So it’s her first Mother’s Day and I want to make sure she remembers it. My plan is simple: flowers (because I never buy them) and a card that both ZK and I can sign. True, ZK is only 6-ish months old…but therein is the memorable part. This will be followed by a day of photographing Jenni and ZK for some first Mother’s Day pictures and a lunch reservation at 2:30 at one of our favorite restaurants. (Reservations are also something that I never do).
Jenni is out with her mother for one of those events that they enjoy but that I find terribly boring. You know, those events where the most exciting thing is the tympani player when he does tha…..(YAAWWWN).
Oh yeah, anyway, they’re gone and it’s time for ZK and me to go into action. ZK’s part in all of this is to put a print of her hand on the card. The card will say, “We think you are the best mommy OF…ALL…TIME. Happy 1st Mother’s Day. Love, [ZK’s hand print] and Jay.” I usually go upstairs for the night a few minutes after Jenni so this will be the perfect time for me to place the card and flowers on the table for her to find in the morning.
In the middle of our preparations I receive a text message.
Jenni: I am having a chocolate martini but that’s because mom made me 🙂 Did you get something good for dinner?
In our transition to having me be a full-time stay-at-home dad, we agreed that we’d not spend extra money on unnecessary things. However, Jenni always feels worse about breaking that rule than I do. I mean, what’s a pre-Mother’s Day celebration with your mom if you can’t have a martini or two, right?
Me: A bacon s’wich, 2 venti chais, burrito bowl, 3 soft tacos, nachos
Thirty seconds later my phone rings.
Jenni: “You didn’t really buy two chais did you?”
Me: “No, I’m just playin’.”
Back to business…I realized beforehand that a water-based ink would probably be the best medium to put ZK’s hand print on the card. However, I didn’t have any available. What I did have, though, was plenty of non-toxic acrylic paint. (This is a vestige of my gamer geek-iness in which I still paint little fantasy miniatures who I obviously pretend are my little friends while I go LARPing about the house with ZK and all of her stuffed dragons). ZK’s hand…paint… hand print on card…no problem.
The card is ready, wax paper is on the counter with large amount of metallic pearl acrylic paint, ZK’s sleeve is rolled up, and I am ready for action. I sit ZK on the counter within reach of the paint and guide her hand towards it. She sees it, opens her mouth, and does this happy pant that she’s prone to do when she’s excited….
I shouldn’t neglect to mention that there are many first experiential events for children ZK’s age. Given that ZK has not been introduced to finger paints, the idea of Hand-in-paint we got to experience together…
When her hand touches the paint I move it around to ensure that her hand is fully covered. But I didn’t expect (though I should have) what happened next. She closed her hand into a fist and grabbed a LARGE handful of the paint. I tried to gently open her hand but it was like a vise. But in this moment, our wills were opposed. ZK is still in that phase in which “in mouth” follows “grab” and she is intent on putting this fistful of paint in her mouth. Outwardly, I am calm. Inwardly, I panic as I struggle to prevent her from eating the paint. A copious amount of paint was pouring out of her hand. As I inadvertently moved her hand all about while trying to open it, thin paint tendrils left a trail of loops on the counter, the floor… Please not her clothes!
“OH…SHIT….” I thought, “Jenni is gonna kill me if I don’t get this cleaned up.”
ZK, in the meantime, is squealing in delight.
Finally, I get her hand open and make a somewhat passable hand print on Jenni’s Mother’s Day card.
ZK loves running water so this, at least, made cleaning up relatively easy. It was an hour before Jenni was due home which left plenty of time for me to feed ZK, put her to bed, and finish the rest of Jenni’s present.
Jenni is none the wiser until the next morning…I give ZK to her for the morning feeding and notice a smudge of paint on her face…
“Uh…Happy Mother’s Day?”