We went over to my sister's house today to celebrate my niece's eighth birthday. A trip to her house is Daisy's favorite thing in the world, because it means she gets to spend time playing with her two cousins.
The three girls often disappear for long chunks of time. Occasionally we'll see one of them sprint across the house, desperately trying to complete some incomprehensible mission. Usually they're trying to be discreet and if they realize that they've been spotted, they'll launch into their one counter-defense: high-pitched squeals.
At one point the three girls converged upon me, yelled "Grab him!" and dragged me to their room. The leader of the group, a 10 year-old, got up into my face.
"Are you willing to join our army?" she demanded.
"Ooooh! Snacks!" I parried, noticing the bowl of crackers. "Can I have a snack?"
"Only if you join our army! Otherwise you'll be our prisoner and you'll get no snacks!" she barked, giving me the cutest little evil-eye you've ever seen.
"What would I have to do in your army?" I asked.
"You'll have to help us spy on the grown-ups."
"No deal. Grown-ups are way too boring to spy on."
"Then you're our prisoner! And you CAN'T escape!" she hollered, as if the force of her will could make something true.
"I outweigh you by about 100 pounds. I can pick up and move any of you three. I'm outta here."
I got all the way to the bedroom door before the three girls had successfully launched and attached themselves to various parts of my legs. I had one kid on my right foot, another wrapped around my left knee and a third perilously hanging off my belt. I moved down the hallway slowly, carefully lifting each girl-weighted leg and stepping so as not to squish any tender body parts. With each step the girls screamed and sought to fortify their positions. It was a comical and satisfying trip to the living room. Being an under-muscled man of average height, it's rare that I get to feel like a physically superior giant. I relish those moments.
Later, back at home, Hank asked Daisy why the girls wanted to spy on the grown-ups.
"To hear what you guys talk about when we're not around!" she explained.
"I'll tell you what we talk about," I began, "We discuss where we hide all the really good candy. And we play with all the great toys that we never let you see."
Daisy eyed me skeptically.
"Mostly though," I continued, "We have races running with scissors."
It's good being the dad.