Tag Archives: Grandmother

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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Teen Car Safety: Not An Oxymoron After All

Keeping your teen dude safe while behind the wheel is a matter of more than just the car’s specs. It’s also a matter of your teen’s mental outlook.

By which I mean that if you put your teen behind the wheel of a fire-engine-red muscle car that roars and spits even in neutral, well, you shouldn’t be surprised when your teen dude takes the car up on its implicit challenge to drive it like the beast it most truly is.

Put your teen dude behind the wheel of a car belonging to an old grandmother with a weakness for boxy, slow and drably painted automobiles, however?

“Big, slow and ugly.” That’s what parents should keep in mind when considering what car to give or buy a new teen driver, says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

This came from a recent article put out by the Detroit Free-Press, although considering that Detroit the city recently filed for bankruptcy protection, not really sure we should be listening to anything that comes out of there these days. Still, this at least sounds like good advice, so let’s just keep listening.

Another thing to consider when looking at a car you consider safer for your teen driver to use, you might want to consider that most cars older than about five years might not have the safety features mostly considered essential in keeping alive the sort of driver most likely to crash. That is, a teen dude behind the wheel.

The safety features you most want to see in a car driven by a teenager are electronic stability control, side airbags and front-collision warning or mitigation.

However, you also should keep in mind Lund’s admonition about finding cars that are big, slow and ugly.

Most people look for cars that get good gas mileage, which usually means smaller cars. That might not be a good idea when looking for a teen driver.

Compact and smaller cars “just offer less protection to their occupants,” says Lund. “It gets worse pretty quickly as you go smaller.”

While most cars offer at least 200 horsepower, you mostly want to consider cars that don’t have excessively high levels of horses under the hood. You also don’t want to buy anything that looks even vaguely sports-car-like.

“Parents have to realize the kind of car you’re driving tends to elicit certain driving behavior,” says Lund. “If it can go faster, it tends to be driven faster.”

Of course, all this depends on whether or not you’re considering getting a car for your teen to drive. For a lot of folks, this just isn’t an option, but you might want to consider it when you’re looking at your car. If your teen dude is going to drive your car, why not try and make it as safe as possible. Which might mean that you’re the one driving a car that looks ugly and slow.

Not that I have to worry about that. I mean, I’m driving an outstanding 2007 Honda Odyssey mini van. And mini vans are cool.

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Atomic Batteries To Power, Engage Hyper Speed

Happy birthday, Hyper Lad!

Today’s the big day for him, the day he moves deeper into the teens. Even though he’s only been a teenager for a year, he’s already moving well along the Path To Puberty! His voice keeps cracking every time he speaks, mostly trending deeper and deeper, but still hilariously high on occasion.

He’s learned to sleep late. Well, later.

For the first twelve years of his life, Hyper Lad would get up with the sun so he could get out and get moving. He didn’t want to miss anything. He figured all the really great stuff was happening only after he’d been asleep for a while. He wasn’t wrong. Still, it was annoying to want to sleep late, but find a somewhat bored Hyper Lad shaking my shoulder and wondering if I wanted to go do something now that it was light.

That was, however, for the first twelve years of his life. I kid you dudes not, but the first day that he was thirteen, his first day as a teenager, he slept until noon. He’s been like that ever since, for the past year. Not sure why he suddenly decided it would be fun to get dynamited out of bed by an increasingly irate father every single morning, but he did. And, of course, like every other new teen, he’s now advocating for a much later bedtime.

So far, he’s had it pretty easy. But he’s about to run into the bedtime buzz saw that his older brother, Zippy the College Boy, did. Zippy the Monkey Boy loved to sleep late and would constantly slip back to bed on school mornings and have to be yelled out of bed. Constantly. And he would constantly say he was too old to have a bed time. Constantly. And I got to tell him the same thing over and over and over: If you can’t get up on time, on your own, then you’re probably too tired so you’re going to bed early.

Eventually, after more than a year and a half, Zippy the Monkey Boy finally got the message and, for his senior year, actually got up on his own the entire time. Except for one or two accidental overslept mornings. Now it’s Hyper Lad’s turn.

Won’t that be fun?

I’m not really looking forward to this seemingly inevitable confrontation. For some reason, he and I have always had a relatively easygoing relationship. He’s done what he’s supposed to do, I haven’t had to yell. I’ve let him get away with with a few things when it wasn’t all that important. It’s worked out rather well.

Not this sleep thing, though. I can feel this one is going to lead to some harsh feelings, dudes.

I just have to remember, this is the little dude who I dragged from his womb. I was the first person to see him, standing between his mother’s knees, my own shaking; gowned and gloved and realizing that I was nowhere near prepared for what was about to happen.

But it worked. I pulled him free, smiled into his shocked face, wiped a bit of the gunk away and then handed him to his mother. Mine was the first face he saw. Poor little dude. At least the rest of his life couldn’t help but go up from there.

Things certainly have changed since then. For one thing, he likes to go out and shoot people on his birthday now, as opposed to playing with toy trucks in the back yard. By that, I mean he has gone to paint ball for the last two birthdays. I always get shot at close ranger during those events. Small price to pay, I guess.

One other thing that’s changed lately is that we can’t actually call his birthday buddy today. He was born on the same day as my maternal grandmother. They were birthday buddies and it always tickled his great-grandmother to share that special day. Now that she’s passed, the day belongs to Hyper Lad alone. Sensitive young dude that he is, he always lets me and my dad know that he misses talking to that great lady on her birthday.

So, yeah, there are bound to be some changes and some conflicts as Hyper Lad moves deeper into the teen years. But, all in all, he’s a pretty spectacularly good kid. It’s going to be worth the effort. He’s going to be worth the effort.

Happy birthday, Hyper Lad. Here’s to you. We’ll cheer as you rocket into the future.

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