louder and more aggressive about it. I've sat them down and talked about it far too much the last two days. It became intolerable yesterday when I dug up a spark-plug pipe in the backyard which my son clung to as if we'd just discovered the Holy Grail. Obviously his sister wanted it. I managed to fanangle the situation where he got to hold it while she helped me with a, "special job" (flattening the dug up soil with her arse - very special indeed). But after he asked me what it was - and I simplified it as, "a car pipe" he began laughing and repeating, "cat poop!" and feigning disgust. This drove his sister insane with rage and she kept getting up and running over to him and yelling, "IT'S NOT POOP! CARS DON'T HAVE POOP!!" Then this morning they had a fight at the breakfast table over having a fight. The were growling with increasing anger at each other again when I bluntly told them both that what they were doing was absurd. There was no point behind it and it achieves nothing. I told them it was pathetic that they could be perfectly happy in each other's company - go away for a week and return like this. I finished it off by saying that neither of them is allowed to behave like this. My daughter thought about it - realized that she should think of something silly to lighten to mood - and said, "but we are allowed to tickle a dolphin though, Daddy." The two of them yelled back and forth, "DOLPHIN!" and - for some reason - "SLEEP!" for twenty seconds until I got them to shut up.
And that's not as ridiculous as it has become. This past weekend I listened to a laughably poor argument by someone who was angry that a vet thought that their dog might bight them. This was based on a note written in the dog's file that said something along the lines of, "this dog has bitten a vet/assistant more than once." A ridiculous argument was made that it was insulting that the dog was put in a muzzle because it had been years - at least two anyway - since the dog had bitten anyone. And in truth it wasn't a bite at all. No - the dog had simply put it's mouth around the arm of the vet and then clamped down with it's teeth with speed and force. Which isn't even close to being a bite. Fast forward to this morning when I walked into the living room to see my daughter lying on the couch. Her shoulders were on the couch cushion and one foot was balanced on the ground so that she could stretch out as far as she could in an effort to kick her brother who was stood nearby (not within reach is apparently too close lately). As she was covered in a blanket she assumed this gave her some sort of cover from anyone seeing her do it. But I did see her - which she realized as soon as she did it and saw me stood about the same distance from her as her now annoyed brother was. She then did the same absurd mock-outrage as the person with the vet-biting dog by insisting that can in no way be described as a kick but should be considered as more of a forceful push. They better cut this crap out before I completely lose my shit and get on the news.
I've been able to burst some of this I-learned-this-from-a-knob-on-vacation behavior by trying to play some of the old imagination games with my kids though. Sophie the Onion Sniffer and The Potato Monster were very helpful yesterday. But easier was Captain Cheesestick and Princess Bounce being whipped out because then that doesn't involve me having to hold both my arms up and making them talk for an hour. In the end yesterday I ended up (as Captain Cheesestick) chasing my kids with a water bottle. This was initially part of a new story called Princess Bounce and The Squirter. But I had second thoughts after imagining the horrifying Google searches that would lead absolute dementoids to this blog. But then I had a third thought and that was, "that would be funny..." so that's what I called this entry. Sucker for punishment.
My daughter got a book out of the library about a girl everyone ignores all the time because she's always banging on about her oddly extensive insect collection. Every page involves her telling an adult a fact about a different bug, and they respond by telling her, "not now Prunella." After rescuing her entire school from a bee swarm the girl in the story gets to do her own show-and-tell by showing the class a dung beetle. That's what the below picture is. The first time my daughter saw this she filled me with immense pride by asking, ".....did that girl really take a poo to school?" Yes, she did. It dawned on the pair of us at the same time then that it was either her own poo or she'd secretly been stealing her parent's curl-offs.
I'm betting $5 that this is the author's semi-confession that they spent a lot of time in their childhood secretly collecting their parent's feces and taking it everywhere with them. Writers are that kind of weirdo.