Last weekend Chuck, my daughter, and I had the whole house to ourselves as the other half of the family was out gallivanting at a conference and rubbing elbows with famous people. We had an important agenda to accomplish:
- Go to art class
- Eat at Arby’s
- Watch a movie
- Watch three movies
- Eat grilled cheese
- Clean kitchen
- Watch four movies
- Take a walk outside
- Shoot guns
- Acquire Pizza Hut
- Clean kitchen and living room
- Eat more grilled cheese
- Watch three movies
- Make popcorn
- Clean guinea pig cage
As a parent it can be hard at times figuring out what’s no longer appropriate for “family time” as you transition from being that cool adult to someone with a little kid. When Chuck was a baby she would often be fussy and fidgety for Liz, but would lie completely still for hours with me watching whatever I happened to be interested in on TV. Since my asthma has been bad for much longer than Chuck has been alive, that means many, many hours of her early life were spent watching TV and movies with me.
At first I’d just watch whatever knowing she wasn’t paying attention, couldn’t exactly see what all was going on, and didn’t really understand anything. I think it was around 6 months or so that we quit letting her sit in on R-rated stuff and definitely avoided all violence and anything sexual. Eventually we started watching “kid stuff” with her but are fortunate she never got into some of the more annoying bits of children’s programming.
These days her favorite things on TV include:
- Doctor Who
- Star Wars (the original trilogy)
- Power Rangers Samurai
- Lord of the Rings
- And anything with Alton Brown
Yes, that’s correct – my kid loves Alton Brown. We lucked out being he’s one of the coolest food personalities on TV, is a great educator, and does an amazing job with Good Eats and Iron Chef America. Last night when it was getting close to bedtime Chuck asked…
Could I sit in the living room for a while and watch cooking shows? Alton Brown, let’s watch Alton Brown. Oh, and I’m hungry. I need a snack. I didn’t brush my teeth yet because I wanted to drink some juice. Do we have any juice left?
So I fired up an episode of Good Eats from season 14 and got her some cheese and crackers from the kitchen with juice. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and have tried to include Chuck whenever I’m preparing something. It’s kind of cool that she’s so interested in food. She loves olives, extremely sharp cheddar and asparagus, yet still refuses to eat eggs and mashed potatoes. Every time Alton makes something Chuck wants to know whats going on, loves answering his rhetorical questions and always asks me, “Can we make that some day? I want to try that. It looks good.” Occasionally the questions can become fast and furious and after a long day of questioning it’s a little tiring. I just keep reminding myself – hey, at least she’s not obsessed with the latest Disney kid personality or Miley Cyrus.
I have a daughter. She’s three years old. She lends a lot of credence to this family’s cool factor so it doesn’t bother me to give in when she asks for things.
Yesterday I let her paint my toenails.
Yeah, it sounds a little ridiculous, but she asked and asked and I felt like a used car salesman was trying to get me to purchase truecoat for my car cause they use salt on the roads, dontcha know!
I wasn’t really answering so Chuck told me she’d go get the colors so I could pick them out. We ended up going with green and purple. I’m lucky a nihilist didn’t chop a toe off my left foot for a kidnapping scheme. I’m sure some of you are thinking this is a little ridiculous – a guy letting a little girl paint his toenails, but is it really that big of a deal? It’s not like it’s hard to take off, and you could tell this really made Chuck’s day. I figured since she hates getting her picture taken, but will smile to show me how much fun she was having at things where I’m stuck at home trying to breathe, the least I can do is let her put a little paint on my feet.
Every Tuesday I try to spend some quality time with my kid. She looks like her mother, but received a lot of my personality. Tuesdays are one day every week that we watch a movie together and eat popcorn, and today was no exception. Today’s flick was The Polar Express. Chuck gets to pick the movies, which actually aren’t too bad. She’s not into most of the awful kid programming I hear some parents complain about and her favorite movie is Fantastic Mr Fox. With all the problems going on in the world today, I figure the least I can do is try to ensure my child has a good appreciation for film and knows I care about her. Some day we’ll watch the Alien Anthology, Star Wars or all six seasons of Oz. For now we’ll stick with more G-rated stuff though and continue to make popcorn together on the stove.