Knocking Around Town

February 17, 2009

Have you ever stubbed your toe?  Of course you have.  Have you ever noticed that stubbing your toe, like getting cut off in traffic, has an almost 100% probability of eliciting an audible curse from an adult?  It usually goes something like this:

Stub.  Searing pain.  Hop on good foot, grab injured toe and squeeze hard.

“Gah-DAMMIT! OW!  DAMN!  %$#@!  @#$!  etc.”

Now take it a step further:  have you ever stubbed your toe in the vicinity of a child?  Everything cited above still holds true, but when your wife comes in and asks what happened, her heretofore angelic child will dutifully tell her, “Daddy banged his goddam toe.”  With a smile no less.  And much as you would like your child to forget the aforementioned word, it will pop up again and again.  And again.  Usually in front of your parents.  Or a prospective employer.  Or a member of the clergy.    Read the rest of this entry »


Kisses and Rules

January 5, 2009

ist2_3391548-sleeping-boy“Go To Bed!”

In many households, including my own, those three words are generally delivered in an ominous and authoritative manner, the tone meant to convey thunderous consequences should obedience not follow immediately. Unfortunately, instead of the hoped for reaction (6 year old child hops up quickly from most recent activity saying, “Oh, yes Daddy, I shall brush my teeth right away and put myself to bed anon”), I am often met with a sudden inability on the part of an otherwise intelligent and perceptive child to hear what I am saying or to decipher the English language.

“Yaniv.  GO TO BED!”

Nothing.  Feigned deafness, the thinking goes, will allow him to eke out another few minutes of computer/TV/Lego/reading/coloring/trains/staring at the ceiling rather than going to bed.  If you don’t believe me on this point, don’t move from the spot where you issued your last disregarded edict and whisper very softly, “want some ice cream?” and see how fast they’re standing in front of you with a bowl, a spoon, and a smile.

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“Was The Wheel Invented When You Were Born?”

December 15, 2008

phoneHave you ever tried to explain something to someone that you felt was pretty self evident but it just wasn’t getting across? Where you were positive you were explaining it clearly, but they clearly weren’t getting it?  No?  Try describing a rotary dial phone to two girls under the age of nine.

It started with a question that really threw me off balance:

“Daddy, was there television when you were little?”

I regarded them sourly.  They had to be kidding.  I mean I know I’m old enough to be their father (ok, I AM their father) but still.  Television?

“Yes, of course there was,” I answered not a little defensively.  But then I started thinking.  Was it really the same?  Their childhood experience of television is a flat screen on a wall, a billion channels in full color (some in hi definition) and you change the channel by pushing a button on the remote in your hand.  About as similar to our Admiral black and white set (biiiig box on a rolling table, seven channels, horrible reception that only improved when one of us stood next to it and held the antenna, needed to be unplugged to be turned off, and required a visit to the set to change the channel) as a cheetah is to a housecat…same species, sure, but hardly the same thing.

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I’m Sending You To Vegas!

November 25, 2008

When Anna was 6 years old, we got into a big argument over who knows what.  No matter what you think going in, how much success you had in your high school debate class, your degrees from college and grad school, your years of work experience, a debate with a child invariably sinks to their level and you end up saying things like “so there!” and engaging in endless rounds of “No I didn’t”, “yes you did!”… but I digress.

We parried, thrusted, salvo after salvo.  At one point I said to Anna with great conviction, “You’re SO wrong.  Wanna bet on it?”.  I was expecting immediate capitulation.  Instead I got cool appraisal.  For at least a minute.  It was unsettling.  She ended her once-over by looking deep into my eyes.  Without breaking eye contact she said, “Sure”.

Intrigued with where this might go I asked, “What do you want to bet?”

Her prompt reply: “One million dollars.”

I had her now…I controlled her allowance!  There was no WAY she had that kind of money.

“Ha!  You can’t do that…you don’t HAVE a million dollars!”  And I sat back smugly.

Nonplussed and even a bit bored, she said, “I don’t need a million dollars. I know I’m right.”

Game, set, and match:  Anna.  No more Father Knows Best.  The new show is Daddy, Bested Yet Again.


Legal Defenses Of The Young – Part 1

November 25, 2008

starKaren was the one who discovered the star in question.  Beautifully drawn.  In ink.  On the arm of the sofa.  “Who did this?!”  Like deer in the woods quickly lifting their heads after a far off gunshot, the four kids in the living room looked up, looked at Karen, then at each other.  Faces betraying nothing, the three older ones advanced slowly to look at the star.  They examined it like a piece of radioactive waste.  No denials yet.  Yaniv, the 6 year old, lagged behind, then cautiously advanced towards the couch, mouth slightly agape, feigning nonchalance.

Nobody said a word.

Karen again: “WHO did this??”  Turning to Yaniv, “Was it you?”.  A millimeter head motion to the left, then nothing.  The prosecutor, sensing a crack in the facade, pushed forward:  “Was it you?  did you do this?  did you draw this?”.  Big eyes stared back.  Nothing.  Which from a 6 year old is the equivalent of a sobbing confession from an adult.

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5 Children By The Numbers

November 25, 2008

Give child bath every day until 6 years old:  2,190 baths per child x 5 children = 10,950 baths given.

3.5 years of diapers = 1,278 days of diapers x 4 diapers a day per child (average) = 5,112 diapers per child x 5 children = 25,560 diapers changed.

I tried to run the same numbers for upcoming education bills but my calculator started belching smoke.