The Boy Learns Fast.

Yesterday evening marked what I believe is the beginning of the end of the latest round of plague that has hit our house. The Narrator had very generously brought some kind of alien illness home from school and shared it with us. I mentioned in an earlier post that Mini-Me had it blossom into an upper respiratory issue. He is recovering. I was hit with a chest racking cough that tortured my abdominal muscles in such a manner that I have not seen since “Hell Week” in the academy. My wife seems to have dodged the worst of it, and by and large I think we’re all starting to come out of it.

Last night I had planned on making cheeseburgers for dinner, and I was going all out. Bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onions, melted cheese of choice, the works. However, two things changed my plans. First of all, I still wasn’t feeling up to par, so a project meal seemed a bit ambitious. Second, The Narrator, still a notoriously picky eater- vehemently protested, citing numerous reasons why he disliked cheeseburgers. Not feeling up to arguing with him the following conversation occurred.

Me: “If you don’t want cheeseburgers, what should we have for dinner?”
He: “Um. Everybody is sick, we should have soup.”
Me: “We haven’t got any soup left. We would have to go to the store and get some.
He: “Well, let’s go.”
Me: “I can’t go, I’m sick too. You’ll have to drive.”
He: “DADDY! I can’t drive! I don’t have a driver’s license!”
Me: “That’s not a problem, you can borrow mine. You remember how to get to the store right?”
He: {Thinking for a minute} “I guess I could just follow the road.”
Me: “Well, yes, that’s generally a good idea.”
He: {Scrunching his face in deep thought} “I can’t use the GPS, I don’t know how that works. It looks like you’re going to have to drive anyway.”
Me: “Okay okay, I’ll drive, but you and mommy don’t like soup, and your brother is too little to eat it. We aren’t going to the store just so I can have soup.”
He: “Hm. Oh! What about rice? Let’s get food from China! {What he calls the Chinese food restaurant in town. I might have had something to do with that}
Me: “That’s not a bad idea actually.”
He: “Good, I know how to get there. Should I drive?”

Advertisements

Missing out on “Dad Of The Year” Again.

The Narrator recently got new shoes.

He’s excited about them, he picked them out off of Amazon all by himself. They are a shade of green that makes it look like some twister cobbler plied his trade on poor Kermit the Frog. But he loves them, and that’s all that matters.

He’s so excited about them that the other day we went to the police station so I could pick up a key. While we were in there, one of the other town employees- whom he’s never met- was treated to his excited utterances about his new shoes. The woman indulged him wonderfully, she came out of her office and told him how nice they were. That just about made his day.

Today was his first day of school since he’s gotten the shoes, and it was pouring rain outside. I offered to carry him to the car so he didn’t get mud on them. Well, we got all the way out to school, only to find that the teacher was cancelling because the whole are had suffered a power outage. He couldn’t share his new green shoes with his class. He was crushed. Heartbroken.

We drove home, with a quick stop for a consolation cinnamon bun and chocolate milk. He felt a bit better by the time we got in the driveway. Again, I offered to carry him inside to keep his new shoes clean.

To this point, I’d been doing good. But right about now, it all goes horribly wrong.

I picked him up and started to hurry in out of the rain. I cut across the front lawn. Which had some snow on it. And ice. My foot found a patch of ice that had a thin layer of water on top of it, making it ridiculously slick. My hurry to get out of the rain, coupled with the sudden vanishing of traction and footing, and being thrown off balance by a 40 pound kid ended in disaster. We went down. Hard.

My knee twisted painfully, but I didn’t realize how badly at the time because I unceremoniously dumped The Narrator as well. He bashed his head and ass on the ice and immediately let out a wail that told me we were in serious trouble. Scooping him up and running inside, we of course found Mini-Me asleep on his mother when we came in.

Thankfully, he healed with an icepack and drink, with no real damage. A bump on the head and a sore butt is about all. I’ve felt terrible about it all day, a fact made worse by my wife’s icy (I need a better word) stares at me all morning, constant silent accusations reminding me that if I hadn’t cut across the obviously frozen front yard, none of this would have happened. She was right, so I didn’t argue.

My knee is slightly swollen and twisted to the point where if I sit still for too long, it tenses up and I can’t bend it. I don’t dare mention it though because…well….I dropped the kid on the ice. On his head. So unless I needed hospital transportation, nothing that happened to me is worth bringing up. It did make my pre-employment physical for the police department VERY interesting as I tried not to limp or hobble around this afternoon.

When it became apparent that the boy was alright and the Mrs. thawed out towards me a little, we started asking him how he was.

