June 02, 2006

Amusing Moments in Fatherhood

Chalk scribbles covered the driveway. Within this asphalt spaghetti I recognized many instances of Jessica's name, several flowers, and that four-armed robot guy from the recent Star Wars movies. Closer to the house were a skull and crossbones with a curse: "Do not inter or you will be destroyd." It was signed "KKK" in giant, careful letters. I made a mental note to investigate, but inside I discovered mud tracked all over the floor and immediately forgot.


At bedtime, Jessica and I were reading to each other, side by side on our backs. I read my pages (on the left) and she read hers (on the right). The tale was yet another Junie B. Jones adventure. Since she's read each book in this series five or six times by now, I occasionally tease her by changing the words. I ad-libbed a T-Rex into a scene in Junie B's kindergarten.

Jessica didn't pretend to complain like she usually does. Instead she quietly closed the book, set it on her nightstand and pointed at the door. "If you're not big enough to read with me," she asserted quietly, "you have to go."

I apologized, but she stuck to her guns. I had lost my bedtime story.


In one volume, Junie B. is upset because she received one valentine fewer than her classmates did. She's trying to figure out who stiffed her. Then her teacher approaches.

"Junie B.? I have some good news for you!" she said. "Guess what I just found in the bottom of the valentines box?"

I sat up real quick.

'Cause guessing games are my favorites, of course.

"A meatball," I said.

We lived that moment recently. Camille was reading something to the kids at the dinner table and the word occupation came up.

"What's occupation?" asked Jessica.

"An occupation's a job," said Camille. "Daddy's occupation is software engineer. What's grandpa's occupation?"

Grandpa's been a high school teacher for—let's see—over 65 years now. Jessica knows this. He talks about school all the time. She's been to his school.

"Dentist," she said, immediately and confidently, although the only dentist she's ever met is her own, a young woman.


The entire roll of toilet paper had been carelessly unrolled, then very carefully rerolled in an attempted cover-up. At once I suspected Nathaniel, who holds zealously that rolls of toilet paper, like Q-Tips, exist primarily for play and secondarily for hygiene.

I met him in the hall. He had cardboard wings affixed to his arms and long pieces of masking tape attached to his hair.

"You're frozen!" he said.

"What did you do the toilet paper?" I seethed.

"I'm a gorgon. You're frozen!" he said.

"You better tell me what you did to that toilet paper right now, or . . . "

"I didn't do anything. Talk to Jessica." With a flap of his wings, he was off.

After locating Jessica, I repeated my inane question.

She burst into tears: "By accident I played with it?"


The kids were chalking up the driveway again. Nathaniel was dutifully inscribing another threat in front of the door: "Beware! Go bak or meet thy doom!"

"This is a pirate warning," he said proudly. Then he added "KKK" with a flourish.

"What are the Ks for?" I asked.

"They're your DOOM!"

I threw up my hands helplessly and waited.

"It means cutting your throat." Impatiently he drew his finger across his throat and made a guttural sound: "Kkkkk . . . ."


Naomi Joy said...

I found your blog through the Carnival of Kid comedy and this post was so funny that I sent the link to all my family. You need to post more often!

Michael Hardt said...

Thanks for the compliment.

I'm flattered that you think I'm a humorous writer, but I'm unquestionably a terrible blogger. I just can't seem to post something every day.

Susan said...

I came to your blog via Antonia. We are beginning our own homeschool journey - but had to comment on this entry - I love the picture of General Grievous (the four armed guy from Star Wars III). Feel free to drop in sometime at the "Keeping up with BESS" blog.