Tag Archives: Delusions

Christmas Changes

Depending on the age of your little dudes, Christmas is a vastly different experience.

In general, the younger the little dudette, the earlier you get to awaken on Christmas morning. I used to be able to count on no more than six hours of sleep between Christmas Eve and Morning, if I was a very lucky dude, mostly because I had to stay up a little later to make sure and “help” Santa distribute presents and stuff stockings.

In the mornings, we’d hear the pounding of little feet racing back and forth in the hallway upstairs and one little dude ran to the bedroom of the next little dude, who ran to the next. And then they all tried to sneak downstairs with the subtlety of a meth-crazed elephant putting out flaming ducks*.

As they get older, things. . . change.

Since the youngest little dude now is 14, an official teenager, we’re not faced with such appallingly early wake-up times most days. In fact, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Her Beauty Sleep If I Know What’s Good For Me, and I were able to get up on our own around 8 in the morning, walk the dog and still sit down to share a bit of that instant Christmas classic: Breaking Bad. (Because nothing says Christmas like the story of a milquetoast chemistry professor turning into an ego-crazed, blood-soaked methamphetamine dealer with delusions of grandeur.)

Instead of racing down the stairs, the young dudes stumbled downstairs, slowly, peering around with sleep-clogged eyes, running hands through tousled hair and croaking through coma mouth in a ritualistic, “Ugh. mumblemumble-orning mumblemumble.”

I won’t say the young dudes actually took their time opening presents, letting each person go in turn, remarking on the wonderful way Aunt Someone took the time to pick out just the right shade of puce for the sweater she knitted each of them. Still, there were occasional pauses in there that didn’t come from them accidentally inhaling a floating piece of impromptu confetti drifting through the air.

Christmas coming right before the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, offers the perfect time for reflection, for considering how things have changed. I’m not one to focus on the past, to talk about how things were always better when I was younger, or when the young dudes were, in fact, young, but it is interesting to see how they have adapted to the passing years.

It’s taking these moments of reflection that enable parents to come to terms with the fact that, while they’re horrifyingly impersonal as gifts, teenagers really do want gift cards so they can get exactly what they want for themselves. I wish it weren’t the case, but there it is.

Time, as is its wont, passes. The black pencil writes and, having writ, passes on. Stuff happens.

And you will not be able to stop it, so you’d better find a way to enjoy it. The sooner the better, dudes. The sooner the better.


*Why do ducks have flat feet? To stamp out forest fires.
Why do elephants have flat feet? To stamp out flaming ducks.

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The World As We Know It. . .

by Richard

. . . just got a whole lot stranger. Yep, today is the day that school officially ends here in Charlotte, NC. And, with that end, also comes the end of the public school career of our Sarcasmo.

The young dude born with a double helping of the sarcasm gene, is leaving behind public education and headed off into the wilds of college. At least we’ve got a couple of months with him here at home to try and sneak some sense past those sarcastic barriers of his before he’s off on his own.

With Sarcasmo taking his big leap out of the nest, that leaves Zippy the Monkey Boy as the head young dude in the house. A rising senior, Zippy the Monkey Boy is more pumped than I’ve ever seen him to be, not only a senior in his school and finally get his due as part of the ruling class, but also to be the oldest young dude in the house.

He has similar delusions about being able to rule over this house once Sarcasmo is gone. I don’t like to disillusion the young boy so at such a young age, but he’s got an appallingly intense visit from the delusion-puncturing fairy coming in fairly short order.

Hyper Lad will continue on in middle school, victorious over sixth grade to an astonishing degree. He went into middle school with nary a worry and walks out of sixth grade in just the same way. I envy him. He’s actually looking forward to seventh grade. I have the feeling he thinks we’ll be referring to him as a teenager once he hits seventh grade, not once he’s done with it.

Still, it’s time for their mom and I to take a nice, deep, relaxing breath as school ends and summer begins. Right here and now it all looks pretty nice. A little relaxed. I’m sure that will all change in a hurry once camps begin and trips start and all that fun stuff, but, for now, we’re going to enjoy the peace

I have a feeling that fairy is coming to visit me very soon as well.

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Freaky Friday: Gimme Some Sugar

By Richard

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard — and said — “Don’t give the little dudes that! It’s full of sugar. They’re going to be hyper all night.” Or words to that effect. I can’t say it was exactly those words, but I think you get my drift.


Turns out, I and apparently every other parent in the world, were worrying needlessly. No, really. It’s true. Sugar does not, in fact, make the little dudes or dudettes hyperactive or aggressive. That’s what we call in the profession a myth.

Not only that, but this has been known to be a myth for almost 20 years. And, still, the notion that kids will turn into sugar-fueled dervishes persists long past time when it should have been put away.

In one particularly clever study — among a slew of studies finding sugar’s nil effect on unruliness — kids were given Kool-Aid sweetened with aspartame, a compound that contains no sugar. Researchers told half of the parents the Kool-Aid contained sugar, and told the other half the truth.

The parents who thought their kids were riding a sugar-high reported their children were uncontrollable and overactive. But a sensor on the kids’ wrists, that measured activity level, said the opposite: The kids were actually acting subdued. The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology in 1994.

How’s that for ironic. Turns out the delusions of the parents shall be visited upon the children. It’s just one more example of the Odyssey Effect. That is, before I purchased a Honda Odyssey mini-van, I never saw any on the road. Once I got behind the wheel of one, the silly cars were everywhere. It’s all a matter of what you’re seeing, not so much what’s actually there.

So there you have it. You can relax about the sugar. At least a little. It’s still not the most nutritionally sound thing to let the little dudes eat, but at least you can rest easy knowing the sugar isn’t responsible for their misbehavior.

That’s all on you.

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