How Do You Spell Yummy?

It had been a while since I’d taken Weevy to a booze tasting.  And it wasn’t for lack of trying.  I always tell publicists, hey, your event starts at 6:30, I’m on kid duty until 7:30, I’ll get down to the event at 8 — by which time the event is half over, and it doesn’t make sense for me to show up for the end of a tasting or the third course of a three-course dinner or what have you.  Let me bring Weevy with me, on the other hand, and we’ll be there for the whole shebang.  And of course I make it clear that I will NOT be feeding Weevy whatever spirits I’ll be trying that evening.  First off, I don’t want to get arrested, and secondly, the last thing she wants to do is taste alcohol.  She’s got her juice, her water, her milk, her “backwash” (which is what she calls soda, which is a story for another time).  What could she want with anything else?

But apparently there are rules about bringing underage kids to spirits events — legal bullshit and what-have-you.  Now, I understand why this might apply if Weevy were 19 or something.  But for chrissake, the girl is FOUR FUCKING YEARS OLD.  Nobody in their right mind is going to think this girl is anywhere near legal in any country on the face of the earth.  And given that alcohol tastes like, well, alcohol, she’s not exactly going to mistakenly down a Glencairn glass of cask strength bourbon instead of her sippy cup of milk.

The most annoying example of fear of lawsuits trumping common sense came a couple months back, when I was invited to an event sponsored by Snow Leopard Vodka.  This event involved seeing actual snow leopards.  At the Central Park Zoo.  To repeat — leopards at the zoo.  And it started at 6:00, early enough for Weevy to see the snow leopards and get home by bedtime, which is generally around 7:30-8:00.  I figured this had to be one of those rare kid-friendly booze events.  I mean, how could it not be?  So I emailed my usual shpiel — hey, I’m on kid duty, but if I can bring the daughter, yada yada.  I was so confident Weevy could go with me that I even told her about it.  She likes going to events with me, at least in theory, and hey, the zoo!  Snow leopards!  Best event ever!

So when the email came back saying the legal department specifically prohibited under-21s from attending, we were disappointed, to say the least.  Weevy looked at me quizzically and asked, “Why wouldn’t they let me go?”  “I don’t know, honey, I guess you have to be old enough to drink vodka.”  “But I don’t have to drink it.  I could drink water.”  So fucking true.  And while it turned out the wife was free to watch Weevy so I could go to the event by myself, I wound up canceling.  It just wouldn’t have felt right to be looking at the snow leopards without her, no matter how much vodka I’d consumed.

Fast forward to last week.  I’d been invited to the Whisky Extravaganza, sponsored by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America, which started at 6:00 and was taking place a mere two blocks from home.  I did the usual can-I-bring-my-sprog deal, but this time the answer was a resounding YES.  At last, common sense prevails!

Weevy looked stunning in her Halloween outfit, replete with orange bows and pumpkins and ghosts and polka dots and stuff, and also brought a gorgeous shiny pink handbag filled with her Disney MagiClip dolls.  Hey, she’s no dummy, she wanted something to do while Daddy was working.  We entered the restaurant and walked downstairs to find the place teeming with big, boisterous men — maybe 90% of the attendees were male.  The double-takes as I walked through the room holding the hand of a tiny girl were hilarious.  The publicist was the consummate hostess, fetching Weevy “hot-hots” (fries) and “backwash”, playing with the MagiClip dolls, while at the same time chatting me up about each of the five whiskies I was there to try.

Weevy was on her best behavior.  While the SMWSA spokesman gave a lecture on the history and how-tos of whisky distilling, she grabbed my camera and took some very artsy black-and-white pics of her dolls.  While I tasted the whiskies, she took my notebook and pen and started “taking notes” for me, mostly random scribbles and nonsensical strings of letters.  But she did take her job seriously.  As I sipped and furrowed my brow, she said, “What should I write, Daddy?”

I thought for a minute.  “Just write ‘yummy.'”

Pause.  “Daddy, how do you spell yummy?”

Did I mention I love my daughter?

