Those of you who enjoy stalking me will find me fulfilling a desire, haunting a memory and learning a secret.
Jocasta leaves me apple strudel for breakfast, lasagna for lunch, and a pile of canes to tidy.
Elle recalls a souvenir she took home from her tour of New York.
Don’t forget to tune into Smut Turntable, where your requests are always playing. If you ain’t making a mess of Matt and Kim, you’re wasting food.
Speaking of messes, Lillie and I washed laundry the other afternoon. The kids were out of socks again—this happens every month or two, it seems—so we knew it was time to spin some suds.
She sat on the center of the folding table, precisely in my way, folding washcloths and talking about her new BFF, Mindy.
“Okay, Dad, so . . . you have a lot of these little towels, Dad.”
I folded a pink t-shirt against my chest. “Uh huh. So go ahead with your story, sweet.”
“Okay, so, Dad, so Mindy and I have started a store at school, at the playground. We sell things like stuffed animals and jewelry.”
“That’s fun, playing store,” I said, tossing loose socks into a growing pile.
Lillie dropped her arms and sighed. “Dad, we don’t play store. It’s a real store. We sell things for real money.”
“Wuh-oh,” I stopped. “Where do kids get real money?”
“From lunch and things.” Lillie hummed as she reached for her favorite pair of “camel flossed” pants.
“Do the teachers know? I’m not sure it’s a good idea to sell things for real money at school.”
“Of course they know, Dad. It’s in the yard.” I waited for the “duh” this explanation seemed to require, making a mental note to check with her teacher in the morning.
I refolded Lillie’s washcloths.
I pulled a colorful print from the cart. “Look, it’s your new dress. Want to wear it to school tomorrow?”
Lillie shook her head. “I can’t wear it to school.”
“You can, you know.”
We’ve had this conversation a few times.
The dress was a spontaneous acquisition while shopping with Bridget. We were looking for slip-on Converses to augment Lillie’s black lace-up Converses when a dress caught my daughter’s eye. It tapered at the waist, with a nice drop to the knee. The pattern swirled with browns, greens and golds against cream.
“Whoa, that’s so cool!” she said. She walked to rack to touch the material.
“Oh, that is nice,” Bridget agreed.
“You like that?” I asked. “Really?”
Bridget elbowed me. “Shhh. Girl time.”
I lowered my voice. “She has never voluntarily worn a dress in her life.”
“She’s a fashionista, baby. Now shush.” Bridget joined Lillie at the rack. “Oh, that material is so soft. Rub it on your cheek.”
Lillie raised it to her face. “Wow, what is that?”
“It’s not denim, that’s what it is. It’s a dress.”
Lillie looked up. “Is it fancy?”
Bridget shook her head. “This? Nah. You can wear this any day—school, play, whatever.” She looked at the price tag. “Seventeen dollars. Okay, we’re trying this on.” Bridget dropped her eyes over Lillie’s body and reached back into the rack. “And this one, and this one, and this one.”
“Wow, cool!” Lillie laughed.
“Wait, four dresses?” I said. “But she doesn’t wear . . .”
“Shush.” Bridget took Lillie’s hand. “Come on, we’re finding the dressing room.”
I tagged along. I sat outside the dressing room in the “husband chair,” the seat provided for unfortunate men who tag along on shopping excursions.
Shortly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Dad?”
I turned and gasped. “Lillie!”
She grinned and looked down at the dress. “Isn’t it pretty?” She looked up. Her red hair fell back across her shoulders. Her grin broke into a smile.
I pushed back her hair. “It’s very pretty, Lillie. Now, walk down that aisle so I can get a better look.”
She walked a few steps in her Converses. “No, baby,” I called. “Work it.”
Lillie raised her shoulder to her chin. “Ooh, babycakes,” she purred. She gave herself a backbeat—mouthing “oonce, oonce, oonce”—and turned to sashay away.
“She is so getting that dress.” I looked up to see Bridget standing behind me.
“Oh, yes,” I agreed.
She put on the dress when we returned home and wore it until bedtime. Her brothers were taken aback by the sight of their sister dressed like a girl.
“Are you really going to wear that to school?” Collie asked.
“Yes,” Lillie said. “It looks pretty, like me.”
He rolled his eyes. “Oh, please.”
At bedtime, Lillie’s brow furrowed as I tucked her in. “Dad, I have gym tomorrow. I can’t wear my new dress to gym.”
“You can’t, huh?” I sat on the bed. “Well, you also go home to your mother’s house tomorrow after school. So how about you wear the dress to school when you are back here in a few days.”
She smiled. “Okay, that’s a good idea.”
“Good.” I kissed her cheek. “Good night, sweet.”
As I turned out the light, she added. “I need new shoes.”
“Good night,” I repeated.
“For the dress!” she laughed.
“Good night,” I repeated, closing the door.
When I tucked her in a few nights later, I reminded her that the dress was ready for school the next morning.
“I can’t wear a dress to school,” she said flatly.
“Sure you can. You don’t have gym tomorrow.”
“It’s not allowed. Dresses aren’t allowed.”
I sat on the bed. “I’m pretty sure that dresses are allowed in school.”
“No, they aren’t.” She reached for a stuffed puppy. “Only pants. Mindy said so.”
“Well, sugar, Mindy doesn’t make those decisions.”
Lillie looked at me and scowled. “No dresses in school.”
“You may wear it it, but you don’t have to wear it.” I kissed her forehead. “That’s your decision. Good night.”
That afternoon, Lillie came home from school and changed into her dress.
The next afternoon, she wore the dress again. She likes to wear her dress, look in the mirror and brush her hair. But only at home.
She’s an after-school transvestite. The girl needs her glam fix.
She took the dress as we folded clothes the other day. “I’m putting this on when we get home.”
“I think that’s splendid,” I said.
Our conversation lulled as we concentrated on folding clothes. My mind wandered to things I might make for dinner.
“Um, Dad, whose are those?” I looked up to see Lillie pointing into the laundry cart. On top of the pile was a pair of very short cut-off jeans. “Are they yours?”
“Maybe,” I hemmed, reaching for a towel that would obscure the shorts.
Lillie picked up a shirt to fold. “Dad, those look so old.”
“I think they are pretty old. I should toss them.” I began to unload a dryer onto the cart, hoping to bury the evidence. The first item to land on the pile was a t-shirt belonging to Cody. Please, I thought, no panties now.
Lillie carefully folded her shirt into a wad. “Well, don’t wear them outside, then. They are too old.”
“Good idea.” I tucked Cody’s shirt and my Daisy Dukes under folded towels.
She doesn’t need to know that Daddy also needs a glam fix now and then.
When we returned home, Lillie marshaled her brothers to put away laundry. I made dinner. Every now and then, she would come into the kitchen with some new items that she wanted to offer at the playground store. I approved three NeoPets, one Canadian penny and a “Bee Movie” spoon she got from a box of Cocoa Puffs.
“Kids will want this,” she said of the spoon. “Everyone wants to see ‘Bee Movie.’”
She sat at the table and drew paper signs for the store. Yes, We Are Open. Sorry, We Are Closed. Each sign was made in rainbow colors and decorated with the appropriate happy or sad face. The signage and stock were assembled in a pink bag she found in a cabinet.
“Look, Dad!” She held up the bag and grinned. "Look at all the pretty pluses and minuses on my special bag."
“Oh, that’s very nice,” I said, stirring sautéed apples and corn. “Tell you what, put that on the couch so we don’t forget it in the morning.”
That night, after I tucked in the children, I looked through a cabinet and found another pink gift bag. I transferred Lillie's stock to the new bag, and threw away the one with the Babeland logo.