Due to the associated costs of having three crumb-snatching noise gremlins occupying the second floor of our house, I decided to seek a return of investment in the form of entertainment.

Just before bedtime, all three of our freshly bathed–yet still somehow sticky–Princesses of Noisetopia were playing in their rooms. I yelled for them to come downstairs and listened as they apparently each grew 37 individual jackhammers for legs and started down the stairs. Seriously, how do children that small make sounds that loud with their legs? I am convinced that we have two rooms on opposite ends of the second floor. These rooms are only known to our children. The sole purpose of these rooms are for the transference of the 400 head of cattle that we apparently own from one of the rooms to the other room and back again. They only use these rooms when we’re not up there and only for as long as it takes to make us start yelling.

Anyways, the Three Hairdos of Noiseville are now standing stone-faced in front of me, the look of big-haired bewilderment on each of their faces as they await the reason for my interrupting the Great Barbie Fashion Show of 2016 that was taking place in their rooms.

Let me preface what I’m about to type by stating that we love our daughters. They are seriously the best thing that has ever happened in our lives. One of the reasons we love them is for their unwavering uniqueness. Our oldest daughter, Kaylee, is the logical problem solver. She relies on supplied facts to form predictable outcomes. She likes structure and reason. Our middle, Aimee, is a freaking hippie. She is a party looking for a place to happen. That child could have a good time at the dentist’s office. Then there’s our  youngest– Lucy. Little Lucy is a squishy-faced bundle of giggles who– for reasons I still can’t comprehend– always smells like maple syrup. She seems to have personality traits of both of her older sisters and can employ them to best affect her current mood and situation.

Now, keep all of this in mind when you follow along with the rest of the story. If there’s one principle I’ve tried to instill in our girls’ heads, it’s that hard work and dedication will probably be overshadowed by procrastination and blind luck. Of course I’m just kidding. However, we do believe in the basic principle of hard work equals reward. So I propose to The Fair-Haired Maidens of the Second Floor that whoever can complete the quest for the object I seek will be handsomely rewarded for their tireless efforts.

So I send them on a mission to find….wait for it….a Gigalator. For those of you that are unfamiliar with what a Gigalator (pronounced GIG-UH-LATER) is, it is the name of the freaking object that you freaking need but can’t freaking remember the freaking name of the freaking object but it’s right on the tip of your freaking tongue. Gigalator is not a word that my girls have heard and I observe (very briefly) the confusion on each of their faces before they each begin to attempt to honor my request in their own style.

Aimee has disappeared. Or teleported. I can’t be sure. Her competitive streak is so great that before I can finish my request she has used her hippie/hair powers to move faster than any small child should be able to move in order to get upstairs to begin the search for the elusive Gigalator. Kaylee, however, remains in front of me, her head tilted at a slight angle. I can tell from the expression on her face that she’s forming follow-up questions. She starts with a question we often ask her when she can’t find her shoes– where’s the last place you saw it? As I begin to answer, Kaylee is suddenly shoulder-checked, hockey-style, by a now-returning Aimee. Aimee throws a Dr. Seuss book in my lap and proclaims herself the righteous victor, dancing and twirling in her success to a song heard only by her. Kaylee collects herself off the floor as I break the celebration-ending news to Aimee that the book is not what I’m looking for.

And, like a flash from a camera, the physical form that was Aimee is gone in an instant. I’m now certain that Aimee was almost completely back upstairs before her hair caught up with her.

Now my attention is focused back on Kaylee. She begins to scan the living room, looking for anything that could possibly be described using the word Gigalator. She still hasn’t moved from in front of my chair. It seems she’s waiting for me to take pity on her and provide her with a hint. However she does slightly angle her body in anticipation of the returning whirlwind that is her younger sister.

Speaking of younger sisters, my attention turns to Lucy. In the confusion, Lucy has abandoned the quest altogether and sits near the fireplace having an animated conversation on a Dora the Explorer cell phone. Apparently she had more important business to attend to than menial searches for fictional objects.

I can see the desperation on Kaylee’s face. I’m about to speak when I catch movement out of the corner of my eye. Aimee has returned with her next submission. She is approaching my chair at approximately three times the speed of light, and I’m almost certain she’s going to completely blow past me and her sisters, continue through the wall, into the neighbors yard, and then eventually stop somewhere in California. But then, with nothing in her way or near her, she faceplants. She tripped over air. It’s not the first time it has happened. It’s just science. When your feet are moving that fast they can actually break the space-time continuum, and your feet from the future get tangled with your feet from the present and you faceplant.

Aimee picks herself up, checks herself for any obvious injuries, and continues to my chair to submit her next candidate for Gigalator. She hands me three pennies and a plastic fish. My brain begins to attempt to comprehend the logic of the 4-year-old in front of it but then decides to sit in the corner and rock back and forth.

After I collect my thoughts, I decide to give the girls a hint. I tell them the Gigalator is the thing with the green and blue on it. I know. I’m a genius. At this point they both turn their attention to the toy box in the living room, each of them equally certain they now know what I’m talking about (I don’t….it’s a made-up object). Kaylee continues to the toy box, but Aimee abruptly makes a 90-degree turn, activates her afterburners, and returns to the second floor, the back blast from her jets knocking the phone from Lucy’s hand.

Kaylee digs through the toy box for a moment then, in a scene reminiscent of Indiana Jones, holds a toy high above her head, the light from the window behind her transforming her and the toy into an ominous silhouette. She brings the toy to me and I’ll be damned if it isn’t something that I would call a Gigalator. It’s some kind of green and blue octopus with suction-cup feet and a gaping maw for a mouth that apparently shoots out bubbles. As I am about to award Kaylee with the victory, I hear a sonic boom descend the stairway. Aimee turns the corner at the bottom of the stairs and I can see the maniacal look of satisfaction that can only be felt by someone who is certain of an undisputed victory.

Aimee presents her third and final candidate for the Gigalator. It’s a sock. I can’t be sure if it’s a right sock or left sock but that doesn’t matter at this point. It’s a white sock. And Aimee, in her hippie logic, has applied green and blue marker to it in order to satisfy the requirements of the competition.

I sit, contemplating the objects in my lap, the multi-colored sock on one side and the octopus on the other. The expression on the face of the octopus now seems to be mocking me as if to remind me that I did, indeed, bring this upon myself. Two little girls stand before me, patiently waiting for the announcement of a victor.

I declare the competition a draw, reward all parties with a bowl of ice cream, and quietly dispose of the rainbow sock….

….and the judgmental octopus.

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