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Papa’s Paper Toupee

Fisher hands Daddy a Father’s Day card. It has the figure of a man in an orange shirt on the front. Daddy opens it up. Inside it says, “I love you, Papa,…” Daddy points out that Fisher must have given Daddy Papa’s card. Fisher stares. He comes over and takes back the card, seeming confused.

C (handing over her version of the card, her figure in a green-yellow shirt): Daddy, I made this for you.
D: Oh! Thanks, Cory. This card is so nice! Did you make this picture on the front?
C: Yes.
D: All by yourself?
C: Yes. First, I chose a piece of paper that was…

Cory begins to recite the exact steps required to make the card. Fisher bursts out crying.

D (reaching to his shoulder): Fisher, what’s the matter?
F (through sobs): I…gave…you…the…wrong…card…
D: Fisher, that’s okay. You can just give the card to Papa. That’s totally okay.
F (sobbing): But, I have the wrong hair!
D (??): You have the wrong hair?
F (agonized sobs): But, I made the wrong hair!

Daddy takes the card that Fisher made for Papa, closing it to see that the figure on the front has light hair.

F: Papa has black hair, and I made the wrong hair!
D: Well, I don’t think Papa’s hair is black. He’ll still like this card, so…
F (sobbing): But, it’s not black! I made the wrong hair!
D: Fisher, listen. We…
C (coming over, using a higher-than-normal pitch): It’s okay, Fisher. (Patting him on the arm.) It’s okay. I can help you fix it. Fisher, do you want me to help you fix it?
F (sobbing): I made an oopsie-doo! It’s not the right hair!
C: We can fix your oopsie doo, Fisher. We can fix it. Do you want me to help you fix it?
F (calming down some): Uh huh.

Daddy smiles as Cory heads to the tray of multi-colored paper in the corner of the family room that everyone calls their “office.”

D: Good. Now, Fisher, you’re dinner is ready. Why don’t you come over with me to sit down and eat?
F (calming down more): Okay, Daddy.
C (in her high-pitched kindergarten teacher voice): See, Fisher. Is this paper a good color?

Fisher shakes his head yes. Everyone heads to the kitchen table. Cory assembles black paper, scissors, glue, and Fisher’s oopsie-dooed card. As Fisher makes quiet “aftermath” noises and Daddy provides dinner commentary, Cory narrates her creative process. A bit later…

C (holding up a black paper toupee): Fisher, is this good?
F: Oh! Cory! That looks good, Cory. You can eh, er, uh cut so good.
C (with that high-pitched voice): Can you come over here and help me glue it on?
F: Daddy, can I get out of my chair to help Cory eh, uh, er do the glue?
D: Yes.

Fisher gets up. The two of them glue on Paper Papa’s toupee.

C (as Fisher holds up their final product): There, Fisher! See, we fixed your oopsie-doo.
F (smiling): Thank you really much.
C: Fisher, put your card with mine. We can give them to Papa when he comes home.
D: Awesome, guys. There really shouldn’t be any crying in Father’s Day, guys.
F (throwing Daddy a quizzical look): What did you say, Daddy?
D: There’s no crying in Father’s Day, Fisher.

Fisher puts a glazed smile on his face, as if he has no idea what crying Daddy might be referring to. He walks on his tiptoes to place his card next to Cory’s. Cory starts cutting the remnants of the black paper, smiling and making a mess.

It will be a happy Father’s Day after all…

Souring on Seaweed

Apparently, a lot of the other kids in Cory’s class snack on dried, sesame-flavored seaweed, and two months ago, she started requesting to have some. Just before a Friday afternoon trip over the Santa Cruz mountains…

C: Daddy, can I please wear the white dress today?
D: Cory, are you sure that you want to wear that in the car?
C: Uh huh. Who gave me that dress?
D: Aunt Therese and your cousin Lydia.
C: From Kansas, right?
D: Right.
C: Can I please wear it today?
D: I don’t think you should wear such a nice dress for the car ride. I mean, you could…
C: Please, Daddy!? I really want to wear it to show Miss Brooke and Callum.
D: Not Callum. Callen. Cory, your dress will just get messy and wrinkly, and if you drink something, you could…
C: Please, Daddy?! I really want to.

She keeps begging. Permission is unfortunately granted. Unfortunate, given the exact nature of the coming collision…

C (as she makes for the white dress): Daddy, can I please have some seaweed?
D: Yes, but you need to eat it before you put on your white dress.
C: Why?
D: Because sometimes you get green stuff all over your face and all over other things when you eat seaweed. I don’t want you getting green stuff on that dress.
C: But, I’ll be careful…
D: No, Cory.
C: But, I promise…
D: No, Cory. I don’t want green seaweed on that dress.
C (petulant): Fine! (Pause.) Can you please get me my seaweed now?
D: It’s a good thing you put a “please” in there, Miss Sassafras, because otherwise…

She devours her seaweed, barely chewing some of it, cleans herself up afterward, and dons her dress. Everyone packs up and heads out on the trip. At the bottom of the mountains, in traffic…

C (from the back seat): Ooooh! I feel like I’m going to throw up!
P: What?
C (hand over her mouth): My tummy doesn’t feel good. I feel like I’m going to throw up!
D: Cory, are you sure?
C: Uh huh.
P: Get her a bag! Get back there!

