It’s June, time to get out my crayons and glitter and make a card for Father’s Day. I’m sure my Dad will appreciate a poorly made construction paper creation from his 40ish daughter. “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, How’s that retirement thing treating you?” Maybe I should just get him a gift card for Best Buy.
Thinking about Father’s Day, and being a girl, and being a mom, there are things you dads need to teach your girls. Oh sure, self-respect, self-worth, confidence, etc… Those things are nice and good and important. I’m not talking about that, though. I’m talking about the things that will make a difference between a plain old day and a terrible, no-good, bad day for your little girl once she grows up and has kids (an “entourage”) of her own. Think of it as picodisaster preparedness.
Sticking Stuff with Sticky Stuff: This is first on the list for a reason. The other day I had to use a glob of thick cyanoacrylate and cotton fibers from a Q-tip to permanently glue a connector peg to some Thomas track (if you are not familiar with Thomas, ask any random three-year-old boy). My husband got all excited and told me I made a “natural fiber composite.” Nerd. I did save a switchover track that probably cost $20. Today, I used clear packing tape to fix the 6371st book where baby sister ripped the pages off the binding. My medicine cabinet includes a bottle of cyanoacrylate, a bottle of all-purpose Gorilla glue, and bottle of Goo-Gone, a bottle of Elmer’s, the tweezers that I use to hold the little bits in place… you get the idea. I have five different kinds of tape. Tell your daughter how to glue wood vs. paper vs. plastic, and every combination of materials. Give her a big bag of assorted tape. Yes, it’s a weird present. She’ll get over it when little Fauntleroy is crying about his ripped page and Mommy fixes it.
On the Outside Looking In: An outdoor key safe is a lot cheaper and faster than a locksmith. The little darlings will someday figure out that locking Mommy outside is fun. At first. Then it will be so scary that they will forget how to unlock the door and stand wailing at the window. They may also figure out the mechanics of the door locks before they understand the purpose of door locks. A combination key safe designed to be used outdoors is about $35. Even better if you put your car’s valet key in it, too.
How to Unclog a Toilet: The precious snowflakes will try to flush anything. They will also occasionally create gigantic poops that will not go down without assistance. Having the kids’ toilet full of **** for any minutes longer than necessary is asking for trouble, especially if you have more than one. Enough said about that.
Kicks & Hammers: Stroller wheels usually unstick with a good kick. Some things are better hit with a hammer. You probably have an opinion. Make sure your daughter knows that both are options, but usually only one is appropriate.
Screwdrivers: Every damn thing has batteries in it now. Even toy trains have batteries. Screwdrivers are not one-size-fits-all. Please teach your daughter how to pick the right size/head screwdriver to open every battery compartment you can find. Give her a set of micro screwdrivers as a baby shower gift. Stripping the head of the tiny little screw that protects the Alphaberry’s batteries from prying little monkey fingers will mean a trip to Target to buy a new Alphaberry. Or a really bad afternoon.
Lighting Pilot Lights: I admit, I had to call my husband when the wind blew the water heater pilot light out. I am not allowed to light things like that, because of certain issues that will not be discussed. I am also not allowed to change light bulbs. This is completely unreasonable, because the feeling in my thumb came back. Eventually. You might want your daughter to be better qualified in this area than me.
Basic Breaker Box Geography: Isn’t it sad to imagine your daughter sitting in the dark because she doesn’t know to check the breakers? It is very sad. I am having a sad over it right now, and she’s not even my daughter.
Turning Off Watery Things: Sinks. Toilets. Sprinkler systems. The whole place. You know why? Because it takes basically zero time for gushing water to ruin everything it touches, and flooding creates a dirty moldy mess that isn’t safe for anyone. It also takes a child about 5 seconds to break a faucet, flood a toilet, or break off a sprinkler head. Ask me how I know this.
Creepy Crawly Commando Ninja: I have captured and killed more than a handful of black widow spiders in the Pacific Northwest. The last one was making a cozy nursery behind a picture frame. I am quite capable of putting a cup over the spider, sliding the whole thing onto a plate, and then squishing it to its eternal reward somewhere the entourage can’t participate. Spiders are the most common dangerous pest here. In your area, it might be scorpions, snakes or overly enthusiastic Jehovah’s Witnesses. Whatever it is, make sure your daughter knows how to safely contain it and remove it from the premises. Let her watch you do it, if you have the chance, so she sees that you aren’t screaming and standing on a chair. Although, if you’re standing on a chair screaming at Jehovah’s Witnesses, I want a YouTube of that.
You are now ready to start Picodisaster Preparedness Training with your girls. She may not understand it now, and depending on her age, you will get any range of reactions from fascination to outright scorn…but do it anyway. Happy Father’s Day. Hug ’em tight while they still let you.