Sunday, January 24, 2010

What starts with "P," and soon?

Primo's class had a pajama party, so this is what I sent with him. The P's are pineapple, the puppy's head is cheddar, his ears and the stars and moons on his pajamas are Havarti. The pajamas themselves are black forest ham, the nightcap is corned beef. The tablecloth is Muenster cheese with corned beef overlay. There are radish slices underneath it. The pear on the plate is ... pear. There's a turkey-breast base beneath it all and the yellow stripes are mustard. I intended them as lines on wallpaper, but they also kind of look like the headboard of a brass bed. My wife suggests, and I agree, that they also resemble prison bars, which would score me a bonus P. Honey-roasted peanuts round things out up top.
Primo was able to correctly identify it as a puppy in pajamas. He even recognized the pear, but not that it was on a plate. I got an unearned "P" credit because Primo thought the checkered tablecloth meant the puppy was on a picnic. Secundo looked at it and said "that's a woman."
Primo is lucky enough to go to the same school as two of his cousins, and we often wait for them after school lets out so we can say hello. That's usually about the extent of what gets said, but it's a nice routine nonetheless. Sometimes, depending on where everyone is parked, we'll walk together toward our cars, which is what we did on pj party day.
His oldest cousin is one of the sweetest, most earnest girls you'd want to meet. She is also a sixth-grader and on this occasion she was brandishing a pink folder with the sort of intricate doodling that suggested having to listen for a long time to talk about a subject that couldn't completely hold her attention. It's hard to understand what took the lecturer so long, as she summed everything up for me, her probably-not-close-enough-for-this uncle, during the 30 to 45 seconds it took for us to walk to my car.
"Hi, Uncle Kai."
"Hey, kiddo, how are you?"
"I'm okay. I've got to bring this folder home with me, though."
She's a little bit put-upon when it comes to homework. No biggie.
"Oh, yeah?"
"It's about puberty."
When is it not, really?
"My teacher says that when we get to high school we're going to talk about sexual relations."
Sometimes in class, even.
"And how if you have sexual relations with someone who has AIDS, you can get AIDS, too."
 I'm not sure what they're saving for that high school lecture they told you about. That pretty much covers it, I think.
"That's true."
"The girls got this folder. It shows how your period happens. I think the boys got one that talks about boy stuff, and I think the girls will look at the boy folder and the boys will look at the girl folder later."
Again, maybe in class, even.
"Well, it's good for boys and girls to ... understand ... each ... other ... better?"
Ah, my car!
"Yeah. Is Primo in his pajamas?"

And she was off to ask Primo about his pajamas for the final seconds of our walk together.

Maybe I'll borrow that pink folder so Secundo can have a look before I make another puppy lunch.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Roll out the barrel. Please.

You know what's a part of parenthood? Sacrifice.
Not the ritual kind, so far, but still, sacrifice.
Exhibit A: right.
Mario is seasoned rice with minced shrimp and accented with nori. His hat is a carved BabyBel cheese round. The mushrooms - "bigs," as my son calls them - are corned beef and Laughing Cow on an organic version of Ritz crackers. Cara Cara oranges are (finally) in season and they join stars of fresh pineapple and carrot to give a sunny, warm feel to a cold January day. Blueberries round out the list of "more or less natural" ingredients. Mario's irises are blue fruit roll-up and the green globes are lime-flavored maraschino cherries. But what are you gonna do?
I was really pretty much neutral in my feelings toward Mario until about two weeks ago. Now, I'm firmly in Donkey Kong's camp.

About two weeks ago, Primo got a big, heaping dose of New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii. Since then, it's been all he's talked about. Not in the way your friend means when she tells you that you're all the co-worker she set you up with has talked about. I mean in a literal, use-the-Webster's-definition-of-the-words-in-that-sentence way. All. He. Has. Talked. About.

