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Boppies Then and Now

During the early days, Papa definitely bore the brunt of baby fatigue, doing the hard feedings — midnight and 3 a.m. — while Daddy took the evening (9 p.m.) and the morning (6 a.m.) shifts.  It is hard on anyone to have their routine consistently disrupted, and Papa functions much better on shorter stretches of sleep.

To jazz up the morning session, after bottles and burps, Daddy used to put the twins on their boppies, played some tunes, and got them ready to “dancercise.”  Daddy would take their pastel blankets, one in each hand, and shake them to the beat (usually some dance version of Madonna’s “Music”) over their boppies, while they stared and wiggled.  It was when Daddy would drop the blanket far enough down that it brushed lightly against them, that smiles would break out.  At the end of the “routine,” Daddy would switch it, starting with the blankets above their heads and then drawing them toward him so that the entire length of the blanket would pass lightly and slowly over their faces and bodies.  After rinsing and repeating, it was hard to imagine how those little blobs at the time could look any happier than in those moments.

Sometimes the dancercising would tucker them out and the blankets brushing over their heads, faces, and bodies would lull them back toward sleep, and sometimes Daddy would just drop the blankets on their bellies to let them enjoy a little catnap…

Four years later…

F:  Daddy, can you tell me a story?
D:  About what, Fisher Bug?
C:  A story about when we were babies.
F:  Yah.
D:  Oh, guys, there are so many good stories about when you were babies.  You were the cutiest patootiest babies.  And you loved to…
C:  Can you tell about the blankets dancing?
D:  Which one?
F:  The one where you, er, uh, take the blankets and, uh, er, dance them over us on our, er, uh…
D:  On your boppies?
C:  Boppies, yes, Daddy.
D:  How about I show you?

They exchange bewildered looks.  Boppies having been handed down years ago, Daddy situates each of them on their bean bags.  Their pastel blankets having also been retired for years, Daddy grabs the receiving blankets given to them by their Aunt Sarah and Uncle Dennis.  Cue the music.  Blankets wiggle.  Eyes widen.  Smiles form.  As the pace picks up, they try to grab the blankets with their arms and legs but without lifting themselves off of the bean bags, acting spontaneously like babies on boppies.  After a couple of songs, Daddy draws the blankets down across their faces and bodies slowly, lightly, repeatedly.

No catnaps follow, but eyes do close, smiles persist, and, perhaps solely in Daddy’s eyes, this blend of present and past brings them a few moments of heaven on earth.




Our Favorite Things

Daddy asks the kids before bed one night what their favorite things are. About a week later, Daddy slips an extra verse into their lullaby:

Pink glittered clothing and spiderman britches
Bread baked with Papa and spells cast on witches
“Lay down, two minutes” while our Daddy sings
These are a few of our favorite things.

Okay, Daddy does get shy, happy smiles in response, but even Fisher can spy the stretch for a rhyme: “Daddy, what are britches?”

Satisfied with Daddy’s explanation, they now think “My Favorite Things” has four verses.

“Too Sweet” Boomerang

Daddy takes the twins to Cold Stone Creamery.  Each gets to order a kid-sized cup with whatever ice cream, along with three toppings.

C:  Fisher, don’t eat too fast.  Your head is gonna hurt!

F just smiles and shovels.

D:  This ice cream is so yummy, isn’t it?
C:  Can I try yours, Daddy?

C tries it.

D:  Yummy, huh?
C (shaking head yes):  Do you wanna try mine?

D tries it.

C:  Yummy, right?

D hesitates.

C:  Yours is better than mine, Daddy.  I like yours better.
F:  Can I try yours, Daddy?

F tries it.

D:  Yummy, huh?

F shakes his head yes but returns to shoveling his own in.  Cory’s eating slows to a crawl then stops.

D:  Cory, why aren’t you eating yours?
C:  Because it’s getting to be too sweet.
D:  Oh.
C:  Fisher, is yours getting too sweet?
F:  Yes.
C:  Fisher, I have a good idea.  Iffin it gets too sweet, we should stop eating, right?
F:  Right.
C:  Let’s go throw the rest away, okay?
F (enthusiastically):  Okay!

