Her favorite color was “milk.” Her feet felt like “fat airplanes.” Her eyes were” itching from the inside” and she was convinced there was a “woodpecker” in her bedroom. I’m never giving Lucy cotton candy again.
I guess I should start by saying that Lucy doesn’t get sugary sweets very often. We decided to relegate the cane specifically to special occasions and bribes. That’s not to say that Tuesday morning can’t be a “special occasion,” it’s just that she’s so mild and sweet we’re scared that too much sugar will turn her into some sort of chocolate drooling hob-goblin. In fact, chocolate is so precious I once watched her take 4 bites from a single M&M, it took her a half hour to eat 10! But cotton candy… cotton candy was a magical fluffy wad of confectionary delight. Cotton candy was the scent of her bubble baths, the image on her pajamas and the flavor of those little pink jelly beans at grandpa Toms. Simply put, it was her white whale/Loch Ness monster/Holy Grail all wrapped into one beautiful and elusive treat. Sooooo… why am I tellin’ you all this? Well, because on Friday August 28th Lucy got her whale, and in the process confirmed all of our sugary personality and mind altering suspicions.
It was Lucy’s first Cubs game. I was excited, she was excited, it was perfect day. She got to spend the afternoon taking in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field with her dad and two of his buddies, and I got to help her experience a live sporting event. How was this not cool? She rode on my shoulders from the train to the park; we must have looked like we were plucked from one of those sappy life insurance commercials. You could see the excitement in her eyes the moment we sat down; the smells, the sounds, the people, the…
“Daddy- Daddy! Do you see that? Do you see that man with the cotton candy? Do you see it? It’s pink and blue. Daddy can I have some cotton candy? Daddy please! Please daddy, please! Please! Pleeeeeease!!!!!”
“You can have some, after you have a decent lunch.” I flag down the hot dog guy, and order two. Lucy has been sitting backwards in the chair watching the man with the big pink stick stroll up and down the aisles. She could’ve cared less about the game; she never took her eyes off the guy with the cotton candy.
It was the third inning when I grabbed the attention of the guy who demanded I pay him $6.00 for the goods.
“No no, I only want one bag.” I explained.
“Oh, in that case it’s still six dollars.”
“For cotton candy!” I was appalled! I couldn’t in good conscious pay $6.00 for a bag of cotton candy; it’s unreasonable, criminal really… “Does your cotton candy come with a one year cell phone contract? What’s so special about your cotton candy? Do you have Dalia Lama blessed corn fed Tibetan yaks pounding the sugar cane into finite crystals of deliciousness in a secret lilac scented room under home plate? Why in the world would I want to pay six of my wife’s hard earned dollars for a bag of cotton candy that probably cost less than three cents to make? Why? Why would I do that? Why?”
He slowly bent down and met me at eye level, “You’ll buy my cotton candy, because that cute little girl sitting next to you wants you to.”
I tried to regulate the amount of cotton candy that went in at one time, but she started to get a bit crazy and almost bit me. Then I thought it would be a good idea to balance out the cotton candy with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Twizzlers and fries. I don’t know if I was doing this so she could get the whole experience of the ball game, or to simply keep her occupied until the final out, it was probably a bit of both…probably.
3 Hours later
I started to notice Lucy was a bit off while we were waiting for the train. It was cloudy, but she insisted that the sun was hurting her eyes. Then on the train, she was complaining that her mouth was sweating. I attributed all these foreign sensations to the euphoria of witnessing a 9th inning comeback off of an Alphonso Soriano home run. She stared at me blankly as if I were speaking some made up language, and then she responded with what I’m sure was a made up language. A few more Touretts type outburst and we were off the train and walking (unusually fast) home. Cathy and Rubers met us half way immediately Cath got the run down.
“How was the game? Did you have fun? Did the Cubs win?” I’m sure Cathy was expecting to get a detailed report from the usually precise Lucy, but all she got was, “I had a lot of junk. I had a hot dog, cotton candy, peanuts, cotton candy, licorice and cotton candy” Then she started to march and chant, “COTTON CANDY, COTTON CANDY, I LOVE COTTON CANDY. LOVE LOVE LOVE, COTTON COTTON CANDY” This was unexpected.
“Why does she keep saying cotton candy? How much did she have?” I wondered what would be the appropriate response, but it was clear from the look of her matted hair and sticky fingers, I couldn’t say “a tiny bit.”
