Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our house, in the middle of our street

When I was young our house was the one where all the other kids would hang out. We had room to run around and my mother would always provide everyone with drinks or snacks.

The way things are looking, I doubt my place will become such a mecca for the neighborhood urchins. The Boy often plays with Christian, who lives next door and is a few years older than he. We made the mistake of feeding him snacks once or twice, and now he's a constant presence at our back door.

I, however, am a selfish bastard and see no reason why I should share my hard-earned grapes with this ragamuffin. So I'll dole out an extra portion when it's obvious The Boy wants something to eat, but there have been plenty of times when I've refused requests for apples or crackers because I could sense the invisible strings of a hungry eight year old puppet master lurking in the shadows.

I'm honestly amazed that Christian tries to mooch off us at all. At his house they get soda and candy bars. If I was him I wouldn't waste my digestive juices on lame old fruits and vegetables.

Day Care Blues

We recently put The Boy into day care. Or, as we optimistically refer to it around him, "play school."

I've got mixed feelings about it, but to be honest he could use the social interaction. The Wife and I have been slacking off with befriending other families in the neighborhood so The Boy hasn't acquired a cadre of friends his own age. With any luck being with a bunch of other boys who are more than willing to hit back when they are hit will help to curb his overly-enthusiastic playing style. Or at least get it out of his system during the day.

The biggest danger with day care is finding one you trust. We looked at a couple and found one nearby that looked good. It wasn't the biggest, or the best organized, but it had some charm to it and the kids looked lively. Unfortunately, the owner has a pretty low opinion of me.

I don't give much verbal feedback when someone is talking, especially if they're strangers. I'll stand and stare at them, waiting for them to finish whatever they're saying. Unfortunately, there are polar opposites to this, people who desperately need feedback during a conversation or they start to panic. And when these people panic, they usually talk even more. So we get stuck in this verbal sink hole from hell where they keep talking more and more and I get quieter and quieter because I'm paying less and less attention to their ramblings. The best case ending, the talker runs out of breath and faints. (Worst case ending, we both get run over by a bus.)

This was one of those sink hole moments, and I didn't have The Wife with me during the tour to provide backup, so the owner just kept going on and on and getting less and less impressed with me. It didn't help when she asked if The Boy could bring a stuffed animal or blanket that he cuddles with to provide security, and I told her that he usually curls up with construction toys. She obviously thinks I'm a typical clueless dad who thinks of his child as an alien pooping creature, but she's not the one who has to keep digging toy trucks and plastic hammers out from the bedsheets.

Anyway, The Boy adjusted well. His first day was great, and the teachers were amazed that he's never been in day care before. The second day wasn't as good, since he realized this wasn't just a one-shot event, so there was some crying. Now, after two weeks, it's hit or miss whether or not he gets upset when The Wife drops him off but he gets over it quickly enough. I give him another week before he's running the place.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

All's fair in love and berries

We don't have room for a garden, but a couple months ago I bought a strawberry and a blueberry bush to keep on our back deck. Unfortunately, The Boy is a bit too enthusiastic about picking the berries off so we get a lot of green buds that will never live to see their juicy potential. I've had to keep a careful eye on him whenever he's outside.

Another drawback is I only bought one strawberry bush, and when you only get a single berry every couple of days The Boy is all over it. I swear he's rigged some kind of alarm to that plant, because he always knows when I try to sneak out to forage. I don't blame him, because the one piece of fruit I managed to keep from him was amazingly good. I had to force him to give The Wife a piece one day, practically at gun point.

It looks like strawberry season is over but the blueberries are finally coming in. After teasing us for months with little green balls it finally offered up a single perfectly blue berry just waiting to be picked. Naturally, I seized upon my chance and picked it, and it was amazingly good. (Okay, it could have done with another few days on the stem, but still...)

The rest of the berries are starting to turn blue, which makes me think I should install a cage around the thing to keep eager hands away before it's time. Heck, maybe he and I will even offer a few to The Wife... but don't hold your breath.