Archive for the ‘Greg’s Take’ Category


Based on responsibilities at different locations, I took Grace to school while Erin took Abby and Lilly to Day Care.  Grace and I were leaving a few moments before them.  Erin was nursing Lilly.  Grace and I completed the departure ritual — don’t forget the backpack with lunch, got in the car.  In the meantime, Abby watched us leaving without realizing that she was heading to Day Care with her Mom.

In a soft and sincere voice:  “Daddy, please don’t forget me….”

I smiled knowing that no matter what, I won’t.


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What’s reasonable?

“Daddy, did you know that I’m the smartest one in the family?”

“How do you figure that, Grace?”

“Well, Mommy is just a little stupid.”

“Huh? Why’s that?”

“Cause she doesn’t always agree with me.”

“Ohhh, I gotcha.  Anything more?”

“You’re medium stupid.”   [I then wondered if I should be happy or sad with that comment?]  …”Abby is mostly stupid.”  [I need not ask for additional clarification.]  — Lilly is the most stupid.  She can’t even talk.”

“Well, Grace, I think Lilly talks in her own way.  She cries when she’s hungry, or she’s scared, or frustrated, or wet, or sleepy, or lonely, right?  — Maybe it’s Lilly who’s the “smartest,” and we just can’t understand her?”

“Daddy, I think that’s a dumb idea.  Anyway, that just leaves me, so I’m the smartest!”

After she quickly turned to play with dolls, I thought for a moment.  Do I have a better argument?  Something more rational, valid, or logically derived?  Nah, I got nothing today.  But does that make me stupid?

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Good Priorities

To Grace:  “Honey, could you please help me find that bowl of melted ice-cream?”

To Daddy: “Sure Daddy, but isn’t finding Abby more important?”

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It’s Pajama Day!

Unfortunately, Abby’s sick, so she needs prescription meds.

As you well know, it’s hectic when you get two girls into Day Care.  Abby first said that she lost her shoes — an impossibility considering that I saw them go into the car.  I looked in the floor, beside her seat and on the other side.  Then, I found them on Lilly’s feet.  Strange, but logical.   Abby out-thinks her Dad sometimes.

Abby, having again refused to put her shoes on top of her PJs footies, demanded a carry in.  I wasn’t confident about carrying both, so I callously abandoned our youngest with a thick, well-situated blanket.  I then threw Lilly’s bottle strap and diaper containers over my shoulder.  I placed Abby’s Nystatin in my coat pocket.  Yeah, don’t forget the official box.  Couldn’t find the original cap of the new med.  Although the box was crushed and contained an imposter from a previous prescription (Grace’s name was scratched off before Abby’s name was taped over it.), I rolled with it.

The tube was smaller.  The lid and box were there, so I know we fooled them.  Or at least it qualified as legitimate.

“Bye, Lilly.  Just keep crying until Daddy comes back.  It’ll keep you warm and distracted.”

Abby started yelling and asking where Erin was. — “Honey, I’m the best we have right now.”  [thought:  Just be lucky I’m not making you wear your footies on the 33 degree pavement and desperately guess the entrance combination while I softly stroll and quietly smile, child.]

Having no confidence that she’d agree to walk herself, I swiftly carried Abby in to drop Abby to Amanda with her coat on.  “Be right back, Amanda!”

Got Lilly from under her thick, thick blanket.  I thought, “You don’t mouth off — yet.”  Dropped her off with Diana.  Be right back.

Went back to Amanda.  Explained need to treat Abby’s yeast infection.  Something I don’t identify with personally or actually quite understand.  “Know Wacky Wednesday, Amanda?”  Of course she did.  I explained that Abby absolutely insisted that today was the day that shoes don’t match.  Only it’s not Wednesday — it’s Tuesday.  Twisted Tuesday?  Alliteration is tougher here, isn’t it?  I quickly tried to catch Amanda’s eyes.  Though not a parent herself, she’d been around kids enough to understand irrational demands.  She flashed a look of understanding.  It was one of humorous acknowledgement rather than bitter judgment.  After all, isn’t it a plausible cover-up for a lazy, confused, and sleep deprived parent?  Surprisingly, it was an intentional mismatch.  Seriously.

I documented the need to apply twice today.  (the fraction of 4x since we’d treat the infection before/after).  She confirmed protocol with April, the veteran from Toddlers, who’d hosted (tolerated?) our first two kids.  April definitely knows what’s on the horizon with Lilly.  Anyway, like a good soldier, Amanda explained that I needed to lock the medicine up front with Nadima, the admin.  — Nope, she wasn’t there.  The Director wasn’t there.  Does anybody else have the key?  Do I really have to ask that…?  I hope you wouldn’t.