“All of it.” Cathy looked at me like I was crazy, then we noticed that Lu was talking to a tree.
From that point on she started to get progressively worse. She had mentioned no less than three times during the time span of about 5 minutes that she wanted a “milk” colored dress. When we asked her if white was okay, she replied, “No I didn’t say white, remember, I said milk. Milk is not white, milk is my favorite color.” Cathy noticed that Lu was continuously sweating and no matter what was said, the conversation always led back to a cotton candy chant. For dinner we decided that a healthy dose of pasta was the best remedy to absorb the sugar in her system. After a bowl, she decided that her feet felt like “fat airplanes.” After her bath, she said her eyes were “itching from the inside.” But perhaps the weirdest thing happened when she was getting her PJ’s on. I was sitting in the living room, when Lucy appeared into the hallway and waved me into her room. For a minute I just sat there staring at her, it was kinda slow motion creepy. Then she did it again, but this time as her curled up tiny little finger beckoned me to her room, she whispered, “Daddy I think there’s a woodpecker in my room.” Now in my head I know there is no woodpecker in her room, but… It was such an odd thing to say. Had she said there was an elephant or bus in her room, I wouldn’t have moved a bit, but a woodpecker? There’s a slight possibility, I mean it’s probable, right?
“What do you mean there’s a woodpecker in your room?” I needed to clarify this, because she’s 3. She could very well be confusing a crayon for a woodpecker.
“There is a woodpecker in my room and he has pecked holes into my walls, you have to see this.” Well she seemed to know that a woodpecker pecks holes, so from that standpoint it appears she understands. I guess I have to get up and check.
I enter her room and find Lucy standing in the middle of her rug with her hands on her hips staring at one of the walls.
“Shhhhhh…. He’s hiding.” Seriously, this had all the makings of a horror movie: Crazy whispering girl, inquisitive dreamboat and the phrase “He’s hiding.” I’m sure I only have seconds before an 8ft skinless death bird pops up from behind the toy chest, pecks a hole into my skull and feasts on my eyeballs.
“Look at all the holes in my wall.” She points to a tiny hole above her bed.
“I don’t see it.” I whisper back as I look over my shoulder.
“Look there is another one over there, and there, don’t you see them?” I did see them, and there were more than a few, but they were old nail holes.
“How do you know they were made by a woodpecker?” I asked.
“Well I don’t, but you have to believe.”
“?????????????.......” Seriously, has she been watching reruns of the X-Files? I watched her for a couple more seconds as she talked quietly to herself about the origins of the wall holes, I noticed that she started to sway. Her speech got progressively slower and her eyes appeared to get heavier.
“Daddy I want to sleep now.” In three years of life, not once has she ever requested to go to bed. Her body was crashing; the sugar effect was wearing off. I tucked her into bed and started to walk out of the room, when she sat up and screamed something that sounded like, “Koo-Koo cheese macaroni stick.” It was so unexpectedly loud, I peed a little. Then just as unexpected, she flopped backwards and her head crashed onto her pillow. Neither Cathy or I were back in her room for the rest of the night, though occasionally she would scream without warning, they were short little outburst of withdrawal and usually short lived.
The next morning Lucy was fine. We ate a huge oatmeal breakfast, then went to the park and played hard enough to wear off any residual effects of yesterday’s binder. I sat down on a bench next to the slide and smiled as I contemplated our first official “Daddy/Daughter Day,” I personally deemed it a great success. After all, we scored free tickets, had great seats and saw the Cubs win on a walk off homer; I couldn’t have scripted it better if I tried. I looked over to Lu who was running about the lot, she was wearing her new pink Cubs cap which she picked out at the game yesterday, she was so cute.
“Lucy, wasn’t the Cubs game that we went to yesterday awesome?”
“Remember all the cotton candy I ate? Remember it was pink and blue? Remember? Remember? Remember the guy with the cotton candy? Do you remember that dad?”
“Yeah I remember it was pink and blue.”
“Right. It was pink and blue and it was the best cotton candy EVER.” It wasn’t the response I was looking for. She made no mention of the game, the players or the homerun, in fact I’m pretty sure that the cotton candy in question caused some sort of temporary memory loss and/or paralysis. Nope, she may not remember that I was the one who took her to her first Cubs game, but she’ll definitely remember that it was I who gave her the best bag of cotton candy EVER. I think that’s something I can live with.