January 7, 2009

Modern Stone-Age Family

I was in the local grocery the other day when I almost made a tragic parenting mistake. I had a list of stuff I needed - french bread, pasta, wine, beer, and vitamins. You know, the Parenting Food Pyramid. The vitamins weren't, however, for me. They were children's chewable vitamins. Flintstones, to be precise.

Mia's nightly routine in our house consists of the following:

6:30 - 7:00 Dinner
7:00 - 7:15 Jammies and other assorted bed prep
7:15 - 7:30 Vitamin, tooth brushing
7:30 - 7:50 Storytime in mommy and daddy's room
7:50 - 8:00 One book in Mia's bed, one Hoppity story, flip on princess music, exit stage right

Aside from snuggling in bed with Mia reading a story or having her read a story to me, the vitamin thing is my favorite part. Mia's young so she can't take a whole chewable vitamin, just half. When she first started taking them, I did this elaborate "magic act" in which she'd choose the vitamin, I'd surreptitiously and quickly break it in half and put it back together and, while I held it, she would say abracadabra (only, from her it would come out abra-hee-habra) and tap it with her hand. I would then reveal the split vitamin handing her half. She thought it was awesome. It has since evolved. Before saying the magic words I'm now asked which character is pictured on the vitamin. This determines the magic words themselves. For example, if it's Betty, the phrase becomes Betty-hee-habra but if it's Bam Bam it's Hee-habra-bam-bam. The funniest is the Great Gazoo - Abra-hee-great-gazoo-ehabra.

Anyway, I was in the grocery with the list and the vitamins were the last thing I hadn't gotten. I headed to the pharmacy area and found the Flintstones. Actually, I found two different kinds of Flintstones. One bottle contained your standard Flintstones vitamins, the kind I took when I was a kid and the kind Mia's been taking. The other variety was designed for kids under age four. Kids could take a whole vitamin instead of half. It was a no-brainer. I immediately decided on those.

I was halfway to the check out lines when I realized that I'd fucked up. Not Jack-Bauer-red-wire-blue-wire fucked up, but still. See, if I walked out of the store with that bottle of new-fangled single-serving vitamins, a very small yet very important part of our nightly ritual would cease to exist. Gone would be the magical, half-hidden vitamin splitting. Gone would be the abra-hee-great-gazoo-ehabra. That made me sad. Really, truly terribly sad. I almost popped open a beer and drowned my sorrows in aisle three (soup, salad dressing, condiments, drunk fathers). But then I realized that the whole situation was reversible. I went back and swapped the vitamins for the standard-issue Flintstones. I mean, if you find magic sharing a vitamin with your kid, you can't give that up. For anything.

Posted by Chris at January 7, 2009 6:35 AM

It lasts for such a short time, so I am glad you went back for the switch.

Posted by: Maribeth at January 7, 2009 7:12 AM

We're are alike - some parents would wipe their brow and say "ah, thank God I don't have to keep breaking those darn vitamins in half". You and I pretend like the newer version doesn't exist so we can continue a favorite routine with our kids.

Posted by: NancyJak at January 7, 2009 7:40 AM

Smart move. In the blink of an eye, she'll lose those dimples on her knuckles and her baby teeth and instead of "Abra-hee-great-gazoo-ehabra", she'll be asking for the car keys.

Posted by: Wack-a-do at January 7, 2009 8:37 AM

Almost made you do the Superstone yell, didn't it?

My son has a little nitetime vitamin ritual, too. First of all, they have to be "gummie" vitamins. It's vitamins, shower, allergy medicine, brush teeth . . in that exact order. Can't be any different or it throws everything out of whack. And he's 7 years old!

I'll be sad when he starts shutting the bathroom door and outgrows story time at night.

Posted by: Jeff St Real at January 7, 2009 8:41 AM

Don't you dare deviate from vitamin script or you end up taking 2 chewables a day as penance. Trust me, I speak from experience.


Posted by: Knot at January 7, 2009 9:22 AM

Absolutely we all need to find the magic wherever we can. I'm so glad you went back and switched them. Definitely the right thing to do :-)

Posted by: diane at January 7, 2009 9:25 AM

So cute. This post made me smile.

Posted by: Ashley K at January 7, 2009 9:27 AM

You're an awesome dad!

Posted by: Michelle at January 7, 2009 9:39 AM

I hope you find new things to make magic with her (which I'm sure you will) as things change and she gets older. It's all about the magic.

Posted by: k8 at January 7, 2009 10:01 AM

My son is 16 and still signs all of his cards to me

More than most,

Because of our toddler night ritual of "I love you. I love you more. I love you most. I love you more than most".

These things are the life long memories. Mia will share this with her someday children....

