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Robot Elf

Things that happen before 8 a.m….

Wonder how much longer the office chair will hold, as two children and a puppy heavier than either of them try to climb onto Daddy’s lap first thing;

Ignore children’s crazy laughter in the living room from the first sip of a cup of coffee to the last drop;

Emerge to find every pillow and blanket and couch cushion in the house on one side of a coffee table, off of which they are launching from a yoga ball;

Resolve to start working out again, as lifting either child, but especially Fisher, over the head during mandatory suspension of lunch making to dance to “Underneath the Tree” has become hernia threatening;

Stop Cinder, competing for attention with two nut bag imps, amped up way beyond normal by the last day of school before winter break, from eating a bottle of lotion in the back bedroom;

Confirm in email that today IS in fact pajama day and locate holiday-themed getups for those imps as they spontaneously choreograph an impressively head-banging, arm-throwing dance to “I Kissed a Girl”, Glee version;

Catch the imps out in the front yard, when they are supposed to be brushing their teeth, playing a game that has Santa (aka Cory) using the TiVo remote to force Robot Elf (aka Fisher) to pick up and reset several dropped ornaments;

Watch with a smile as they grab their backpacks and race off to catch the neighbor, already at the end of the street, who will take them the rest of the way to school (“Bye, Daddy!” “Bye, Daddy! Love you!”);

And, enjoy another cup of coffee in a completely destroyed, comparatively quiet house.

Stunning Aragog

Ahead of the Halloween Carnival at their Hogwarts, Daddy presents Harry with new trademark glasses (he’d lost his) and Hermione with a time-twisting necklace (so she’d actually have some accessories).

Apparently, she gave the thing more than a couple, three twists before teaming back up with a much taller, shorter-haired Ron to cast a combined sleeping spell to make Aragog content with being on display for one more day…

Fisher Bug, At Your Service

The twins attend a Star Wars themed birthday party for the other set of boy-girl twins in first grade. The prior plan for afterward, to head to a movie theater, is chucked in favor of watching The Attack of the Clones at home. They’ve never made it past all the boring, badly-acted love scenes between Padme and Anakin. This time, they make it to the end.

C (stumbling to bed): Daddy, if I have call for you if I have bad dreams, will you come?
D: Always.
C: Thank you, Daddy.

An hour later, she calls out. Daddy goes, reconfigures the blankets, sweet nothings in her ear. Five minutes later, she calls out again.. Daddy goes, brings Cho-cho, the stuffed dog she’s had since birth, which she had left in their makeshift living room boat. Five minutes later, she calls out yet again.
Daddy goes…and disturbs Fisher.

F (sitting up groggy): What, Daddy?
D: Cory has need of your services.
F: What does she need?
D: She needs you to sleep with her.
F (smiling but not moving): Okay.

He still doesn’t move. Daddy struggles to pick up out of the top bunk. He’s getting too big to be manhandled like this. Daddy stretches him out next to Cory in the bottom bunk.

C (putting an arm around him, kissing him on the head): Thank you, Fisher. Thank you, Daddy.

Fisher doesn’t answer. He’s already back asleep, if he ever actually woke up. Daddy just leans over them to kiss her. She now has one arm around Cho-cho and another lying over Fisher, as Daddy leaves.

She doesn’t call out anymore.

Tornado!

The big yellow tube at the top of the hill dumps each inflated raft, at pretty good speed, into a huge red funnel called the Tornado…and a wet, wild ride begins.

Both of the twins are adamant all morning.

F: I don’t want to go to the water park!
C: I’m not riding anything!
P: You’re going.
F: I don’t want to go to the water park!
C: I’m not riding anything!
D: Guys, come on. You’re going to have fun. Trust me.
F: No, I’m not.
C: I’m just staying home with Grandma and Grandpa.

Two minutes after arrival at a huge park with something for anyone who likes water, they are smiling and laughing and remain smiling and laughing…until…

…for Fisher, a stubbed toe disturbs his flow, thankfully at the very end of the day but unfortunately right before anyone spares a thought to snap a picture. Eh, it will heal.

…for Cory, the long trek, carrying a huge inflated raft, up the hill and stairs to the yellow Tornado tube interrupts the fun. Her screams, SCREAMS, all the way up there compete with pop music blaring over loudspeakers for the entire park’s attention.

C: No! No! No!
D: You’ll be with Daddy and Papa the whole time, Cory.
C: No! No! No!
P: Come on, Cory, you’ll be fine.
C: No! No! No!

After all of her tired sassafras of the previous 24 hours, in opposition to heading to the park, in opposition to this or that to eat, in opposition to nearly everything, it truly pains Daddy and Papa to drag her ass, kicking and screaming the whole way there, and to throw it unceremoniously into the four-person raft. The stoic attendant actually breaks a smile. Cory’s face, as the inflated raft drops at warp speed into that Tornado, is heartbreaking. Just terrible for most parents to see that kind of look. No self-respecting parent would enjoy seeing that expression on a child’s face. What kind of monsters would take any satisfaction or pleasure from that such desperate yelling and crying? That would be sadistic or something. Some wounds just don’t heal.

Fisher stops sulking too late to enjoy an Icee; Cory regains her composure rather quickly, some might say too quickly, before spending the rest of her park time in the wave pool and then slurping down her own Icee, as well as some of his…

And Daddy and Papa? Daddy and Papa sleep a little harder that night, the hint of a smile on each face, thinking warmly of that moment of terror, er, joy, joy, that is, joy at…the taste of an Icee, yah, those Icees are so good, the look of joy on that sweet child’s face, as she sipped that Icee, that’s the thing that stays with you, those moments of joy…

…TORNADO!!!!!