A concerted ten-minute effort…first, watch another five-year-old cross the set for younger kids; second, drop to the ground a couple of times (with Daddy’s help) to verify the landing’s softness; three, encourage; four, move to the big kid bars; five, encourage; six, praise…and Fisher conquers the monkey bars.
Later that night, before bed, when identifying his favorite moment of the day…
F: I liked when you swinged me around and around after I did the monkey bars. I liked that so much, Daddy!
Cory has twice the reservation and half the upper body strength, but it’s only a matter of time…
Driving from preschool to tennis lessons on July 3…
F: Daddy, my ear hurts.
D: What, Fisher? What hurts?
F: My ear hurts where the bead went in it.
D (turning the music down): What did you say, Fisher? Why does your ear hurt?
F: Because there’s a bead in it.
D (turning the music off): A what? A bee?
F: No, not a bee. A bead. I put a bead in my ear, and it hurts, Daddy.
D: You did what?
F: And the teacher said there’s a hole in your ear. So, I think the bead went, er, eh, um, through the hole, um, eh, er, and the bead is a part of my body now. But, my ear still hurts, Daddy. Where the bead was.
D (watching him in the rear view mirror): A bead can’t go through your ear into your body, Fisher. It doesn’t work like that. Did you really put a bead in your ear?
F (shaking head up and down): Yes. I did.
D: And it’s still in there?
F: No. It’s in my body now. Because it just went through the hole like my teacher said.
D: Silly goose, that isn’t how it works, you can’t put a bead through your ear into your body.
F: Yes, you can. That’s what I did.
F: On the playground, today.
D (still watching him): Okay, Fisher, when we get to tennis lessons, I’ll check your ear, okay?
Daddy checks Fisher’s ear at tennis lessons. No sign of a bead. Or any irritation. Later, before bed…
F: Daddy, my ear is hurting where the bead is.
D: Fisher, I didn’t see any bead. Did you really put a bead in your ear?
D: What color was it?
F (no hesitation): Green.
D (hesitation at no hesitation): It was? Are you sure it wasn’t red?
F: No, Daddy, it was green.
D: Okay, Fisher, if your ear is still hurting in the morning, we’ll see if we can figure out what’s going on, okay?
First thing in the morning…
F: Daddy, my ear isn’t hurting anymore!
D: That’s good, Fisher! See, I told you…silly goose. You don’t have a bead in your ear.
F (confused smile): But, I did. It’s just not hurting.
D (having none of it): Silly goose.
Couple hours later, sitting on a park bench at the station, waiting to watch the morning train pick up the early July 4th revelers across the tracks, Daddy glances over at the bright morning sun shining on the side of Fisher’s head…
D: There’s something green in your ear! Come here!
Daddy moves his ear around until…BAM…deep down in there…a green plastic bead.
D (feeling horrible): Fisher, you do have a bead in your ear.
F: I just told you, Daddy.
D: But, why did you put a bead in your ear?
F: Because it was too loud. Cory and Ellie were screaming. So, I put it there.
D (continued guilt): Fisher, don’t ever put anything in your ear! That’s not safe.
F: Can you get it out, Daddy? I don’t want that bead in my ear anymore. I think it went through the hole into my body.
D: Nonsense, Fisher! You have an ear drum that covers that hole. If the bead had gone through your ear drum, believe me, it would be hurting a lotta bit, not a little bit. Besides, I see it. When we get home, I’ll try to get it out, okay?
Daddy unwisely tries a pair of tweezers, which, when they touch the bead, elicit a quick “ow” that halts the home extraction. The rest of the holiday morning passes at the emergency room, where some little instrument dislodges the bead after three deft swipes. It arcs out and lands…somewhere. The doctor can’t find it. Fisher is moved down the bed. The nurse can’t find it. His shirt is plucked and pulled. Daddy can’t find it. Fisher gets off the bed. The bed is moved. The doctor and nurse check their own clothes. Other staff comes in, and scopes are reinserted into Fisher’s ear to eliminate group hallucination. The staff is laughing and buzzing about the bead that popped out of a kid’s ear and then promptly disappeared. Ten minutes later, Daddy hugs Fisher and reaches into his pockets…to pull out a little green bead from the right one, it having apparently rolled there after flying out of Fisher’s head. Daddy and Fisher place it on the metal tray, and just before the discharge nurse arrives to issue stern warnings to Fisher never, ever to put things in his ears or nose…
F (deadpan and pointing at the green bead on the tray): Daddy, I got this for you.
D (laughing): No, you didn’t, you crazy boy. But, even if you did, next time, put it directly in your pocket; don’t carry it around in your ear for a day first!
At home, Daddy cleans it and adds it to the collection of preschool beads that the crazy boy has legitimately given him over the past half year.
Last Sunday was the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, which must have packed an extra pink punch given the recent Supreme Court rulings. Rather than make the trek up to the City, Papa and Daddy, feeling very pioneer, decide to celebrate the annual “holiday” and the landmark rulings by bringing a Gay Pride Parade to Los Altos. Papa arms the kids with peanut butter waffle sandwiches. Daddy straps the dogs to his waist. The gang heads off to the Los Altos bagel shop, the route running along quiet suburban streets from home to downtown…just as it has nearly every Sunday for approaching two years now.
To be sure, the crowds were a bit muted, nearby San Francisco being so much more picturesque, and the local press has been slow in its coverage. But, there was no mistaking that when the parade passed septuagenarian Nancy, out to walk her little poodle-mix Oliver, her wave had just a touch more umph, and when she offered her usual, “How are you doin’?”, the emphasis on the “are” clearly conveyed, “on this, the Sunday after such historic steps to shatter entrenched bigotry against you and yours.” And, the sass in Oliver’s stride spoke volumes. Kind of like when, twenty minutes later, the parade reaching its endpoint, the faces of four folks gathered at Starbuck’s screamed, “Ah, look, what cute little gaybies! We accept you. Be welcome here” even as their mouths focused incessantly on well-informed, highly-evolved opinions of the witnesses’ diction and demeanor at the George Zimmerman murder trial.
The number of other spectators passed on that Sunday were literally, well, countable, on one hand even, but why bother? They’ll be there again this Sunday…and the next…and the next…
Have always been great sleepers, neither of the twins has ever slept a single night in Daddy’s and Papa’s bed. They came close recently. Fisher is still quasi-lactose intolerant. After a bean-and-cheese burrito dinner and fro yo dessert, he stood in Daddy’s and Papa’s doorway, hands to mouth, coughing out, “I just choked in my bed.” Papa hops to, cleaning him up and stripping his bed. Fisher “chokes” two more times.
Both too tired to re-make the bed, and Fisher dry heaving through the rest of the night, Papa and Daddy let him climb in the “big bed.” Cory, sensing that Fisher has found the key, comes to stand in the same doorway, hands to mouth, coughing out, “My tummy doesn’t feel good.” She barfs, to all appearances, in “sympathy.” Papa hops to, cleaning her (and the floor up), and Cory makes her way in next to Daddy and Fisher.
Since then, in the middle of the night, Cory has had a bad dream about a woman who did “a mean thing” to a baby and wants in the big bed…Fisher has heard a “bee” in his room and wants in the big bed…Cory has seen shadows in her room and wants in the big bed…Fisher has, well, whatever, and wants in the big bed.
Each time, rather than relenting, Daddy gets up, takes the one with the drama back to their room, and sleeps in the appropriate bunk bed for 20 minutes.
F: Daddy, but why I can’t sleep in your bed, Daddy?