March 29, 2010

A Breakfast With Rain Girl

Remember Rain Man? Well, like Dustin Hoffman’s character in the movie, Lady E’s early morning and breakfast routine has become slightly frustrating and quite hilarious. But not at 0800...

I’m no expert on child cognitive development, so I have to play ball with our finicky little foodie and remote control tyrant, to whit:

Elena: Uh oh, nine minutes to eight. Time for Curious George.
Me: Would you like English or Japanese?
Elena: 'Course it's English. English for Curious George. Japanese for Anpanman. [She gives me a withering look like I am the dumbest man on the planet.]

Me: How about breakfast? Are rice balls OK?
Elena: Yes, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 rice balls.
Me: You mean six, right?
Elena: No, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2.
Me: OK, here are the sprinkles. I’ll go warm up the rice balls.
Elena: Rice balls are supposed to be on the table before the sprinkles.
Me: I have to warm them up first.
Elena: Of course if you bring rice balls after the sprinkles, it'll be too late.
Me: How is that gonna be too late? Just wait and put it on top.
Elena: No, no sprinkles. I'm definitely not gonna have my rice balls after sprinkles.
Me: OK, E-chan, I understand, but choose, please. We've got cod roe, sukiyaki, seaweed/egg and mixed. What kind of sprinkles do you want?
Elena: Rice balls.
Me: I know, but what kind?
Elena: Rice balls.

Elena: Of course you can't have rice balls without sprinkles. I put them on!!
Me: You bet your bum.
Elena: Bet your bum.

Me: OK, we’re all set. Curious George on TV, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2 rice balls, you put on the sprinkles.
Elena: Daddy’s breakfast sucks. [Freak-out ensues.]

- Fin -

March 13, 2010

Engulfed by Pride & Assorted Absurdities

It is the special, flaky moments of parenting that add a little bling to the expected ups and downs.

For instance, recently Elena’s kindergarden held their annual “Happyokai” (recital), where all the school’s classes sing a musical number and/or put on a short play for the entertainment of the students’ parents. Lady E’s class recital went very well, we enjoyed it and truly felt proud of her every move and word. But I won’t deep dive into that in this post. (It’s a lot of work for the kids and especially for the teachers to prepare for the Happyokai, so don’t take what follows the wrong way in that respect.)

During the recital’s opening numbers, I peered around the dim gymnasium, as cohorts of parents, grandparents and siblings stared in rapt attention at the stage. A few people eased in, or snuck out of, the gym’s main entrance. People shifted their bums on the cold floor. There was some sporadic infant wailing in the darkness.

But the prevailing mood was one of collective, earnest desire to see the kids’ hard practice pay off in a winning display of their newfound thespian and singing skills—in English no less. I was just as transfixed by the sight of our daughter onstage as any other audience member was for their child, but I also had this lingering doubt in my mind about my fitness as a parent. Why? Everyone else at the back of the hall had these humungous, Petronas Tower-esque tripods to mount their video recorders. Then I realized why I had this random thought of inadequacy: I had tripod envy. I retreated to the side of the hall to film from that vantage point. I felt like the Viet Cong of parental videographers.

Struggling to do all the right things to be a good parent is sometimes psychologically taxing. So I figure it is a good thing to occasionally throw a monkey wrench into the parental machine and lighten up a bit. Case in point: Elena’s recital featured a short play about animals in the jungle, and the theme song for this bit was The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tones. We enthusiastically watched her practice at home by listening to the song and repeating her choreography. Being supportive, Naomi and I amiably shuffled through more than a few turns of this fine melody with her.

One night, though, having ingested too much of the chipper virtue of the song, I rebelled and decided it was time to slip in some white boy blues. So, after the fourth time listening to the lion sleeping the jungle...oh no not again...
Weeheeheehee dee heeheeheehee weeoh aweem away
Aweem away, aweem away, aweem away, aweem away

I snuck in The Doors' The WASP/Texas Radio and the Big Beat (from L.A. Woman) on the CD player.
I'll tell you this
No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn
I'll tell you 'bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat
Soft drivin', slow and mad, like some new language
The thumping bass and Morrison’s raspy vocals caused “Crazy E.” and me to truly spazz out while dancing in our living room. Naomi laughed at the sight of this writhing spectacle and later said I should write about it in this blog. So I did.

Last nugget.
I met my good friend Mike’s two-month old son, the E-man, yesterday evening. He’s a typically cute infant: snorting, chugging milk, emitting adorable little farts and drawing the amazed (wow, we made this) looks of eternal love from his parents. But there is more to this sprite than I expected. I’m sure that when I proffered my index finger to his little fist in a makeshift handshake, he looked me directly in the eyes and uttered a faintly perceptible little whisper: Soylent Green is people.

Gotta get off this cough syrup I think.
Have a great couple of weeks.