Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's Father-Daughter Day!

Owing to my and my wife's work schedules, every Friday is "Father-Daughter Day!" Every other Saturday is one, as well.

On Thursday night I'll ask Mariel, "What's tomorrow?" and she'll reply "It's Father-Daughter Day!"

Now, what sort of things does Mr. Mom do with the Li'l One all day? Sure, there are toys to be played with, videos to be watched, clothes to be changed and meals to be fed. But some times you just have to get out of the house.

"We put shoes on and go bye-bye?" asks La Petite.

"Yes," replies Daddy. "We'll put your shoes on and go bye-bye. Where would you like to go?"

Mariel usually replies that she wants to go to a store (Wal*Mart, Target, Food Lion, even!) and buy something. Well Daddy is a cheapskate of limited means, so these are the things we usually end up doing.

1. THE PLAYGROUND. A no-brainer! Fun, fresh air and exercise. It's free and it helps to build an appetite for lunch. Bonus - she just might get tired out for an afternoon nap. The biggest down-side is the weather has to co-operate. Be sure to bring a rag along if it has rained the previous night, as water puddles up on the ends of the friggin' plastic slides,

2. THE LIBRARY. With Wubby in stroller mode, we can go and browse the childrens' books and videos. They also have an elevator at the downtown branch, so that's almost like a ten second amusement park ride! A few good books can help to spice up the beddy bye routine. The down side is, you have to take them back sooner or later and she'll be asking for these books long after they've been lent out to someone else. Oh well, time to go back to the library! P.S. Another "free" activity!

3. THE FLEA MARKET STROLL. Yep, strolling through a big flea market can be almost as good as going to a fine museum! There'll be lots of weird stuff for both Daddy and Baby to look at. If it's the indoor/outdoor variety, even better as it will be less weather-dependant. The down side? Telling Mariel she can't have that polio-carrying three-foot-tall panda bear.

4. KRISPY KREME. Now, you'll have to let loose with 89 cents plus tax, here. If you buy the kid a doughnut, you can sit and watch the donut machine crank 'em out while you eat. Bonus: They usually will give out nice Krispy Kreme paper hats to the young 'uns. Mariel loves these hats! I tired to talk my wife into using this as Mariel's Halloween costume. The hat + a white T-shirt + apron! Voila! You have a donut chef costume!

5. HARRIS TEETER. This is a local upscale grocery store. Expensive? You bet! But only if you plan to actually buy something. We make a stop there for one of the free helium balloons they have for the kiddies. Down Side: Once they run out, that's it! Just by stopping in, the kid'll be primed for a balloon. Which leads us to the fall-back plan...

6. PARTY CITY. Yeah, once again you'll have to spend 89 cents plus tax, but when you just gotta have a balloon this is the best recourse. They have bins with all sorts of exotic colors from which to choose. Mariel usually picks a brown or black one. Festive, eh?

7. PETSMART. The pet store is in the same plaza as Party City. Another freebie! Plop the young 'un in a shopping cart and you can go look at the kitties, birdies, mice, fishes, etc. Just steer clear of the pet toy aisle, or she'll latch onto a $6 tennis ball and won't let go!

A final bonus on these trips: Mariel will fall asleep in he car seat if she's tired out and needs a nap. The pretense of going bye-bye is a great way to get Little Miss Groggy to take her nap. When she's in this state, she'll konk out within 10 minutes of leaving the house. When that happens, all Daddy has to do is turn around, drive home and deposit the now-inert youngster into her bed. This is usually good for two hours and Daddy can make a blog entry!

Father of the year? You be the judge!


Blogger Bardouble29 said...

And the Father Of The Year Award - goes to......(drum roll, please)....CRAIG D....The crowd goes wild!!!

Its great that you enjoy your father - daughter days!

January 28, 2007 12:40 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

Here's a sobering thought for you, oh Father of the Year: Husband and I spent yesterday (as we spend at least one day of every weekend) entertaining our 4-year-old grandson... Yes, the playground is a possibility (love it at 5 degrees); Library is a place Mom often takes him, so that's no thrill; Flea market (see temperature at playground); Krispy Kreme - We've heard of it and maybe there's one a hundred miles from here (ditto Harris Teeter and Party City); PetSmart is a mere forty miles to the north!

So what's a grandparent to do? We went snowshoeing in the woods, and he loved it. Then the Clarkson vs. Harvard NCAA hockey game (where the pep band's chant of "Do you suck? Yes you do!" turned out to be a big hit).

All of this is to let you know that although eventually you will have a few years "off", you are really just in training for grandparent duty!

What a wonderful thing that you are so talented at being Daddy! And I say that with warm wishes and admiration. You and Mariel are both blessed.

January 28, 2007 8:17 PM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

The donut chef costume is a great idea! As for your little one always choosing black or brown she is just realizing at a young age that those colors go well with anything.

In all seriousness I think you are a wonderful father and your little girl is very lucky. You rule Craig!

January 28, 2007 10:55 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

bd29: Thanks for the crown!

wizened: My master plan is this: Owing to the 45 year difference in ages between me & my daughter, I plan to be long dead (or at least noncompis mentis) by the time any grandchildren enter the picture!

whim: Or the color choces could indicate her incipient "goth girl" leanings. Oh, joy!

January 29, 2007 8:12 AM  
Blogger CS said...

Wow, you are Father of the Year material. Another thought at minimal cost - you can go to a big bookstore like Borders where they have great kids' sections AND you can grab a cup of coffee to drink while you supervise. At that age, I also found a year's membership at the zoo worth every penny.

January 29, 2007 9:08 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

csl: We have a BOOK A MILLION and a BARNES & NOBLE locally. They both have "Thomas The Tank Engine" play tables set up in their kiddie sections. The down-side to our visits there is that she has to be pulled kicking and screaming from the store because she doesn't want to leave!

January 29, 2007 9:33 AM  
Blogger CS said...

Isn't that the downside to EVERY fun thing?

January 29, 2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

csl: True dat!

January 30, 2007 10:57 AM  

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