Daddy, unable to pull a bag out of his, um, glovebox, begins climbing from the passenger seat to the space between the car seats.

C: Daddy, I am going to throw up right now!
D (looking around frantically for…): Cory, we’ll try to…

Well, Cory was right. She said she was going to throw up right then. And she actually throws up right then. Green seaweed. On herself. On the car seat. On the seat next to her. And, on Daddy. Good thing Daddy got back there, you know, to avoid more of it landing directly on that space between the car seats, instead of on him.

D: Wow! Cory, you were right! You did need to throw up. (Her face heads toward tears.) Don’t worry about it, though. Everyone has to throw up sometimes.
F: Ewwwww! It stinks!
C (looking down): Daddy! My dress!
D: It’s okay, Cory. It’s okay. We’ll try to fix it. Everyone throws up sometimes. It just happens. Papa, do we have any wipe ’n’ dipes?
P: No.
D: So…
F: It smells in here. Cory! It’s your fault. You ate all that seaweed, and now it stinks in here!
P (taking his shirt off in the driver’s seat): Here.

Daddy begins mopping things up with Papa’s shirt. Papa drives bare chested. Cory stifles tears and expresses repeated concern over her new white dress, which she desperately wants to wear to the party to show Miss Brooke and Callen. And Fisher?

F (holding his nose): Daddy, it smells in here. That smell is making me throw up.
D: Fisher, don’t throw up.
F: I feel like I am going to throw up. It stinks so bad.
D: Fisher, you aren’t going to throw up.

Thankfully, where her self-diagnosis was spot on, his was pure drama. Cory’s stomach felt better from that point on. The potential green stains came out in the hotel bathroom. The dress was worn, albeit on Saturday, rather than Friday, night. And, Cory’s love affair with dried seaweed has soured. Literally.

Booty Shakes!

At first, Cory and Fisher defy the tides in typical fashion: by chucking handfuls of sand into the breaking waves. In come the waves to swallow their offerings without so much as a hiccup. At some point, though, Cory changes it up. She watches as the waves near her, turning her back at the last minute while placing her hands on her hips, all in order to…shake her little booty at them. She laughs and cries out, “Booty shakes!” Soon, Fisher is mimicking his sister.

The sea gods roil at such insolence. Their angry spirit overcomes Daddy, who, to this point, had been sitting quietly in a folding chair, contentedly sipping a beverage that could fairly be characterized as majority nonalcoholic. No more. Up from his seat, Daddy races toward the pixies, chanting “Booty shakes!? Booty shakes!? I’ll show you booty shakes!” He grabs the nearest brat, heads for the foam, intentions clear: to launch a cheeky child out to sea.

What kid doesn’t thrill at the threat of becoming a snack for some sea god?


Summer Cuts

After a nice breakfast, Daddy and Papa decide Fisher needs a haircut. Coincidentally, there is a hair salon three doors down. Nicely decorated. Clearly by a woman. Daddy pokes his head in. A friendly guy says, sure, after his current customer, he’ll take our kid. When Fisher gets in the chair, the gang decides it’s time for a “summer cut.” The man begins buzzing the hair away.

Fisher’s hair looks so short, clean, easy from across the room, as the process seems to be coming to a close, that Daddy decides, okay, time to get one, too. But, not a buzz cut. A number two on the sides and back, finger length on top, slightly longer in the front. Sure, says the man, as Papa takes the kids down to the beach for a sec. The man, with kind of a former biker look and sound, explains that the feminine-looking salon was decorated by his partner. She’s not here, though. In fact, he’s packing up right after this cut to head out on a vacation.

D: So, you said you grew up in Aptos?
M (cutting): Yah, been here my whole life.
D: Did you ever take some time away?
M (cutting): Oh, sure, I spent some time in San Diego.

The man stops for a second to survey his work. Daddy’s hair looks like Fisher cut it. Nothing is the same length. It’s all over.

M (attacking it again): I work hard on my hair. A bit of a perfectionist. Do you like that length? Mind if we go a little shorter?
D (beginning to worry): A little shorter is fine. (As he continues his second attack.) So, how long were you in San Diego?
M (cutting): Oh, about ten years. Came back to Aptos to care for my mother.
D: That’s nice of you.
M: Well, you get older and you need care. That’s just how life is. I was a chef down in San Diego. At the [garbled] Del Coronado.
D: Wow.
M: I’m actually a chef, yah. There just aren’t any restaurants big enough around here to sustain that kind of living.
D (uh oh): Well, I guess we haven’t seen any.
M (chopping at weird angles): I did some tile work down there, too.
D (I bet you did): Uh huh.
M (continuing his perfectionism): And some granite work. Still do some each now.
D (everything becoming clear): You are a man of many trades.
M: Well, you do what you can to get by, you know.

