Thursday, January 15, 2015

Less Miserable

A while back I had the kids in the car with me and we were driving through the thriving metropolis of Payson, Utah. We were stopped at one of the many traffic lights in town (by my count, there are nine!) when my six-year old daughter Roni saw something out the car window that puzzled and upset her.

She said, "What is that? I don't know what that is. I don't like that."

I replied, "What, Roni? What are you talking about?"

"That," she said. "That over there. 'Less Miserables.' What does that mean?"

We were passing an old, closed down movie theater. On the marquee of the theater was a notice about a performance by the Payson Community Theatre of the play Les Miserables.

The Payson Community Theater thanks you for your patronage!

I decided to try to take a peak into Roni's imaginative mind. "What do you think it means?"

"Less Miserables," she repeated, trying to formulate her thoughts. "Well, I think that's a place where people who are miserable go, and after they go there, they are a little less miserable."

"Less miserable, huh?" I said. "Sounds to me like being less miserable would be a good thing."

"Yes," she replied, "but I still don't think I like it much. I don't want to be around miserable."

I then explained to her that Les Miserables (pronounced by me in a really bad, over-exaggerated French accent) was a play that her mama really likes, and that someday she, too, would probably really like it, as well. (It is, after all, much like Frozen, except with more incarceration, prostitution, and revolution.) (Okay, so they're not very much like each other, but they do both have lots of songs in them.)

Roni was appeased by my explanation. She likes shows. Someday she'll go see Les Miserables and quite like it. 

I really enjoy the time I get to spend with my kids. It's times like these that they make me smile, and I find myself being less and less miserable.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Can't You See I'm Holding a Baby Here!?!

Women and men are different. (Yes, another obvious statement from the files of Mister Duh.)

My wife and I recently had a baby. (And when I say "my wife and I had a baby" I mean "my wife had a baby and I stood around trying to not get in the way.")

Over the past few weeks, I've been amazed to see all of the things my wife can accomplish while holding the baby. With the baby in one arm and/or attached to her chest, my wife can:
     Change the baby's diaper.
     Change the baby's clothes.
     Feed the baby.
     Plan next week's menu.
     Cook dinner.
     Chop broccoli.
     Stir soup.
     Take pictures of the baby and post them on Facebook.
     Shop on (Mostly for diapers, baby clothes, car seats and such.)
     Help the six-year-old with her homework.
     Read books with the four-year-old.
     Pin things on Pinterest.
     Grade tests. (She's a math teacher.)
     Throw things at the cat to stop it from scratching the couch.
     Play Candy Crush.
     Make blueberry muffins.
     Play the piano.
     Bake homemade bread.
     Pay the monthly bills.
     Put together a bookshelf.
     Bring home the bacon.
     Fry it up in a pan.

And that, of course, is just a partial list.

Meanwhile, here's a list of the things I can do while holding the baby:

     (That sound you hear is crickets chirping.)

In fairness to me, what do you expect me to do? Can't you see I'm holding a baby here!?!

(Actually, you probably can't see that I'm holding a baby here.) (Let's add "taking selfies" to the list of things I can't do while holding a baby.)

When confronted with the differences of what we can accomplish while holding the baby, my wife shrugs and dismisses it as, ""That's why I'm the Mama."

[Quick aside: I did a brief, unscientific Facebook poll to see if that word should be spelled "mama" or "momma." I learned that a few more people go with "mama," and that about half of my Facebook friends are smart-alecks who won't give a straight answer.]

She's right, of course. There are some things that mothers are just more adept at and better equipped to handle than fathers. I'm pretty good at rocking the baby to sleep. Of course, I usually end up rocking myself to sleep at the same time. (I call this "synergy.")

So, yes, women and men are just different. (Says Mister Duh.) Have you ever noticed how a woman can get out of the bath or shower, wrap a towel around herself, and do just about anything, up to and including carpentry and jumping jacks, without the towel falling off at all?

If a guy wraps a towel around himself and tries to do anything that uses both hands, it is guaranteed that within two minutes the towel will drop, exposing butt crack and/or naughty bits.

Meanwhile a woman can have a towel securely covering all of her chestal and crotchatic regions and have another towel wrapped around her hair, and neither towel will fall!!! It's as if the laws of gravity have been temporarily discontinued!

My wife says this is all because women are better than men at multi-tasking. I don't know about that. I am more than capable of doing lots and lots of different things. As long as I am able to do them one at a time. And who knows, given enough time and practice, maybe I can learn and grow.

Lookie here: a successful selfie while holding the baby! There may be hope for me yet!
So, I'll keep trying, and I'll keep getting better. Just so long as I don't drop the baby. (Or the towel.)