Tag Archives: Having Fun

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.

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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Go Fly A Kite

Hey, dudes. Barry here with thrilling stories from the Land of the Rising Sun. No, wait. That’s not it. The Land of the Setting Sun? Close, but not. . . Ah! The Sunshine State.

That’s the ticket.

My wife, our four kids and I just got back from a week-long vacation in Florida, where we went to visit family and enjoy a nice little time away from Charlotte for spring break. It was exactly what the Florida tourism board likes to order up for its commercials. It was sunny and breezy every day, with little to no rain all week long. In short: Perfect.

For some reason, the wind started talking to my kids. And what it said to them was: Go spent lots of money at Costco. Maybe Costco has a placement deal going with the wind, but whatever.

The little dudes and dudettes decided they wanted to go fly kites on the beach since we had such a fantastic, steady bit of wind most every day. I was, to put it mildly, dubious at first. But, dudes? I was wrong.

It was awesome!

We got back from Costco with the kites and then spent the next three hours learning how each of the kites caught the wind, what we could make them do and that slap fights don’t go over well when you’re trying to fly a kite with the same hand that’s doing the slapping. Although we probably should have known that last one.

The only person not having fun was my youngest, a daughter. She was having some issues getting her kite up into the air. Well, that’s not exactly true. She could get the kite up in the air, it just wouldn’t stay in the air for more than a second or two before trying to dash itself to splinters on the ground.

It was such a perfect day, though, that even that setback turned out to be a good thing. She went over and talked to her mom, who got into a nice long conversation both my daughter and the kite, and had some very nice bonding time. About ten minutes later, once the wind picked up just a bit, that kite was in the air to stay.

Eventually it was time to go back inside, but the rush wasn’t forgotten. The next day, we headed out to do some more kite flying. That got cut short, though, because we had to be at the golf course for a tournament in which all the kids and me were playing.

As we were leaving for the tournament, my oldest girl said the the kite flying would help her golf because she learned how to read the wind. Not sure if that really did pan out, but I do know she enjoyed the heck out of herself. As did all her brothers, sister and parents.

Who would of thought my kids telling me to go fly a kite would actually be a good thing?

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To Odyssey, Or Not To Odyssey

by Richard

As you’re reading this bit of froth, I’ll be out with Hyper Lad and five other middle schoolers at Wingate University here in North Carolina competing in the annual competition of endurance, the test to see who can last longest before their aneurisms burst, and who can go for more days before they begin hating the spawn of their loins.

Yep, it’s Odyssey of the Mind competition time and the coaches are, as usual, completely freaking the frak out.

Odyssey of the Mind is a world-wide competition for school-age young dudes and dudettes. They have a two-part contest. In the long-term problem, they have to put on a play that goes through a number of hoops and fulfills a lot of requirements, and they have to do a spontaneous problem, which could be, well, anything. It’s an amazing event that forces the kids to really make original solutions to a number of difficult problems.

The young dudes and dudettes on the team are all relaxed and having fun. Looking at them, you’d never know they’re about to get up in front of a hundred or so people and put on a play. Or that they’ll be judged on the props they made, the backgrounds they created, the play they wrote or the performance they gave.

They’re just having a good time. It’s the coaches who are about to stroke out. I really do think we could learn something from the kids. I just keep stressing out and forgetting to do that.

This year, Hyper Lad’s team is taking a page from Hamlet’s book and dissecting the idea of To __ or not to __. They had to show that taking the easy out of a dilemma was the wrong way to solve the conundrum. While the finer points of the solution will have to be kept secret in keeping with the strictest strictures of the OM organization, I’ll say this: the group decided to look into whether their character would decide To Cheat, Or Not To Cheat. Yep, that’s the question, all right.

Personally, I think this is a great solution. Their play is really well-written, very, very funny and they’ve got some great costumes, props and sight jokes.

They’re going to have to be really good to win this and go on to state and then. . . the world! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Sorry about that. Got caught up in the spirit of the thing.


Wish the young dudes good luck. Personally? I can’t wait to see it all, secure in the knowledge that there’s nothing at all I can do to influence the outcome. Maybe then I can relax.

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