In the meantime, I left the Nystatin imposter with Amanda.  I can only comply to a reasonable extent while my smile drained from my face.  I went back into the infants where I’d stashed Lilly on the supervised boppy before rushing back to have that yeasty conversation in Twos.  Assembled cloth diapers correctly.  Put milk in fridge.  Directed Diana to use the blue bottle first.  Bothered to explain that medical treatment.  Why?  I have no idea.  Filled out written daily.  Made up the numbers.

Went back to Nadima’s desk  She’s there, in pajamas of course.  She explained that she still needed written doctor signatures.  Sure, that makes sense.  Glad that such regulations exist.  Could I facilitate this?  Let’s see.

  1. Find number.  Knew name.  Wait, why does “Raleigh Pediatrics” have a branch in Garner?  Whatever.
  2. Looked up number on my phone.  Called fax number.  Stupid me realized that I need the *phone* # in order to tell them my yeasty situation Got phone tree.  Messed up extension.  Not medical records.  Not X.  Not Y.  Not Z. Wondered why this isn’t more clearly articulated.  Although I admire their efficiency, I hate phone trees.  At least design one well.
  3. After the fourth screwup (noting that it takes two damn long to listen to all the wrong choices.  Who would call Raleigh Pediatrics for a medical emergency?  Isn’t 911 a bit more obvious?  I feel sorry for the poor soul who inspired that for illness, yet I express disdain against legal services, if that’s the source of inclusion.  — Okay, back to this phone tree that’s pissed me off.  I wonder if Raleigh Pediatrics treats parental ADD.  
  4. Drop the responsible participation and hit the operator.  Regret that I didn’t do that the first time.  
  5. I had to explain twice to the (admittedly kind admin who rescued me from this phone tree).  “I’m the parent.  I’m at Day Care.  I need a doc signature.  I have the form.  May I fax it to X for medical acknowledgement? — one would think that the original (correct, but imposter) packaging would confirm proper treatment.  Maybe that’s an interpretation from a bitter parent who could never get a yeast infection.  I digress in ADD fashion.
  6. After scattering some random humor to lighten the regulatory obstacles, I explain with patent detail what’s about to hit her fax machine.   She understood, and I glimpse accomplishment.


Went back to Twos.  Explained the situation.  Filled out Daily.  Made up the numbers.  Better guesses here though.  Amanda asked when Lilly should receive those two treatments.  I thought, whenever.  Yeah, that infection is going to be angry *whenever* you throw that calibrated jello at it.  I asked her advice in order to invite her into this brisk discussion.  She said based on potty training.  — Gosh, I hope I don’t fall into that situation myself.  Decades from now, my advanced age might make me qualify for such questions.  At least I won’t have a yeast infection. 

Went back to Nadima.  Confirmed that all was in order.  Won’t have to do anything else but sign the form tonight.  She added, ” Don’t forget to pick up the Nystatin as well.  It’s not like you have more of that at home.”  — I smiled knowing that this day may return.  At least I know to streamline and circumvent the phone tree.  We’ll be quite mindful to keep all the Nystatins that enter our house. 

Go back to kiss Lilly.  Does she know who I am yet?  Hope so.  I’m making the same noises every time I tickle her belly.  I figure very few other males do that regularly. 

Exit and walk down the hall.  Abby, kiss me, Sweetheart.  I’m escaping this dreadful situation.  I do like those pajamas though.

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My eldest daughter was sick last week, and it was my turn to stay home. Primarily, we played with princesses. Twenty three of them. I’m not yet sure that she expects her Dad to have all that foundational knowledge or whether she’s impressed that I’m picking it up so quickly.  My Barbie fluency is a clear example of lifelong learning.

I may not have memorized each of the dolls’ personal backstories. However, I can definitely state that (a) Princess dolls always smile. Dental hygiene at its finest. Maybe they all used to work Retail? …(b) All princess dolls ultimately end up living a hard life. Somebody lost my shoe permanently. Like down the drain permanently. No idea where that skinny purse is, but it used to match my dress. I’m a princess, but my owner ate my tiera kind of thing. No, really. I *AM* royalty! — Gosh, maybe all princesses end up naked. A hard life indeed.

That said, when asked, I answered that Ariel the mermaid was my favorite princess. That’s something that my daughters and I currently hold in common. She’s new, so there’s novelty for the girls. Second, she’s unique. Yeah, they all sing, but who else can breathe underwater and swim with a big blue fin? Not to mention having a dad with a kickass Trident. Third, she’s intact. No chance to have lost any accessories yet. (wait. Are there accessories on a mermaid?)

Not to mention that there’s always some subtle humor.

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Logical, right?

