Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Grizzly Girl

It must have been a few weeks ago, but I have this vague recollection that I offered up some lame wisdom ... something about learning something new each day from your child. I think I'd just polished off an article in "Parenting" magazine and was feeling pretty cocky about my dad-ness abilities.

Well, now I've learned that I may have jumped the gun in offering up solid advice. I think (get out your pen and paper) that what I'm learning about myself and my daughter is trumped tenfold by what Dylan is learning about her parents. For example, just last weekend Dylan learned that screaming, loudly, every six or seven seconds while we are driving to Medford, will drive her parents into hysterics. She gets to watch her mother repeat, "I don't know what you want," over and over until she finally unbuckles her seatbelt, and crawls into the backseat of the the truck. And she gets to watch her father stare blankly ahead at Interstate 5 and wonder, out loud, about meaningless things passing by. "That car has a dent in it. Hello to you, family of four in your mini-van. Hey, a buzzard. Nice driving, motorcycle, ride on."

To carry her experiment one step further, Dylan tried to see if her screaming would product the same result in a store. The store in question was Big R -- our country-supply store. What she didn't know was that once inside Big R, her father runs around like a Meerkat on meth. Guns! Boots! Equine tranquilizers! Camo! So, while her experiment failed with her father, she learned that it's the enclosed confines of the truck that amplifies her shouts and have full effect on her mother. The acoustics aren't as good inside a warehouse store and Regina was able to put together some sentences. The most sensible was, I swear to God, "Can you believe they don't have rawhide dog treats? I tried to find one for Dylan to chew on, but they're out." I just shrugged and said, "I gotta find some rope."

The scream-experiment also failed because it gave her position away, so I could either hide in the saddle section, or retreat back to the stroller, depending on the time. Dylan continued the experiment in the Sportsman's Warehouse, Target, Barnes and Noble, and a Japanese Restaurant. It was in the restaurant that we learned something that was so profound, so mind-blowing, that we wrote it down on a legal pad and sent it in to "Parenting" magazine. It's revolutionary and will make "The Baby Whisperer," weep that she hadn't realized it first. We are fully expecting a "Parents of the Year Award" for this one.

Are you ready? Again, please have your pen and paper ready because I'll only say this once: While screaming may seem like an obvious way for your bored child to get attention, it may also mean that she's hungry. Yes, hungry. Feed her right away. So there, Dr. Spock, there's a new sheriff in town, and he's feeling pretty cocky.

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