No Boys or Girls Allowed

That’s the words we saw on a piece of paper on the dining room table, Justin and I. Except it was spelled “NO BOYS OR GRLS ULOWD”, in Deirdre’s handwriting. “What’s that say?” Justin asked. I read it aloud, adding “I have no idea what she did it for, though.”

As the day progressed it slowly became evident what this was all about. Later on, Deirdre came into our room while I was in there, holding some sort of paper in her hands, and then stopped suddenly. “Drat!” she said with emphatic pronunciation, and exited the room. I thought either she didn’t like it that I had the radio on, with Christmas music playing–she doesn’t take much notice of it for the most part, but she hates a particular Christmas song so much it might’ve been connected with that–or she didn’t like it that I was in the room, which is the distinct impression I got. I left the room soon after. I noticed there was a pile of markers near the computer chair, as if she was stashing them there temporarily, to be used shortly.

Some time afterward, when I had come back upstairs, I noticed that the “No Boys or Grls Allowed” sign was on our door, this time with the “ulowd” corrected to “allowed”. I opened the door without really thinking, and came upon Deirdre crouched down working on some piece of paper, which she quickly tried to shield when I came in.

I went to do something on the computer in the hallway. Shortly thereafter Deirdre, on her way to the bathroom, came by and told me to “better not go rummaging around under my mattress pad”. Because, she explained, she was working on something that was “a secret from everyone.” I assured her that I certainly wouldn’t go rummaging around under her mattress pad. She gave a little sigh as if I didn’t understand, and said, “What I mean is, I’m hiding it there, and it’s a secret from everyone, so don’t go rummaging around.” I again told her I wouldn’t, but she attepted to explain a third time, telling me that it wasn’t a mattress pad on her bed–just one somewhere in the room, so don’t go rummaging around anywhere in the room.

Deirdre has been enjoying making cards for various occasions lately. She made at least 5 cards for two cousin’s birthdays recently, the number increased by the fact that due to weather conditions we didn’t go to the planned event at which they would have been given. So, instead of going and giving them, she just kept making more of them, especially for the girl cousin who is her age. She also made a “Merry Christmas” card for “Grandma and everybody” and another one for “Grandpa and everybody” which she gave to them at the Christmas party get-together at Grandma’s house. With this disclosure that it was a “secret to everyone!” (I suppose I just didn’t get it when I saw the sign) and the fact that it was Christmas tomorrow, I realized she must be making more Christmas signs or cards.

Later on in the day, when I was making supper, Dad commented to me “There’s a sign on your door that says ‘No Boys or Girls Allowed’!!”

“I know,” I said. “She’s working on something that’s ‘a secret for everyone’.”

Dad laughed. “I had to open up the door and peek and see what monster was behind it!”

“No, Dad,” I heard Deirdre’s voice piping up from the living room. “You’re a boy, so you can’t go in there.”

“I’m not a boy! I’m a dad!”

“You’re a boy, Dad, and it’s No boys or girls allowed.”

“You won’t be able to go to bed at night!”

“Yes I will be able to,” she calmly refuted.

“No, because it says no girls allowed, and you’re a girl!”

“I can go in.”

“Oh then if you get to go in and you’re a girl, I get to go in because I’m a boy!”

“Not one boy allowed. That’s that.”

“Not one girl allowed–that’s that!”

“You’re right Dad, you can go in–because I’m done working on it in there.”

“I think you’re a midget,” Dad declared, as if that explained everything.

“You better hurry up and go in there, Dad, because pretty soon it will say ‘No Dads allowed!” Deirdre called out.

“Ohh, I can’t read that word. I’d just write on it ‘No Deirdre’s allowed!’”

That is something how the coversation went–I can’t remember the entirety. Deirdre is used to and understands Dad being silly; and she always responds in a reproving manner which makes him laugh and doesn’t discourage him in the slightest. It is funny sometimes to hear her rejoinders to him.

Dad added his own list of “No”‘s to the sign, including ‘No Midgets’, ‘No Monsters’, and ‘No Ugly People–and That Means You!!!’ When I came up at bedtime, Dad’s words were scribbled out, all except for ‘No Monsters’. Beside that was written in Deirdre’s scrawl: “And No Dads. No Bad Dads. No Bad No Bad!”

The next day when we got up, Deirdre stopped by the door and started busily erasing on the sign. Thinking she was doing this because she no longer intended her words to be in effect, I asked her why she didn’t just take the sign down. “No, I’m just erasing this,” she said, and then I saw the scribbled-out patch over the words ‘No Girls’ which she was erasing. “I scribbled it out last night so you and Titi could go to bed.” Now she was un-scribbling it to make it in effect again.

The graffiti wars on the sign continued into this morning. Dad chuckled when he saw the sign and Deirdre’s addition to it. He bent over and wrote: “All handsome men allowed” and “Only _good_ dads allowed–that’s _me_!” Then he went downstairs and goaded Deirdre to see what he had written on it. She came up the stairs putting on airs of huffiness. I read it to her, (evincing laughter from Dad) in case she couldn’t read Dad’s handwriting, and she promptly began erasing it (evincing more laughter from Dad).

Deirdre came up to set things to right

Deirdre erasing Dad’s words

This reminds me of a different incident I wrote down in the “Gardening Journal” (which not only has gardening and weather information about each day, but since the recordings are written by me usually, often other random information about something that happened that day, continued into the next entry or written in microscopic print in the margins when I can’t fit it in the allotted space . . .) about a year ago, in January 2007–it isn’t directly related but this occurence brought it to my mind anyway.

Deirdre got it into her head that she wanted to make a “Surprise” for Dad. With my help, she wrote, “Dad, do you want a surprise? If you do, come up to the girls’ room” and taped it on the bookshelf in the living room.

“What is the surprise going to be?” I asked her.

“I don’t know.”

She was still thinking up that part. “Maybe I could buy him a camera,” she told Arlie. “I have tons of money.” (At this point in her life Deirdre was very high-reaching with her ideas of things she was going to buy Mom and Dad. She whispered to me one night how she wanted to buy Dad a new printer and a new light, and Mom a beautiful dress, among other things.) I gave her the idea of booby-trapping the door, with little stuffed animals on top. She was most agreeable to this plan (Deirdre and I are related, after all). We found some of her little stuffed animals that we could balance on top of the door. When Dad came home from grocery shopping, she tried to tell him about her surprise: “Dad, I have a surprise for you!” Dad was getting an orange and didn’t know what Deirdre was trying to tell him. “Am I looking at it?”

“Yuh-hea!” she said uncertainly.

“Deirdre, show him your piece of paper!” I reminded her.

“Oh yeah!” She dashed off to show him and came running back excitedly with Dad following (only a few miles behind 😉 But he came up gamely, with all the little kids–Owen on down–rushing after and cackling. Dad started to open the door and looked up as two of the stuffed animals, probably the little sheep, fell to the floor. “Yup, I sure am surprised!” he said. Deirdre was gleeful and laughing–all of the little kids were enjoying themselves. It probably would’ve turned into something more like today if he had been retired then, as he is now.

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