“J- How is your head?”
The Narrator: “It’s okay. a little hurty.”
“How is your butt?”
The Narrator: “It hurts a little.”
“What about your knee? Does that hurt?” (At this point we begin to mess with him. He never bumped his knee.)
The Narrator: “Yeah. A little bit.”
“And your eyebrows? Are they okay?”
The Narrator: “No, they’re a little hurty too.”
“And your uvula?”
The Narrator: “What’s that?”
“The hangy-downy thing in the back of your throat”
The Narrator: “Oh. Yeah that’s a bit sore.”
“And your uterus?”
The Narrator: “What’s that?”
“Its something only mommys have. How’s yours?”
The Narrator: (without stopping to process that)“It hurts.”

The drama is strong with this one.

 

The Headaches of Scheduling

I sit this morning looking at what seems to be an insurmountable number of schedules, re-schedules, post-it notes with reminders, and emails detailing some upcoming task or another.

But the crux of it all is the single sheet marked “April, 2014” of the calendar handing next to my ‘desk area’ which is just my seat at the dining room table with some extra papers piled in the corner.

On that single sheet is a comprehensive schedule for the next several weeks…and its complete. After months of planning week-by-week for several part time jobs, school, and other important obligations, the entire month of April is set in concrete. My tech work, ambulance work, and part time police department schedule are all lined up. Any conflicts in work have already been cleared with respective bosses, The Narrator’s school schedule is worked in there, as is his birthday and a very important meeting with the fire department.

The sheet is practically dripping with sharpie ink of various colors, and as I set up my google calendar to correspond to the written paper, I realize that I am looking at a nice, full, rigid schedule for the first time in so very, very long.

The peaceful and solid schedule of April is something to look forward to, especially since March doesn’t seem to be going out without a fight. Yesterday, for example, I had to take a day off from work so I could make a pre-employment medical examination for the PD. I drove 45 minutes to the appointment, only to be told I was in the wrong location, that the office I was in “Couldn’t do that exam” …although the reasons were not made clear to me as to why.

See, the company that does the employment health screenings has two locations. One 45 minutes from me (where I was) and the other… twice as far. Civil Service had made the appointment for me, so as soon as I was kicked out of the office by a sneering receptionist who clearly hated her job- I called them. Lucky for me we live in a small county so I immediately got a hold of the woman who had made the appointment for me. She told me she had specifically requested this location from the company, and was given the “A-Okay” from whomever she talked to. The lady apologized profusely to me, which I dismissed, it hadn’t been her fault. She called the manager of the medical company, then called me back, informing me that they’d rescheduled me for TODAY at the other location. Good news is that I don’t have to wait 2 more weeks for an appointment, bad news is that another day at work had to be missed. Fun side fact, the Civil Service lady was told by the manager that she spoke to that there was no reason the the location I’d been scheduled for and had gone to couldn’t do the examination for me.

The bottom line is, the ball was dropped somewhere, and I’m out two days of per-diem work this week.

When I was in the police academy, I was taught that my communication should be clear, concise, and accurate at all times to avoid getting in trouble or muddying the waters any. What my instructors had failed to do was let me know that expecting the same from anyone else was to invite disappointment and chaos.

Lesson learned.

Another lesson that I’m learning fast, is that scheduling any sort of personal activity takes an act of congress, especially if you’re looking to meet up with friends. We had a weekend set up to meet with a college friend that we haven’t seen in some time, but they had to cancel due to the husband’s work. Rechecking the schedule, there is no time at all to meet up with them for at least another month. Aligning schedules is like aligning planets.
These same sort of circumstances are creating a bit of tension with my in-laws who live an hour and a half away and are getting a little bit grumpy at the fact that we haven’t been to visit them since New Year’s. Checking availability for the next month….yeah, not gonna happen for at least another month. Oops.

The long and short of it though, is that as fouled up as personal activities go, at least my work schedule is something that I can anticipate and plan around again. There are a few (very) long days, like the ones where I work 7am to 2pm at one job, then do 3-11pm with the PD…but they’re few and far between, and the point is that I know they’re coming so far ahead of time that I can make sure there is a bottle of wine available for my wife after bedtime for the boys happens.

So, fingers crossed….no surprises April. Please, no surprises.

Profound Thought of the Day….

I had a thought yesterday. (Yes, just one. It was a slow day.)

To be honest, once I had this thought, I probably spent far too much time pondering it.

It was a simple thought, a question really, but one that I think begged to be asked:

 

Has the rise of smartphones lessened the amount of stall graffiti in public restrooms?

