Hello Friends! Sorry I missed you last week. I’ve been pretty well medicated, nursing a bum knee, and hobbling around on a cane. That’s no easy task when caring for three little ones all day solo in a house with a spiral staircase. I’ve found that if I try to write when I’m a bit loopy or in a lot of pain I come off as even more squirrely than I actually am. I won’t belabor you with the boring details, but hopefully an MRI Friday will give me some answers. My self diagnosis is an irreversible case of W.P.F. For those of you unfamiliar with that abbreviated medical term, it stands for Way Past Forty. I still have all of my original factory installed parts and the warranty is running out on some of them. The good news is that my body can now predict the weather better than any meteorologist.  

I was having trouble coming up with a suitable topic to write about this week. It’s too early in the season to start hazing the tourists. I haven’t been working much behind the bar due to my leg issues so not much to report on or gripe about from there. And Pork In The Park isn’t until this weekend, so I can’t yet discuss my favorite gluttonous event of the year. But I will no doubt be giving you my full annual  report next week.

As is usually the case, when I’m lacking for subject matter, I just sit back and observe my own life and environment and wait for something to inspire me. Once again, that inspiration came in the form of my consummately entertaining and delightfully colorful children. I overheard a few conversations right in my own home this past week that reminded me that as long as I have them, I’m never at a loss for material. Just sitting back and listening to them had me reminiscent of how many wonderful soundbites my five children have provided me with over the years that beg to be shared with you.

I’ve decided that in the interest of their collective anonymity, and the omnipresent knowledge that this is the same committee who will one day be deciding when to put me in a home, I’m not going to use their real names (Hell, half of you probably still think that Syd Nichols is my real name). Oops! I mean umm…. I will instead refer to them by their nicknames that I’ve called them since birth. These verbal gems from the mouths of my spawn will be in no particular order, and span nearly a quarter century so I’ll just tell you who said them and how old they were when they did. This will more than likely become an ongoing piece that I will periodically return to as this particular literary well is deep.

Now to introduce the cast of characters. My oldest son will be 25 this year, so I think that referring to him by his childhood nickname of ‘Punkin’ is a bit obsolete, and quite frankly a little creepy. So we’ll give him an upgrade for the sake of the story and I’ll just refer to him as ‘Dude’. Child number 2 is my now 11-year-old daughter whom I call Princess. Child number 3 is another girl who will be 5 next month and I call her Angel. Child number 4, also a girl, is Flower who will be 4 in June. And finally, is my 7-month-old baby boy whom we call Otis. This nickname came to be because every time we look at him we say; “Oh dis baby.” He currently has a pretty limited vocabulary, so it may be awhile before he makes the column.

Speaking of their names, I think that’s a pretty good place to launch from. Based on their current ages, and behaviors, my wife and I have recently given serious consideration to changing the names of our three daughters to something more appropriate and more likely for them to respond to. We don’t however want to change their first names, so we may change their middle names. Their new names will be as follows, first and middle;

Princess “Not Helping!”

Angel “Are You Serious?!!”

Flower “That Is Enough!!!”

These are the names we most often call them by and I think they will be more likely to respond to. I learned very early on as a child that the only reason children are given middle names is so they know when they are in trouble. Every time I heard my first name followed by my middle name growing up my immediate inner response was; “Oh shit! What did I do?” I think these new monikers will take the mystery out of it.   

The following is verbatim an actual conversation that took place in my home this past week to prompt this article. My 3-year-old and 4-year-old were sitting in the living room watching something animated and educational that I’ve seen so many times that it makes me bleed behind my eyes every time it’s on. But they were briefly captivated and I had to fold some laundry and put the baby down for a nap. The older of the pair was seated in the prime real estate as far as my living room furniture goes. Daddy’s recliner/story and snuggle time chair is the high-rent district at the end of the sectional sofa. Angel got up to use the bathroom and while she was gone, Flower jumped in the coveted seat. This is the conversation upon Angel’s return:

Angel- “Hey, I was sitting there.”

Flower- “Well, you’re not anymore.”

Angel- “Not cool dude.”

Flower- “Yup, that just happened.”

No embellishment required for that story because that was the exact transcript.

This next story also happened this past week and my 3-year-old was the star of this one man show. She walked over to the fireplace, placed her heels against the bricks and got in a position as if she were about to start a race. Then came this exchange:

Flower- “You guys wanna see my super unicorn run?”

Me- “Um, yeah! Who says no to that?”

Flower- “Look out everybody, it’s about to get AWESOME!”

The story would be entertaining enough if it ended there. But it got better.

She then took off like a bat out of hell and traversed the entire first floor of my house. She returned about a minute later winded and smiling with her arms flapping behind her.

Flower- “How was that?”

Mommy- “You were right, that was awesome.”

Flower- “Thanks”

Me- “I couldn’t help but notice you had wings when you got back.”

Flower- (In brutally condescending tone) “Uh yeah. I evolved into a Pegasus half way through the race.”

I already had facial hair before I could use either “evolved”, or “Pegasus” in context. She’s freakin 3! Welcome to my world. That’s just a little taste of what these creatures are capable of. Thanks for playing along. Assuming my internal organs survive my binge session at Pork In The Park, I’ll be back next week. Syd Nichols