It was my wife’s idea, and admittedly it seemed like a good one at the time. After all, “Annie” is a timeless story, and considering our daughter is adopted, we knew it would strike a chord with us as well. It got a little misty in there watching my daughter watch Annie find her forever home. Now I want to cry for different reasons.
It was her first show and she barely made it through. It was a huge risk to take a 3-year-old to something that has an intermission, but she somehow pulled it off, even if she could barely keep her eyes open at the end. Because of that, we rushed out of the theater and inadvertently became the first patrons to meet the cast. Yes, immediately after the show our daughter met Annie herself. It was the best and worst thing that has ever happened.
There is not enough Annie in the world to appease her. She knows all the songs and sings them around the house, and in the car, and all the time everywhere, always. I may have heard “It’s a Hard Knock Life” like five times in the past 34 years before December. Now it is the song I have heard more times than any other in my entire life by a factor of 100. The other day my wife had to calmly ask her to stop singing it and when prodded for a reason, my wife responded, “Or else I’m going to freak out.”
Of course we had to watch the movie version, which took things to a whole new level. (As a side note, I find the part where she influences FDR's New Deal by singing to him unrealistic.) More so than watching “Annie” clips or singing “Annie” songs, our daughter’s ultimate pleasure is pretending she is Annie. This means we must call her Annie, and also the dog is Sandy. I literally have to call the dog Sandy more often than his actual name which, I imagine, has become very confusing for the dog. Oh, and whoever has told her something she does not appreciate instantly becomes Ms. Hannigan. This role-playing is one thing my wife does not mind because it gives her great pleasure to hear me referred to as Daddy Warbucks. This past weekend I was in Kohl’s going back and forth about splurging on a $35 Marc Anthony shirt, and I could tell my wife was restraining herself from calling me Daddy Warbucks in the store. Luckily our daughter is not old enough to process sarcasm. In fact, when I dropped her off at school last week after yet another car ride of her being Annie, she yelled, “BYE DADDY WARBUCKS!” down the hallway as I was leaving. I had to sheepishly smile at all the teachers looking at me as I made my way out to my
I remember being a kid and finding something I liked and bludgeoning it to death with my own indulgence, but to witness it from afar is mind-boggling. Most days are an exercise in restraining myself from yelling, “HOW ARE YOU NOT SICK OF THIS YET?” What kind of DNA do kids have that enables them to defy the human response to repetition? I mean, I don’t want to turn her off to something she likes—something we introduced her to—but my goodness.
She may be getting a sense of our angst. As our daughter was midway through singing her millionth rendition of “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” one afternoon last week, my wife hung her head at the kitchen sink. Our daughter approached her and asked, “You gonna freak out, Mommy?”
This is my life now.
Note: This column appears in the 3/7 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/8 issue of the Peoria Times.