He tugs and pulls hair and tries to even it out. More chat about where the winds of life end up blowing people. He turns the clippers back on and tries to even it out with them. He talks some more about his tile and granite work. Sounds lovely. A few more spritzes of water, and he tries again to straighten things up.

C (coming back in): Oh, Daddy! I didn’t know you were going to get your hair cut like Fisher!

Neither did Daddy. Hey, um, so, there’s a very nice-seeming, random guy with a pair of clippers in his hand, a chef really, standing in a nicely-appointed hair salon in Aptos, next to the over-Yelped breakfast joint. He apparently does nice granite work. Go to him for granite work. But, you know, tip: wait for the woman who decorated the salon to show up if it’s a haircut that’s needed. (Wait, has anyone seen the woman who decorated the salon in a while?)

Later, Daddy takes scissors to the back of Fisher’s head, which has weird inch-and-a-half long patches lying flat against his head, patches that the clippers should have clipped, if they had just been moved firmly along the scalp. Easy peasy. Daddy asks Fisher whether he’ll let Daddy use the clippers that Daddy normally takes to the dog. “Daddy, no!” So, snip, snip, with scissors instead, a home cleanup

D: Fisher, how do you like your haircut?
F: I hate it.
D: Isn’t that better?
F (frowning): No. I have no hair. Even you have more hair than I do.
C: No, he doesn’t.
D: No, Fisher we left all our hair in Capitola.
F (harumphing): I want it back.

Sorry, kid, there is no going back.

Tubes, Straps, and Such

Growth-wise, twins apparently lag behind their singleton peers for a while but then catch up. Cory has more than caught up.

At a recent checkup, Dr. Niki notes that Cory has grown over four inches in the last nine months, putting her in the 90th percentile for her age. Cory remarks, while lying in bed with Daddy later that night, as she lifts her leg up and points to her foot, “Daddy, can you believe that my foot is way over there? It’s almost on the other side of the room!” When Aunt Therese sends some hand-me-downs from cousin Lydia, a high-schooler in Kansas, even though the jeans are many inches too long yet, Daddy notes that it won’t be long before Cory will be able to fit into them.

C (holding up a dress from the box): Daddy, can I try this dress on?
D: Well, I don’t think it’s going to fit. Lydia probably wore it at the same age she was when she wore the jeans.
C: Please, Daddy!? Please!?
D: Okay. Which one?
C (shaking the blue-and-white tube dress in her hand): This one?
D: Okay. Take your clothes off. (Helping her get the dress over her head.) See, I don’t think it’s going to…because it has to hug your body tight to stay…it doesn’t have straps, so…um, huh. Omigosh, Cory, I think this dress might fit you!
C (beaming): It does, Daddy!
F (coming over to poke the cups designed to accommodate…future expansion): Why are those there? Are those for chi-chi’s?
C (putting her hands over her chest): Stop it, Fisher!
F: You don’t have chi-chi’s yet, Cory!
C: Daddy, can I please wear this dress to school today?
D (testing the tightness of the tube): Well, it fits really well right now. Amazingly. But, I don’t think you should wear such a nice dress on just any old school day.
F: You can’t wear that dress. You don’t have chi-chi’s!
C: But, it isn’t just any old school day. Today is our singing show. Can I please wear it, Daddy, please?
F (laughing and trying to poke the cups again): Chi-chi spots!

Cory begs. Daddy gives in, but insists that she wear a sweater as well. Smiling shyly out at Daddy in her dark blue Dorothy duds, she belts out “A Bushel and a Peck” with her fellow kindergartners. At pickup at the end of a hot day, she has lost the sweater to her backpack…and gained a shirt from the lost and found bin.

D: Cory, did you know I asked Aunt Therese and Cousin Lydia how old Lydia was when she wore that dress. Do you know what they said?
C: I bet she was like six or eight.
F: Ten? Was she ten, Daddy?
D: No. She was thirteen.
F: Thirteen! That’s so old.
D: You are getting so tall, Cory.
C (beaming): Can I wear the white one tomorrow? It has straps. So, Mrs. Powell won’t make me wear a shirt over it or something.Mrs. Powell said that dresses are supposed to have straps.
D: That’s very reasonable. She put the shirt on you for the same reason that I put the sweater on you, I guess.
F: Thirteen! (Pause.) Do eh, er, uh girls have chi-chi’s for those kinda dresses when they are thirteen, Daddy?

Apparently, tube dresses violate the school’s dress code. Sensible. But, if anyone mentions it, Daddy’ll be all ignorance and contrition. After all, how can two dads be expected to know from tubes and straps and such?