"Hey dad?"
"In Mario, there's a haunted house level."
"Yeah, and all the turtles there are skeletons. You press the '1' button to jump."
"I bet you didn't know this, but when you have the helicopter, and you lose it, and you're Mario, you lose your hat! But only Mario! Luigi still has his hat! And I'm like, 'What the heck?'"
"You probably don't remember this*, but my favorite is the penguin suit."
"But when you finish the level with the penguin suit, you do a backflip!"
"Daddy, if you see a big, get it! Unless you're teeny-tiny. Then, a big won't even work!"
[Insert x-y hours here where x=hours Primo is awake and y=hyperbole allowance, currently zero.]
"Son, Daddy really needs a break from Mario. This can't be about Mario, okay?"
"... Nevermind. (Pause) Dad?"
"Can we go see [my cousins who have the Wii] tonight?"
"Good night, son."

Why does he get a Mario lunch, then? Won't that just stoke the fire?

Well, probably, but interspersed throughout the hours of prattling are musings about all of the cool things we'll be able to do in four-player mode. Yes, he's prepping me. Getting me, and, possibly, Mom or Secundo, ready to play this game he loves so much along with him. We're going to be the nameless mushroom-person partners to Mario and Luigi, a point he goes to lengths to make sure we're clear on, but we're going to be playing as one big family, nonetheless.

Well, maybe not all at once. His cousin is going to be Mario, so Mommy, Secundo or myself will have to sit out.

Still, it's a lot of Mario talk to listen to, so I've found a little balm. In case you don't recognize it, it's the sound of Mario dying in the original Donkey Kong.

Oh yeah. That's the stuff.

* This phrase is getting it's own entry.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm blowin' up, y'all!

So, I was on the Yahoo! portal page today, and it wasn't a story about my arraignment. Looks like someone owes me a *double* cheeseburger and an apology. In that order, please and thank you very much, Fr. Dornan.
It was, as one might expect if one is reading about it here, for making lunches like the one at right for Primo. You've got your PB&J sandwich adorned with carrot and wasabi peas (which, as I knew they would be, were picked off and eaten separately,) your BabyBel round cut to look like a peppermint candy, your broccoli tree with radish garland held to a club cracker by Garlic Herb Rondele cheese spread, your blueberry and maraschino cherry "festive baubles" and your baby corn snowflakes.
This one was from before winter break, so, like 6 weeks ago, which makes me wonder why they won't refill my prescription yet. Don't they know I'm "SuperDad?" that guy on internet TV said so himself!
Well, today SuperDad was trying to put Secundo down for a nap when he heard a loud bang from downstairs. It was a snow day, so Primo was, I knew, watching television and had not yet exceeded the "one-unidentifiable-loud-bang-or-crash-from-another-part-of-the-house-per-day" rule. Guideline, really, he gets enough "rules" at school. It had obviously not been a gunshot - Miss Lucy was tucked safely under my pillow and it had too full a report to be Primo's derringer, it's just a .22. But then the faint smell of smoke brought me downstairs.
"There's stuff all over the kitchen," was my greeting. I regarded Primo for a second and then ventured in, not sure what to expect.
I hadn't a clue what would be burning until I remembered an instant before it was obvious: there had been an eggsplosion. I'm sorry, it still seems precious to call it that, but like Brangelina or Chad Ochocinco, that's just the way it is now. That is what you call an explosion involving an egg. I don't want to call it that, but we don't always get want we want. (Obey the hyperlink and PLAY VIDEO.)
Anyway, I had been boiling some eggs, had actually thought to myself "If I'm warming up the eggs along with the water, I wonder when they'd be soft-boiled?" and then promptly forgotten all about them.
There are a lot of horrible stories from parents that start with "I was only gone for a minute," or "I didn't know sugargliders moved that fast." But pretty much anything can happen in 25-30 minutes. You can get braces, lose your date to the dance, get introduced to a bunch of other possible dates and then end up going with the original guy who got braces, too. You can get hired and fired from a chocolate factory. You can write a story about drugs at your school, refuse to divulge your sources and get a visit from Nancy Reagan. Basically, as long as it doesn't have to happen in Hawaii, it can happen in 25-30 minutes. I just didn't really appreciate that all of the water could evaporate from a pot and then eggs left behind could literally eggsplode.
But eggsplode they can. There are still bits clinging to the ceiling.
Lucky I can fly, I guess.