July 13, 2006

Magic and Kinetic Energy

New this week...my daughter can stand and take a few steps. On her own. It's amazing. It's like watching a little old person trying to walk while wearing giant invisible clown shoes. Yet, somehow, it kinda works. It must be all the magic. Or kinetic energy.

Mia, being young, has this look of surprise on her face whenever I manage to do something she just doesn't quite understand. By way of as-yet meaningless explanation on my part, I took to exclaiming that whatever it was I did was magic. Daddy bounces a rubber ball on the floor? Magic! Daddy armpit farts? Magic! Daddy puts a diaper over his head and, blinded, walks into walls? Magic! Beth, however, chided me for the constant use of the explanation. Maybe because it wasn't true. Gosh, Beth.

Yesterday evening, Mia was opening and closing the Freedom French Doors that divide our living room from the kitchen. After a couple of tries, they'd eventually lock into place and I'd have to open them again so she could repeat the process. At one point I tried to explain what was happening to Mia. Beth was well-within earshot.

Me: You know, Mia, the ability to slam those doors has nothing to do with magic. It's all about kinetic energy.
Beth: What?
Me: You wanted me to stop saying everything was magic. I'm going with a different explanation - kinetic energy.
Beth: So, now you're just making shit up?
Me: Yeah. Pretty much. It sounded good, didn't it?

That, my friends, is parenting - making shit up and hoping it sounds good enough to stick. I'm not talking about answers to pesky little questions like why is the sky blue or why is Barney purple or what were you and mommy doing when all the lights were off and why was she talking to God. No, I'm talking about fundamental parenting here, the truly foundational shit. You can't prepare for parenting. It's like learning Spanish. You can study and conjugate verbs until the vacas come home but you haven't really accomplished anything until you've used it in the real world, until you've had to bribe your way out of a Mexican jail after being discovered, naked and passed out in the back of a 1968 VW Beetle with a dead hooker, a drug lord's pet alligator and a kilo of the finest South American blow. Only then have you truly earned your stripes. Parenting, like life, is just a matter of being fast on your feet and making shit up.

One thing I do know - while kinetic energy might be involved somehow, it's definitely magic.

Posted by Chris at July 13, 2006 7:00 AM

Kinetic Energy. Oh, how you make me laugh...

James will probably explain things this way to our hypothetical child.

Posted by: Emily at July 13, 2006 7:32 AM

I'm just catching up on reading you and I'm still busting a gut at 'Handjob, the bunny' in the previous post.

Although, if good old Handjob isn't magic and/or teeming with kenetic energy, I'd like to know what is!

Posted by: Contrary at July 13, 2006 7:40 AM

I have no doubt kinetic energy was used to make Mia...so there you go!

Posted by: Wicked H at July 13, 2006 7:57 AM

Now, see, I use the 'magic' explanation all the time. The 5 year old doesn't always believe me anymore, but the little one does. They figure it out eventually, no matter what you tell them.

My favorite magic trick was always to make Kool-aid. Use a clear pitcher, fill with water. Add sugar and stir, nothing. Add "mom's magic powder" and Viola! The water turns colors! And it tastes good, too!

Got 'em every time for a year.

Posted by: Alissa at July 13, 2006 8:03 AM


You have hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head.

Congratulations! You may now pass GO and collect $200.00 of Monopoly money.

Posted by: Red at July 13, 2006 8:18 AM

Dude - if she's anything like my daughter was, she'll go from taking a few steps to running in, like, 3 days. Move everything up 2 or 3 shelves.

And you're explaining things to kids reminded me of this gem from Jack Handy that I can't wait to use with my daughter:

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

Posted by: Kaz at July 13, 2006 8:42 AM

So you guys Pray in the dark. That is interesting.

And again the use of hookers in any post (now combined with alligator)always makes me laugh

Posted by: Bill at July 13, 2006 8:49 AM

This is absolutely 100% true!! I love it! My son was totally frustrated with his homework one day (he was probably all of 7 at the time) and I told him to eat an oreo because it helps boost brain power. He knows it's not true now (it just adheres to mom's butt) but he will still say it and wink at me now! I don't know what's cuter, when they believe the crap we tell them or when they see through our lies and throw it back at us!

