Sunday, May 15, 2011

Days One and Two of our Vacation!

Day One: 

Weather: Overcast

Lily's Aunt Lori was good enough to watch her on Friday night, which gave Jen and me extra time to pack. We picked her up on around 9:30 and were on the road by 10:00.

Lily was good for the trip, mostly. No four-year-old is going to be well-behaved for the entire duration of a four hour car trip unless she's a saint, which ours certainly is not. I gave her a comic book to stop her from complaining, which my parents had done to me. (Click here for details!)

Aw Yeah Titans!

We discussed the difference between real and pretend. Lily told me “Batman's not real, Superman's not real, but I kind of believe in mermaids because I met Ariel and she used to be a mermaid.” Heh.

Speaking of mermaids, she and I told this long, interactive story. She's incredibly good at building on what I said. I was particularly impressed with that, because a lot of little kids (and a fair amount of adults) don't really listen all that well; they're just waiting for you to stop talking so they can talk about what they want to discuss.

She really got into it and came up with the characters, Daisy the mermaid, her friend Squeaky the dolphin. They met an octopus who only had seven drumsticks for his eight drums, so Daisy and Squeaky and their whale friend Jupiter all go off to the trench to confront the evil shark who stole it, as well as his whale friend and his hook-handed turtle underling. The good whale smashes them all flat and they go to a vet to get unflattened. She tries to blow them up with a bicycle pump, which seems to work, but when she takes out the hose, the air comes out and they fly around the rooms like deflating balloons. They she searches online for a cure, but she finds bad medical advice online (shocker!) and the pharmaceuticals she orders are not as advertised, and only make the villains flatter! Despite this, the shark keeps drinking it “Because it tasted so good!” Lily went on at considerable length finding objects which the shark was now flatter than. Finally, the doctor realized that the cure was to be found in the haunted basin, in the form of a magical anemone. Daisy and Squeaky went out to find it.

I was surprised at how elaborate it got. After a while, we got into a rhythm, with me playing the heroes and Lily voicing the villains and providing most of the plot points. GMing at four, and already better at it than the Lord!

I'm afraid that the weather is going to echo our experiences of three years ago, when it was all midnights dreary and unseasonable coldness. It's going to be warm(ish), but rainy. It had been overcast all day and it started raining, literally the same minute we entered the town.

When we got to the beach house, Lily proclaimed it “The best vacation ever!” We're only a couple blocks to the beach, so after we settled in, we walked on down. It was too cold to go swimming, but Jen cuffed up Lily's pants and she dodged the waves with the untrammeled joy usually only observed in other people's kids. I had left the camera at the house, so I ran up to get, but when I stopped to empty some sand out of my sneakers, I heard Jen calling my name, so I ran back. Poor Lily had turfed it, and tumbled face first into an oncoming wave. So, with Lily full of sand and out of joy, we bundled her up and took her back to the house for a bath.

This had gone from the best vacation ever to the worst one, according to Lily. Her mood slowly improved until she asked, completely unprompted “Why is the house baby blue? People will think a baby lives here.”

Jen went out with a friend who happened to be in town for the World Series of bird nerdery and Lily and I watched some cartoons until she got back.

Day Two: 

Weather: Thunderstorms

Rainy again, with actual thunder and lightning. Lily woke up in a good mood and the pendulum had swung back to “best vacation ever” at this point. We waited for the cruddy weather to subside, and then went down to the boardwalk to roller skate. 

We returned, had lunch, and I took a nap, as I hadn't slept well the night before. Jen and Lily went down to the beach and Lily conquered her fear of the waves. She and Jen practically had the ocean to themselves as Lily dodged in and out again. It was probably fortunate that they were mostly alone, as the clasp on her swimsuit top suffered something of a catastrophic wardrobe malfunction.

After their return, we all went to the Cape May Lighthouse. 

"Hey Beavis, does that remind you of something?"

Lily counted all 199 steps as we went and got a total of 193, which isn't bad at all. She recalled something trivial we had only mentioned once, and I asked if her super power was “super memory” because she is astonishingly good at recalling specifics. (She recited an entire book from memory for her class after hearing it once, and she remembers exactly how things unfold in her cartoons.) I suggested that she could join the Legion of Super Heroes, because, hey, if Triplicate Girl could get in, she'd be a lock.

But she was appalled by the suggestion. “No! If I became a super hero, I
  • wouldn't live with mommy and daddy any more!”
  • wouldn't get to do my favorite things!”
  • would never see Baby Bear!”
  • wouldn't get to go on vacation with my mommy and daddy!”
  • would never get to go to school!”
  • would never see my friends again!”
  • would have to live in outer space!”
  • couldn't climb the lighthouse!”
  • would never see Grammy Kathy again!”
  • wouldn't ever be able wear dress up clothes!”
  • would have to be a teenager, and I'm not old enough, anyway!

And more I'm sure I'm forgetting. We'd try to interrupt with, “That's a good reason,” or “Then, you don't have to be a superhero,” which quiet her down, but then she'd pipe up again with another couple reasons she didn't want to be a superhero.

She conked out on the ride home, we had dinner (I had this crock pot General Tso's chicken and it was pretty delicious) and then, just as it looked like we were primed to go back to the beach, Lily balked at having her hair combed. Sometimes she's amazingly obstinate about the stupidest things. She likes having wavy hair, but since both of her parents have just about the straightest hair on the planet, she does too. The only time it has any waves at all is if Jen sets it into a tight little bun when it's still wet the night before, so she's extremely averse to anything that will take out her waves. We harangued and pleaded with her to just let mommy comb her hair until Jen suggested, “The sea air will probably make your hair even wavier,” and she was like, “Oh, okay.”

So, on we went. It was pretty blustery and I mentioned that my “World's Greatest Dad” cap might blow away, and how would people know that was me if I wasn't wearing it, and Lily answers, “You could tell them,” and I think that's what I'm going to do. So I went up to Jen and started to talk and Lily tugged at my sleeve and said, “No, say 'My name is Josh and I'm Lily's dad and she thinks I'm the world's greatest dad, and I think I am too.'” Funny kid.

The kite went up high. And then the kite went up super-high, because the already gusty winds had picked up even further. I started the walk as the only one dressed appropriately. I did not end it that way.

Such is the plight of the world's greatest dad guy named Josh who is Lily's dad and whose daughter thinks is pretty great, most of the time.

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