I was going to tell you about having a heart attack, and adopting two kids, and striving to be ethical and kind in a world that doesn't often encourage these things. But all my friends said "NO LIFE ADVICE!"
So instead, here are a series of short bedtime stories told to me by my daughter, Olivia (5). Note, Henry is her brother, 22 months old, recently adopted; these stories were told before he came home to us, when he was just a picture and a name, an unknown quantity to her:
March 23 2013: OK dad. So Henry went to the park! All by himself. He went to the park and he climb up in the tree. And then he fell down! OH NO! and he got a bloody. On his arm! So you have to put a band aid on it. Next time I will go with him to the park and say NO HENRY, YOU DO NOT CLIMB A TREE, YOU ARE TOO LITTLE. And if he goes in the tree and fall down I will catch him, but then he has a time out, because climbing trees is DAMEROUS. And then Henry grew up. And he is going to be a bug doctor. What do you call that? (an entomologist). Yes, He will be an entomologus. I will catch the bugs, and he will look at them. We will go to college! The end. Daddy, you can send in mommy now, I am ready to go to bed.
April 1 2013: Henry went on a picnu - picun - picnic - daddy is that right? (yes.) Henry went on a picnic. he went on the table. Mommy said "Henry! Get off the table!" So he did. Then he went on the horsey [referring to the carousel at Funderland]. He rode on the gray horse. But then he saw a big, giant, really big bug! (what did he do?) He shoot it! (what is shooting?) You know. Shooting, is like hitting. (what did he shoot it with?) Daddy you know, you can only shoot with a shovel. (ok.) So he got the bug! But he missed the bug and he hit the gray horsey, and it broke! So, BIG TROUBLE. Then he went on an airplane, because he had to go up in the sky. On an airplane! Daddy! Then his mommy said COME BACK HERE! (who is his mommy?) her name is Jineui. (is that your mommy?) Daddy, it's the same person! Then we go home, and it's bedtime. OK, give me a kiss, and go send in mommy.
April 2 2013: Daddy, here’s the story. Listen. Henry went on a submarine - wait. Atchuly, Henry and Jude and Olivia went on the mountain. They packed their packback - I mean backpack - and their lunchboxes. They brought apples. To eat. And they brought their ladybugs, and their spiders. (why did they bring ladybugs and spiders?) I don’t know. And they brought books. And they went up the mountain. It was very heavy! So daddy, you ride the elephant, and take the backpacks and lunchboxes up the mountain and we will walk. And then you can go on the elevator to the top. (does the elephant go in the elevator too?) No, it’s too big. Maybe the elephant can go in the elevator later when it gets smaller. And we went up the mountain. Daddy, I will tell you the rest of the story in the morning, OK? Now send in mommy. We will have blueberries for breakfast. Goodnight!
April 24 2013: One day, Henry went on an airplane. (puts hand up) (what’s wrong?) I’m pausing the story. (long pause) The airplane was really big and it had a giant bunny on it, and also a very big toilet. The plane was bumping, and Henry went to the bathroom - and he bumped his head on the toilet! (oh no!) It’s OK - I put ice on it, and he was better. (good!) Then I flushed him! (oh no! Was he OK?) It’s OK. I just flushed the pee. Then Henry went outside and got his purse. Goodnight, daddy.
May 16 2013: One day there was a tiny little mouse. And Henry chased the mouse, and he caught it! It was a gentle one. Everybody was happy! But you have to be careful with a mouse, because it could hurt you. (how would a mouse hurt you?) A mouse could bite you, and you would be bloody and it would hurt very much! (how big is this mouse?) It is a very small mouse, you can’t see it. (that’s really small!) Watch out daddy because the mouse is not clean so don’t touch it. Goodnight.
That's the news from Sacramento, California. To spite my friends, here's one tiny bit of life advice, from an unreconstructed radical anarchist to all of you out there: Speak softly. Spend carefully. Tread lightly. Choose wisely. Be kind. That's it.