February 29, 2008

Indiana Klems and the Holy Remote

It was a brisk eve in Klems Manor. The wind rattled against the shutters, whistling like a person who doesn't know how to whistle. An off-white lampshade dimmed the glow of the 60-watt light, slowing the pace of our shadows but brightening the screen of the television. Our eyes fixated on one program and one program alone. After moments of silence, the sound of my wife's voice drummed through the air and sparked some heated, though thought-bending debate:

"No doubt in my mind, the guy getting hit in the do-dads by his daughter deserves to win."

"Are you crazy?" I said. "The woman bouncing off the trampoline and onto the picnic table was way funnier. But yours will win. The lame one always wins."

Ella (inner monologue): "I don't know what they're talking about or why they're watching 'America's Funniest Home Videos,' but they left that remote completely unguarded. If only I could find a way to get over there without their help. What if …"

And then it happened.

***
The remote control has been Ella's Holy Grail since birth. She'll drop any toy, doll or bottle if it's within reach. We're not really sure why. I like to think it's because of its brightly colored buttons and ergonomic shape, but Brittany has a completely different (and much more likely) theory: "The minute we walk through the door, the first thing she sees her father reach for is the remote, so in her mind it must be magical."

And it is magical. (Am I right fellas?)

Now I've worked hard to keep the remote out of Ella's reach, but she's crafty. One time I left it unguarded on my lap and she grabbed it, gnawed on it like a teething ring and then successfully found a mystery button that made our TV volume-less for 3 days (Thank you, Will, for fixing that). This time the remote was across the room, well out of her reach. Or so we thought.
***

First a right knee, then a left knee. Then both arms moved forward. Suddenly the pale look of doubt vanished as a confident smile washed over her face. She knew this was a special moment. She accomplished what she'd never accomplished before. And in just a few more steps she'd have the prize, the Grail.

Obstacles were no match for this crawler. She climbed over her rings. She used her butt to knock Freddie the Firefly out of the way. She stumbled but once, falling head first into the carpet—though only for a moment, as she waved off discouragement and trudged forward.

Finally, she was there. It was within reach. Lunge, lunge, lunge. An arm stretched like an 8-month-old in a 7-month-old's body, landing not one, not two, but three full fingers on the prize. Her grasp firmed and she gave it one swift tug. The remote glided under her body. It was hers. The Grail was hers.

***
"OH MY GOD, SHE'S CRAWLING! LOOK, BRIAN! SHE'S CRAWLING!"

"OH MY, YOU'RE RIGHT!"

"WHAT DO WE DO?"

"LOOKS LIKE SHE WANTED THE REMOTE. LET'S MOVE IT OVER HERE AND SEE IF SHE FOLLOWS IT!"

Ella (inner monologue): "Mother#)%*@"
***

With that, the Grail was moved to the other side of the room offering a new set of obstacles to overcome. Ella may never fully remember her first quest for the Grail, or the whistling wind that breezed past the brick of our house, or that her mom was right—guy getting hit in the do-dads always wins "America's Funniest Home Videos." But she will remember the confidence she gained by finding her independence.

And that's more magical than a remote.

The Life of Dad is updated every other Friday (barring the call of family duties). Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian

6 comments:

Wise One said...

She is a smart one.
Already trying to find ways to connect with her big brother Stephen.

Tom said...

She wanted what Stephen wanted, Saved by the Bell to be on!

Katie said...

I see genius potential. Apparantly it's an inborn desire to have the remote. It ranks up there with sucking for comfort and crying when the diaper is wet!! I wonder if cave babies tried to grab their cave daddy's club??

Gina said...

Hooray, good for Ella!

Her inner-dialog is spot-on for a baby, too. They have potty mouths Big Time.

(Confession: I love AFV reruns that are hosted by that short dude. Mostly I love watching people fall down and get hurt parasailing. And the lame ones do always win, esp if there's a kid in them.)

UTP said...

Just passing by....good post...all the best with being a great DAD...we all wish we could be our best....when it comes to being DAD...

barb michelen said...

Hello I just entered before I have to leave to the airport, it's been very nice to meet you, if you want here is the site I told you about where I type some stuff and make good money (I work from home): here it is