Monday, May 07, 2007

Feel the Heat

I was surprised how hot it got today, a day that feels oppressive but without humidity—which I think I would have enjoyed. Drama ensued this morning, involving a trip to Disneyland, and thanks to Natalie’s lack of participation in the festivities (read: stubborn fit of non-cooperation), I called it off, tossed her in her room. I’ve been acting coolly to her all day, withholding the perks usually associated with a regular Daddy Day. You’ll drink milk all day and like it. No, we’re not going to watch any of your shows; in fact, we’re not going to watch TV at all. No, I don’t want any of your imagination cookies, I’m reading. It is difficult to do, but I think that she needs to be impressed upon that her actions have consequences, and so far, being three years old was her only valid excuse. Today, there were no excuses for her actions, just obstinacy and unreasonableness.

Disappointed, I’ve been lavishing Matthew with attention. I know, this probably makes her bitter and resentful of the little guy, but I’m trying to teach her that a sapling will last longer in the big bad forest if it learns to bend a little.

Needless to say, Natalie’s been overcompensating all day. I know she must feel bad, because she’s offered to help me make my lunch, carry my Coke from the garage to the table, hold my hand, say she loves me (which she rarely volunteers), cuddle on the couch, follow me around the house and display extra enthusiasm for whatever I’m doing. All the while, I’m being somewhat curt and pointed in my remarks.

I didn’t realize exactly how hot it was today until Matthew and I went outside for our afternoon of frivolity in the backyard. As usual, we were both in bare feet, and I’m going to guess that during my 409 months walking around, I’ve gathered a few more layers of protective skin on the soles of my feet compared to his mere 16 months. I didn’t even notice the temperature of the cement as I strode out to uncover the sandbox, set up the umbrella and give Elsa some water. Matthew, as always, was dutifully in tow, until we rounded the corner and he stopped short to let out a shrieking wail, as his face crinkled up. He started to lift a foot, but realized that it didn’t do any good. Crap! By that time, it dawned on my what the problem was and I scooped him up and dunked his feet in Elsa’s nearby water bowl.

Hey, if anything, I'm a quick thinker.

That was a mistake, as he screeched again! Crap, crap! Elsa’s water was straight from the hose, which has been sitting in the sun all day. Crap, crap, crap! I did the only thing I could do then, and that was to blow on them and rub them with my hands, which he found to be gigglingly delightful.

I checked out his flippers thoroughly and they still retained their pasty white color so I figured no actual harm was done. He was none too happy when I whisked him inside to put on some shoes and socks, thinking he was losing out on some playtime, but realized we would soon return. He was very patient when I lathered him (head to toe) in an excessively thick layer of Baby Magic Sunblock UVA/UVB Lotion (SPF 50), and I soon expect him to look like a sand-covered crumb doughnut when he hit the sandbox.

Once back outside, curiosity got the better of me, so I consulted my infrared laser thermometer to check the temperature of the patio and sidewalk near the sandbox. I love my infrared laser thermometer. To my surprise, I recorded a high temperature of 139 degrees at 2pm, compared to 98 in the partial shade of the patio lattice and 83 degrees under the full cover. Elsa’s water was 113 degrees (I changed it again so it would be cooler for her, and she seemed little impressed), but the highest temperature I could find in the backyard was the lid on the trashcan and the black molding of the lawn mower, both topping out the scales at 165 degrees. I could only hold my finger on it for about a second before it became too painful.

All the while I’m standing there in bare feet, wondering why I don’t feel much discomfort. Of course, the longer I stand there, the easier it gets, but do I have leather for skin on the bottoms of my feet or are they so calloused from walking on hot coals during management team-building exercises during my days working for the Pharaohs that I’ve got armadillo feet?

So now Matthew is playing in the relative safety of his 106-degree sandbox surrounded the molten lava of the concrete all around him, and I’m waiting until the trees stretch their shadows over the white chairs so I can get back to my book.

The thermometer on the patio screams 97 degrees (that's never in the sun) And now I’m wearing sandals.

Nobody likes armadillo feet but other armadillos.

But I only know a couple.

By the way, what do you call an armadillo without any arms? That's right, a dillo. Gimme a break, I just made that up.

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