Friday, October 12, 2007

A Night of Significance

Tonight was significant.

After a 12-week selah, Rhonda went back to work tonight. She's working a 12 -hour shift on October 12. As I'm writing it's approaching 12-midnight. What's the common thread?

It's not the number 12. (Had pizza boy cut tonight's 10-piece carry-out pizza one more you may have had an argument). Tonight's significant because Daddy's all alone with four girls for the entire night.

So we all loaded up the van and went to a high school football game with one of my buddies.

Before you pass judgment, read on.

The temps are beginning to plunge into the 40s in the evenings. Meke donned a pair of pink knit Scooby Doo gloves. It was obvious by her reaction that they were the first gloves she's ever worn.

It's fun taking our family into new settings to simply see their reaction. Football isn't played in Ethiopia. At least not the kind with pads.

We happend to choose a night when the local D.A.R.E. group was giving out free food and drinks in the parking lot. Despite a stomach full of pizza, Neti and Meke don't ever pass on something to eat. A bottled water in one hand and a bag of Lays in the other, we approached the small community stadium just as the opposing team was taking the field. The costumes they were wearing triggered a flurry of 4-year-old questions.

"What eeze theese, Daddy?" (What is this?)

" football."

For Neti, it was the beginning of the oooohs and giggles.

First item of business...potty. Unfortunately, the only option was our choice of a lineup of four little blue buildings (something Neti once mistook for vending machines). Not wanting Meke's bottom to touch anything with germs we began a bathroom ritual completely foreign to both of us. I noticed immediately that these weren't built for two. There was no way we could both stand from in the launching area.

"OK, Meke. Stand on the potty."

I saw her confusion immediately. I lifted her up thinking she'd straddle the seat with one foot on each side so I could take her pants down and get her ready to go. When I went to set her down she said, "No Daddy". In retrospect, the big dark smelly hole Daddy was trying to drop her in was probably pretty scary. She kept lifting her knees to her chin as I tried to lower her to a standing position.

I quickly realized we weren't on the same page so offered my best explanation. "You have to stand on the potty so I can take your pants down. Then I'm going to hold you over top of the potty without your bottom touching the seat. You can potty without sitting down on the potty. You'll be above the potty while Daddy holds you."

It's at this point that I'm reminded of a Gary Larson cartoon of a man talking to his dog. I realize that Meke may not have picked that all up, so I just took charge and started the blue- building-potty-procedure on my own, hoping she'd trust me enough to go along with it.

She did.

I grabbed her by each leg. She assumed the sitting position. I positioned her over the big dark smelly hole and gave her the go ahead, praying that everything was aimed correctly (I've gotten it wrong in the past). The hollow splashing sound was a relief.


"Pyew, Daddy!"

"Yes. Stinky. Hurry!"

We finished just in time for me to let out my breath, release Meke to her sisters, and step back in to add my contribution to the dark smelly hole.

I think the bonding is going well.

Back to football.

Neti and Meke sat mezmerized as old girls in short dresses shook blue and yellow clown wigs in their hands and shouted playground chants to the audience. When the smallest of these girls were lifted above the heads and thrown into the waiting arms of those below, Meke shouted "Again!" When the home team took the field, she laughed. "Daddy, yellow panties!" The loudspeaker mounted on the side of the press box held her interest for most of the second quarter. "Daddy, look!" (pointing and smiling with eyebrows raised)

While our two older girls were impatiently counting down the minutes before we could leave, Neti was trying to order popcorn but didn't know exactly how (or who) to ask. By halftime Neti was clapping in rhythm with the clown wig girls and doing her best to join in the chant. "Deefenz Holdumm"

But halftime it was bedtime, the end of the fun. We started the trek back to the familiar, passing by the D.A.R.E. booth again, to be handed free anti-drug toys for all the kids.

The voice of a 4-year-old summed it up:

"I like football."

Not a bad choice for such a significant night, Dad.


At 11:17 PM , Blogger Tricia said...

Sounds like a great night. I miss highschool football games. Good job being on your own, hope Rhonda's night went well and she get back in the grove of work.

At 5:59 PM , Blogger Michelle said...

Sounds like your first night alone with the girls went well. I must agree with Meke...I like (actually love would be a better word) football. Smart girl! :-) Hope Rhonda is doing well & adjusting to being back at work.


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