Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The ties that bind

Funny thing about being a dad. For some reason kids think that you can fix absolutely ANYTHING with glue. Princess tiara get stepped on? Just glue it back together. Barbie head keeps falling off? Just glue it in place. Hole ripped in that special bumblebee pillow? Glue it closed, of course. Sometimes I think my kids could break wind and expect me to glue it back together.

Of course, any expert will tell you that gluing the gangly neck of a top-heavy giraffe carved from stale Play-Doh back together is about as effective as trying to get the Large Hadron Collider to run on used cooking oil and chicken droppings. Sure, there's a glue out there for every substance known to man (and even a website devoted to gluing things to other things), but who really has the wherewithal to collect 147,000 different kinds of adhesives?

Over the past few years of owning children, I've found an easy solution to this problem of what to do with their broken crap.

Don't fix it.

Actually, there's more to this fiendish plan. Allow me to explain.

Let's say your daughter spends the entire morning constructing an exact, to-scale replica of the Chrysler Building out of toothpicks and Irish Spring with individually-painted Teddy Grahams representing the pedestrians of New York City milling about the base. And let's say that perhaps the structural integrity of her creation is about equal to that of a Jenga game perched atop a bobble-head. All of a sudden, the radio tower at the top of the building comes loose, dropping to the kitchen floor like last night's macaroni. Be prepared for the scream of horror. The tears. The distraught waif proclaiming that she worked all day building this special just for mommy, and life just isn't worth living now. What do you do? What...do...you...do???

First course of action is not to panic. Give your daughter plenty of praise regarding how beautiful her construction is, even if it truly looks more like Smokey The Bear than the Chrysler Building. Then tell her that you think this is something that is easily fixable, and that you've had radio towers break on you ALL the time, especially back when you used to have that hobby of building Chrysler Buildings for homeless people back in Connecticut. Tell her you've got a plan, one that may involve a trip to the local adhesives store the next day. Take her construction project, and place it safely on the mantle, or a high bookshelf...anywhere higher than the normal sight-line of a five-year-old. Then, let your child continue on with her day in blissful innocence, knowing she will have completely forgotten about it by lunchtime. It helps to place a shiny object in front of her as well.

Six months from now, when you're cleaning up the mantel and come across that dusty model of the Chrysler Building with the rotten globs that used to be Teddy Graham pedestrians surrounding it, rest assured it can be tossed with the knowledge that your child will never remember it existed. She's already built a bigger, better structure, an exact replica of the U.S.S Constitution. And that mermaid on the bow, the one she carved out of the sole of an old pair of Crocs? Yeah, it just fell off.


Kelly said...

Very funny. It'll all come out in therapy someday.

Chelle said...

With glue and duct tape, all things are possible :) Funny how easy it is to forget about things that are out of sight! Though occasionally my son will catch me off guard months later with a "what happened to ...?"

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