Sunday, June 20, 2010

We need to take a parenting class

This morning, for a moment or two after a parent-to-parent conversation, I thought Jeff might have to start having only supervised visitation with Alison. Either that or he ought to stop telling me stuff. Because according to Jeff:

While I went out in search of milk and breakfast treats, Jeff and Ali were lounging amid gift bags and cards, watching a little Father's Day TV. Jeff was in charge of the remote and lingered over a channel showing the Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg's California Girls. While the thing starts out in candy land and pastel hairdos, it devolves into cupcake boobs that shoot whipped cream or something and a lot of near full nudity. It's a fun video. If you're, like, an adult... or at least in double digits.

As anyone who knows Alison, knows she's not a fan of nudity. She is a huge fan of candy. But even the background of the video didn't earn Ms. Perry a pass from my prudish little redhead.

"Dad. That girl is naked," she informed her father. She would probably have fought for the remote, but then some gummi bears entered the scene. Shortly after, that the cupcakes started erupting.

Alison was somewhat aghast. "Dad, that's just wrong," she said.

Later, they were in the basement. Alone again.


"Yes, Ali."

"Why can you say 'crap' but I can't?"

He paused. He thought. "Well, Alison, that's probably not a word either of us should use."

"You use it a lot."

"Yeah. I'll work on that."

"OK Dad."

And now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I feel responsible for Alison's lack of religiousity. Is that a word? Part of the reason she attends catholic school is because I want her to learn about religion from a qualified authority. Which clearly isn't me. I try to keep my own doubts and cynicism away from her, but I think it's seeped out.

She's opted to believe in paleontology rather than Christianity, and it was one point on her Religion grade that kept her from straight As for her last report card in third grade.

So we were in the car yesterday and a song came on the radio that I think is hysterical. It's called "I pray for you" by Jaron and the Long Road. It's about a guy done wrong who for some reason visited a church after a long absence. He takes the preacher up on his words and starts praying for his lady lost to fall victim to a very long list of bad stuff.

"Mom. That is the worst song EVER," Alison shouts from the back. She's shouted a lot of bad commentary of my country music, but she was particularly unhappy with this one.

"I don't think God wants you to ask for bad stuff to happen to people," she said.

I tried for a moment to explain why it was funny and that she shouldn't take the comments literally. "Haven't you ever been so mad at someone that you wanted something bad to happen to them?" I asked.

"Yeah. But I didn't ask God about it," she said.

She's so much smarter than either of us...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

RIP Miss Cheryl

We read "Dinner with Dracula, A Spine-Tingling Collection of Frighteningly Funny Poems" the other night.

We took turns reading of creepy creatures and vampire brats, Frankenswine and dads who turned into werewolves. It was a lot of fun. As she was getting herself ready for sleep, her father wished her sweet dreams.

"Oh Dad, I will rest in peace," she said, crossing her arms across her chest and closing her eyes.


I'd like to say the book inspired her bloodthirstiness later, but instead I think I'll blame Jenna Louise Tokash. We we blessed to have the sweet little tyke for a sleepover Saturday and this afternoon, I was driving the girls to the pool of our neighbor's mother's apartment complex. I'd helped them gather water guns, thinking they might need some toys. We were following my neighbor and her daughter, Chelsea.

Jenna and Ali were using the guns to "shoot" people along the route. Problem was, there weren't any pedestrians.

"We could shoot your mom," suggested Jenna.

"Uh, Jenna. She's our driver. Plus, who would take care of us if we shot her? How would we get home?" Alison asked.

"Yeah, well," responded Jenna, thoughfully. "Miss Debbie would probably drive us home."

I think Jenna forgot that I haven't bought her birthday gift yet...


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ack! My Eyes! My Eyes!

Alison has not yet developed an appreciation for the nude, especially male body, and of course I'm grateful for that. I'm not sure how she came to this antipathy. My friend Annmarie is anti-nudity, but I don't think Ali has spent so much time with Annie that it's rubbed off on her.

But from the time she's been able to express herself verbally, she's never enjoyed seeing anyone baring too much flesh, and she's never been quiet about it. She's especially affronted by seeing men without their shirts.

"Dude! Put a shirt on," she'll shout from the back seat as we drive by joggers or even as we bike past them on the Monon Trail.

Saturday, at the Indians game, she took off on a baby. "Did you see that?!" she gasped. "A shirtless baby! Sheesh!"

I started putting a few more clothes on several years ago when she started creeping into bed with us. It just seemed the right thing to do even though she's never once complained about seeing me in the flesh.

I think she's studying me as what might be coming down her pike. She's probably terrified. I keep reminding her that she won't be short and that she is blessed with her father's metabolism, so she probably won't have to worry about being overweight, either. She is keeping a sharp eye on her, um, other development -- some girls in her class are already wearing bras, and she's not looking forward to that.

Jeff, who appreciates snuggles from his daughter, and is just as unhappy about potential development as Alison is, has never felt pressured to cover up on the chance she'll creep into bed with us. He looks upon it as his turf, and he's not always as welcoming of the intrusion. She's usually on my side, though, and we've never had an incident where he couldn't snag his pjs when necessary.

Until Sunday morning. She jumped into bed, pulled back the covers and, I swear she said, "Ack! My eyes! My eyes!"

Jeff, thankfully, was on his side with his back to her, but she'd seen enough. "Geeze, man. Put some pants on! Mom. Dad is naked!" she informed me. Heck. She informed the world. She was outraged and her volume just increased.

It was hilarious. Well, I thought so. Jeff was not so amused. Alison certainly wasn't pleased at all.

He gave her some story about how he gets too hot and has to take off his clothes in the middle of the night. She actually nodded and accepted that story. She herself will often strip off her shirt and sleep in just her pj pants. She's also been known to strip entirely.

"Yeah, but just to see what it was like. And, it wasn't in public!" she said.

"My bed isn't public either," Jeff retorted.

"Yeah, well. Put on some pants, man!" she shouted back.

I don't have a photo of this occasion to share. My guess is you won't have a problem with that...