Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Egg Trick

If you read my Nov. 9 post entitled "The Mean Cook," chances are, you already think I was a terrible mother to my daughter Cookie.  It is all about my concocting a big lie to encourage Cookie, who was about two at the time, to behave herself at a local restaurant so that Pa-pa and I could enjoy a nice meal out with our daughter neither on top of the table nor underneath it. 

You may recall that I told her a mean cooked worked there and he really did not like for kids to misbehave.  He could come flying out of that kitchen at any time, I said, brandishing kitchen cutlery that was the stuff of every child's nightmare. 

Through the years, the story of the mean cook became a staple in our diet of family stories, and now Sooby and Pooh love to hear it.  They especially love the idea that their mama could have been a rotten little kid, and the more I embellish that part, the more they love it.

I previously thought that Cookie was taking it all in stride.  Not true.  Instead, she has been calculating.  Now I know that she has just been biding her time, waiting for the opportunity to tell the kids a story that makes me look like a candidate for investigation by the Department of Child Welfare.

I first became aware of this the other day when I innocently pushed the "play" button on our phone's answering machine.  Sooby's little voice rang through the kitchen loud and clear:  "Googie?" she said.  "How do people lay eggs?"  When I heard this, I knew I was busted.  I knew that Cookie had squealed without giving me the chance to lawyer up.

The incriminating story involves me, two-year-old Cookie, her crib and a hard-boiled egg.  To this day I don't know why I did it, but I told her that if she tried real hard, she could lay an egg in her crib. 

So she would squat down, grunt like the dickens, and--Voila!--I would appear to reach underneath her and extract an honest-to-goodness egg.  So deft was I with the illusion that even David Copperfield would have been impressed.

Of course, problems surfaced when Cookie tried to lay an egg without me there.  She got so frustrated that I had to confess it had all been a trick and do what no self-respecting magician ever does--reveal the mechanics of the deception.  From her reaction, you would have thought I had told her there was no Santa.

A couple days ago I listened carefully as Sooby's phone message continued.  "My mom told me that I could lay an egg," she said.  "I sat down and closed my eyes and thought about laying eggs--but it didn't work."  By the time I heard this, I was standing at the phone with a rather sheepish grin, trying to figure out what to tell her. 

Turns out, Cookie had put her up to the whole thing.  After the babysitter had pretended to pull something magically out of Sooby's ear, Cookie told her the egg story, and Sooby wanted to hear all about it from me.  So I had to admit to my granddaughter that, yes, I seem to have had a mean streak and played a dirty, rotten trick on a kid the age of her little sister.

Come Easter, when plastic eggs are the plaything of the season, I expect to experience further repercussions from my short-lived, ill-fated stint as a magician.  But I take great comfort in the fact that the ball is now in my court--so, Cookie, you listen up.

I told the kids about the mean cook and you countered with the egg.  I have my next move planned, so prepare yourself.  There is a story about a frog that I think the kids would really love to hear.



Friday, January 11, 2013

Beenie's Word of the Day

When Beenie's mama came in to drop him off one day last week, she looked uncharacteristically worried.  "I'm not sure," she began falteringly, "but I think he has been saying 'ass.'"

I hit my temple with the heel of my hand a couple times, blinked hard, and grabbed a tissue to clean the wax out of my ears.  "What was that again?" I asked, refusing to believe what I had heard. 

I was pretty sure she couldn't be right about this.  How could this be?   Why would this purely angelic nine-month-old boy say such a thing--more than once, no less?  Nope.  It just wasn't computing.

I hoisted Beenie over to ride on my hip and together, we saw his mama out the front door and off to teach the wonderful nuances of the English language to her freshmen.  "Huh.  What do you think about that?" I said to Beenie, whereupon he flashed me that lady-killer smile and promptly responded, "Ass." 

As it turned out, this was only the beginning of what can only be called an "ass"-filled morning.  The various scenarios that played out were indeed rich--uh--fodder for the baby book.

For instance, we are playing with our crate of baby toys, many of which, understandably, are shaped like animals.  "Here's your horsie," I say, handing him a stuffed equine with a teething ring sewn to its legs.

"Ass," Beenie says, correcting me.  I look again and decide he might be right.  Its legs are pretty short, after all, and its color has deteriorated to a rather dull shade of gray.

