Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fearless Adventurer

Let me tell you a story. I'm publishing it in serial form, since I was dumb enough to offer to put "Angel" down for bed for the rest of the week. Because it's so much fun. Here is the first installment:

Our fearless adventurer looks down at "Angel". He looks at the clock. 2 hours to bedtime. The long, slow, excruciatingly suspenseful game begins. Will he best the beast, or will she rip his eardrums out? He takes on the challenge.

They go for a walk outside together. He notes she tires quickly. She's had a pretty mellow day with not a lot of screaming, so he thought perhaps she was saving her A-game for tonight's bedtime joust, but this is a good sign.

He and The Wife introduce "Angel" to the neighbors while on the walk, and she's mostly charming, with just a hint of crankiness. Nothing to see here, folks, move along before she goes off.

Around the bend in the road and down by the lake. "Angel" walks most of it, and fear creeps back in that maybe she's just toying with him. Time will tell. Back along the lake, and then home.

"Angel" remembers what fun was had last night digging in the garden when she sees the shovel leaning against the deck. He curses his laziness, but it's too late. Off to the garden to dig up some more dirt. On the other hand, if she really is laying for me tonight, he thinks, some good exercise may take the edge off.

More digging and a few made-up-on-the-spot games later, and The Wife calls them in for "Angel's" bath. Good. A bath tends to calm her down and put her in a good frame of mind. It's almost like she's a miniature woman or something.

Then the snack. Applesauce. Didn't he read somewhere that applesauce calms people down? Or was that just wishful thinking? He muses about this as The Wife prepares her for The Moment We've All Been Waiting For. She had artfully slipped her into her nighty straight out of the tub, and applesauce is always a draw, as is the resultant teeth-brushing (yummy bubblegum-flavored toothpaste doesn't hurt). Time to pass the baton to the guy with the deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.

Our fearless adventurer steps into the hall as The Wife leads her charge out of the bathrooom. Sizing up the situation, he follows them into the bedroom. "Angel" jumps up on her bed after grabbing a book. A surprise. This is new. We didn't even have to deposit her in bed by force of arms (literally). Some relatively minor disagreement about which book we're going to read as The Wife sneakily uses the distraction to abandon her husband to his fate and closes the door behind her.

Suddenly, we're engrossed in a tale that involves a cucumber, a tomato, some French peas, an asparagus, and assorted other garden escapees. Remarkable. This is followed by a generic book about friends that appears as though somebody really, really, really likes to draw teddy bears. Finally, the piece de resistance, a jaunty tale about the puppyhood adventures of a dog named Clifford.

It's gone well beyond all reason to this point, and our fearless adventurer is certain that the demon child has saved her most venomous wiles for this moment, and sure enough, as we near the end of the book, she makes her move and tries to page back to the beginning of the book. She looks in his eyes, to see if she can detect the fear that must surely lurk there. He looks back at her with an otherworldly cool, pauses a single beat, closes the book and stands. He turns to put the book on the table near the bed, steeling himself for the ear-splitting wail that is certain to begin.


He turns back to the bed, and "Angel" is laying there, gazing at him and living up to her name. He wonders if perhaps she is planning to chomp his nose off during the goodnight kiss.

Banishing such uncomfortable suspicions from his mind, he leans down and hugs her and kisses her neck, which always makes her laugh. She giggles "g'night, daddy" and rolls over. He flips off the light and lies down next to the bed in his customary position to finish off this effort. He wonders if perhaps she's just been saving her energy for this moment, and would soon come flying off the bed to deliver a flying elbow smash to his crotch.

Our fearless adventurer lay still for about 10 minutes, nervously listening as "Angel's" breathing steadily evened out into a regular sleep rhythm. He could hardly believe his own eyes and ears...but this was no time to ponder the idea that perhaps there is a God after all. He wasn't out of the woods yet.

He got up as silently as he could, and nonchalantly padded to the door, opened it, walked through and turned around. "Angel" was sleeping like an angel.

He closed the door.

And moonwalked down the hall, did a pirouette, shadowboxed like Rocky getting ready for the big fight, performed the Crane Maneuver (a la Karate Kid), pretended to be David Lee Roth in the video for "Jump" and bowed low to The Wife, who was coming out of the kitchen at that very moment. "Am I good or what?" he demanded of his beloved. "I've seen better...but not bad."

Our fearless adventurer lives to confront another bedtime...and there are several more yet to go before the end of his self-imposed sentence. Will our hero once again conquer the screaming banshee in little-girl form, or will he fall prey to her unearthly siren call? Tune in tomorrow night for the continuation of this breathtaking saga.


At 7:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen better..." no pat on the head or anything?? you are too funny! I can relate this this totally! Here's to many more peaceful bedtimes...

At 7:59 AM , Blogger Garrent said...

Could a bit of security be setting in?

At 11:05 AM , Blogger Dan said...

"Here's to many more peaceful bedtimes..."

Yes. Yes, indeed. Here's to those, please.

"Could a bit of security be setting in?"

Maybe security, definitely routine. It doesn't hurt that we've begun to carefully calibrate our entire evening routine to blunt the force of the bedtime cyclone. We've also begun the "counting" method (1, 2, 3, timeout) and, contrary to my prior view of reality, it already seems to be having a positive effect. I can count, if that'll help ease things (and prevent me and/or The Wife from serving a long prison sentence). I'm not proud.


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