Saturday, July 2, 2011


On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I don't work this term--but for some reason my daughter still wakes up. In the morning. Intellectually, of course, I understand that waking up in the morning is something normal children do, but I have a hard time thinking intellectually (or otherwise) when she first crawls into my bed and asks: "Do you want to have breakfast now? Do you want to play? We could go on a bike ride! We could do flex-exercises! We should make pancakes!"

These are important points, but unfortunately I feel more like a log in the morning than a human being. If you've never felt like a log, consider: logs are very stiff, they don't stay up long unless you nail them in place, and they're dead.

So instead of saying, "Yes! Let's make pancakes on our bikes while we play Crazy Eights!" I usually tell my daughter something like: "Uughhh...."

This works for about two seconds, but only if she needs to catch her breath. "Can I put on makeup?" she says, "Can I paint my nails? Can I paint my Barbies' nails?"

Note to the future parent: it may seem reasonable to grant such requests, but remember that most children hate to be alone, and will try to do whatever you say they can in your bed.

"Uughhh..." I say. I've explained in more lucid moments that "ugh" should always be interpreted as "no."

"Do you want to come play in my room?" she says, "Can you watch me do somersaults? Can we go check on the garden?"

This week, I came up with a good answer. "How about we do riddles instead?"

"Yeah!" she says "I love riddles!"

So I tell her one. And then fall back asleep.

I'm thinking I might add them to my voicemail and email and everything else I'm supposed to be checking and responding to. Say: "I'll do my best to get back to you--if you can tell me what has four legs in the back, two in the front, and none at all when its work is done."

Or maybe: "I saw ten pigs walk into the zoo: I looked for their tails, but I only saw two. Tell me what I saw at the beep if your call is urgent."

Or even: "When you got angry, you framed me. When you felt bad about it, you left me a jar. But when it got dark, you still locked me up--and in the middle of the night, you checked to see if I was dead--*sob*--what am I?"

Hints for those whose obsessive natures have left them wanting to solve the above riddles:
Hint #1: One and a half of the answers to the three riddles above are human-made objects.
Hint #2: For one of the riddles, the following clues also apply: "The babies leave home, but the grown-ups stay there. When they get sick, they're treated like pies. When they get very sick, they're treated like queens." This riddle is the only one for which human-made things are not a part of the correct final answer.
Hint #3: It would be super creepy if the pigs in the second riddle were literally pigs. The third riddle is tangentially connected to little pigs, but only if you really want it to be and/or if you have remarkably (har har) big eyes.
Hint #4: None of these hints are very helpful.
Hint #5: If you come to a fork in the road, take it--even if the lying twin and truth-telling twin both try to stop you. Then use the fork to eat this red herring.
Hint #6: Carefully examine the picture below:

It is not the answer. It's not even a clue, really. But it might make your mind more open to the answers. Or just more open, period.
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