Next, we are rocking and singing that perennial children's favorite, "Old MacDonald."  "And on his farm," I croon, "he had a--"

"Ass," Beenie says.  Well, okay. I guess that will work.  After all, Pa-pa runs a donkey with his cows to protect the calves from coyotes.  So I add a few "hee-haws" to that verse and go on, trying not to give this phenomenon a whole lot of positive attention.  After all, Beenie's parents may want to someday take him out in public and they will want his vocabulary to be a bit broader and more refined.

Later, it becomes apparent that it is time to change the diaper. (I should have seen this one coming.)  "Now," I say to Beenie," let's check that bottom of yours."

"Ass."  Well, what do you say to that?  By now, I am having a lot of trouble trying to keep the laughs in check.  With a fresh diaper in place, we meet Pa-pa coming in the front door with a handful of mail.

"Ass," Beenie says to Pa-pa, who has not had anyone call him that to his face--at least, not since he retired from his job as the director of a secondary vocational school.  "Oh," I say, no longer able to confine the laughs, "he's not really such a bad guy."

I have no doubt that Beenie's often repeated "word of the day" consisted only of randomly combined phonemes that just happened to create a hilarious effect in a variety of viable contexts he couldn't possibly understand.  He probably picked up on the reactions of the adults around him.  He is at the age where he likes our attention, and that day, I think it is safe to say he captured quite a bit of it.

I debated whether or not to blog about this experience.  After all, I would never want to offend any reader or have "Googie's Attic" lose its "G" rating.  But I figure if the word in question can appear numerous times in the King James Version of the Bible, it can't be that bad to use it a few times here.

Keep it up, Beenie Boy.  You have our undivided attention.  If your future language experiments are anywhere near as good as this one, we are all going to have a great time watching you learn to talk. 


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Family Choir

The random mind of a Googie--or at least this Googie--is a thing that makes people scratch their heads. 

Who knows why I decided this would be a fun thing to do on Christmas Day?  At any rate, as I was packing the box to go to son Teebo's with a spiral-sliced ham, a potato casserole, and a couple of jars of home-canned green beans, I threw in the sheet music to "Silent Night."

My idea was that after lunch, we would gather around the piano, I would play, and the voices of our family would blend into a one-of-a kind rendition of this beloved old Christmas hymn.  Once shared, it would become a Christmas-Day blessing, captured on my iPhone by a production crew consisting of my mom and son Teebo--to my Facebook friends and their families.

To my credit, it was not that far-fetched an idea.  Daughter Cookie and her husband are professional music educators.  My brother and his wife have been the bass and alto voices in a gospel quartet.  My sister-in-law is indebted to her mom, who joins us for Christmas dinner, for the alto genes.  My own daughter-in law, Beenie's mom, is a former high-school show-choir standout and church musician.

The beautiful, blended vocals did not disappoint; they were what I expected.  But what I--and everyone else--did not expect was the contribution of three-year-old Pooh to the family choir.  Not knowing the words to the hymn, Pooh was content to "la-la-la" his way through the song.  Indeed,  his little "la-la-las" can be heard during pauses and even over the rest of the choir at selected spots throughout the song.  Because of this, our family choir debut is, on one hand, inspirational, and on the other hand, hilarious.

We did not intend to rehearse the performance, but when my mom had a little trouble operating the iPhone video feature, it became apparent that a "Take 2" would be necessary with son Teebo joining the camera crew.  Although Pooh remained quiet the first time through, that was not the case in the version you see on the video.  By then he had figured out what was gong on, and was more than primed to embellish our performance in a way that only he could have done.

I am not posting the video here on the blog because I have not yet figured out how to get it onto here from my phone in a way that works.  But if you are or wish to become my Facebook friend, you can see it posted on my timeline for Christmas Day 2012.  If you are like me, you will not be able to watch it with a straight face, especially toward the end where Pooh's "la-la-las" become especially resonant and the rest of us can barely keep from cracking up.

His pitch is perfect.  He can carry a tune.  His timing--well--that is what makes our family Christmas choir debut genuinely unique.  That, and his enthusiasm (read volume). 

Certainly, none of us expected our family choir debut to be upstaged by a three-year-old.  But perhaps we should have.  After all, this is the child who, only last year, was a mean mouse who tried to kill the Nutcracker when, by mistake, he ventured out onto the stage a little prematurely. 

Pooh's unanticipated antics notwithstanding, I find our family rendition of "Silent Night" charming.  I hope you do as well.  And if you are a talent scout and want to sign Pooh up for stage or screen, just send me a Facebook message and I'll hook you up.