I’ll bet the thought never crossed your mind has it? But amid all the complaints that smartphones and constant cell phone usage in general is leading to the demise of civilized society,  at the very least it is possible that thanks to the devices, we are seeing fewer instances of misspelled obscenities, sadly phrased slurs, and crudely drawn penises and swastikas. Instead of having nothing to do but scrawl such things along the walls, we are now occupied with Candy Crush and Angry Birds. (That’s still a thing right?)

Interesting possibility no?

Discuss this amongst yourselves.

{This post was drafted on a smartphone and…you guessed it…from a bathroom stall.}

My Wife, The Spy.

(Not My Wife)

My darling wife, I think, has missed her calling in life. First of all, she has an amazing ability to ferret out information. I think the internet was created so she would have ways of finding things out. I think if she were to perform a background check on someone, its depth would rival the FBI. Seriously, she’s good. There are no secrets from her.

However, in spite of this, she has another gift. Getting information out of her takes an act of congress. I have reason to suspect that if she were ever in a situation where someone was trying to draw something out of her, She would put Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne, and James Bond to shame.

It is infuriating.

This morning, for example- we had a conversation.

She runs a modest little Esty shop online where she sells handmade felt crafts. She’s very creative and clever, and people enjoy the things she has made for them. Recently, she undertook two rather large projects. They were both finished around the same time, and shipped out a week or so ago. This morning I inquired about them.

Me: “Hey Hon, have you gotten any feedback on those orders yet?”
Her: “No, Not yet.”
Me: “Oh, okay. Just wondering.”
{A few seconds later}
Her: “Well. Not officially anyway.”
Me: “But you have heard from them?”
Her: “Yes.”
Me: “AND? What did they say?”
Her: “They loved them.”

At this point I gave up, realizing that my initial question should have been:

“Have you in any capacity, official or unofficial, heard from either of your two customers in regards to the product you had crafted and shipped to them, and if so, what was their reaction in detail?”

I’m certain that the main sentiment behind my initial question was abundantly clear, but she specifically answered the questions that I ASKED, and volunteered no more information. It is for this reason that I think that under one of those investigative sessions with a single swinging light bulb over her head, the goons on the other side of the metal table wouldn’t ever get anything out of her.

I can’t, and we’ve been together over a decade.

So if the CIA or MI6 is hiring, send them my way, I have the perfect operative for them. Oh, she can shoot too…which is one of the reasons I don’t push to hard to extract information myself.

I’m joking.

Seriously.

 

 

Leprechaun Trapping

The Narrator’s pre-school class built and baited a leprechaun trap last week, to let it sit over the weekend in the hopes of catching the elusive creature.

The details of the trap are mysterious to me, because in typical 4-year old fashion, as soon as I asked him about it, he ‘forgot.’ As far as I know, a team of intrepid preschoolers could have very well dug a punji pit behind the school and baited it with lucky charms. I like to think the teachers would have come up with another alternative, but I have no way of knowing. The Narrator is keeping it to himself.

My son is no stranger to trapping. A few times last summer we set a live trap for chipmunks baited with some cereal. There was no malice in the reason for our trapping the little guys, I wanted to show him the creatures up close, and have a little fun in the process. Observing the excitement level as he peered out the living room window at the trap set in the driveway every few seconds like the world’s worst spy was nothing short of super fun. In the end, no animals were harmed. In fact, for the price of a a few scant moments of entrapment, most of them managed to make off with a sizable portion of froot loops. Literally everybody won.

I digress.

I asked him what the class would do if they managed to catch a leprechaun. Again, he had no idea. Either the plans of his collective were so nefarious to the point where they all swore a blood-oath of secrecy or he conveniently ‘forgot’ what the teachers told him again….and with his memory being as terrifyingly sharp as it is, I doubt he forgot so I’m a little worried.

My wife seems to think that the leprechaun will get himself caught, but they’re sneaky and clever enough to escape, not before leaving some kind of appropriate treasure before they depart. I’m of the opinion that if they’re smart enough to escape from a trap, they’d be smart enough to not get caught in the first place, and there’s bound to be a slew of disappointed preschoolers this morning. The wife assures me otherwise, but she also tells me she’s never managed to trap a leprechaun either, so I’m dubious as to the extent of her expertise. She also got very mad at me when I {jokingly} suggested we send the boy to school with one of those mini souvenir baseball bats in case they did manage to catch one and need to finish him off, and threatened me with death if I mentioned the idea to The Narrator even a little bit.