Posted by: Amy at July 13, 2006 9:10 AM

I like to administer the "foot test" to my nephews to "determine if they are going to survive" scraped knees, bruised egos, etc.
Remove sock and carefully inspect toes for lint. If lint is found, wave it around and say "I think we've discovered the problem - you're a lint machine! But wait, I see something facinating . . ."
Now hold bottom of foot very close to your face (and pray that said child doesn't decide to kick), then quickly swoop in for the aunt-induced foot fart (similar blowing raspberries on bellies). The mouth-on-stinky-foot is a small price to pay for the giggles that are produced. More often than not, they wipe their tears away then prove that they can make even LOUDER fake fart sounds themselves.
I'd substitute flatulant sound effects for sorrow any day.

Posted by: Betti at July 13, 2006 9:28 AM

oh man. i make everything up.
the key is making it sound that you actually know what you are talking about.

Posted by: ali at July 13, 2006 9:41 AM

Yep, like Kaz's mine ran after an alarmingly few days, too, so be prepared, but enjoy the little baby walk while it lasts.

Parenting is, indeed, magic, with a little bit of fibbing thrown in. I always think of the cartoon with Calvin's dad telling him that the wind was trees sneezing.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at July 13, 2006 9:59 AM

Amen. If making it up didn't work, then kisses wouldn't make owies feel better. And I would be completely SOL.

Posted by: Julie at July 13, 2006 10:13 AM

I used to tell some of the wildest stories and they'd just swallow them whole.

Now I get the eye roll but it was fun while it lasted.

Posted by: ann adams at July 13, 2006 10:28 AM

I always loved the Calvin & Hobbes cartoons where the dad made stuff up, like "Old photos are black and white the world used to be black and white." I definitely picture John being that kind of dad!

I'll make sure to tell him about kinetic energy so he can use that one too. Although magic seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation to me.

Posted by: bad penguin at July 13, 2006 10:33 AM

I've answered a couple of how or why questions with, "because Dadda is cool." That's allowed.

Posted by: Brad at July 13, 2006 10:36 AM

Dude. My mom used to make shit up all the time. To this day, I won't press my belly button because I'm afraid my ass will fall off.

Posted by: statia at July 13, 2006 10:36 AM

Apparently I was born to parent because making shit up and hoping it sticks has been my m.o. for a long, long time.

Posted by: Jenn at July 13, 2006 10:37 AM

I don't know, I like Magic. See my entry http://www.dackelprincess.com/archives/2006/07/sweet_magic.php#000775
I talk all about Sweet Magic!
BTW, Hugs to Mia from her Cyber Granny!

Posted by: Maribeth at July 13, 2006 10:49 AM

Wow, hon! You've got that whole "educational" shit all over the place this week! You're giving so much back to the world! You should be proud.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at July 13, 2006 10:56 AM

Are you going to teach Mia that greens is blue and up is down?

Beware, my dad and mom taught me some real good "lessons" that, hey! Turned out to be completely wrong!!!!

For instance, did you know that the word 'similar' isn't pronounced sim-il-yar?

I didn't until Senior year AP English.

Posted by: melati at July 13, 2006 11:02 AM

"naked and passed out in the back of a 1968 VW Beetle with a dead hooker, a drug lord's pet alligator and a kilo of the finest South American blow"

OK...Who told?????

Posted by: Kate at July 13, 2006 12:42 PM

Um, kinetic energy is nothing to laugh at. Just so you know.

You should feel very ashamed.


Posted by: ku nkiko at July 13, 2006 1:36 PM

it always comes down to hookers with you, doesn't it?

Posted by: jodi at July 13, 2006 1:46 PM

Either hookers, or midget sex. That one'd be *really* fun to explain in spanish. I'm pretty sure I never learned that particular verb...

Posted by: Heather at July 13, 2006 2:59 PM

I used to tell Noah I was magic. ALL. THE. TiME.
And the thought I as FABULOUS.
And then one day he dropped a book between his bed and the wall.
I said "We'll wait for Daddy to come home and then he'll move your bed and we'll get it"
"You can move it Mommy"
(his bed is a mate's bed and I cannot budge it)
"No sweety I can't it's soooo heavy. We'll wait for your Dad"
"But your magic Mommmy, you can do it."

Posted by: Pamalamadingdong at July 13, 2006 3:04 PM

Making shit up should work for a few more years. Or until she takes her first physics class.

