The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 22, 2013

LEVINE: Passing away the time until spring really arrives

CLINTON — I’m taking back all those times I complained about the heat.

We were spoiled last year with consistent 80-degree days, and now the joke’s on us.

We brought in spring with a high of 24 degrees, and the forecast doesn’t get much better during the next week. It wouldn’t be so bad if we just had a good day here or there to get us out of the house.

But that hasn’t happened, creating cabin fever in my home.

It’s gotten so bad that even the baby boy living inside my wife is kicking more rapidly every day. Sure, the doctors will say that’s normal for a growing baby to increase movement. But I think he knows that it’s time to get out and enjoy some fresh air.

The extended winter is not only wearing on my wife and me, but my daughter is starting to feel the effects. And by starting, I mean she’s been ready for outdoor play since December.

Daily sprints from one wall to the other have become almost a daily routine for my daughter and me. She scours the house looking for new toys, but it usually ends up in a dead end, so she returns to her doll house, where the storyline of her characters resembles one from a daytime soap opera during the hot summer months.

Because of the extended winter, though, it has provided me a chance to catch up on the daily gossip in my 2-year-old’s life. With her third birthday right around the corner, she’s becoming more comfortable in conversation, which has provided me insight into her little world.

The life of a 2-year-old doesn’t seem too complicated, but every day for the last week, she’s discovered a new best friend. Even for middle school girls, that would be quite the changeover from day to day.

Usually the new best friend is someone from daycare, and every once in awhile, it’s a boy. Since my brain can’t comprehend her dating, I usually ask the typical questions about the boys she meets, like how many timeouts do they average per week? Who do they run with? How much lunch do they spill on the floor? You know, typical questions to ask about the male gender.

She usually shrugs my interrogation off by saying she’s already invited the boy to dinner that night.

I have a feeling that I’m in for a lot of trouble later in life.

I assume his battery-operated mini-mobile can’t make it to my house all in one charge, so I dismiss her invitation and check to see how her babysitting jobs are going.

She may not be the best businesswoman in America, since she doesn’t earn any money, but she watches about nine “kids” at any time during the day. Sure, those kids are technically dolls, but for being stuffed and unable to move on their own, her dolls cause some problems.

Timeouts are another daily chore that Baby Aurora and Rosie are usually getting themselves into. It’s a tough punishment, but they’re pros at sitting in the time-out chair, waiting for the timer to beep.

Luckily for them, my daughter has less patience than her parents, and the dolls stay in timeout for about 5 seconds. Either way, it’s a tough life when you get punished without having a way to defend yourself.

Lastly, we normally converse about how work is going. She has busy days, with her babysitting gigs, cooking responsibilities, and throwing every toy around the house in a bag, that she rarely has time to hear how my day went.

So, this week, I still had some items to finish at work after picking her up, so I asked if she wanted to come along and see me work. She was thrilled so we trekked to the newsroom, and she dove right in.

She pounded away at the keyboard, spun around in the chair and had many conversations on the phone...with me, sitting right next to her. She was thrilled, especially since Mom wasn’t there, meaning that obviously she was home, because there’s only one “work” in the world, and according to my daughter, my wife and I work together.

She was a little disappointed when we came home and I had to explain that there are many jobs in the world, and that Mom and Dad don’t actually go to the same place every day.

But it didn’t contain her excitement about work. She didn’t stop talking about it all night, constantly reminding me that she had a “lot of fun at work.” That’s a sentence not many employees string together. That’s the world of a 2-year-old. It’s unexpected, but a refreshing way to pass the time until spring arrives.

Scott Levine is an award-winning Associate Editor at the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at scottlevine@clintonherald.com.

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