Tag Archives: Wit

Sense And Sense-Ability

by Richard

Child-rearing is tough, no question about it. It’s so tough, in fact, there are hundreds, nay, thousands of books out there telling us all what to do, how to do it and why we should do it their way.

*ahem* The Dude’s Guide To Babies, coming for Father’s Day 2013

Anyway. Back to those other books. Every young dude and dudette are unique, which leads to problems in trying to follow advice from someone. Your baby is different. That leads to all these authors trying to find categories by which they can divide the vast sea of babies with parents desperate for help.

Priscilla J. Dunstan is one such author. She’s got a new book out called Child Sense: From Birth to Age 5, How to Use the 5 Senses to Make Sleeping, Eating, Dressing, and Other Everyday Activities Easier While Strengthening Your Bond With Child. Boy, sure sure likes wordy titles.

I can’t vouch for the utility of the book, but she’s making some sense in newspaper articles she’s writing that are being used to promote the book. I think you dudes can take that as a slightly favorable endorsement. She might descend into gibberish for the rest of the book, but this stuff makes sense.

What she’s talking about is how difficult it can be to add a new baby to a family that already has a kid attached. She’s not kidding. When Zippy the Monkey Boy came along, poor Sarcasmo started acting out as a desperate attempt to get attention. That quickly passed, though, and Sarcasmo started doing all the talking for the both of them. Back to the article, though.

Dunstan divides all babies based on which sense they primarily use to help them interpretate the world: auditory, tactile (touch), visual and taste-smell. Seems a bit odd, but nothing out of bounds considering the value teachers place on various different learning styles. She suggests that by using your child’s dominant sense, you can help the little dude overcome his anxiety. To wit:

Tactile children can get frustrated with your inability to be as active as you were before you were pregnant and they will worry that this is permanent. They can become very grabby and clingy towards Mom and Dad, often trying to climb on your knee or wanting to be carried everywhere. Try to involve them in the pregnancy by letting them feel when the baby kicks, talking about the games they will be able to do with their new sibling and letting them help set up and decorate the baby’s room. Giving them a doll that they can practice on is also a good idea, as they may need to learn how to be gentle with their sibling-to-be.

See, not a bad idea. She goes on to talk about some suggestions for little dudettes who focus on different senses over at the article to which I’m linking. As I said, she’s making some good sense. Maybe you might want to check her out.

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Changing Faces

by Richard

This will definitely require more than a little time to readjust.

I sat down to write this light-hearted bit of fluff, you know, the same sort of hard-hitting, life-changing, priority-reevaluating (adjectively-enhanced) nuggets of information that you’re used to receiving here at the Dude’s Guide, but it came out as dreary, death-obsessed and gave the feeling of being tired beyond words and weighed down by Mom’s death.

Which is, of course, why I scrapped the whole thing and then started smacking myself about the head and shoulders with the frozen tuna I keep in the icebox for just such such an emergency. It’s also why I keep my feathers numbered, but that’s another story for another time.

As I say, finding a way to come back to normal life is going to take a bit.

At the same time, I keep getting flashes that I’m being more than a little stupid. I mean, I’m old (well, what I used to think of as old. Now, of course, I’m not old, only a bit less young than once I was.) and I should have expected something like this so be used to it.

I think the problem comes from the fact that she wasn’t just my mom, she was one of my best friends. Call me a cellar-dwelling reprobate if you must, but I like to think of myself as being lucky. I managed to grow up and enter (alleged) adulthood and discover that my parents weren’t all about disciplining wayward childish behavior, but actually had non-parental lives of their own that were pretty interesting.

Mom and I had a lof of long, rambling conversations where we talked about, well, most anything. I never knew where the conversations were going to lead and that, dudes, is friendship. And I miss it.

I also know, however, that if Mom were able to do anything about it, she’d be whacking me upside the head with her crutch for not getting on with life, not laughing as much as I used to, not seeing the wonder of a well-built brick wall. (No, seriously. I clearly remember one time in which we were driving by a couple of guys building a brick wall and Mom stopped the car, insisted we get out, introduced herself and me to the guys and then asked if we could watch and ask a couple of questions. I thought she was nuts, but — oddly — it turned out she was brilliant. It was an amazing half hour and I’ve never looked at brickwork the same way since.)

So, time to adjust, adapt and other positive-meaning words that begin with the letter a.

I mean, I’m sure Mom’s ghost has other things to do than hang around and disapprovingly shake her spectral head over a whiny son.

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Dude Review: The Lost Hero

by Richard

The ancient gods of Western civilization have withdrawn from the world following the epic events detailed in the Camp Half-Blood books, starring Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), by author Rick Riordan.

Of course, just because the gods say they’ve withdrawn from their interactions with mortals, well, that doesn’t make it true. Knowing those gods as we do, through myth, legend and a great series of books, we can be pretty sure there’s still some godly meddling going on.

And there is.

In The Lost Hero, the first book of a new series called The Heroes of Olympus, we’re introduced to a whole bunch of new main characters, most notably Jason, a half-blood demi-god with little to no memory of his past, a strange tattoo on his arm, and a metaphorical target plastered on his back.

For now, let’s all get down on our knees and thank those self-same gods that Rick Riordan is back with another book set in the same universe as the magnificently wonderful Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. This truly is a cause for celebration. To me, the Percy Jackson books are what Harry Potter would have liked to have been if he had any ambition at all. They’re full of fantastically complex characters, fast plotting, tight action scenes and genuine emotional heft. These are books that all young dudes would love to read or have read to them.

Both my oldest (Sarcasmo) and youngest (Hyper Lad) young dudes loved these books. Zippy the Monkey Boy, who’s of the opinion that a book without pictures is a waste of paper, preferred to read the graphic novel version and leave it at that. His loss.

Anyway. Back to the book.

Riordan takes a bit of a chance with this book, consigning as he does, Percy Jackson to, if not limbo, then at least the literary equivalent thereof. That is, Percy Jackson does NOT star in these books. He’s talked about and missed, but he’s not actually on stage. The main player here is Jason, who’s memory begins on the back of a school bus on his way to a class trip with two people who may or may not be his girlfriend and best friend.

The action here is fast and furious, starting early and pausing only to let the reader catch his breath before barreling headlong into another adventure.

Jason, you see, isn’t like the other children of the gods who inhabit Camp Half Blood. In fact, his appearance at the summer camp for the children of the gods causes quite a bit of consternation among the staff there, and not a little bit of fear. But what is it about Jason’s very existence and attendance at the camp that’s causing this level of panic?

That, dudes, is the question. And it’s got a great answer. (Of course I had it figured out, but, then again, this is written with the younger dudes in mind. The fact that I and most other older dudes can enjoy it is just a happy bit of synchronicity.)

The Lost Hero is a fantastic read. If you’ve got a young dude or dudette who is even the tiniest bit interested in Greek and Roman mythology, likes fantastic adventure and well-developed characters, then you must get this book. Without question, this rates five (5) dudes out of five.

Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. Then suffer along with me until the next book in the series comes out.

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