After a hard workout yesterday, my body told me that I’d been away from the courts a bit too long.  (Hey, at least I remembered where the gym was though.)

When Grace asked me why I was limping, I told her that I played a game called squash today for the first time.   After about an hour, she came into the den to look again at my bruised leg, and she said, “Daddy, I don’t think you should play smush anymore.”

Smart kid!

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Daddy, what are you doing?

Hey, Sweetheart.  Not too much.  What are you doing?

I am walking around and looking for you.

Well, you found me. What’s up?

Daddy, will you marry me?

Without pausing, I responded, “Honey, I’m already married to Mommy.  One day, you’ll meet somebody, and I’ll get to meet him.  He’ll be a very nice guy who loves you very much.  He’ll make you happy; he’ll make you laugh; and you may even get married some day.

I then gave Grace the biggest bear hug I could and kissed her gently on the head.  “Grace, I love you bunches and bunches, and I always will.”

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Impulse control.  Takes several years, sometimes lots of years, to master. Today’s challenge: Watermelon.

Watermelon is yummy, at least that’s what the entire Robinson household believes.  Especially Grace.

Today, Daddy sliced some watermelon up for lunch.  Grace was excited — almost too excited.  Well, definitely too excited.  Honey, I’ll put this at your place, but you need to wash your hands first.  What ensued was pretty distressing for all parties involved.

Crying.  Sobbing.  Yelling.  Tears splashing down her cheeks.  Those short huffs that chatter your teeth.  Red explosive face with all memories of watermelon (or anything positive whatsoever) destroyed. — What the heck is going on?  She’s washed her hands by herself a hundred times.

Grace, do you need Daddy to walk with you to the bathroom?

No change.  Just more yelling.

Honey, can you use words?  

No change.  Just more yelling.  Seems that I’m the only one who’s bothered by the noise.

Honey, I’ll put it right here on the table, so you can see it.  I’ll save it for you.  I promise I won’t eat it myself.  What do you have to do before you can eat it?

No change.  Might have turned it up a notch when she saw it.  No way I’m giving in now because volume shouldn’t earn watermelon.  Should I carry her to the bathroom?  — FINALLY, she walked several yards over to the bathroom and yelled all the way.  Mission accomplished?  Suddenly:


Geez.  Looks like she got some payback on Daddy for being such a hard-ass on the handwashing thing.

I kept my cool.  Quickly walked down the hall and deliberately forcing my heels down, so she could hear the sound of me storming to the bathroom.  When I got there, I found that in anger, she’d slammed the toilet lid down on the seat and shattered the toilet lid.  How could 15 seconds of handwashing escalate to toilet busting?

Apparently, realizing the magnitude of her destruction, she shifted into quiet gear.  Although her shirt and hair were soaked with tears, the yelling had stopped.  I found her concentrating on getting that seat back on track.  Looks like her impulse control (or lack of it) had gotten the best of her.  Although I don’t recall this particular response, I’m sure I did the same or worse in the same “ill mannered” way.  

Grace, did you break this toilet?!  (as if Thor had thrown a lightning bolt while she was simply washing her hands.)  ….She nodded yes.  Honey, why did you break the toilet?  …No answer.  I repeated the question, but I still got a blank stare.

No watermelon, Grace.

Daddy, noooo. Complete with the tone suggesting that she’s the victim of an abusive and whimsical draconian decision.  Somehow I doubt this is the last I’ll hear of that tone.  I actually felt like the nuclear option of cancelling her swimming playdate with Ally, the neighbor across the street.  But, I thought about what Elizabeth “Bish-Bish” maintains about the punishment fitting the crime.  That said, what is the sentence for toilet busting these days?  

Grace, when Mommy gets home, you’re going to tell her that you broke the toilet.  — As if Erin needed clarification on why there was now a shattered toilet seat on the stairs.

Noooooo.  (yes, w/the exact same tone as before.)  I’m getting a lot of mileage out of full allocution to mommy.  Erin carries a lot of street cred, and even if she’s not around, Grace is fearful of such accountability.

Let’s go back to the table.  Do you want a pancake or peanut butter and pickle toast?

I want watermelon!

Grace, should I give you watermelon?  She nodded gently, yet firmly.  Obviously, at under 4 years old, we haven’t reached that level of introspection.  

Abby doesn’t say much these days, but she sure does take a lot in.  After seeing what had happened, she left her plate of blueberries and approached her sister.  She then proceeded to stick her finger in Grace’s belly button.  In our house, doing so makes one’s belly button buzz.  BZZZT!  Assuming that Grace was in no mood to buzz on Abby’s behalf, I buzzed.

To my astonishment, Grace stopped pouting and also buzzed.  Abby smiled and widened her eyes in delight.  Then Grace buzzed Abby back, which made Abby crinkle her nose up and laugh.