I dictated it letter by letter, and sure enough, there in my notes about the Whisky Extravaganza is the following:

Y U M M

Y

She got bored and cranky after about 40 minutes, which was right about when the missus came to pick her up.  I lingered for another half hour or so.  But even though we didn’t leave together, I’d have to say that Weevy was the best plus-one ever.  I can’t wait for the next event… assuming legal departments don’t get in the way.

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The Beastie Club

It’s been quite an exciting week for Weevy.  She visited her first distillery, went to a whisky event, and went apple and pumpkin picking.  Oh, and joined the Beastie Club.

Much as I would like to tell you that the Beastie Club is some kind of Beastie Boys fan organization, it’s not.  Weevy may have inherited a lot of things from her daddy (including, thankfully, my love of Chinese food), but her music taste comes straight from Mommy.  Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, that fucking “Let It Go” song from Frozen… seriously, don’t get me started.

No, Weevy joined the Beastie Club just after we’d arrived at the Hurd family farm in the Hudson Valley to do our second annual apple and pumpkin-picking trip.  We’d been there literally about five minutes and were still waiting to buy our admission tickets when Weevy let out a scream that turned the heads of everyone in the enormous tent.  She was so freaked out she couldn’t even say what was wrong for a minute or two, until we finally figured out that a bee had stung her on the hand.  Thankfully the stinger was already out, but a portion of her hand was a pretty angry red, and having been stung myself, I know how painful it must have been (Weevy also, alas, inherited her Daddy’s strong aversion to pain and general physical discomfort).

Shrieking.  Sobbing.  Whimpering.  Completely going bonkers whenever a bee was within ten feet of her (and there were a LOT of bees there).  Refusing to move unless one of us carried her.  I figured the rest of our stay would be little more than damage control.  But some particularly deft parentage saved the day.  Actually, I don’t know quite how deft it was, but this is my blog, so I’m going to give myself (and her mother, of course) full credit.  The first thing I did was tell her, “You know, bees can only sting once, and then they die.  So that bee that stung you?  He’s dead now.  And you’re going to feel all better in a little while and that bee will still be dead, so don’t worry about him stinging you again.”  She actually thought that was pretty cool, and made me explain WHY bees die after they sting.  I’ve forgotten about 99.83% of everything I ever learned in science class, but I’m glad that little nugget stuck with me.

Then she asked, “Daddy, why would a bee want to sting me?”  “Well,” I ventured, “you’re wearing a bright jacket with colored polka dots on it, so the bee might have thought you were a flower.”

“Really?  The bee thought I was a flower?”

“Sure.  And you might have startled it when it turned out you weren’t a flower and started moving.”

“But I’m not a flower!” (Laughing)

Once she laughed, I knew she was doing OK.

Later on, she was eating one of the apples she’d picked, and a bee started getting a little too close.  The shrieking started again, and I quickly grabbed her, told her to drop her apple, and ran several steps away.  “You see, Weevy, the bee doesn’t want anything to do with you, it wants your food.”

“It wants my food?”

“Sure.  These apples are delicious.  If you were a bee, wouldn’t you want a juicy apple, too?”

“Oh!  It doesn’t want to sting me, it just wants my food!”

“Right!  And you see what we did there?  The bee got close, you dropped the apple, and now the bee isn’t bothering you.”

I was on a fucking roll, people.  I could do no wrong.  I was in the zone.  I was en fuego.  And sure enough, a few minutes later…. “Mommy?  Daddy?  My hand isn’t hurting anymore!”  And that’s when I uncorked the piece de resistance.

“Congratulations, Weevy!  You are now a member of the Bee Sting Club!”

“What’s that?”

“Well, once you get stung by a bee, you become a member of the Bee Sting Club.  Mommy’s a member, I’m a member, and now you’re a member.  You did it!”

This girl had gone from being completely overwhelmed to wearing that slightly red and swollen hand like it was a badge of honor.  A club!  Mommy and Daddy are members, and now she’s a member too?  This was a great day!  She loved it.  She had to keep reasserting how cool and exclusive her club is.  “Daddy,” she repeated several times, “not everyone got stung by a bee.  Some people aren’t in the Beastie Club.” I wanted to correct her, but… no, actually I didn’t want to correct her.  I wanted to be a member of the Beastie Club too.

All we need now is membership cards.

