Tag Archives: Elf

Mother Nature has it out for the little dudes, or at least that's the way they see it.

Mother Nature Can Be A Mean Mutha

Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.

As an adult, you’re pretty much independent of the weather. Oh, I don’t mean that you can go outside in a blizzard, naked and enjoy a rousing game of snowball fighting without causing yourself some severe damage.

I just mean that we adults have ways around various weather-related catastrophes, such as seeing the baseball game you were looking forward to get rained out an hour before the first pitch was to be thrown. We can’t make the game go forward, but we are mature enough to realize that it wasn’t personal* nor the end of the world and then choose something else to do that day.

Little dudes and dudettes? Not so much. To them, the weather is personal. It really doesn’t want them to see the soccer game, or experience playing in the new park for the first time or take the dog to the dog park to let it off the leash and watch the ensuing craziness.The original title of this said something about politics, but I really don't see anything political about a tornado bearing down on a car, do you?

If you’re like me and you want to at least appear to make the attempt to rear your children in such a way as to suggest that the outdoors is not something to be avoided at all costs, you quickly realize that maybe the little dudette was right about it being personal.

We live in the south. I’ve lived in the south (if we count fashionable far-north Dallas as the south and I do) for almost all of my life. Which means that summers have always been hot. It’s not even so much a question of how hot, but will it break a record today? I am used to going around outside in the heat.

Sweating doesn’t bother me. I’ve learned to enjoy the shade for the delightful break it really is.

That’s me.

One of the first things I came to realize when I became the person in charge of rearing three young boys in a day-to-day basis, is that any temperature that isn’t 72 degrees Fahrenheit is way too (insert hot or cold here, depending on season) and they’re going. . . to. . . die!

Which, oddly, they never did do. Despite the whining and the horror-show shrieking whenever we’d go outside into the bright sunlight and heat and humidity, the little dudes still lived.

I think a lot of this comes from the immaturity of the young dude brain. In that, when something goes wrong, they feel the need to apportion blame. Something can’t just happen. It has to have been done by someone to them.

And because every bad occurrence is seen as having been directed at them, they take it personally and get much more angry than would seem reasonable to an adult. Or at least someone cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

This is the bit about the sense of humor. Knowing all this about how kids see adverse changes in plans, what do you suppose happened every time I had talked them into going outside in the heat to, maybe, go swimming?

If you guessed the advent of a once-in-a-century lightning storm crashing down on us just as we got to the pool. . . Well, you’ve obviously been reading this blog for a while.

When you’d actually look at the weather, see an almost certain day of rain coming and plan for a trip to the movies. . . Of course it’s one of the nicest, sunniest days on record.

It can get annoying, but I think this kind of adversity is good for their them, making them stronger, better able to handle the twists and turns of life that aren’t part of a water slide you can’t use because it started lightning and only does it every 30 minutes which is enough because they make you wait 35 minutes between strikes to get back into the water.

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Haiku Mama

Sunday Showcase: Haiku Mama

The haiku is the highest form of internet-enabled poetry.

Only seventeen syllables and comprising three lines, the haiku is short, focused on one image or idea, and is, therefore, perfect for reading when you don’t have a lot of time, but have a huge need to be entertained.

The best haikus are quick little hammerblows to the back of the head, stealthy jabs to the pleasure button in your brain.

I like to think of haikus as the body of poetry, stripped of pretense and boiled down to only the bones, but then seeing those bones tattooed and colored.

All of which might go a long way toward explaining why I really enjoyed a new book called Haiku Mama (because 17 syllables is all you have time to read) by Kari Anne Roy.

If you’re interested, and why wouldn’t you be, you can purchase a copy of the book from Amazon.com at this link.

Yay! The perfect time
To strip down naked and scream—
When Mommy’s on the phone.

Substitute the word Daddy for Mommy and you’ve got a perfect

Illustrated by Colleen O'Hara
Illustrated by Colleen O’Hara

snapshot of my life with the little dudes. So, yeah, this is a book that spoke to me.