Posted by: Kristy at January 7, 2009 10:49 AM

My son is 16 and still signs all of his cards to me

More than most,

Because of our toddler night ritual of "I love you. I love you more. I love you most. I love you more than most".

These things are the life long memories. Mia will share this with her someday children....

Posted by: Kristy at January 7, 2009 10:49 AM

Flintstones Gummy Vitamins, Chris. They ROCK. Daya's six months younger than Mia and she eats a whole one every day. Actually she begs for her vitamin every day as soon as we get home. She's been on them since she was 2.

They can't magically break though...which does sound like fun.

Posted by: jessica at January 7, 2009 10:54 AM

My daughter is a couple of weeks younger than Mia, I give her a whole one, hope I'm not vitamin OD'n her.

Posted by: kami at January 7, 2009 10:58 AM

they really are delicious, I loved a nice Betty in my day.

Posted by: Tuesday at January 7, 2009 11:14 AM

So glad you went back. It would suck to lose your bedtime game before you have to.

Posted by: Krush at January 7, 2009 11:15 AM

you get it. you really get it.

Posted by: kati at January 7, 2009 12:06 PM

That is so sweet! Mia is very lucky to have such a thoughtful dad.

Kid's vitamins are so much more fun than adults, anyway (why can't my fish oil pills be shaped like gummy fish, huh?), but you've really upped the ante here. I would totally remember to take my vitamins if I knew I was going to get a magic trick with them. :)

Posted by: gabrielle at January 7, 2009 12:11 PM

Awesome, glad you went back :) the girls and I have a morning breakfast ritual with our gummy bear vitamins.

Posted by: marylea at pink and green mama at January 7, 2009 1:07 PM

this post is so so sweet - made me want a kid of my own :)

you and Beth are such awesome parents!

Posted by: Emily at January 7, 2009 1:19 PM

Awesome post! Great dad.

Posted by: James Proffitt at January 7, 2009 1:36 PM

What a great post. There's nothing like having rituals with your kids. We have them here too!

On a side note....when I gave my kids their vitamins at bed time, they were either up most of the night or slept very restlessly. I have the same problem. We even tried different vitamins, same result. We take them in the morning now! Just thought I'd share....

Posted by: DeLurking Di at January 7, 2009 1:53 PM

lol, we do "abracadabra" with Kaelin's milk at restaurants. She always closes her eyes when she says "Abracadabra....POOF!" so we surreptitiously steal her milk and when she opens her eyes it's gone.
It's one of her favorite games in the world, I think she actually believes she's making things disappear.

Posted by: Amy at January 7, 2009 4:34 PM

So does she only magically break them every other night? Seriously, when does she have the other half?

We chop vitamins every other morning, but I would love to let her break them herself (how cute!!), but then I fear she would want to break one every day. ??

Posted by: Sabrina at January 7, 2009 4:43 PM

I don't have any kids and am frankly kind of terrified of ever having them, but I like reading your blog because you make life with them sound like so much fun.
I was horrified for you until you realized you could just go back for the fun bottle. :)

Posted by: Tabitha at January 7, 2009 4:45 PM

I'm so glad you figured it out before getting home! ;) That sounds adorable and precious and awww :P

Posted by: Heather at January 7, 2009 5:22 PM

Awww... great post! I think this one is my favorite from all your posts.

Posted by: Rengirl at January 7, 2009 6:28 PM

That is quite possibly one of the sweetest parenting stories I have ever heard. You are such an awesome dad.

Posted by: Shelly at January 7, 2009 8:58 PM

wow. best blog post of the year already?

Posted by: Stella at January 7, 2009 11:40 PM

I'm so glad you caught yourself! Excellent post.

Posted by: Gwen at January 8, 2009 9:43 PM

awwwww that is adorable!

Posted by: La Petite Belle at January 9, 2009 4:19 PM

Good choice!

Posted by: Dianna at January 9, 2009 8:15 PM

Awww, that is adorable! I would totally have gone back, there's nothing like the little magical routines you can share with your children.

Posted by: Nadine at January 10, 2009 3:10 PM

Good choice, good thinking :-) That stuff goes too quickly as it is (when really, going at all is too quickly).
I tagged along after my dad everywhere, but he moved out when I was 15 and even though there was joint custody, it was not the same.
He never quite knew how to talk to a kid and only seemed to find a comfort zone when I hit my late-20's.
But still he was my buddy.
Sometimes I yearn to be little kid again for just a spot so he can drive me to the bus stop again and entertain me by telling me by anthropomorphizing (sp?) the squirrels we saw while waiting for the bus.

Posted by: Karen at January 11, 2009 6:22 PM