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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

MyBabysDay Makes My Baby's Day

They say "Mother" is the word for "God" on the lips of children. Although, sometimes, "Father" can translate to "Hero" in the eyes of a child. That's my job. Hero, protector, provider, example, especially in what not to do. It's hard to know what to do when your little one gets hurt or loses something. The last thing you want is for them to be sad or upset but at the same time you don't want to give them an unrealistic vision of what the world is like. I'm not saying sit a three old down and tell them to start studying for college entrance exams and putting away those pennies from Aunt Margie for retirement. I just mean that a kid needs to have a realistic sense of expectations. I learned this when my 11 month old daughter takes a toy or a piece of food while sitting in a high chair and drops over the side, looking to see if it hit the floor. Usually, I manage to catch it and put it back into her path of grasp. Sometimes it hits the floor and I have to say, "It's gone. It hit the floor and now it's dirty." You have to because sooner or later everything ends up in their mouth. I don't intend to take away the object forever, just until I can clean it. Well, except for food. We'll just get another one. However, not everything can be fixed. Broke is broke in the case of some objects. That's when the look of hurt and confusion really makes me get a knot in my throat. Recently, a knot was induced when one of my daughter's favorite toys was broke. It was nothing spectacular other than a miniature beach ball that was given to us.

It was a Saturday maybe two weeks to a month after she was born. We were on our usual Saturday morning breakfast trip to Bob Evans when a lady approached us. As a parent you tend to be wary of people approaching your child. It's a sad commentary on the times where even when you are with your kids you fear that someone will try something inappropriate or just downright sadistic. I try to be a little more optimistic but have my reflexes at the ready. This particular lady didn't set off any red flags in my mind. She merely commented on how adorable our little girl was, I take full credit on that, and gave us this little piece of schwag. For those of you have never heard of the word schwag, take a look at your pen. If it has a company or brand name on it, it's schwag. That coffee mug with some corporate logo, that's schwag. These promotional items that advertise a brand are like Levi jeans and Beatles albums to the Cold War era Russian people. They are inexpensive, but everyone scrambles to get one in the office when someone has them. This particular piece of promotional goodness had a website logo printed on it. They are a quaint little business outside of Pittsburgh that developed a software program to help track a baby's daily activities. Anyone wondering why their little one is doing what their doing when they break out of their normal routine can find this software useful.

Often when someone offers you a promotional item it becomes more about the actual item than the advertisement. We forgot all about what was written on the beach ball and just loved the fact that our girl was batting it around the room and actually throwing it back and forth between us. She'd chase it around the floor and it's round and smooth texture would slip from her grasp and she'd laugh as it would scoot away from her. Then she would lower her head and charge off again after the ball. I think it was more of a joy to us to watch her play with it then it was for her. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, disaster struck. It was during the Pittsburgh Penguins glorious win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals here in Pittsburgh. We were all sitting on the floor watching the game and playing with the beach ball. It looked as if it needed a little more air so I picked it up and began to inflate it as the Penguins scored. I must have got excited and over inflated the ball because it began to deflate right in front of my daughter's eyes. She looked heart broken as she picked it up and looked at me. I was devastated. Her favorite toy and I had ruined it. She looked at me as if I had told her the truth about Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and then took away her puppy all at once. After she had gone to bed I grabbed the ball and decided that I wasn't going to let her down again......this month. I went to my computer and looked up the website on the ball. I sent a message pleading for help and within a week I had two beach balls in the mail. We'll keep one as a backup, well, because it's now Game 6 and I'm afraid I won't be able to control my excitement as the Penguins continue to hold on in the series.

The other I quickly inflated and walked up into our living room where my daughter was climbing all over her grandfather. She looked at me and saw what I had. She instantly smiled and scrunched up her nose in that all too familiar look that made me smile. She got down on the floor, I tossed the ball onto the carpet, and off she went leaving her Pappy to recover from the attack. She raced around the room batting the ball everywhere. Once again she was the gleefully playful child I always love her to be. This was all thanks to a hopeful plea and a piece of promotional material. So, thank you MyBabysDay. You made me a hero in my daughter's eyes once again. I don't suppose you brand ponies, do you? Her first birthday is coming up in a couple of months.

P.S. Let's go Pens.

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