April 25, 2010

Family Fun With a Childish Twist

I just have to share a sophomoric episode from yesterday’s parent-child field trip.

Lady E’s pre-K school holds an annual trip to the local zoo on a weekend in early spring. This enables parents to get to know the school’s new teachers, meet other parents, and the kids get to enjoy a day outside at the zoo with their classmates. It’s all pretty standard, wholesome family fun. Usually, the event kicks off with chaotic song and dance routines that go with famous children’s songs, orchestrated by the highly caffeinated teachers, and performed by the bewildered-looking two- to five-year olds. This gaggle then morphs into a picnic lunch, where the little monsters run amok and gobble only crap food despite the exhortations of parents to eat the healthy lunches that are carefully packed and provided. Meanwhile, the parents gab about banalities with the forced joviality that define school events while trying not to acknowledge the stealthy assessments of who has the healthiest lunch, a.k.a. “the bento (box lunch) wars.” Lunch is followed by the parent-child tag teams roaming around the zoo, armed with disarmingly cute clues whose answers are intended to lead the kids to a specific animal’s cage. A teacher stands a post in front of these prearranged checkpoints, bestowing stickers to the mobs of excited young scholars. The entire process is designed to get moms and dads and their squealing progeny to tromp around the zoo’s many attractions, all the while socializing and trying to keep a bead on the little ones’ attempts to escape, or thwart their efforts to wreak further havoc.

This was the Rising Family’s™ second outing to the zoo excursion and I was flying solo, my lovely but dirigible-sized wife choosing to stay stationary at home given her proximity to her due date. Being a confident 21st Century father, I had no problem keeping tabs on Crazy E.

In fact, the only issue I had was nearly causing internal bleeding in my kidneys from laughing so hard later that afternoon. You see, after the school-sponsored events were over, a few like minded groups of parents decided to extend our zoo visit and headed off together toward the elephant, giraffe and ostrich pens. Several dads and a few moms dutifully lined up to ooh and aah at the elephants. An agitated female elephant was thrashing a good-sized tree trunk with her tusks and front legs; she put on quite a show. I daresay she would have pitched the tree trunk over the moat separating us from the elephant pen had it not been chained to the ground. That got the kids’ attention.

Then a huge bull elephant ambled into view and, for whatever reason….got excited. South-of-the-border excited. That got the parents’ attention.

He then deployed – and I use that word deliberately – a member so mammoth that it immediately stopped conversations. We dads began to crack jokes dredged out of memories of high school locker rooms, Eddie Murphy standup routines and the bachelor parties of our youth. The moms rolled their eyes—but also looked slightly skittish.

Then, the elephant kind of sat back on his haunches, maneuvered his trunk just so, and began to stroke…down there
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

I nearly wet my boxers it was so funny. Every male adult who witnessed this spectacle abandoned any sense of propriety and zestfully dove into the lake of immature guy humor that materialized. It was a brief Camelot moment of male bonding, Kumbaya, Internet porn and Animal House mixed together that I will never forget. The kids didn’t understand why all the daddies were howling with laughter, which is a good thing, but we all knew instinctively we had witnessed a force of nature.

So, from now on, whenever I hear the words elephant c---, I know what that oft-used phrase actually means. For I have seen the real deal, and it inspires awe and giggles.

April 8, 2010

Tiny Terminator

“It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

Our daughter is a tidal wave of motion, a non-stop kiddie conversationalist, and a relentless seeker of new data—usually prefaced by the question “why?”

We love her. We’re grateful she’s active and engaged in every facet of life from the moment she wakes up until she finally shuts down at night. But, being frail human parental units, we get tired sometimes…

Elena has been on spring break from her pre-school class for about 10 days now. Today she goes back to school. All hail structured learning environments! Naomi, as always, has done most of the hard parenting work. But I, for one, am terminated. Time for a recharge.

Tiny Terminator II: In utero
The other little Terminator – on the way to the world via Naomi’s womb – is healthy. He, or she, will be joining us in about one month. (In the end, we decided to stay ‘old school’ and not ask the hospital about the baby’s sex prior to his/her birth.)

We are excited. We’ve deluded ourselves into feeling prepared.

Stay tuned.