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The Dentist’s Chair

“Cory and Fisher, we are ready for you.”

Fear hits Cory in a full waiting room. Daddy has to carry her into the right room and coax her into the dentist’s chair. She is crying but eventually curls up on it.  The assistant directs Daddy to a chair in the corner within eyesight but away from the action.  At first, Fisher sits on Daddy’s lap as Daddy produces a constant stream of reassuring noises.  The assistant manages to get a bib on Cory before leaving the room, but Cory is making moves toward getting back off that chair.

Fisher gets off Daddy’s lap and walks back around to stand next to Cory…

F (patting Cory’s leg): It’s okay, Cory.
C whimpers.
F (artificially high voice): They’re not going to do anything sad to you, Cory.
C whimpers and looks at Daddy.
F (continuing the patting, voice still high): It’s okay. They’re not going to do anything sad to you, Cory.
C whimpers but stops fidgeting toward the edge of the chair.
F (pointing to a ring they’d been arguing over in the waiting room): I gave that ring to you, remember, Cory? I gave that ring to you so it will be okay, Cory.
C calms down, starting to pull it together.
F: I gave that ring to you, Cory, so…

The two rinse and repeat until Dr. Nola arrives.  Cory makes it through, thanks to a little help from her Wonder Twin.


Fisher continues to act on his klepto-tendencies, presenting Daddy with beads (and beans) every day upon preschool pickup. Daddy has about a hundred at this point. Yesterday…

F (huge smile on his face, hands Daddy a black round bead):  Here you go, Daddy.
D (absently taking the bead):  Oh, thanks, Fisher.

F stands, hands behind back, big smile.

C:  Daddy, are we going on an adventure today?
D (playing with the bead): Yes, we’re going on a “go straight home” adventure.

F stands, swaying, hands behind back, big smile.

C:  But, Daddy, I want to go on a bank adventure.
D (swirling the bead):  We don’t have any reason to go the bank, though.

F points at the bead.

C:  But, Daddy…

F takes the bead back from Daddy’s hand.

D: Fisher, you don’t want me to put that bead with the others?
F (smiling slyly):  It’s not a bead.
D looks more closely.
C:  It’s a roly-poly!
D (thinking okay, he’s gone from budding trash collector to future roadkill-scraper):  Oh, look.  It’s a dead roly-poly.  Well, great!  That’s so nice.
F:  No! Daddy!  It’s not dead.
D:  Really?

The release party took place in the back yard because Roly-Poly-Stoly apparently likes grass.  (For anyone who watches the video, the answer is fourteen.)

Fisher and Roly Poly

But, there should definitely be a line drawn in the “gifts from my day” sand.  Live (or dead) bugs are on the other side.


Oogala, Boogala, Ladybug Choogala!

Daddy and the twins move toward the darkening passageway, Daddy slowing down as the twins speed up…

D (after hearing some rustling in the branches of a redwood overhead):  What was that?
F:  What, Daddy?
C (squeezing):  Hurry, Daddy!
D:  Did you hear that?

As if on cue, what sounds like an exotic pet bird cries out from the backyard of the house on the right.  On any other day, it might have been quirky fun.  But, tonight it induces gasps…

F (squeezing, pulling):  Daddy, I don’t like that!
C:  Hurry, Daddy!
D (picking up speed so he is hurrying and they are running):  Come on, run for it!  (Feeling the flower fall.)  Wait!  Ah!  What was that?

Continued hurrying, a few crows circling, night still falling…

D (prying his hand out of Fisher’s to touch his own ear):  Fisher, is the flower still there?
F:  No, Daddy, no.  I don’t see it.
D:  Oh! I felt something go like this.  (Flutters hand near the ear that had the flower, while making an eerie fluttering sound.)  It felt like wings brushed my ear, guys!

Eyes approach widest ever.

D:  It went like this. (Flutters his hand near Fisher’s ear, while making the same noise.)  What do you think it was?
C:  Show me, Daddy!
D:  Like this.  (Repeats for Cory.)  What do you think it was?
F (stricken):  The flower is gone!
D (gasping):  It was one of those blackbirds, guys.  It came and knocked Fisher’s flower off my ear!

Both gasp.  Both grab Daddy’s hands again.

C:  I don’t like that, Daddy!
D (turning back to the passageway):  I have an idea.  (Pulling their hands toward each other.)  I am going to go back into that passageway to get that flower!  You guys stay here together.

F/C (pulling hands away and squeezing double-dog tight):  No, Daddy, no!

D:  You just stay right here, okay?  And I’ll go get that flower back, okay?  No blackbird witch is going to…
C:  No, Daddy!  Listen to my words!
F:  Daddy, I could just get another flower for you!  Don’t go!

D (relenting and turning back to passageway):  Okay, guys, but we have a way to go yet.  You’d better stay close, because that witchy bird that took our flower is around here somewhere…and everyone knows a witchy bird is only dangerous if she can change out of her bird shape.

