days of naze
|male gendered parental unit
An obnoxiously large
(101k .wav) audio greeting
from the Author.
|July 1, 1999
In parentis loco: Recipes for the Rambunctious, Ruminations Redux
Dads change diapers. Dads deliver bottles in the middle of the night. Dads do laundry. Dads kiss the boo-boo. And Dads have been known to sing a song or two.
So, beyond the body, what may I ask are the differences between a mother and a father?
I say unto you: the play's the thing.
Which member of the family is most likely to run through the house with underwear on his head? Prowling around the living room as a giant monkey? Racing along sidewalks with a little one on his shoulders? In other words, who is the most likely to make a complete ass of himself?
Yes, I resemble that remark.
Some of my fondest and most vivid childhood memories are of Dad laying flat on the living room floor and using my brother and me as barbells. And wrestle sessions battling the evil ogre. I also remember wishing that we could play a whole lot more than we did.
When it was my turn, I resolved in a fit of hubris that I would bridge that gap. Well, the vast appetite for mayhem and mirth of two little boys isn't likely to ever be sated for long, however, much jollity is to be had in the pursuit thereof.
The top requested Dad Games in the Naze household:
4. Smelly Sandwich
Take one child. Place him between two couch cushions. Wrinkle nose and exclaim in a whiny, nerdy voice "ooo, smelly sandwich!". Sniff repeatedly. Nibble at the edges of the cushions near the head. "Yum! Good and smelly!" Continue nibbling until child's laughter reaches a sufficiently high crescendo and/or child escapes. Repeat.
3. The Tickle Monster
Locate a satisfactorily yielding surface. A trampoline or bed will do. Add one child, two if available. You are the Tickle Monster. Establish your identity with proclamations. "I am the Tickle Monster!" Children establish identities, typically the superhero of choice. Wrestle-fest begins. Taunt the superheroes. "Superman, did you really think your heat vision could overcome the power of my Tickle Attack?" (Same Smelly Sandwich voice works here as well.) Gently grip child's pectorals and tickle mercilessly. High hilarity ensues. Pause. Allow superheroes to catch breath. Resume tickling. Superheroes escape and "overpower" you. Lay there lifelessly for a minute or two until they are convinced you have been vanquished. As you are prompted and goaded to return to life, seize the nearest superhero and resume the battle. Mom intercedes no later than the 3rd cycle.
2. The Hand
An improvisation for very tired fathers. Lay on couch. Cover self entirely under blanket. Children torment you. Finally, hanging down below the edge of the blanket appears The Hand. (For slow dads: this is your hand.) The Hand remains open, like a bear trap, until an unsuspecting child ventures too close. Then wham! the trap closes on said ankle or wrist. The struggle begins. Child pulls away, twists around, howls (actually more of a giggle). Eventually the varmint begins to pry apart the hand using their own 2 mitts. The survival instinct (and possibly the subconscious' desire to avoid having to chew the limb off to escape) kicks in and the prying power is impressive. Child escapes. Only to return moments later, inching closer and closer to The Hand!
Sort of a Taco Bell variant of Smelly Sandwich. Tortilla! may be played with from 1 to 3 child units. Add one soft, medium sized blanket and the gall necessary to imitate the Frito Bandito. Call out "Tortilla!". Children pretend to run but make a special point of staying within reach. Grab nearest child. Juan, for instance (all players are now Mexican). Roll child up in the tortilla/blanket. Sour cream and salsa not advised.
Nibble on edge near head. "Juan Burrito? You are delicious! Only something is missing that would make this burrito perfect... Pancho and Nacho!" Add Pancho and Nacho. Juan will probably spill out.
Dad Games are powerful voodoo. Which begs the question: why?
Express aggression. Across the board for kids and dads alike, physical expression of aggression is a great big no-no. Do those feelings just stop happening? No. They just get jammed down. Rough housing lets it out.
Leveling. Try to scowl with your best the-weight-of-the-world-is-crushing-my-spirit face while eating a Smelly Sandwich. Can't do it? Congratulations. You are foolish and happy, if just for a moment. Kids see a new you because they see themselves in you.
Vicarious thrill. Parents are giants, they just don't realize it. Wasting super-powers on carrying groceries or other such foolishness when they could be serving as chariots or launch pads. Man. Can you imagine how cool it must feel to have giant size strength made to serve your entertainment needs? And then the realization: Some day I'm gonna be a giant too.
Elevation. The one unspoken rule that every father knows: eventually Dad must be vanquished. In the toussle, contesting with giant strength is bound to become dispiriting. An earnestly executed toppling to the couch under the weight of little arms satisfies their need to experience a little role reversal and countless mythic archetypes.
Control. Two guarantees come with Dad Games: 1) yee-haw!, 2) ouch! Somebody is going to get hurt. When you're doing it right it's never serious. Bonked heads. Bruised arm. It will happen eventually. Important lesson ensues: this is not the Collosseum of Rome -- the game stops, the discomfited are consoled. There's a code. Along with the super-powers go the vigilance and oversight. The thrill and fun scary are welded to a sense of justice and caring.
Drawing the Dad Games to a close (essentially putting the monster back in the box) is usually a difficult proposition. The wee ones are willing to outbid your energy wager regardless of the initial ante. Closing down the circus (with some level of advance notice) contains the ritual, because at the heart of the Game is an agreement among all to play.
p.s. days of naze celebrates it's first complete orbit of the sun on bastille day (july 14)! Take 3 minutes to join in the festivities with an e-mail answer to these burning questions:
- How did you find days?
- What is your favorite piece of days? (A page, a paragraph, a sentence. The more specificer, the better.) Why? (O.k. You can skip that part if it's too hard.)
- Your favoritist days link?
Answers will be lovingly incorporated into the July 14 Anniversary piece. Merci beaucoup in advance for stepping into the light.
p.p.s. Falling out of the sky and crashing into your e-mail inbox in the night: new days notification.
|previously on days of naze:
saving star wars - episode I
what have you done for me lately? enduring.
|May you never be more active
when you are doing nothing.
|in the feedbag:
film: The John Wayne film extravaganza continues; Big Jake (A-), grandson kidnapped by gang -- Big Jake kicks ass; The Comancheros (B), wanted man escapes then saves the Duke's life. Reminds me of laying on the living room floor of my grandparent's house with Grandpa Eades sitting in his big easy chair watching old b&w movies.
experience: Got Jack his very first library card. Cool.
book: An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. A major Rashomon trip through post-Cromwell England.
web: Today web consciousness descended upon a lonely phone booth in the Mojave this afternoon. I'll be damned if I didn't miss the window to call...
more web: Salon - Susie Bright: How to Ruin Your Sex Life.
even more web: WBER (radio on the web). Quite possibly the best radio station on the planet.
broadcast radio: Ashamed to admit that I'm on a shock jock jag on the commute to work. I've reduced myself to flipping back and forth between Howard Stern (NYC) and Mark & Bryan (LA). Something is wrong with me.
|aspiring to Avagadro's number|