Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be Thankful for What You Got

I confess. I'm not a big fan of platitudes. They're way too easy. And, most annoyingly, they're too often true. Last week, the one that kept plaguing me like a heart beneath the floorboards was, "Be careful what you ask for."

As many of you know ('cause I blogged about it), Mrs. Unknown is in Haiti doing what relief workers do. Now, despite obvious apprehensions, I was all for her going, encouraged her to go, got her to bug her bosses until they let her go. I thought it was a chance to do good work and a great opportunity for her career. I was ecstatic/apprehensive when she was tapped on the shoulder to go down to Port-au-Prince--though that meant three weeks of my watching Pooh all by my lonesome.

Our first week together had its ups and downs, of course. We had sleep issues--among other things. But nothing too major.

Then Snowpocalypse '10 happened. DC was inundated with snow. And Pooh and I were trapped together in the house for a week. Only really making it out of the house twice so that Daddy could take hours shoveling the car out of the deluge and to risk the unshoveled roads to go to the grocery store and for Pooh to make "cupcakes" in the snow.

Now, any fan of The Poohbutt Chronicles can tell you that I'm usually pretty tongue-in-cheek about my parental incompetence. But after a week of my daughter going all Lord of the Flies on me, I was chewing my own heart out, lamenting my complete and utter failure as a parent.

There were crumbs everywhere I looked. Toys everywhere I stepped. I imagined (I hope) that the house had started to smell like one, giant dirty diaper. It was so bad that I wasn't sure if Mrs. Unknown would realize she left Haiti when she finally returned home.

Pooh was taking her "nap" at 9pm and keeping me up till one in the morning. Our meals were so scatter shot I couldn't even pretend to a schedule. And I refuse to tell you what these "meals" actually were. I was down, out, dispirited, self-pitying, and ready to call Child Protective Services on myself. And through all the chaos, all I kept hearing was "Be careful what you ask for ... be careful what you ask for ..."

Then I was listening to the radio, and there were all these reports of deprivation throughout the DC area. There were people without electricity, without heat. And then one report talked about how school officials were concerned about children in their lunch programs. "These children are on these programs because they don't have enough to eat at home. I can't imagine how they're faring now."


And oh yeah, Campbell, why exactly is your wife in Haiti?

Suddenly, "Be careful what you ask for" was replaced by the William DeVaughn classic, "Be Thankful for What You Got." I suddenly felt better. I was like, "Yeah, William. I don't drive a great big Cadillac with a TV antenna in the back." But I've got my home, electricity, food, Pooh, and a kick-ass wife." Yeah, the place was a mess, and my kid was subsisting on Goldfish pretzels. But how lucky can a fool be?

Yeah, I admit it. I smiled warmly.

Of course, that was the moment that Pooh decided to vomit her egg breakfast all over the place like she was in a revival of The Exorcist. And soon thereafter, the electricity went out.

But I did realize that I had a lot to be thankful for ...

including Yo Gabba Gabba!

Now, I'm not much of a TV person. In fact, I only really have three TV shows that I generally feel compelled to watch (Lost, 30 Rock, and Men of a Certain Age--and I'm currently contemplating Archer). I was even one of those people (pre-Poohbutt) who used to condemn parents for letting the television raise their children. We were pretty consistent with Pooh's not watching TV until after she was two (with my brief--who am I kidding?--The Wire obsession and Steeler games being the only exceptions).

But I gotta tell ya, while Nick Jr. didn't necessarily save my ass during Snowpocalypse, it most definitely saved my sanity. Nothing calms the hyperactive synapses of a two-year-old toddler like the flashing cathode rays of a flat-screen TV in high definition!

And I just love Yo Gabba Gabba. I know I'm way behind on this and that Brad Pitt already dressed up as a cast member last Halloween. But give me a break, the kid just turned two. And this is the first time the Unknowns have ever had cable.

But Yo Gabba Gabba's the bomb. I love the characters--especially Plex. And every time DJ Lance Rock talks, I think I'm high on something. Besides, he's the coolest black nerd since Urkle. And the music! My God, I think I used to review some of this stuff back in the day when I was a music critic. Well, OK, it's not that good. But it's funny as an aging hip-hop head to be watching a TV show with major hip-hop influences (yeah, I know there's Hip-Hop Harry, but he's got nothing on my ace Pat Boone, DJ Lance).

If there's one thing that kept me sane and damned entertained throughout the whole snowed-in week, it has to have been this show. I didn't catch cabin fever. I got Yo Gabba Gabba fever. I strongly recommend it for all toddlers. Well, maybe not them, but definitely their parents (especially the Jack Black episode). I hope they one day come out with new episodes.

Now, break it down!

1 comment:

Karen said...

There's a PARTY in my tummy (so yummy, so yummy). Oh I hear you Bill. That's why child care providers are PROFESSIONALS. They are SO much better at the whole kid thing than the rest of us. It's hard work and you my friend just got a taste.