Both look around.

D:  I’d better teach you a spell I know, just in-caser’s, guys, okay?
F/C:  Okay.
D:  It’s an ancient spell, very effective against blackbird witches.  It goes like this…oogala, boogala, makala, choogala.  Repeat after me…oogala.
F/C:  Oogala.
D:  Boogala.
F/C:  Boogala.
D:  Makala.
F/C:  Makala.
D:  Choogala.
F/C: Choogala.
D (feeling grips relax as they’ve been repeating):  Now, now that you have the building blocks, the spell goes like this:

Oogala, boogala, makala, choogala
Oogala, boogala, makala, choogala
Oogala, boogala, makala, choogala
Oogala, boogala, LADYBUG, choogala

The group of three practices for a minute or two.

D:  Now, if we have to use that spell, do you know what it’ll do to any witch who tries to change out of her blackbird form?
F/C:  No.
D:  It’ll change her into a…
F:  Into a ladybug, right?
D:  That’s right, Fisher.  And after we turn her into a ladybug…
C (jumping in):  We step on her and smash her, right, Daddy?
D (thinking “any witches out there better not mess with Cory”):  Fisher, is that what we should do?
F:  No.
D:  What should we do?
F (taking his hand out of Daddy’s to position it palm up):  Iffin she’s a ladybug, then we just put her in our hand and then we blow her away.  Like this.  (Blowing across his open palm.)
D (thinking “yes, definitely, if you have a choice between the two, mess with Fisher”):  Then what?
F:  Then, we run away!
D (smiling):  Good plan.

Oogala Boogala II

The twins encountered a scary witch or two this past Halloween.  Since then, they — especially Fisher — have developed an interest in a witch’s powers…

F:  Daddy, what witches can do?
D:  Oh, some witches can cast spells on you.
F:  What a spell can do?
D:  Some spells can turn you into things, like a frog.  But just pretending.  Do you wanna be a frog, Fisher?
F:  No!

Later, after reading “Brave” closer to Christmas…

F: What else witches can do, Daddy?
D: Some witches get a big black pot, called a cauldron.  Can you say cauldron?
F/C: Cauldron!
D: And they mix things like newt livers, crow’s talon, and belly button lint to make tricksy potions.
C: What does a tricksy potion do?
D: Depends on what’s in it, of course.  The old witch in the wood made a potion to turn the queen into a bear.  Cory, do you want to be a bear?
C: No!

Crows and witches come together when Daddy takes the twins for a Valentine’s Day walk. As the sun begins to set, they approach a walkway between two cul-de-sacs in the neighborhood, the walkway lined by tall fences and even taller trees, making it prone to evening shade…

D: Now, stay close, guys, because witches get more powerful as night falls, and if any of them are around, we need to be careful.
F (already holding Daddy’s hand, staring at the now-ominous walkway ahead, squeezing): Daddy!
D (hearing a blackbird cry): What was that?
C (grabbing Daddy’s hand): What?
D: Did you hear that?
F: That was a bird, right?
D: Well…
C: What, Daddy?
D (worried voice): Witches sometimes hide in the form of big, black birds…either by choice or because they’ve been changed by a spell into one. So, we need to be careful of the blackbirds, guys.
F/C (squeezing, trying to stop, as Daddy moves toward walkway): Daddy, no!
D: It’s okay, guys, come on.  Daddy knows some spells, and it is still light enough outside for them to have some juice.  Stick close, though.

F/C squeeze but move forward.

D: Fisher, do I still have that purple flower on my ear?
F (pointing to the flower that he gave to Daddy earlier on the walk): It’s right there. On your ear, Daddy.
D: Good. Now, stick close, guys.  Here we go.

The three move toward the darkening passageway…

Oogola Boogola I

A baby’s hands are good for pushing up onto furniture or a sliding glass door…or stirring some oatmeal…or, of course, finger-painting…

But, a baby’s hands can’t snap.  “Mary Poppins” is nonstop, genius, end-to-end, full stop, but in particular it rocks because when you find the fun, you simply SNAP, the job’s a game.  Nearly every three-year-old stands in Michael’s shoes, trying, trying, trying…but wanting to be like Jane, snapping, snapping, snapping…making the magic happen. Now, a baby’s hands can of course clap, but they can’t clap very well.  It’s a victory just to connect.  That’s what makes a baby-clap so cute, and by contrast, the ability to clap well, meaning clap loudly, is part of what makes a parent a rock star from the get-go.  When this specific Daddy walked the kids every morning from year one to three, we used to shoo away crows along the route with claps.  Loud claps.  Daddy’s claps. Oh, the kids would try, hilariously so, but they would eventually turn to Daddy, “clap them, Daddy, clap them!”

Daddy unwittingly laid a good foundation for “oogala, boogala, makala, choogala” years ago..