The Peanut has been sick as a dog for a week. How do I know this? Many reasons but mainly because while sleeping in our bed the other night, she lifted her head, threw up on my face, and whispered, "I think I'm sick, Daddy."
By the way, I'm no scientist but I'm pretty sure that toddler vomit is composed of asparagus pee, gorganzola cheese, dirty socks, and week-old Indian food. I've gone through 3 bottles of Kiehl's Pineapple Papaya facial scrub and I STILL can't get the vomit smell out of my skin. WTF?
Anyway, being that we live in such an egalitarian household, BossLady and I have been taking turns staying home with the Peanut.
Now, let me ask you something---did any of YOUR fathers stay home with you when you were sick? I'm not sure whether it's cultural or generational but my father NEVER stayed home with me when I was sick. I don't think he even would have known what to do with me. He probably would have made me do homework while he practiced putting in the living room.
Peanut and I had a fun time together while she was home sick. However, during the course of the day, I've come to learn a lot about sick toddlers. Want to know the most important thing I learned?
They're fucking crazy!
One moment, we'd be cuddling up together on the couch under a blanket and watching "Happy Feet" for the 8 millionth time. Two minutes later, she's screaming her head off at me.
I tried to transcribe the snippets of conversation that came out of her mouth today. Here's a brief compendium:
"Daddy, I love being cozy with you. You're number one."
"I DON'T WANT A SWEATER, WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO PUT ONE ON ME, I WANT A JACKET, NO, NOT THAT JACKET, THE OTHER JACKET, WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME? ARE YOU BLIND? DEAF? STUPID? GO AWAY! I HATE YOU! WAAAHH!!!"
"This soup is yummy, daddy! Thank you so much for making it for me. I love you soooo much."
"I HAVE TO PEE RIGHT NOW, NO, I CAN'T WAIT ONE SECOND, FORGET YOU, I'M PEEING AS WE SPEAK, IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT, I WANT MY MOMMY, I HATE YOU DADDY, I'M GOING TO PEE ON YOU AND WHILE I'M PEEING, I'M GOING TO SCREAM AS LOUD AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE! WAAAHH!"
"I like staying home with you. Can we do it again tomorrow? Maybe mommy can stay home with us? Want some of my ice cream, daddy?"
Seriously, sick toddlers are like Sybil, John Nash, and Syd Barrett all rolled up in one.
Personally, I think Peanut is just pissed because I kicked her little three-year-old ass in Scrabble. She's really cute but she's got the vocabulary and spelling skills of a chipmunk. Shit, half the tiles she threw down weren't even facing upwards. Does she think I was born yesterday? There are only two blanks in the entire game and she's throwing three of them down in a single turn? Nice try, kiddo.
She really got pissed when I started doing my touchdown dance and sang my version of Queen's "We are the Champions!" Little did she know that I'm the Scrabble Master!
Before I had a kid, I swore I'd never tank and lose games to him or her on purpose. I hate seeing parents prop their kids up with false self-esteem. These days, it seems kids get praised just for putting their sneakers on the right feet. Shit, my dad never let me beat him in anything and he never showered me with false praise. And look how well I turned out!
Was I too cruel? Do you let your kids win in games?
In other news...
(1) Whenever I'm sick, I crave some old-school Korean ox tail soup. I made a huge batch for the Peanut the other day and she loved it. While eating the meat, she asked me what it was and I stupidly replied "a cow's butt." Needless to say, there are probably no funnier words in the English language to a 3-year-old than "cow's butt." I'm a freaking idiot.
(2) When my friend Leah Peah interviewed me and asked me to confess a secret, I joked that when it’s late at night, I pour myself a drink and watch re-runs of “Extreme Makeover” so I can cry myself to sleep. Well on Sunday night, I found myself watching the show. It focused on a single father raising 5 sons by himself in the 'hood. None of the kids had beds. Food and money were tight. The father had suffered two heart attacks. And despite all the hardship, the dad still managed to found a community group focused on helping other single dads. There was so much love in the house and the episode was so touching that I found myself bawling elephant tears into my scotch. Man, fatherhood has really made me soft.
(3) RIP Norman Mailer. I was fortunate enough to have met you several times over the years. You were always so gracious that it always threw me for a loop. I guess I expected your reputation as a tough guy to precede you. But you were a bear of a man, a hell of a writer, and one of my all-time literary favorites. There will never be another writer like you. You'll truly be missed. Screw the haters!