Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Burn, Barney, Burn

We explained the concept of fire to Barney’s Biggest Fan last night. She may never forgive us.

The Southern California temperature had dipped to an intolerably frigid 60 degrees and I thought it was a good time to clear the cobwebs from the fireplace and spark up a Duraflame log, lest my family and I be reduced to putting on long sleeves. Not 30 seconds after I set the log alight, Barney’s Biggest Fan ambled over to the brick fireplace in our living room and gazed into the flames.

You know what came next: she moved purposefully toward the flames, clearly wanting to touch them like Peter Gabriel told her to (“I wanna touch the light, the heat I see in your eyes.”).

The situation was completely under control. I was going to let her get close enough to the fire to feel the heat and then tell her that the feeling is called “hot” and that’s why we don’t get too close to fire. But when Hot Wife entered the room and saw our daughter close enough to the fire to be cast in an orangey glow (but not close enough to, say, make a s’more), she freaked.

“Honey! No! Hot!” Hot Wife said. She then threw me a disdainful look that told me unequivocally that any hope I may have had for holiday nookie was as dead as William Howard Taft.

So we went with The China Palace Approach – yelling monosyllabic words at the child as if she were deaf, just like my father-in-law yells “Sweet and Sour Chicken!” at the waiter at China Palace, believing that the man will better understand English if it is hollered at the top of an American man’s lungs.

We asked her if she understood.

“Yes,” she said. “Hot. Hot.”

She then turned and marched straight toward the fireplace again.

“Noooooooo,” I said. “Hot. That’s fire. Hot. No touching.”

“Hot,” she parroted back. “No. Hot.”

She then turned and marched straight toward the fireplace again.

At this point, given my extensive parenting experience, college education and spectacular command of the obvious, I could see that The China Palace Approach wasn’t getting through to the child (I do provide parenting consultations on the side. Call me.). It was time to provide a more visual lesson.

I marched over to the toy box, fished for the stuffed Barney doll – my daugher’s holy grail – and returned with the little dinosaur. Without a word, I held Barney up to my daughter’s face and then tossed the little fucker into the fireplace. The asbestos-stuffed dinosaur burst into flames and vanished faster than a pack of clove cigarettes at a senior prom. I then turned to my daughter.

“See?” I asked. “Hot. Fire. No touching.”


At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possibly the funniest thing I've read today. And that includes Dooce.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger honestyrain said...

60 degrees? brrrrr. you should duck, i'm about to throw a snowball at you.

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Lexagirl said...

MY lord, you are funny - a little scary yes - but funny nonetheless. (As a mother of 2, I have a developed an unsightly facial tic directly related to Barney exposure & secretly hope that this post inspires an outbreak of Barney burnings across the continent!)

At 5:56 AM, Blogger Lala said...

As if!!

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Shiz said...


But wouldn't it be better to light Barney's hand on fire and wave him around a bit first, THEN throw his body onto the funeral pyre?

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Shiz said...

Did you intend to mimic a Bruce Cockburn song with your title? Because I got that right away and then thought, "No, really? This man listens to Cockburn?" Sometimes it's hard to find other Cockburn fans.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger janet said...

Ok, now tells us how you calmed down your little darlin after torching her Barney doll? When I was about 4 my mother washed my favorite teddy bear and I guess it fell apart, but her story was he ran away. I believed it till I was about 16 when she finally came clean and told me the truth about it. By the way I sill hate her for that.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Mama Duck said...

While not something I might have thought of to teach the concept of "hot" it does seem to be short, to the point and damn effective. Cheers!

At 6:58 AM, Blogger Fiber said...

Aaah, giving the kids something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.
Great story.

At 7:39 AM, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

I'm surprised she didn't jump in to rescue him. Do you feel guilty, and will she now get three times as many Barneys at Christmas?

At 11:06 AM, Blogger HDawg said...

AS IF Danny! no way you would ever deprive your sweet girl of the big purple dinosaur.

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