Posted by: Liz at July 13, 2006 3:15 PM

Have I told you lately that your brilliant?

Posted by: Sheryl at July 13, 2006 3:15 PM

well, thanks. now i know how doors work AND why i resent my dad.

Posted by: Boobs Radley at July 13, 2006 3:38 PM

still giggling. I saw comments about flatulence. I saw more "magic" than I ever thought possible. I saw hookers AND midget sex. Life doesn't get much better than this!!

My best friend Heather had a swimming pool. We went over there for a swim. Her mom told us that we'd better not pee in the pool because whoever peed would have a green ring around their waist where the water hit them, marking and exposing them to be the pee-machines that they are.

Hell no I didn't pee in the pool. I was too afraid to be exposed--jeesh. moms know everything.

Posted by: kristen at July 13, 2006 5:06 PM

That is the kind of magic at comes when your friend accidentally pours their son's fish named Bluey down the sink, but appears back in its' tank before he notices, only with a Greeny color to it. The explanation? Siamese Fighting Fish change that color when they grow up.
uh huh.

As for the walk, I've heard it termed the "Ozzy Osborne" walk, and it has stuck ing my mind since.
Good luck on your continued Magic endeavers.

Posted by: Lin at July 13, 2006 5:18 PM

What a great post. I love it.

Magic only works as a reason until they turn four. Then on that day you have to explain EVERYTHING. Enjoy it while you can.

Posted by: Melissa at July 13, 2006 6:34 PM

"...until you've had to bribe your way out of a Mexican jail after being discovered, naked and passed out in the back of a 1968 VW Beetle with a dead hooker, a drug lord's pet alligator and a kilo of the finest South American blow."

Ha! Where do you come up with this stuff?

Posted by: Beth in StL at July 13, 2006 6:58 PM

It's all totally magic. There's really no explanation for anything, anyway....It's all magic!
Parenting is the coolest thing ever--totally magical. And, I know what you mean by that adorable look of surprise. Joey gets that, too. It's the cutest!

Posted by: haley-o at July 13, 2006 7:59 PM

Kids walking for the first time is always magic. Thanks for the memories.

Posted by: wordgirl at July 13, 2006 8:45 PM

Dude ... we have GOT to party! You bring the Beetle and I'll take care of the hookers and alligator. We can pick up the blow from my buddy Juan. You crack me up! Get ready though. My 16 year old son defined asinine for me tonight. Him: "Dad, use asinine in a sentence." Me: "Dont be asinine! It means stupid or idiotic son." Him: "No, I give her face a two and her ass a nine." He's a chip off the old block! I'm so proud! *sniff*

Posted by: Tommy Gunn at July 13, 2006 9:10 PM

Ditto over here on the baby steps, the door swinging, and the illicit alligator.

You put it all together so well.:-)

Posted by: Kristin at July 13, 2006 10:21 PM

Heh. At least she's still at an age where she has no clue you're making it up. It won't be long before she starts to call you on this stuff, complete with a suspicious look in her eye that will come sooner and sooner in all of your exchanges as the months go by.

Not that I've ever made anything up and had to defend it to my very interactive, conversational, suspicious child. Oh, no. Not me.

Posted by: Kristen at July 13, 2006 10:46 PM

magic works for me. :)

Posted by: suze at July 13, 2006 11:47 PM

Explain this one to the three year old will you?

"How come I can't jump on the bed, but you and daddy can?"

Posted by: Keri at July 14, 2006 2:01 AM

My friend Allison works for Kindercare, and she and the kids were outside for recess playing kickball...Well she got hit with the ball and one of the kids screams out "Miss Allison got hit in the nuts!!" Trust me, she told me that was the last thing she wanted to explain was about girls and boys 'parts'!! LOL Kids want to know EVERYTHING, so beware. I know there was another instance when she came into work a little hungover and they were asking her if she was sick b/c she didn't look good. Children are more insightful than we realize.

Posted by: Michelle at July 14, 2006 4:19 PM

Yay for Mia walking!

LOL @ freedom doors. Too funny :)

Posted by: Sweety at July 16, 2006 10:45 AM

*thud* She's walking????? Holy crap.

Posted by: Pixie at July 17, 2006 4:05 PM

Set your life time easier take the loans and all you require.

Posted by: GoodmanLori19 at May 22, 2010 2:28 PM