Of Best Friends and Cuntrags

Weevy’s got a few best friends, but there’s one that seems a little best-er than the rest. Although that may just be my view, since the missus and I have become friends with her parents as well. Friend X, as I shall call her, is a few months younger than Weevy and in a whole different world temperamentally. When they first became friends, she was kind of a wide-eyed, docile sheep whom Weevy kind of bossed around because… well, because she could. But since X turned 4, she’s changed. I mean really changed. Do not give this girl her way and you’re pretty much guaranteed a ferocious meltdown that, weirdly enough, commences with her braying like a donkey or sheep or something, followed by the usual screaming and hysterics. Anything can start it, but it usually has something to do with her not getting her way about something.

Bad as X’s meltdowns are, they’re nowhere near the worst I’ve seen. The worst I’ve seen happened when we were over at her other best friend’s, who I’ll refer to as Y. Y’s mom and I were planning to take the kids to one of Weevy’s favorite restaurants for lunch. Y was happily running around the house commando, and when her mom tried to get her to put on underwear, for some reason she decided that was going to be her Waterloo, her Gettsyburg, her Vendome, her… some other place where a pitched and ultimately doomed battle would be fought. Help me out here, history buffs.

Why it was so important to Y that she go to lunch without underpants, I can’t tell you. I haven’t been four years old for a long time, and I’ve never been a girl. But complete hysteria ensued, to the point where Y could almost literally not breathe because she’d worked herself up into such a frenzy. Now, Y has been known to show a bit of a temper, especially with Weevy. The most memorable time was when she ran into her room and slammed the door, locking Weevy out. Watching Weevy on the other side of the door, begging her friend to come out, is something I’ll never forget, even though Weevy has probably long since forgotten it.

Anyway… Y’s meltdown was so intense that her mom said, “Maybe you guys oughta leave now.” I was only too simpatico, and I tried to get Weevy to leave. Only thing was, she didn’t want to. She was fascinated with the freakshow unfolding before our eyes. Plus she wanted to play with Y’s toys. So when poor beleaguered Mama Y came out of the bathroom where Y had continued her epic meltdown, she was a little more firm — not quite “Get out” but pretty close, along with this look in her eye that said, “Why the fuck are you still here?!” Sadly, we haven’t been back to Y’s since, though she and Weevy are still thick as thieves.

The weird thing is, Weevy herself never, ever melts down. Sure, she cries or she’ll whine and get frustrated. But she gets over it pretty quickly. The gear that switches from Upset to Meltdown just doesn’t seem to be operational. I have no idea if that’s just her personality or awesome parentage or what, but I’m glad that she doesn’t pull that crap.

Anyway, back to Friend X. Now, it’s not that X can’t articulate what’s making her upset. When she starts with the braying in my presence, I always ask her what’s the matter. And she tells me. And she goes back to the fucking braying. It’s very weird.

On this occasion, however, there was no braying. We were at lunch with X and her mom, and the kids were drawing with crayons on the kids’ paper placemats. X was carefully coloring within the lines, and Weevy was doing something a little more… let’s call it abstract expressionist. X looked over at it and was clearly annoyed by it — I could see her thinking, “Why doesn’t she draw in the fucking lines?” And she told Weevy as much. Well, she said something like, “I don’t like your drawing.” And Weevy, sensitive artistic lass that she is, promptly burst into tears. All three of us parents tried to explain to X that she’d really hurt Weevy’s feelings and that wasn’t a nice thing she did. X’s response was basically, “I don’t give a fuck.” Not quite in those words, but the same message. Weevy kept drawing with a long face, occasionally bursting into tears and asking us, “Why doesn’t she like my drawing?” I wanted to say, “Because she’s being a fucking asshole, that’s why,” but I wisely held my tongue. Anyway, X eventually sort of apologized, Weevy forgot about the whole thing, they made up, and life went on.

The next day I was hanging out with the missus and she said, “I’m sorry, but X was a real cuntrag to Weevy.” Now, as the stay-at-home dad, I see X a lot more than the missus does. And I’ll admit that, while in general she’s a sweet kid, she can be pretty bratty when she wants to be. But calling a 4 year old a cuntrag… that went a little over the top even for a certified sprog-hater like myself.

I still think it’s cool she said it, though.