A Clean Slate

A Clean Slate


by David Holubitsky

You just brought the little girl home for the first time, you look into her eyes and you see pretty well nothing. She's all yours to play with, shape, mould and change into a small version of you and your wife (minus those annoying little habits you know she has and the ones she claims you have).

This VCR is not preprogrammed. Like the feeling I always got as a kid when I looked at that fresh sheet of ice on the skating rink, just scraped and watered, the possibilities for fun and entertainment were endless. There is no one else lined up to skate though, it's all yours now. Wow, won't this be great. One big difference now, back then I didn't care what became of that ice, this little girl though has got me breaking into a full sweat.

What if I screw it up? She came home in her box (actually a car seat) with absolutely nothing, no prepackaged fears or crazy preconceived ideas of how the world works. Watching our 14-month-old daughter Sarah with our two dogs made me so painfully aware of this. The smelliest part of our family is our two dogs. Two big dogs.

To Sarah, everybody's world has two big dogs. This is normal life. She loves and trust them implicitly, not the least bit apprehensive about giving their tails a pull or sticking her head in their massive, drooling mouths and having a look around. When I watch her with the dogs I can't help but think, "This is the way it was supposed to be, a relationship in the purest sense."

They have never seen a baby before and she has never seen anything before last year, let alone dogs of any size. Sarah sees them for what they are, loyal and loving members of the family. The fact they can crush kryptonite with their teeth doesn't change her view at all. When I walk these dogs I've seen grown men (I think they were professional wrestlers) cross the street rather than pass within 15 feet of them. People often complain because I only use one leash per dog. Not Sarah, if she could talk in the chosen language of our house I'm sure she'd speak of their "cute and cuddly incisors" or how nice it feels when they give her face a lick with their 17 foot tongues.

Does she really need to know one was bred to hunt lions and the other to kill rats on ships? She found out all she needs to know about them herself, by sitting next to them in their kennels and sampling the food from their dish. Why would I want to mess this up by letting her see the rest of the world and the dogs (owned by irresponsible idiots) that are in it?

What about me? Now that Sarah has been around long enough to get to know her father she agrees with me that I may be the best kept secret cool guy in the world. No matter how bad my taste is or how warped my view of the world outside our home has become she can't help but agree with me.

Although I have since realized it is statistically impossible, growing up it seemed every kid's Dad was the toughest, smartest, best hockey player in the world. I know it didn't play out quite that way for me and I'm sure I'm not alone. If I'm goofy enough to consider "Baywatch" fine drama and "RollerDerby" an intense and spontaneous physical competition do I really want to pass this onto her?

These are the thoughts that have me waking up in the middle of the night screaming, "DO AS I'D DO IF I WAS SMART, WORLDLY, CULTURED, SOCIALLY AWARE AND EMOTINALLY MATURE, NOT AS I DO".

I'm experiencing this overwhelming need to be an expert on every subject and possess a full, educated understanding of all that exists in our world. Oh, the pressure.

The logical side of me realizes we can't help but color our children's world somewhat. And I'm sure there will be others that contribute some unwanted coloring of their own. The neighbor's 24-hour yelling/barking match with his dog is surely going to have an affect on Sarah's view of dogs. With any luck not as much me.

After I calm down and take a few deep breaths into a paper bag I realize that fresh, untouched sheet of ice may just be kind of boring. The one crowded with kids and adults skating, laughing, bandaged and crying after a fall, fighting over who's the fastest, and young Gretzkys just learning to play holds much more promise for lasting fun.

About the Author

David and his wife Jennifer live in their 6 month old daughter's house in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada just 15 minutes away from the home of the Edmonton Oilers. Helping their daughter Sarah run the household are 2 dogs Scout and Margo. David is an Accountant by day, as this profession doesn't traditionally scream out "Creative Expression" he is forced to write hopefully humorous articles at night. Sarah is his first child and definitely not his last. However, this is David's opinion as he didn't carry and deliver a 9 pound smiling machine. email David at dholubit@westaim.com

Thanks to Box Planet for lending this wonderful article to us. Visit them at http://www.boxplanet.com.au/.


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