Tuesday, June 5, 2007


An admired blogger recently pondered the wonders of the unexpected. And her desire for it.

She waxed quite poetic about how love is non-linear. That it sweeps us along unexpected currents and twists and turns us in ways that we'd never have imagined possible. Though for us ENTJ -types accustomed to arranging everything in life just so, the ride can be frightening as we hopelessly struggle to orient everything according to how we think things should be.

I posted a comment in reply, and I'll share it here to preface my intended writing.

Your post reminded me of a lesson I learned nearly seven years ago. I have had the habit, recently, of forgetting it. The lesson, that is.

My then-wife and I were (and are) very career-oriented. Which is not to say that we sacrifice normal-me/us-time for the sixty-hour workweek so we could angle-in on the corner cubicle, but we nonetheless both had (and have) hopes. Great, fantastic hopes.

We are driven.

I fully expect that we would never have gotten around to it, always saying, "not ready just yet, I/we have this one more thing to accomplish, then we'll be set."

But then there was that day. You don't know it, yet. Maybe it'll never come. But there's not a day that has passed in nearly seven years that I haven't thanked God for mine.

"Justin, I'm pregnant."

Having just returned from a deployment, we are only left to imagine that something overseas made me, umm... *cough* extra-fertile-y. My dear daughter was just going to be conceived, damn any form of contraception.

Not more than a week before that momentous day -- and I remember it clearly -- someone at work asked me if I had any intention of soon having children.

My reply? "If I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I'd put little leather boots on my dog."

My point is this: non-linear is the best. If I hadn't been just floored in surprise that day, perhaps I'd have missed out on the greatest thing to have ever happened to me.

Can't wait to see what else the Mystery has in store for me. Maybe her name is Sophie, even. *grin*

1) I came home from work tired, but satisfied. I looked forward to taking Madison out for what had become a daily ritual: I'd walk the dogs around our neighborhood, while she did her best to clip my ankles in her Giant Pink Barbie Motorized Jeep, drunkenly crisscrossing the street with an as-yet unlearned skill in steering.

Once I'd crossed into the living room from the kitchen, I noticed that Madison was conspicuously absent. My "nanny" (for lack of a better word; she was a junior college student that took Maddie to school and picked her up, entertaining her for the hour or so it took me to get home) sat on the couch, folding laundry. (I gotta get another one of those, really. I mean, my laundry was being folded. I digress.)

I asked her how Maddie had been. "Fine, really. She's been good. But she's drying her hair now."

"Drying her hair? Did she take a bath?"

"No, she washed her hair. In the toilet bowl."

2) Another bathroom story. I'm sitting in the living room, comfortably occupied on the couch with a well-earned end-of-day beer and armed with the remote control. Madison is taking a bath, her just-before-bed ritual. It is a glimpse of the peace I will soon be enjoying once she's fallen asleep.

A good time, that bath, when they're so young.

Madison is perhaps four.


So, I'm on the couch, watching a re-run of Everyone Loves Raymond. Suddenly, from just within earshot, I hear Madison yell out, "Stop standing on my vagina!"

Intrigued, I swiftly mashed the mute button. Turning my head towards the hall that lead to her bathroom, I arched an eyebrow and focused my attention. Silent, I waited for more.

Again, this time somewhat louder: "Stop standing on my vagina!"

Clearly, this had become a situation that warrants Daddy's investigation. I crept into the hall, and held short just of her bathroom's door. I peeked inside, and spied my daughter playing in the tepid water with nary a care in the world.

She saw me, and exclaimed, "Hi, Daddy!"

"Hi, baby! Whatcha doin'?"


"Whatcha playin'?

"Barbie and Ken."

I looked closer, and observed Naked Barbie laying across the edge of the tub, helpless. Ken was, in fact, standing on her vagina.

It occurred to me that Ken could have been standing on Barbie's ear. Or her arm. Or her hair. He just happened to be standing on Barbie's vagina. Since a vagina is like an ear or an arm or hair, it wasn't anything special to Madison.

"Okay, baby. Let me know when you're ready to get out of the bathtub."

"Okay, Daddy."

Of course, I've always insisted on teaching my daughter the proper names of her anatomy. She neither has a hoo-ha nor a pee-pee nor any of the other silly words I've heard magically conjured by otherwise intelligent parents.

Madison has a vagina. So does Barbie (ostensibly.)

Funny addendum to this story: I once shared it on an electronic bulletin board for parents on my work intranet, and I received perhaps a dozen replies.

The first?

"This is clear evidence of child abuse. You need to call Child Protective Services."

Asshat. Clearly written by someone who doesn't have children.


jess said...

My grandma (the Polish one), I kid you not, called it a 'wissy.' Now tell me, which word is worse? :)

Thank you for your kind compliment, again, and your beautiful reply. See, now, if I had a Madison, nothing would be a mystery to me anymore :)

VaryingDegreesOfConArtistry said...

The Barbie story? SOOO funny.

And yes, that person who posted has no children, I'm SURE of it!

the bee in dc said...

my mom used to call them "winkerstinks" and "tinkerdoodles." actually, boys had those. i dont think there was anything special for a girl's virginia.

inowpronounceyou said...

My reply? "If I wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I'd put little leather boots on my dog."

I laughed OUT LOUD when I read this. My line, when asked about kids, is this:

"I don't even have pets. Not even a gold fish. If I raised a gold fish it would join a pirrahna gang."

I like yours better.