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Has Michael Jackson Risen?

I am feeling like a change of pace is needed, so yesterday I decide  to pick M up from school in lieu of the baby.  On the days that I get to pick her up, the conversation typically involves her ratting out all the bad things that the other kids did at school that day.  However, yesterday’s commute-versation hit me with the surprise of Tyson’s roundhouse to Alan in the Hangover. 

"I can feel it comin' in the air tonight..."

We are not two minutes out of the school parking lot when M says to me, ” Daddy?  Did you know that Michael Jackson died and then came back to life?” 
“Uhh…where did you hear that?”, I mumble as I am trying to wrap my head around what my toddler has blurted out.
“My teacher”, she says with confidence. 
Still confused I rebut, “Well, Michael Jackson did die…but he did not come back to life…Do you even know who Michael Jackson is?”  This is the moment that, when I look back, I should have changed the subject.  Instead, I grab my shovel and started digging myself into a nice little hole that will take the rest of the night from which to climb.
The conversation quickly high-centers on whether or not the king of pop has risen from the dead when, finally, I am able to convince her that Jesus is the only person that has died and risen.  Reluctantly, she accepts this and quickly moves back to Michael Jackson.  The next round of questioning involves how he died, where he died, and why he died.  I am completely dumbfounded and yet I continue to have this conversation. 
I proceed to tell her that Michael died from drugs.  “What are drugs?  Do they crawl on the ground?”, M questions with a furrowed brow of concentration.  This leads us into an in-depth conversation of me trying to explain what drugs are to my toddler. Where do I even start?  “Drugs” is such a broad term.  I start by explaining that there are two kinds of drugs.  The good kind, and the bad kind.  The good kind of drugs are the medicines that we take.  “What are the bad drugs?”, she asks.  I then mention heroin as an example only to have that followed up by a barrage of questions ranging from what is heroin, where does it come from and where did Micheal get it.  “No, no, no…Michael Jackson did not take heroin.  He died from the good kind of drugs”, I stammer as I attempt to steer this rapidly downward-spiraling conversation.  I had to follow that statement up by explaining that Michael just took too many different medicines and it killed him.  By this point I am floundering in this conversation.  The realization that I should have ended this before it ever really began has come and gone and I find myself gnawing at the last bit of leather from the boot that I am currently eating.
Once we had determined that Michael had died from “too many medicines”, as M would put it,  and that he had died in his bed…”in the sheets”, to be exact, the next round of questioning begins with, ” Who else died?”  Since we were on musicians, I rattle off Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin.  I explain that Elvis allegedly died on the toilet, which gives M a huge laugh.  Thankfully, we are nearing home at this point.  I have never been so happy to see our driveway.  I liken it to how Columbus must have felt when he landed at the New World.  I jump from the car and prayerfully kiss the ground.  I am free of this dreadful conversation!…or so I think.
We get into the house and M wastes no time in telling Mommy about Michael Jackson and Elvis.  The look that Mom gives me would lead you to believe that I had just given M her very own heroin rig and taught her how to use it.  I quickly defend myself by telling Mom that M picked all (well most) of what she is rambling about at school, and most certainly not from her innocent Daddy.  Leave it to Mommy to lay down the law and forbid death talk, which seems to work until I am tucking M into bed.
As I pull the sheet up around her and tuck her in, she holds up the edge of her Disney princess sheets and says, “Did Michael Jackson die in these kind of sheets?”   Here we go again…

My Little Nudist: At It Again

One generation removed from the flower children of the ’60s, I find myself struggling with the notion that my three-year-old daughter is a would-be nudist. (see ). 

Yesterday afternoon I am doing some cooking out on the grill and it was still in the upper 90-degree range, so I decided to hop in the pool while the grill heated up.  Of course nothing gets by M, and she had already noticed that I am wearing a swimsuit despite my best efforts to conceal the fact.  I had not been outside for more than two minutes when I hear the faint rumblings of her little hands banging against the glass door.  Knowing full and well that she will not give up, and that the glass pounding is only going to intensify, I relent and let her come outside with me.

Not being able to withstand the heat any longer, I step down into the refreshing pool a couple of steps and of course M had a radar lock on me.  She immediately has both feet in and is standing on the top step holding her somewhat 1960’s era throwback dress up around her thighs so that it did not get wet.  Of course she is not going to be satisfied with just getting her feet wet.  She is so close to reaching her goal of swimming that she will not be denied.  I tell her that she can not swim because she will get her dress and panties all wet.  I am thinking that will halt her progress, or at the very least, send her back inside to hassle Mommy about putting on a swimsuit. 

As I expected, she steps back out of the pool and heads back toward the house.  However, what happens next is NOT something that I expect.  I turn around to look over at the grill to see if I still have a few minutes to enjoy the water when I hear this almost wicked little cackle from behind me.  I whip around toward the pool steps to see my toddler wearing the exact outfit that she was born in.  That’s right, she is standing there completely naked on the top step to the pool maniacally giggling.  She is oh so proud of herself.  All that she is missing is a peace symbol-laden headband and a hand-rolled joint and we would have a Woodstock re-creation.

I immediately break out laughing.  It has to be the cutest, funniest thing she has done in a while.  Of course, I can not deny her access to the pool, so I let her experience her first skinny dip.  In fact, I have not even skinny dipped in our pool, so she is crossing new boundaries all around.  I swear I can hear Jimi Hendrix wailing out the Star Spangled Banner on his axe.  I can smell the marijuana in the air as freedom and love flow through my veins.

The Man

After a quick “swim” (she does not know how to swim yet, so Daddy floats her around as if she were swimming) around the pool I land her back at the steps and we both get out of the pool.  (If I don’t get out, she won’t either).  I wrap her in a towel, stick a flower in her hair, and send her in to regale Mommy with the tale of her freedom swim.  Needless to say, Mommy is not very happpy with M…or Daddy for that matter. 

I continue to chuckle to myself as I unconsciously flip sweet corn and chicken on the grill.  I had hoped that the whole nudity phase was coming to and end, but now I can’t help but wonder if my sweet little daughter could be Janis Joplin or Gypsy Rose reincarnate…


Gypsy Rose, Stripper of all strippers

The Great Janis