On the one hand, his teacher emailed to recount how “adorable” Fisher was in class yesterday — to celebrate her birthday, a classmate brought in a pencil for each of her fellow kindergartners. When she handed Fisher his pencil, he said, in front of the whole class, “Thank you for this gift. I love you, Leila-Camil.” One heart, the teacher’s, apparently melted. Others are now learning what a charmer that kid can be. (Daddy and Papa already know it.)
On the other hand, at the end of “Madagascar” tonight, out of parental line of sight and immediately after Cory apparently punched him in the shoulder, Fisher decked her solidly in the chest. To judge by the screaming, one heart, Cory’s, was nearly crushed. He needs to learn how strong he is. (And so does she.)
The near-universal response to seeing a guy walking three dogs strapped to his waist and pushing a stroller with two toddlers (or, at an earlier time, babies) through the neighborhood in the morning is “Wow, you have your hands full!” It’s actually kind of weird that nine out of ten people who say anything use those exact words, minus the “wow” or with an extra “sure,” as in “You sure have your hands full!”
F: Daddy, why that man said that you have your, er, eh, uh hands full?
D: That’s just an expression.
F: But, your hands aren’t full, right? They are just pushing the stroller, right, Daddy?
D: Well, he means that I have a lot to watch out for: Boston, Quincy, and Kohl, that’s three dogs, and then there’s Cory and Fisher, two kids. That’s a lot to keep track of, right? So, he says, you have your hands full, meaning, you are very busy.
When the twins aren’t along for the walk in the morning, the next most frequent response, after a simple “good morning,” particularly since the move to Los Altos, has been, “Good morning. Are you a dog walker?” Three dogs on one body, along with grubby clothes and a baseball hat, don’t do much to convince anyone otherwise. Often, the enthusiasm behind the question suggests that the inquiry is more than small talk and that there’s a market for a more responsible, homelier sister to quit her day job as a lawyer to walk the neighbors’ dogs “in her shoes.” A snap poll indicates that the going rate for an hour-long walk would be about $20, so the next time a Los Altos resident shouts out that question, the response is not going to be “No, no. These three are all mine.” It’s going to be, “Yes, sure am. $40 an hour per dog. Would you like my contact information?”
In the meantime, this past weekend, when stopped at a crosswalk waiting for the light to change, dogs and twins in tow, another couple makes small talk, starting at one of the usual places: “Are those beagles? I think they are the biggest ones I’ve ever seen.” Midway through the conversation, Fisher interrupts, “My Daddy has his hands full.” The couple smiles. “Daddy, you have your hands full, right?” It’s an important skill to be able to say the words that people expect to hear.
Cory repeats at least 25 times, “I’m sexy and I know it!” as she weaves through the immigration line on the way home from Cabo, constant impish smile. A fellow passenger comments, “It happens so fast.”
Awaiting a snack at the kitchen table in the days since, Cory points two fingers to an arriving Daddy, “This is a stick up, stick up, I need them bags and that money!”