Someone once told me that if you do manage to capture a Leprechaun, you’re supposed to make him give you his treasure before you let him go. At first I hopefully anticipated The Narrator getting into the car this afternoon lugging one of those cartoonish bank-bags festooned with dollar signs and bulging with gold…but then I remembered what I was up against, and the reality will probably be a bit more along the lines of a small bag of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, because that is the 4 year old idea of what treasure is.

It is my fault really. I should have briefed him better before dropping him off this morning.

Oh well. Happy St. Patrick’s day.

Short and Sweet

My experimentation with taking Gingko Biloba for memory is already showing stunning results.

The progress can best be summed up by yesterday’s experience, when I remembered that I had forgotten to take the pills that morning.

Baby steps.

 

“Whobody dead-ed it?”

The Narrator was pretty slow in his speech development the first few years of his life. We actually had a speech therapist come to the house a few days a week and work with him on developing his skills. Before our enrollment in the early intervention program which afforded us the therapist, much of his speech was limited to the first letter of each word he wanted to say, and it was up to us to figure out what he wanted.

“Buh…..” – could mean ball? bear? berries?
“Cuh….” – car? cup? cookie?

It was exhausting trying to figure out what he wanted based on the context of the pseudo conversation we were having with him.

Luckily for us, EI worked amazingly. We had a total of three therapists in his time in the program, and two were spectacular. The third was…..eccentric. She used to use what she called ‘facial prompts’ when trying to teach him to talk, which meant physically grabbing his face and moving it about to show him how his face should work when he spoke. I don’t know if that method works, but The Narrator HATED it, and as a result he clammed up when she came, resulting in no growth. We were forced to ask EI for another therapist, who turned out to be brilliant.

…Now The Narrator is right where he should be. Not only is he gathering a staggering vocabulary, but his ability to express what he wants to say has become exceptional.

During his growing time though, as he developed his speech abilities, I rather shamefully admit that I found some of what he tried to say absolutely amusing. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t laughing at my son as he tried to grow, I was laughing at the result, and I can’t believe anyone in my position wouldn’t have gotten at least a chuckle out of what he had said as well. I made it a practice not to laugh out loud in front of him, there was no way I was going to jeopardize his growth and development by adding self-conscious to the mix at three years old.

However, when he wasn’t there, or when I could turn aside…I did laugh. Often. His whimsical sense of humor was also beginning to develop, and that, coupled with a budding grasp on speech made for some amazing utterances.

His pronunciation of “Construction” was rather heavily garbled and came out sounding like “Fuckin'” – so we (in a sole effort to get him to practice of course!) would ask him to say things like “Construction truck” or “Construction man” or “Construction people.”

The crown jewel though was a comedic utterance that had undertones of success. It came one spring day when I took him for a walk. As we walked up the road, we came across a dead bird. He was probably a little over three years old at the time, I don’t remember exactly, but he looked down and saw it.

“Daddy, whats that?”
Me: “That is a bird.”
“Oh. What is the matter with it?”
Me: “Well, its dead…it isn’t alive anymore.”
“Why?”
Me: “Well, sometimes in nature, things die. It happens for lots of reasons and it gives bugs and other animals something to eat.”

….at this point he becomes silent, and I’m wondering if my short little biology lesson was too much to grasp. It was. When he finally spoke again:

“Oh. Well, whobody dead-ed it?”

On the surface, it was one of the most amusing thing he had said to date, because…lets face it, that was funny.

Then, as I thought about it though, that funny little comment was a huge indication that The Narrator was on the way to great success with his speech training. Had he been 5 or 6 when he said this, I might have been worried about his development, but at three and a little bit, he was able to articulate his question on a subject he didn’t understand using words he did know. While I was overtaken at first with mirth, later on I realized that this was learning. He had no concept of ‘dead’ ‘death’ and ‘killing’ at that age, but he understood that the thing was not alive any more. He processed that to realize that this was ‘dead’ Somehow it happened, and we need to know why, or who made it like this. Not knowing the words, he was able to ask me the question he wanted to ask by changing the word he DID know in an effort to ask his question.

“dead-ed” might have been hilarious to hear, but it was also a spectacular incite to how the child’s mind worked at the time, and it was an indication that his speech therapy was working, that he was growing, and that if things continued along at this rate, he’d grow into an irrepressible chatterbox that would be too clever for his own good.

Surprise surprise, that is exactly what happened. He now talks from sunup to sundown. Everything and anything needs to be commented on, questioned, or critiqued. (Especially wounding are his comments like “That looks like a snowman to you?”) On one hand we’re very glad that he has shed his developmental delay. We’re very proud of him for the work he’s done to get to where he is.