And, once it spoke to me, it left me in tears. Mostly from laughter. I honestly don’t know when I last enjoyed a non-fiction book this much. It’s a tremendous and tremendously fast read. Just like the medium through which Roy is expressing herself.

In case you’re wondering, I fell for the book with the very first haiku. I read this and realized I needed to read the rest, that Kari Anne Roy was speaking my language.

Sniffing newborn’s head,
a primal urge takes over –
try not to eat him.

Brilliant.

This book gets a wonderful five dudes out of five. Great book that speaks a lot of truth in between the fits of laughter.

Go buy it and enjoy it quickly. You’ll be glad you did.

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Babies will grab anything they can get their grubby little hands on and that includes your glasses, your nose, your mustache hairs, your eyeballs, your ears, your necklace. . . anything.

Baby’s Reach Exceeds His Grasp

It’s a huge day in baby’s life.

On the day the little dude figures out just what — exactly — the wriggly things on the ends of his hands are for, it marks a major turning point in his relationship with his parents.

Whereas, before the epiphany, mom, dad and little dudette were living in a state of blissful harmony, marked by glances full of love and adoration, it’s a whole different ball of goop after.

Before, you could put the little dude in a high chair next to a table and

Babies tend to grab stuff as much as possible once they realize they actually can have an effect on the outside world.
Gimme!

have him sit there blissfully playing with whatever happened to be in front of him. Which let Mom and Dad eat relatively leisurely and without much incident.

And then the little dudette gains the smallest extra bit of self awareness and realizes that she can cause change in the environment around herself. And she can do it with her hands because they — holds up hands in front of wide eyes and wriggles fingers back and forth like a stoner realizing for the first that the four fingers are like a highway and the thumb is a little off ramp and whoa! Dude! doesn’t that just blow your mind?  – allow her to grab stuff.

Even better, those two hands and ten fingers allow her to grab stuff and then throw it anywhere. Or knock stuff over. Or, best of all, grab stuff, use that stuff to throw and knock over more stuff and watch Mommy and Daddy freak out, jump up and start talking funny and blotting at their clothing with napkins.

And here’s the thing. Even when new parents accustom themselves to the idea that their little dude can now grab stuff, it still takes a while before the really understand that he can lean farther than they think and knock over stuff a really big distance away.

It happened to me. When Sarcasmo was a young ‘un, maybe a year or so, his grandmother, Kaki (who was my mom) went away for a week or so. This was during the time he discovered the wriggly things and grabbing stuff.

Kaki asked to hold Sarcasmo while we were out to eat for a friendly lunch at a Gainesville diner. I warned her about his newfound propensity for grabbing stuff. She glared at me, silently reassuring me that she managed to raise me and my sister and she knew what she was doing thank you very much you young know-it-all. Mom had very expressive eyes.

What Kaki had forgotten was that reflexes, if not used, will sometimes decay. She stood Sarcasmo up in her lap, facing the table, and having fun.

He managed to get a salt shaker and mostly full glass of Diet Coke before I could get him free from Kaki’s lap and into his car seat, which we were using as a high chair. Kaki insisted on having Sarcasmo sit next to her.

He managed to get the refilled Diet Coke and a very mean look from the waitress who had to clean it up. Again.

Even experienced parents can misjudge the reach of a newly grabby little dude. Much less those new parents who have no experience to fall back on in their panic.

And this is before we bring in poisons and cleaning supplies and the like into the equation.

All is not lost, though.

To combat a little dude’s propensity for grabbing stuff, you only need to remove from his immediately surrounding environment anything that you could grab with your arms. And lock up all cabinets with the most parent-annoying security system imaginable, and then use them.

No worries.*

Footnotes & Errata

* That was a lie. There are a lot of worries. It’s not until you get to your third or so kid that you stop worrying and begin to think you know it all. Of course, that’s when everyone around you begins to panic because they just don’t understand that a toddler juggling razor-sharp knives while riding a kiddie unicycle is just little dudes being little dudes.

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