Thursday, July 22, 2010

Great Moments in Parenting

About three months ago or so, Laney and I took Ginger to get her nails trimmed. On the way home from the walk, Laney asked me to carry this little box she'd brought with her because she wanted to hold the leash. I happily traded. It's cute to watch a kid walk a little dog. We got ice cream on the way. A little kid with a dog and an ice cream cone? Like nuclear cute. It was all Norman Rockwell up in Rogers Park.

But then we got home, and Norman Rockwell transmogrified into Edvard Munch. Laney reclaimed her box, looked inside and burst into angry tears. "Where, Mommy," she demanded through her sobs. "Where's the rubber duckie that was in here!"


I told her that I guessed it had fallen out of the box and suggested that we forget about the duck and move on with our lives. That went over about as well as you'd expect (thud, sob). So, we walked around and tried to find the duck.

We didn't find the duck.

This was back in April. Over three months ago. Countless cheap, plastic toys have come in and out of favor since then. I recall in particular an incident where Laney's favorite "My Pretty Pony" (a toy roughly the size of your thumb) was lost on a beach outing but then, like a godly favor from Poseidon, emerged unschathed from a roiling Lake Michigan. The toy gods (whom, evidently, I've confused with the Greek gods) have been smiling on us. The lost duckie was in our past.

And then tonight, some three months after the dog walking lost duckie incident, Laney came out of the bathtb and stood naked in front of me, tears streaming down her pretty face, "It was my faaaaaaavorite duckie! I miiiiissssss my duckie! And YOU LOST IT! WAAAAAAAHHHHHH"

And, folks, we were off.

I gathered up my meager sympathies and consoled her (with some gentle scolding about personal responsibility and grudge-holding). I got her dressed and helped her brush her hair and teeth. She cried through it all. I spun a charming yarn, liberally borrowed from The Velveteen Rabbit, about the wonderful place that lost, loved toys go. I cuddled and snuggled. I tried to distract with Junie B Jones. I employed reason and logic. I toyed with the idea of spiking her water with a double dose of Benedryl (I didn't). I offered to let her fall asleep in our bed. Nothing worked.

She cried, she wailed, she keened. She sang baleful Irish dirges about the uniqueness and beauty of the long, lost duckie. I went downstairs and dug up another rubber duckie. Foiled! This rubber duckie's beak was OPEN! The lost duckie's beak was CLOSED! Her lost duckie was one of a kind. She refused to believe my (now irritated) assertion that the lost duckie was, in fact, one of about 8 million made by cheap labor in some environmental nightmare of a Chinese factory

After an hour, I gave up. I kissed her, told her I loved her, and left her to her misery.

I sat down here at my computer listening to the sounds of passionate, kidly mourning a floor up.

She's quiet now. I think she's finally asleep now.

Here's my advice: have kids. Kids are great. But, try to make sure they only like playing with really big things. Nothing smaller than say a dachshund. And, for the love of all that's holy, make sure you keep booze in the house. After a night like this, you're gonna need it.