…….But we’re also wondering how the hell to take the batteries out from time to time. Like any kid his age, he’ll talk to hear his own voice. He’s fallen asleep mid-sentence. “Whobody dead-ed it?” was the opening of a floodgate. Funny to hear him say, but an indication that he would someday be called “The Narrator” on an internet blogging site for very, very good reason.

“Oh, Good. Its Not a Bomb.”

I’m calling today “Short Story Day” because I don’t have anything yet suitable for a real update, so I’ll regale you with a small anecdote.

The other morning, I took an apple out of the refrigerator. I took a bite of it and wandered into the living room where The Narrator was devising some intricate scenario with his toys that involved a lot of “Look out!” and “He’s gonna get you!” sort of things. When I came in, he looked up and saw my apple.

“Ooh, an apple. Can I have one?”

Me: “Sure, you can have this one if you want, I only took a small bite out of it.”

He looks at it thoughtfully for a second then takes it, examining it critically.

“Is this a trick?”

Me: “What? Why would it be a trick?”

Him: “Hmm. Okay, I guess its not a bomb. Thank you.”

…and off he goes to enjoy his apple.

The best part was that after I collapsed to the ground laughing, he turned to me with a cartoonisly straight face and asked “What?”
He’s hit the age where he is genuinely being funny, like TRYING to be funny. The humor from the things he says is no longer only sourced by childlike innocence or mispronounced words. It is the most amazing thing to see a kid develop to the point where they can set you up for a joke and play the reactions. I really can’t wait to see what happens next with this kid.

Confounding Kids’ Shows, Volume III

Today’s installment features one of the newest shows on Disney Junior. It happens to be one of my son’s favorites, “Sheriff Callie’s Wild West”

On the whole, it is your typical kid’s show featuring talking animals, an infallible hero, and a cast of characters that are always causing problems for the hero to fix. It is sort of cute, and not nearly as annoying as some of the other examples of children’s programming that is out there. Plus, like I said it is one of The Narrator’s favorite shows. He enjoys it so much that he’s commandeered one of my old kepis from my Civil War reenacting days so he can look like deputy Peck.

peck

Cute, no?

The main character is Sheriff Callie, voiced by Mandy Moore. (Who has definitely grown up from how I remember her as a kid by the way, wow.) She’s a calico cat who runs the town of “Nice and Friendly Corners” and protects it from all sorts of bandits and problems, real and imaginary, the whole time trying to teach kids about responsibility, manners, and all that kind of wholesomeness that is infused in television programs for our youngsters.
The rest of the cast of characters are, of course, animals.

Pigs, skunks, rabbits, ducks, and a cow.
The cow is my first point of contention with the show. In spite of the character who is the cartoon equivalent of the bartender, there is an episode where there is a cattle drive or something of the like where a bunch of non-talking cows are herded around during one of the problem sequences.

I couldn’t help but wonder how the bovine bartender would take to her family being treated thusly. It appears to be the old screwed-up disney relationship with dogs. Goofy talks, Pluto doesn’t. They’re both clearly dogs, but spaced quite differently on the evolutionary ladder. The cow situation here is the same thing. One talks, walks, and interacts, her cousins though are the beef herd outside of town. Strange, but not as strange as my MAIN concern with the show.

This guy, right here:

toby

This is Toby. The only character that isn’t an animal. He’s Deputy Peck’s buddy and a main character. He is also clearly a cactus. It isn’t the divergence from the animal kingdom that bugs me about him, nor really is it he himself which is the problem. The issue is that I suspect he is being tortured by the townspeople.

Whaaat?

Yep. One of the main ‘treats’ that the people of Nice and Friendly Corners like to drink is….cactus juice. Since there’s ONE cactus wandering around town, the mind could jump to something wildly inappropriate immediately, but I went a different route with it. For some strange reason, the image in my head is that of this poor little succulent being dragged into an alley and wrung like an old towel over a glass every time someone gets a hankering for cactus juice.

Its not explained why he is a cactus, it isn’t talked about why everyone drinks cactus juice, and it certainly isn’t mentioned HOW they come by it whenever someone gets thirsty, but it sort of creeps me out a bit. If Toby ISNT the source of the drink, would his consumption of it be cannibalism?
Yes, I’m reading too much into it. It’s a kid show, leave it alone man. But I just can’t help but let my mind wander during these skull-numbing shows to situations and scenarios that the creators and writers probably never intended to be devised.

Yes, I often wish I could put the the creative segment of my brain towards something constructive rather than pick apart children’s programs in an effort to expose sinister realities, but alas…this is not to be.