Thanks, Abby, for being the cute little sister with unconditional love.

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We filled her pool with water and put it in the grass in the front yard. This, an extremely thrilling event, first took place with Aunt Jenny and Bish Bish. Thanks to them, the Garner Robinsons are fully equipped with a pool, ball, ring, a cup, four squirt guns, and a floating plastic cupcake.

She who holds the squirt guns determines who gets wet.

“Daddy, watch out! The fish might get wet!”

“Daddy, where is the Fathergun?” (watergun, sic) — Not sure what that means, but I’ll get one by prom night.

“Daddy, my squirt gun is empty.” — And? At first, I couldn’t see where the fill hole was, but I knew that I’d soon get a closer look at the water.

Honey, you always need to ask somebody if you can squirt them in the face, okay? Surprisingly, all parties observed that rule, although some of us actually requested a squirt in the face.

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Grace: Lip.

Some lip from the elder Robinson daughter this morning — literally and figuratively.

Grace was eating some peanut butter toast. Normally, she likes this. This morning, however, she was piddling around.

“Honey, could you finish your toast?”
— I have something in my mouth.

[Three minutes later] “Grace, how’s that toast coming?”
— Good. [ed note: spoken with total nonchalance. Not one bite taken]

“Grace, Mommy and Daddy need to go. Can Daddy eat your toast?”

Well, so it begins.

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Grace, don’t poke your sister. It makes her cry.

Grace, please don’t sit on Abby. She’s too little.

Grace, don’t head butt Abby. Remember about “gentle and careful?”

Abby, don’t spit up on — uh, Good job, Abby!

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This weekend, Erin made sure that our family should take all measures to avoid hearing from our homeowners association. [Side note: I hate homeowner associations. We pay $200/year to somebody else to tell me to mow our lawn and weed our garden bed. The value add is for that somebody to hire somebody else to mow common areas. I’d take that job for $150/year. Anyway, that’s not this blog.]

Mowing a lawn can be a big job, so I asked Erin to see what she could do about supplementing our personnel. After awakening from her nap, a diligent worker reported for duty.

Daddy, that’s a lawnmower.

— Indeed it is, Honey. Know what that does?

Yeah. It makes the grass short. Vroom!

Apparently, they LOVE watching the mowing people mow the lawn outside the Day Care windows. I think I’ll try to capitalize on this.

— That’s right! Do you know why I pay somebody else for the privilege of mowing my own lawn? Oh, never mind. Nobody can give me a good answer on that. Would you like to help Daddy?


— That’s what Daddy wants to hear. Could you get your lawnmower? (Grandpa gave her a plastic John Deere lawnmower a year or so ago. Perhaps he could identify?)

Okay, Daddy. …Here it is!

— Now, could you start on the other side of the lawn and get the tall grass that Daddy missed?

With enthusiasm: Yeah! (after 90 seconds). I can’t find any.

— Daddy is indeed good, Honey. Why don’t you mow the driveway while Daddy finishes up?

Got to train them while they’re young.

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Opening Day. A very, very important day. On the way to work, an unembellished recount:

Honey, did you know that today is Opening Day?


You did?


What does Opening Day mean?

“It means that we open presents!”

Well, Grace, that’s not really it. Opening Day refers to the first game of the baseball season. Do you know about baseball?

“Take me out to the ball game….!” — in a loosely adapted tune.

That’s right, Honey! (That’s an alternative to the more typical songs at Day Care. I knew a 5 star Day Care was worth it.)

“Yeah. Let’s sing it together.”

(us) “Take me out to the ball game. Take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks. I don’t care if I ever come back cause it’s root, root, root for the home team. If they don’t win, it’s a shame. Cause it’s ONE – TWO – THREE strikes you’re out at the old ball game!…BASEBALL!” — A little freelancing and improvisation, but all the key points were there. Who cares at age 2.5 that it’s 3 rather than 4 strikes.

Grace, when we get home, I want you to run up to Mommy and say, “Go DODGERS!”


Go Dodgers!


(slowly) My favorite team is the LA Dodgers.

“My team is ELE DOD-JURS”

Well, close enough. Honey, next year we’ll work on balls and strikes. Eventually, we’ll make it over to platoons, OPS, and the infield fly rule. Then – finally – you can help me understand why LA can’t sign a decent left-handed relief pitcher.

“Okay, Daddy.”

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“Honey, Lasagna and Vagina are two very different things.”

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When we need Grace to hurry up, we tell her, “Quick like a Bunny!” This morning before driving to Day Care, I called up the stairs:

Honey, are you ready to go now?

Yeah, Daddy. Quick like Applesauce!

— Creative? Well, it worked.

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