The two of them march, messy half-eaten cups in hand, over to the trash can and ceremoniously throw them away.  They return to Daddy…who’s continuing through a Gotta Have It sized “Cookie Don’t You Want Some.”  They stare.

C:  Daddy, why…
D (realizing):  Oh, this just got too sweet, guys.  Ima listen to my body and throw the rest away.  Next time I shouldn’t order such a big portion.  Can you guys remind me?
F:  Yes.

Some lessons boomerang.

Shapes in My Taleidoscope

Cory falls asleep quickly after a day of walking downtown, visiting nurseries, learning to swim, planting flowers, and missing Papa (who is at a Giants game for the day).  Fisher does not.

F (in the dark, lying on Daddy’s left arm while Cory sleeps on Daddy’s right):  Daddy, will you be 100 some day?
D:  I hope so, Fisher.
F:  You are going to be so big then, Daddy.
D:  Well, I won’t keep growing, Fisher.  I’m done growing.  I’ll just get older.


F:  Daddy, what do angels do?
D:  I don’t know, Fisher.  Hopefully, they spend their time trying to help those they loved when they were alive.
F:  Angels are so powerful.  (Moving his arm up and down.)  Maybe they are helping me to move my arm like this.
D:  Maybe, Fisher.  Maybe.

Daddy sings “My Favorite Things” while Fisher plays with the kaleidoscope that Uncle Chris gave him that day.

D (rhythm slowed to a lullaby):  Girls in white dresses…with blue satin sashes…
F (looking into the kaleidoscope):  Daddy, I can’t see the shapes anymore.
D:  That’s because it’s dark in here.  Do you think the shapes are still there?
F:  Yes.
D:  Snowflakes that stay on my…
F:  Daddy?
D:  Yes?
F:  Maybe angels are like those shapes in my taleidoscope.  I can’t see them, but they are still there, right?
D (hugging him a little tighter):  That’s a good way to look at it, Fisher.  And those shapes in your taleidoscope are so beautiful, Fisher.
F (hugging back):  Daddy, you are so pretty.  You are prettier than me.
D:  Thanks, Fisher, but I am not anywhere near as handsome as you are.  You are my best boy, Fisher.
F:  And you are my best Daddy.

The Lizard of Oz

Daddy overhears the kids playing with their brooms (which used to be featured in chimney sweep “Mary Poppins” reenactments)…

C:  My face is green, and I have a big black hat, Fisher, because I’m the green one.
F:  But, what witch could I be?
C (motioning with her hand as if chucking a ball of fire at the scarecrow):  And I am going to play ball from the top of that house.
F:  But, Cory, what witch could I be?
C:  Um, you could be that witch that goes by bubble…
F (interrupting):  But, I don’t want to be a good witch.  I just want to be a bad witch.  What bad witch could I be?
C:  Well, you could be the bad witch with those red slippers, the one that is my sister.
F:  Um, is there another bad witch I could be?
C:  No, you could be that witch.


F:  Daddy!?  Daddy?  Cory says that I, er, uh, have to be the bad witch with the, er, uh, red slippers from the Lizard of Oz, but I don’t want to be that witch.
D:  Why not?
F (sad face):  Because she just gets, um, er, smushed by a house, and that’s it.
D (conspiratorial voice):  Oh, Fisher, see, that’s what you think, but the Wicked Witch of the East, the one under the house, was so super bad.  Wow, she did so many things before Dorothy’s house smushed her.
F (tone changing):  She did?
D:  Oh, yah, she did!  I can’t even tell you right now all of the bad things that she did!  And did you know what color her face was?
F:  No.
C:  What color?
D (gasping):  An ugly, nasty PURPLE!


F (turning back to  Cory):  Cory, I could be that house witch.  The Lizard’s sister.  And, I have an ugly purple face, so…
C:  Okay, Fisher.  Get on your broom!  (Doing her best witch cackle as she sweeps away…)

Sounds like they have been just the right amount of traumatized by actually seeing a wicked witch.