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Singing On the Toilet

And other things I learned today

I spent an entire day with my granddaughters today. Well, it wasn’t technically a whole day. It was only nine and a half hours but to a grandpa that is almost equivalent to two whole days.

I am so exhausted!

The girls’ parents had meetings and work all day today so I had the two girls all to myself. I don’t consider it babysitting and the two girls don’t either. When I go over to their house I go to hang out with them. I’m not a babysitter. I’m their pal who plays and has fun with them. I always tell them that they are the boss, not me. (And they take that seriously.)

Today was a little different because among the many activities of the day there was a special birthday party. My youngest granddaughter turns 6 on Monday but she’ll be in kindergarten on Monday so I decided to throw her a special early birthday party; just her, her sister and me. My little Capricorn darling loved this because it meant that she gets two birthday parties this year.

But even before the special birthday party this afternoon I got to do something that I’ve only done once before. I got to make lunch for them!

Back when their mother (my daughter) was a girl I cooked about 99% of all the food she ever ate and her number one favorite food was egg rolls. I don’t know how many thousands of times I heard her say, “Daddy, can we have egg rolls for dinner tonight? Please?!”

Egg rolls take a lot of work and a lot of different ingredients. That is why I made the egg rolls yesterday at home and then brought them with me to warm up for lunch to go with the Chinese rice and veggies. So I didn’t do much cooking at their place today but I did serve them a delightful lunch.

My older granddaughter, who just turned 9 in November has a lot of similar traits as her mother. I learned today that she is also gaga about egg rolls just like her mother was. She said, “Oh my God, these are the best egg rolls I’ve ever had in my entire life!” When a 9 year old says something like that you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt. I have a feeling that I haven’t heard the last of it. I have a feeling it won’t be very long before she asks, “Grandpa, when are you gonna make egg rolls for us again?”

The younger birthday girl only ate about a third of her egg roll but she devoured the rice and veggies with a zealous gusto.

Throughout the day we played all the games. We colored. We had the requisite tea party — although instead of the older granddaughter running the show it was the younger one making and serving the tea. We read a few books, they showed me all the Christmas presents they recently got (they made out like bandits), and we also played a new game that the older granddaughter made up called, ‘British Petting Zoo.’

With a plethora of stuffed animals to play the parts of the animals, the older granddaughter played the part of the petting zoo proprietress and head veterinarian. The younger granddaughter played the part of lowly petting zoo worker. I was a visitor to the zoo. The main rule of the game was that everyone had to speak with a British accent.

(The older granddaughter was surprisingly good at it.)

I had the distinct pleasure of experiencing a “live” birth. The older granddaughter had placed a large stuffed unicorn on her bed and there was a blanket covering up the bottom half of the unicorn. She then explained that the unicorn was pregnant and in labor. She then tore the blanket away and there was a much smaller stuffed unicorn at the bigger unicorn’s feet. It was a little funny and weird and the British accent made it even funnier and weirder.

We then spent the next twenty minutes trying to come up with a name for the new baby unicorn.

After lunch we watched a movie dvd that I had brought for the birthday girl’s birthday. It was the movie, Bears. It’s a Disney live-action film that follows the life of a mother bear and her two cubs over the course of one summer in the wilds of Alaska. The cinematography is utterly breathtaking! I had watched the movie before and was so impressed by it that I simply had to make sure my two little grandgirls saw it. It is a truly fantastic movie that humans of all ages really need to watch. And the two bear cubs are the epitome of cuteness.

When the movie was over the youngest granddaughter jumped off the couch, saying, “Gotta pee,” then she ran to the bathroom.

In recent articles I have written about how I have zero singing abilities and also about how my daughter has zero singing abilities despite the fact that her mother was an incredible singer. The oldest of my two granddaughters also did not get any of her maternal grandmother’s singing abilities. But I had never heard the younger granddaughter sing so a couple of weeks ago at Christmas time I had asked her if she liked to sing.

“No, I hate singing!” she replied.

