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Archive for the ‘Why to have kids’ Category

While we were vacationing in Door County, Wisconsin, my wife and I got into a conversation about how this part of the world is like what Cape Cod, Massachusetts used to be like before it got overcommercialized with big box stores and familiar names. We found out that this is because Door County still strictly regulates what businesses can open up on the peninsula; specifically, “they don’t allow chains.”

As we were driving back from a local art studio, Jack piped up, puzzled. “But Mama, I saw some in the corner of the studio, by the metal working shop. They had chains hanging up by the wall. I thought you said people weren’t allowed to have chains in Door County!”

It took us a while to untangle why he was concerned, and then to realize that he had never heard “chains” in the context of “chain stores,” so when we finished laughing over the mixup, we clued him in. We are definitely at the stage where sometimes we have to pause, realize this boy has not had our life experiences, and tell him things like, “if you dial 911 from an airport pay phone, even if you don’t put money in, it still works.” (But that’s a different story!)

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“I can tell when I don’t have my glasses on, or when they’re dirty.  When they’re clean and I’m wearing them, everything is crispier.”

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As a 4 year old, Peter loves to make other people laugh.  He’s such a clown, with his rubber face making hilarious expressions, and his physical comedy.  If he does something that makes you laugh, he’ll do it again and again, and try it on other people too.

Typically his pratfalls and goofiness have outpaced his joke-telling and wordplay.  A typical knock-knock joke would be to follow up “Raccoon who?” with “The Raccoon talks to his friend, HAHAHAHAHAHA,” while you look on, amused and befuddled.

This week, however, he made a great leap forward.  As we were driving around looking at some Christmas decorations, Peter commented on the inflatable Santa in someone’s yard.

“There’s a blow-up Santa,” he said.  Then he gasped.  “BLOW UP SANTA????” he yelled incredulously.  “Oh no!   KA-BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!!!!”

We all giggled for a good minute or two.

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Weeks ago:  My 7 year old eldest son Jack still gets upset when you wash his hair during tubby time, especially if water gets in his eyes.  He enjoys swimming pools if he can wear a flotation device and have us nearby whenever possible.  He can close his eyes and plug his nose and put his face in the water but it makes him splutter and gag immediately afterwards as he complains about the chlorine.

One week ago: We arrive for vacation at my parents’ condo.  Among other things, it features a swimming pool that’s 3 to 5 feet deep.  My wife brings $4 super hero goggles for each child.

Five days ago: My sons go swimming with their mother for hours.  While younger Peter wants nothing to do with the goggles, Jack loves them.  He gets better at putting his head under water and opening his eyes, thanks to the goggles.  He can touch the bottom in the 3ft and 4ft parts of the pool and finds this very exciting.

Four days ago: I go swimming with the kids after dinner.  They have learned to play Marco Polo and I teach them the “fish-out-of-water” variant that my grade school friends used.  Peter is not very fast on his floating noodle even though he can still touch the bottom in the shallow end, but we have fun.  I tow Peter all over the place, but Jack is now imitating my “torpedoes” by pushing off of the sides of the pool with his goggles on.

Three days ago: I go swimming with the kids.  Peter is cranky and leaves early, so it’s just me and Jack.  Jack introduces himself to some other kids, including one boy who has diving toys.  Soon they’re all over the pool together, with Jack learning to reach down and get the toys from the bottom of the pool.  The other boy is more comfortable in the water, though, so Jack starts pushing himself to get to the toys on the bottom of the pool faster.

Two days ago: My wife swims with the kids for another two hours despite a record fourth day of 100+ degree weather.  Jack is jumping into the pool, chasing friends, launching himself from the sides of the pool, swimming up to Peter from underwater, and generally having a blast.

Yesterday: The morning before we leave, my wife and the kids go swimming one more time for another 2 hours.  At this point Jack decides the goggles are getting in his way, and ditches them.  “Besides,” he reasons, “I can still see underwater without them, it’s just a little blurry.”  He continues gallavanting.  We shoot this video as proof of his transformation.

