Over the last year or so Geralyn has developed a mild addiction to what I call her special happy fun time classes. These are events offered through local churches, schools, and other family-oriented organizations and they include swim classes, parents as teachers classes, sibling fun classes (whatever that is), play dates, and a group called Moms of Preschoolers Just Get Together to Hang Out, which is probably the most honest of them all. Up until this week my involvement in these events has been limited to sitting through debriefing meetings, which when Sam ran them were largely incomprehensible so I really never got the full picture.
This week, though, Geralyn took the initiative to sign me and Sam up for a “Cooking With Daddy” class one evening after work. I assumed the idea was that I and a bunch of other dads would trek to the local Happy Fun Child Development Center of Happiness center and stand around while our kids turn a table full of cooking supplies into something that looks like a cross between 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray and The Three Stooges. I wasn’t far off.
The “cooking” in the class ranged from the lame —piercing fresh fruit with a stick to make “fruit ka-bobs”— to the only slightly more advanced French toast. Children were not allowed to go near the grill for the latter, which is a rule that I think most of the dads should have also followed based on the general level of cluelessness I observed. Watching these dads (and in one case what I took for a little girl’s “other mommy”) was pretty interesting, though. Most of them seemed to hover parents, in that they stood about 1/16th of an inch away from their kids at all times, taking pains to direct every activity and make sure that the kid didn’t do anything objectionable by 18th century Puritan standards. I, on the other hand, had long ago decided that when a kid is placed in a room full of toys, books, games, and a giant tub of dry oatmeal that the best thing you can do is just stand the hell back and let ‘er rip. Especially if you’re not the one who’s going to have to clean up. At any rate Sam seemed to have fun, and the French toast was pretty good in a sickeningly sweet mush covered in raw egg kind of way.
The other big even this weekend was a “Safety Fair” that my employer put on. Think a huge company picnic with lots of booths where people tell you how not to get yourself killed or maimed on the job or at home. In addition to free food and really good giveaways like bike helmets and backpacks, they were offering free rides up in “bucket trucks,” which are those huge things that lift utility pole repairmen into place in these little buckets, up to a hundred feet in the air. Since I had volunteered to work at a booth where I was telling people that they should really avoid being shocked to death and Geralyn had Mandy in a stroller, Sam had to go up in the lift all by herself. At first Ger thought this would terrify her, but Sam calmly let herself be strapped into a harness and lifted into the tiny bucket to be raised about 80 feet up in the air. Instead of the expected shrieking and hysteria, Ger craned her neck to look up and see the Sam poking her face over the side of the bucket and waving at her. I tell you, this girl is unflappable. She CANNOT be flapped.
Lest I neglect Mandy in this week’s update, it’s important to note here for the historians of future ages that this is the week she started to sit up. Ger went in to fetch Mandy from her crib one afternoon to finder sitting up and looking quite pleased with herself. She’s also crawling, if you can call dragging herself along like a secondary and thoroughly wounded character WWII film epic crawling.
I also tried to feed Mandy something more solid this week in the form of these little rice puffy things that are supposed to taste like sweet potatoes, but which my experimentation reveals to taste more like monkey butt. I demonstrated to Mandy how one is to take one of the rice puffs and place it in one’s mouth, but she apparently decided that cramming them in her nose was close enough for our purposes. After tasting the things, I can’t say I blame her. So I just had Sam make us some fruit-ka-bobs.