This is another post from my “Daddy Daze” series, an anecdotal exploration of my odd little adventures in parenting in bite-sized chunks (for your reading enjoyment) and because the last thing this world needs is yet another doting parent blog.
Temperatures dropped to well below tolerable this past week, the windchill factor creeping into the sub minus-forties for a couple of hours on Tuesday. We hibernated. And the warmer temperatures that appeared as the weekend — and another Friday installment of our Daddy Day — were very welcome.
I picked the girl up from Kindergarten as usual. When I arrived — a few minutes early because I can never remember the exact dismissal time — the kids (and the teacher) were taking advantage of the warm(er) temperatures too and they were doing an outdoor craft project: spraying colour onto the snow outside.
I’ve been into volunteer in the past, so most of the kids know who I am — as does the teacher — so a minute later I was down on my knees in the snow helping squirt little bits of purple and blue onto a bunch of kinder-creations.
We escaped the school without tripping over too many kids as the bell rang, and Claire and I headed south for a daddy-daughter lunch date at the local Five Guys burger place.
She’s taken quite a shining to a Friday hot dog and the bag-o-fries, but I think the two real draws are (a) a lunch date with her dad and (b) the fact the kitchen is out there in the open for her to watch: she’s fascinated by the burger assembly line and the calling out of order numbers. We were 49.
She scarfed the whole dog — impressively — and together we polished off an order of regular fries: I don’t indulge that often anymore, but it’s nice to hang out with a five year old who can glory in the simplicity and wonder of a paper bag overflowing with fried potatoes: There’s just something innocent about it.
Odd fact: did you know that carbon monoxide detectors are programmed to die after exactly seven years?
Neither did I. And neither did the dog, who on the coldest day of the year and with a full bladder was treated to the mind-fraking repetitive squelch of a CO-detector gone south, beeping at her every minute for dog-only-knows how long over the course of the day. She peed on some things she shouldn’t have peed on. But in fairness, given the weather and the water-torture-like pain indirectly inflicted upon her by the fine folks at Kidde and their beeping “err” message, I can’t really hold it against her: I would have peed all over the place too.
In other words, we needed a new CO-detector.
And after finishing up at the burger joint, Claire and I hopped over to Home Depot to browse the aisles and locate another detector.
After this… well, daddy days aren’t all fun and games. The poor kid has more responsibility than me sometimes (or so it seems.) We had to spend some time back at home, running through yet another piano practice. She’s getting pretty good. In fact, she knows a couple of scales now, can sight-read about half the notes on the bass and treble clefs, and was playing a gosh-darn-decent (though simplified) rendition of Bach’s Minuet this past week.
I mean… hey, it’s about as good as I am. Maybe better. And she actually has technique (where I just patter at the keys.)
her reading is pretty awesome too.
Every day we’re supposed to be doing at least one book with her. Those books are very simple, of course. I could turn my average blog-post (at least as far as word count) into a month’s worth of reading material. But simple stories and basic-language books are no problem anymore.
We zip though our daily reading in about five minutes.
“Hop in Mark! Hop in Carl!” We’re off to the pool.
Because of course, with that vacation — the dates of which you will not read about here — coming up in the not-so-distant future, we’ve been taking every opportunity to practice our swimming.
This time last year Claire was not a swimmer. But she’s been in lessons, and we’ve been doing a lot of drop-in stuff, her and I, particularly when we have a daddy day. And she’s improving.
I sneaked my camera in. Well, not sneaked. I was discrete and only took video and pics of my daughter. It’s not really against the rules… I think. Well, maybe. I’m a little hazy. At the very least, it’s frowned upon. But I think they really just want to protect the privacy of swimmers… and I’m all game with that. So, probably don’t follow my example.
I grabbed a few seconds of video of Claire swimming and then we put the camera back in the locker. Hey.. proud father here. Then we did the water-slide and the steam room and the hot tub and called it a day-at-the-pool.
We checked the standard items off our to-do list: Claire begging for a snack from the Second Cup, me saying no, that type of thing.
Then we went home to drop our wet gear and gather our supplies.
It’s hard to believe but sometimes a few short hours is shorter even than it seems: time just flies by. We wait a couple weeks — sometimes longer — for one of this little daddy afternoons, seemingly so few and far between now, and then when we get one: woosh! A bit of driving, a bit of swimming and next thing you know we’re packed up in the car making silly faces as we get ready to go to piano lessons.
Of course, they really frown on taking pictures during piano lessons. So… yeah. There ain’t none of that.
I guess it is what it is: a few hours of father-daughter time. Does it really matter if we do something epic or if we just hang out? Does it matter if we swim or shop or eat burgers? Does it matter if we watch a movie and eat popcorn before crashing on the couch later? What’s the difference? It’s just about the time spent right?
Later that night, after Claire was sound asleep and I’d finished my evening run, we were watching a slightly-out-of-audio-synced version of the Bill Murray classic “Groundhog Day” on the free-ad-supported digital video service, Crackle. The point being is that they were playing ads. One ad, actually. It was like they only had one sponsor all day and they played the same ad, twice, every ten minutes. It was for the US National Fatherhood Initiative, advocating just that sentiment: it’s about spending time. I think they got it right.