Whoever said, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” stopped having kids by 25.
Since the “gruesome twosome” came along, I feel as though I am in a weird Freudian dream-boot camp in which I am forced on a daily basis to acquire new and bizarre skills while under the careful watch of miniature twin drill instructors.
I am proud to have mastered the art of braiding hair. Of course, now that I can do it blindfolded, they each insist on a French braid. They are 3! My wife has got to stop watching "America’s Next Top Model" in front of the girls. (Just in case she doesn’t, I am brushing up on my pattern making and sewing skills.)
I have turned into quite the manicurist too. Ironic, since I bite my nails…more so now than when I didn’t have kids…but that’s for another article. I can apply nail polish on their tiny little toes with the artistic and technical ability of the great masters….like Madge. (Does anyone get the obscure and dated reference or did I just prove that I am older than dirt?) And yes, I can hold my masculine, hetero head high when I say that I know my Purple Pronto from my Flashy Fuschia.
I put on my best Harvey Fierstein voice while I do the magic on their tiny digits. “So I says to him, I says…” The twins look at me bewildered. A look I am getting used to on a daily basis.
To be quite frank, I have so much useless crap jammed in my head that I didn’t want to learn anything new. I can tell you how Ralph Kramden and Alice met. I know why Steinbeck named his protagonist in "Of Mice and Men," Milton. I can name the starting line-up of the 1969 Mets. Who cares? This is why I don’t have a pot to pee in. Useless crapolla that now must make room for the names of each character of "The Backyardigans." Pablo is my favorite. Of course I am now becoming a huge "Bubble Guppy" fan and partial to Nonny. I just reread the last few sentences and wonder how it is that I consider myself a literary snob…which I am.
I have squeezed out the definition of endoplasmic reticulum to make room for proper tea party etiquette. I have dismissed the steps to solve *multivariable calculus and *linear algebra to be able to identify Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, and Snow White by hair color. I have made room between Cantos 1 & 2 of "Dante’s Inferno" in order to distinguish capri legging from regular and to eye-ball an outfit from 500 paces to know if it’s a 2T or 3T.
Despite my M.A. in English and my M.F.A. in Creative Writing, there is one skill that I haven’t mastered that I fear on a daily basis…S.P.E.L.L.I.N.G. O.U.T. W.O.R.D.S. My wife does it effortlessly (and she’s only a math teacher). I am constantly saying to her, “Wait. What? Slow down. Spell it again.” I didn’t realize being a father meant that I had to take a T. E. S. T.
*Before my wife writes a nasty rebuttal, I have no clue what multivariable calculus is. I know what a multivitamin is…does that count? (No pun intended). As for linear algebra….I think it’s a straight line of that slimy green stuff in water. T. H. E. E. N. D.