“Do you ever sing?”

“No, I hate singing!”

So there I was sitting on the couch while my oldest granddaughter was taking the dvd out of the dvd player and putting it back into its case when, lo and behold, I heard singing coming out of the bathroom!

I turned to my oldest granddaughter and told her that I had asked her younger sister if she liked to sing and that she had said no and that she never sang.

She looked at me and said, “Well Grandpa, she was obviously lying to you. Of course she sings. Who doesn’t? But you wanna know something weird?”

She paused but I didn’t know how to respond.

“The only time she ever sings is when she’s sitting on the toilet!”

I was profoundly speechless.

The singing coming from the bathroom, by the way, was extremely out of tune and resembled yelling more so than it did singing. But it was obviously an attempt at singing. The one thing I was sure of is that my ex-wife’s singing DNA has yet to be passed down to any of our progeny.

The two girls then put on their snow boots and winter coats while I put back on my shoes and jacket and we all went outside for a snowball fight. This turned out to be one of those areas where neither of them take after their mother at all. Neither of my two grandgirls have any throwing or aiming ability. My oldest granddaughter could not hit the side of a barn with a snowball if she were standing six feet in front of the side of that barn. Seriously, she throws worse than a girl.

My daughter, on the other hand, has very accurate aiming and throwing ability. We spent many, many hours when she was a kid playing catch with either a football or baseball or softball or frisbee in the yard. She is also a master at darts. I wrote about her throwing and aiming acumen in my story, She Throws Like a Boy.

I kept trying to entice the girls into building a snowman but they had no interest in that whatsoever. All they wanted to do was have a snowball fight. Luckily, no one was ever hit with a snow ball.

Eventually we came back inside and decided to watch another movie. This time we watched the movie I had given to my older granddaughter for Christmas but which she had yet to watch. It was the movie, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

When my own daughter was a wee one her favorite TV show was Pee Wee’s Playhouse. I always watched it with her. It was my favorite TV show, too. Her favorite movie was Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. She must have seen it at least a dozen times and I watched it with her about half of those times.

So I was curious to see how her daughters liked the movie — especially since they have never watched the TV show. They both sat in rapt attention throughout the entire movie. It turned out that my older granddaughter thoroughly loved the movie while the younger one was a bit confused by it.

After the movie was over I suggested that we go back out and have another snow ball fight. My oldest granddaughter jumped up from the couch, “Okay, but first I’ve gotta take a whiz.”

I said, “What?”

She stopped and turned to me, “Grandpa, ‘take a whiz’ means peeing.”

I, of course, knew this but I had never heard the phrase coming from my granddaughter’s mouth.

So my youngest granddaughter was putting her snow boots back on and I was putting my shoes back on when, lo and behold, I started hearing singing coming from the bathroom! It was very pitchy and loud.

When my oldest granddaughter came out of the bathroom I put my hands on my hips and said, “Excuse me, you told me earlier that your younger sister was weird because she only sings on the toilet and now I just heard you doing the same thing.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“Excuse me, but I just heard you singing in the bathroom!”

“No, you didn’t. I don’t do that!”

I threw my hands up in the air, “Okay. Okay. Okay. Whatever! I didn’t hear you sing on the toilet.”

“No, you didn’t!”

“Okay then. Shall we never speak of this again?”

“Thank you, Grandpa. No, we shall never speak of this again.’ (This was said with a tiny trace of a British accent.)

So we all went outside for another snow ball fight.

The girls and I had a lot of fun today. When I finally got home I was exhausted. One of the first things I did was go to the bathroom to pee. I, of course, did it standing up and I sure as hell did not sing. I did, however, think about how both of my granddaughters sing on the toilet. How fucking weird is that?

I know I told my oldest granddaughter that we would never speak of it again and here I am writing about it. I guess I’m a big fat liar.

Anyway, I had a very exhausting day and now I’m even more exhausted after having written about it.

I think it may be time for me to head to Dreamland.

Earthling — Lifelong novelist & essayist —

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