Sundays used to be all fun and games around our house. But to hear them tell it, the day had not gone well.
It had started out fine: She’d gotten up early to play computer games in the dinning room as her father busied himself with making breakfast and brewing coffee in the kitchen.
When I finally emerged, puffy-eyed from my down comforter-wrapped cocoon, at the late hour of 8 a.m. — drawn out by the dark, rich perfume of hot caffeine not the high-pitched shriek of excitement as computer animated teamwork had my husband and first born on the brink of breaking their all-time “Smooth Move” record — she had made a decision. She was going to spend the day with daddy.
But almost as soon as she’d decided to hang out with her dad instead of going on errands with me and her brother, things started to go downhill.
After all, her father wasn’t going to be sitting around the house all day playing games in Webkinz World or making mad scientist milkshakes from whatever was leftover in the refrigerator. He was planning on going to The Home Show to get ideas for the new house.
Still, he was optimistic. He thought the long trip from the parking lot to the arena would be made bearable by the promise of pizza and popcorn. He thought, as most men do, that toys big people like – such as car-tire sized shower heads – should have a magnifying effect on children.
“WOW! Ittybit ... LOOK at that flapper valve ... We’ll need a bigger flange to adequately address the inconsistencies in that flue baffle.”
But he is an adult who had been a child once, too. ... He could understand why her eyes might glaze over as they moved on to laminated flooring options, and why her voice slipped into a distinct whine as they passed one hot tub after another.
Father-daughter outings, especially if they are centered around home improvement activities, tend to have their bumps.
Both of them were disappointed, he hadn’t found the show useful in our endeavor to renovate a house … we didn’t need a hot tub or a high-end shower unit with surround sound and steam bath options. And the little miss didn’t really understand the joy of windows and gutter systems.
When they got home the complaints came fast and furious.
“It was boring.”
“She wasn’t cooperative.”
“They didn’t even have balloons.”
“It was packed with people.”
“He never took me to get pizza.”
“When I asked if she wanted pizza, she wouldn’t go.”
“Well I wasn’t hungry just then.”
“You were just being difficult.”
It was as if I wasn’t even standing there, pretending to referee.
“Well … was there ANYTHING about the day that you did like?” I asked, hoping to change the direction of the conversation.
“I did like that pet.”
“You know, that weird pet thing that was black and white and looked like a squirrel but that guy was holding?”
“Oh yeah … that was weird. Do you remember what they said that thing was?”
“I don’t remember, but it looked like a lemur.”
“It DID look like a lemur, but it had a crazy name that sounded made up.”
And as they were laughing about why people were trying to sell exotic pets at a home show, they forgot about the whining and the dragging of tiny feet through a sea of sales kiosks. They forgot about the forgotten junk food and the lack of balloons, and they fired up the old computer to end the day as it started: all fun and games.