Posted by: laughs4dads | October 20, 2010

Phases on Stun

It is well-documented that children, in growing up, go through a variety of phases or, as I like to call them, “complete personality changes.” 

This, we are told, is a normal part of development, intended to keep parents off balance and child psychologists in business. 

Casey went through a number of these phases. In fact, I’m not even sure the last sentence should be in the past tense, although she is now 24. Fortunately, none of her phases involved piercings, tattoos or criminal behavior. At least not yet.

I remember, for instance, her “imaginary friend” phase, when a frog whose name we have all forgotten moved into our house and stayed for weeks. For the purposes of this story, I will call him George, although George was actually the name of one of our real hamsters that I only wished was imaginary.

Anyway, Casey knew where invisible George the Frog was at all times. Once I sat down on the rocking chair in her room and she became hysterical. I would have thought she was being waterboarded if I had known what waterboarding was back then.

“What?” was all I could think of saying in the face of such pain and suffering.

She stuttered through her crying, trying to catch her breath. “George. You’re sitting on George.”

I jumped from the chair as if there was a snake on it instead of an imaginary frog although, let’s face it, neither would have survived me sitting on it.

I looked down at the chair. I knew that George was an amphibious figment of my daughter’s imagination, but I looked at the chair anyway. I do not know why. “I’m sorry, honey,” I said. “Is he all right?”

She pointed at her dresser. “He’s okay, daddy. He jumped over there. Please be careful.”

When Casey was 12 or 13, she went through a paranormal stage when she thought she saw her grandmother, Inge, who had died when Barbara was pregnant, everywhere she looked. During this period, she was babysitting for her cousin Evan, who was around seven at the time, and decided to hold a seance to introduce Evan to his grandmother.

They did the whole “hold-hands-and-close-their-eyes” thing. Then Casey said to Evan, “Is there anything you want to ask grandma Inge?”

Evan thought for a moment. “Ask her if I’ll be successful.”

So Casey says, “Grandma Inge, Evan wants to know if he’ll be successful when he grows up.” After a dramatic pause, she turned grimly to Evan and informed him, “She said ‘no.’”

This, of course, greatly upset Evan, who greeted his parents when they came home with his recounting of the event.

My sister-in-law let Casey have it. “Are you out of your mind?” she said. “You can’t be telling a 7-year-old that he’s not going to be successful!”

“But Aunt Karen,” Casey replied, “I figured that would make him work harder in school.”

Always thinking, my daughter. Not necessarily thinking straight, but always thinking.

My favorite period was Casey’s “daddy phase,”  which occurred when Casey was around two, and consisted of behavior toward me that could only be described as “leechlike.”

Barbara and I had mixed reactions about this.  For my part, it was very gratifying to know that Casey so obviously loved me, although I wished she could have some sort of very specific amnesia about 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon and forget who I was for a couple of hours.  Barbara, on the other hand, liked the fact that she could sit on the couch and read a book, undisturbed, even though her daughter was simultaneously occupying the very same room.

We were both enlightened enough to know that it was only a phase. Nevertheless, as it continued with no sign of abatement, I couldn’t help being somewhat worried, particularly since, by bedtime, I had a pretty good idea of how a trampoline would feel if it was covered by sticky ice pop droppings.

“How long is this phase supposed to last?” I once asked Barb, since she was the one who read all the parenting magazines.

“A couple of years,” she replied with sort of an evil grin.

Sometimes Barbara, out of the goodness of her heart and a sincere concern for my sanity, tried to give me a break, but she would be told in no uncertain terms that her participation was not invited.  “NO! DADDY DO IT!” were the terms that were most frequently used.

Again, there were parts of this phase that I loved, like when Casey kissed me awake on weekends or ran into my arms upon my arrival home from work.  I was also particularly fond of bedtime, although it took me about a half hour to lose the impression that a midget was trailing me around the house.

I couldn’t help but feel flattered that, in the eyes of this beautiful little human being, I could do no wrong.  That I was her savior, her god and her hero.  This is the sort of adoration that is generally reserved for people who have a #1 song on the pop charts or a .346 batting average.

I knew that I would never have either of those things. And so I gladly accepted Casey’s overzealousness, however temporary it turned out to be.  Everyone should have such a loyal fan club.



  1. I’d simply like to point out that Gramma Inge said I would be successful, so it looks like she was wrong all around! Haha

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