While I already recounted the positive parts of my 32nd birthday, the rest of it is really too funny to ignore. After all, what day that starts at 5:40 a.m. with Lily yelling "Open my door Daddy!" isn't destined to be great?
Around 6:30 I took Lily upstairs to get her dressed, as well as to wake Avery up and get her motivated. When the turning on of the lights and pleasant "Good morning" failed to produce the desired result, I resorted to a gentle but convincing squeeze of the rib cage in the general vicinity of a kidney. Surprisingly, this tickle elicited a laugh and not the fuzzy-minded irritation I expected and would not have blamed Avery for. The problem was, Lily keyed on that laughter as an invitation to some play time and attempted to get the next shot at her sitting-duck sister. And that's when the roof caved in. Avery unexpectedly got very angry and shoved Lily out of the way, instantly producing wailing and tears that would curdle your blood. As Mandi and I tried to diffuse the situation by calmly talking to the girls, Avery instead ratcheted up her aggression and started ordering Lily out of her room altogether. This has been an ongoing theme for a while, with multiple confrontations taking place on the subject of Ave's inordinate protectiveness of her "stuff". Well as she blatantly defied everything Mandi said to her, I decided that it was about time I did something about it. Our threats of punishment and consequences in the past had obviously not been effective, so today I was going to take action. I stormed downstairs and out to the garage. I returned to her room less than a minute later with a screwdriver and hammer in hand and went directly for the hinges on the door. The way I see it, if it ain't there you can't slam it. I don't believe a seven year-old has much of an expectation of privacy in the first place, unless she's getting dressed. And she can do that in the bathroom. So the easy solution was to just remove the door. Plus, it's my birthday, and I can do whatever I want.
Nice thought, right? Yeah, not so much. Mandi made me stop before I'd even had a chance to pull one pin out of the hinges. We compromised on a two-day punishment period where Ave's not allowed to close her door unless she's getting dressed. I suppose I can live with that, although I think at this point it's going to take more than that to teach her the lesson. Why do I think that? Later in the afternoon Ave was out in the garage getting some supplies for a cardboard stage she was making for her Hannah Montana doll. She at some point stopped to paint the words "I Love You Lily" on the piece of paper Lil was painting on the day before on their craft table. As Lily wandered out through the door that was left open, Ave's sister radar started going off and she immediately turned around and started doing a maneuver I can only describe as boxing out the craft table. Lily was oblivious, of course, as she was heading for her new bike. But that didn't matter to Ave. Just like it didn't matter that it isn't her craft table and it wasn't even originally her paper she was protecting. Obviously the punishment enacted eight hours ago was really having an impact. I predict we'll revisit this issue in the near future.
In an unrelated story, one of the first things Avery does when she comes home from school is show me her latest library book. Friday she came home with a book about the Wright brothers, which she enjoyed. Monday she scampered across the living room with a big grin on her face and another new book in hand, this one a thirty year-old collection of "magic tricks". I chuckled as she told me how she now wanted to be a magician when she grew up. As it stands she's the worst liar ever put on this planet . . you can see untruths on her face from a mile away. I don't know if that will translate well into a career in sleight of hand, but I wasn't going to dash her hopes at this early stage. Later, as I put Lily into the bathtub Ave came into the bathroom showing off her first attempt at a trick. She had a spoon sticking out of her fist and a dime poking out from where thumb and index finger meet. She was convinced that it looked like she'd bent the spoon (which incidentally has a blue handle) and fully expected me to be amazed. I tried, but my failure was apparent in the sheepish look on her face. She then explained the "trick" and wandered back to her book. Then as Mandi and I sat down to my birthday dinner, Ave came in with a plastic cup filled to the rim with water and asked for help with the "Make the water stay in the upside down cup" trick. Of course, she'd spilled half of it on the floor in the process of bringing it from the sink to the table, so the prospect of a good result was really slim. She grudgingly agreed to wait until another day to try that trick, and we were left to finish our dinner in relative peace. As they go, yesterday would have been a day worthy of turning into an episode of that sitcom we always say our life would make. The way I look at it, at least there were a lot of positives to balance out the insanity.