Today: Back home again.  For the first time ever, my son takes a shower instead of a bath at bedtime.

Yup… kids are weird.

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My wife descended the stairs, with one towel-covered pajama-bottomed boy in tow.  “Your son is upstairs hiding in his room and wants you to find him.”  This declarative sentence seasoned with a touch of exasperation, a dash of amusement, and a sprinkling of tired love.  Tubby time was over and the bedtime show needed to begin soon, lest storytime be late enough to push the actual bedtime past 8:30 into dangerous territory.

With a nod of assent I passed her on the stairs, ready for another drawn out game of hide-and-seek.  Four-year-old Peter has unfortunately become very good at the Hide while we Seek.  He sometimes eludes us for several minutes when he Doesn’t Wanna, a state with increasing frequency these days.  I reviewed my options.  In the cabinet under the bed?  Beneath a pile of covers?  Behind a door?

Fortunately it did not take long, as in this case, Peter was anxious to be found.  He leapt out of his closet, dry but still naked, with a big Boo! and giggled.

“There you are!” I said, playing it up.  “I was WONDERING where you were.”

“Wasn’t dat a good hiding place, daddy?” he said proudly, as I proceeded to gather the appropriate bedtime artifacts so we could complete the transition downstairs.

“Yes, very good in there.  I almost didn’t see you.  Let’s get your pull-up on and some jammies.”

“That was my mimicry.”

I did a slight double-take.  Wha-wha-what?  “Your what, Peter?  Did you say, ‘mimicry’?”

“Yes!  My mimicry.  Hiding in there.  It made it harder to see me.  Pretty good, huh, dad?”

No, it’s not *quite* the correct usage of mimicry… and yes, I had to look it up later to make sure it was what I thought it was.  But who cares?  Talk about a 10-cent word.  It’s enough to restore my faith in educational TV.   “Did you learn that from Wild Kratts, buddy?”

“Yes!” he said proudly.  “On Wild Kratts!”

Man, I love that show.  And PBS.

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We were watching Super Hero Squad, a mini-Marvel Universe cartoon with some subtle humor for the older generation mixed in.  (Sample: Thor rescues horse-man by turning him into another Thor.  Dialog: “A Norse is a Norse.” “Of course, of course.”  But I digress.)

Jack pointed to one of the female characters who was talking and said, “Her voice is very familiar.”

We agreed that it sounded vaguely familiar.

Jack proclaimed, “That’s Azula.  From Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

Really?  Well, he seemed sure of it.  To IMDB we go, and… ummm… wow.  Sure enough, Grey DeLisle is the voice of multiple female heroines in Super Hero Squad and the voice of Azula from Avatar.  Way to go, Jack.  Quite an ear you’ve got there.  Either that, or we let you watch waaaay too many episodes of Avatar.

Mind you, Grey DeLisle does a million voices that we’ve all heard over the years, including others Jack would recognize — like Daphne in every modern episode of Scooby Doo, Wubbzy from Wow Wow Wubbzy, Asajj Ventress and Padme from the Clone Wars cartoons, and Betsy from Curious George.  Not to mention the video games I would recognizer her from, such as the female bounty hunter voice for Star Wars: The Old Republic and now the female wizard in Diablo 3.  But still — there are a lot of famous voiceover voices out there, and Jack picked her out within minutes.

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It’s quiz time!  Based on my wife’s experience yesterday afternoon.

You are trying to talk on the phone.  Your 4 year old son comes up to you, holds his hands up like he’s signaling a touchdown, and yells, “SMELL MY ARMPITS!”

Why would a preschooler do such thing?  Here are your choices.

A) He is always looking for new and creative attention-getting gimmicks to interrupt you when you’re on the phone.

B) He likes to say the strangest things to make you laugh.

C) He has found your deodorant and smeared it all over his underarms.

If you guessed secret choice D, All of the Above — you are correct!

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