Thursday, September 30, 2010

Played Out

With fall approaching and the daunting thought of winter in Rochester I have to address something that relates to my earlier post, those endless days of play. While you are happy that school has started just remember, there will be many days ahead where you are going to be inside. For those of you whose kids are in all day kindergarten I say “You lucky ducky” Your kids are wiped when they come home because they are all played out. Sure, staying at home means that you are safe and that a potty is mere steps away but staying inside too much can be just as deadly. Turning to Facebook or working on the blog is how I deal. My kids ask me why I always play that game on the computer. It’s because if I play Star Wars one more time or have to pretend I am going skinny dipping by taking all the dresses of Sarah’s Barbies in the royal pool at Belle’s palace I am going to lose it. I don’t know how I got this way. Willie Pacer and I used to play Star Wars in his backyard with his state of the art Han Solo blaster and he always made me Chewbacca because I was the tallest kid in class. My brother and I used to play G.I. Joes endlessly, Star Wars, He-Man etc., it was just too awesome. I guess I am just all played out. Or maybe it is because Adam won’t let me control Man-At-Arms like I want to and he imposes all these rules about how none of his guys can get hurt in anyway. Conflict! We need some sort of conflict over here! I don’t know about anyone else’s kids act but mine crave constant attention. Adam was always needy from the get go. Maybe I fed into that because I was so excited about playing with him. I used to think, “How can parents not want to get down on the floor and play with these cute kids?” Now, I am fully aware of why. Playing is their exercise and this is what they love to do. Now, while they are playing we are following close behind. We make sure they share, that no toys are left behind, that sand is not “accidentally” being kicked in some kid’s face. Now that’s work. For the first five or six years of their life all they do is play. Think of puppies or kittens and how their exuberance can get them into trouble, kids are a reflection of the endless energy that even animals have. At the Brookfield Zoo I always noticed lion cubs. Boy, they do not give up; jumping on the Daddy Lion, biting his ears, playing with his tail while he tried to take a cat nap. Dude, I can now relate. I am sorry if I ever referred to you as “that lazy butt lion”, I get it, I really do and I am sorry. I respect you Mr. Lion and I hope you get that nap in there while your kids jump on your nether regions. I had a friend whose job was being a toy tester. All she did all day was play with toys and assess their value. How cool is that? But, when I asked her how I would get a job like that she would say “Trust me, you don’t want this job. It gets old.” I guess that could be true. Seems like we all get played out but for me I need to find another set of Energizers aka. coffee, and forge ahead. I have to run. I have a tea party to attend to at Castle Greyskull with Strawberry Shortcake.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The Clash was right, this question is essential to staying at home with the kids. On one hand, leaving the house means that you can have wild adventures, lasting memories of shared experiences, and excitement beyond your wildest imagination. On the other hand, you have to deal with their BS.

 I know that the kids appreciate it when I take them to The Sandbox, The Strong Museum, Kango, Bounce It Out etc. But seriously, it is a major undertaking. First of all, you have to plan an hour ahead of time what you will be bringing. I liken it to Rambo getting prepared for battle. I mean, you physically are wearing a bandolier of bottles, sippy cups, diapers, wipes and whatever other stuff you are carrying just to keep them happy. I still have not found a diaper bag that makes it seem like I am not carrying a monster purse with me. It’s either that, or I am wearing a backpack that looks like I am off to Kilimanjaro.

Secondly, those places are havens for germs. I don’t know how often they go through and wipe down everything. I have never physically seen it but I know when I used to work at Discovery Zone we cleaned as needed and stayed late once a week to disinfect the ball bin. I always enjoyed the announcement over the loundspeaker: “Attention, Zone Manager Chris, we have a CODE BROWN in tunnel number 5” Gross. Take it from me ball bins are disgusting but lucrative. I would find keys, money, cell phones, rings, and just about anything you would keep in your wallet. If the kids could convince their parents to crawl around in there it meant that this teenager could afford Burrito Loco that night.

Every time my kids see a McDonald’s PlayPlace I shudder because they want to go in there. The McD’s on Monroe in Pittsford needs to be shut down by the EPA. I am afraid to even put my elbows on the tables without my skin being buffered by a wipe barrier. Staying at home has its privileges. I know what is expected. I know what is possible. I know what is clean. I have a time out chair readily available and they can’t run too far without being contained.

At these play places especially if you have two, you know they have the tendency to disappear. So here’s a pop quiz hotshot. Who are you going to go after when they both run different directions? Huh? Huh? I never go without a play place buddy. The buddy system really does work. My friend once went to the Strong. His daughter was 2 and his son was still in the stroller. He was hindered by the stroller and she took off amongst the catacombs of Adventureland. If you are tall, you know that this area is not good for backs or heads and only little people or Smurfs can really fit in there. Not only that but you get that panic feeling when you can’t see them anymore. Luckily she was rounded up by a docent with a walkie-talkie who asked him if she was his child and then reported in said walkie-talkie “Cancel that, we found the dad” That’s a terrible feeling. So should you stay or should you go? You need to find a balance. But take my advice, bring a buddy, tag your child with a GPS tracker, and then let them loose in the wild. You never know what is going to happen and that could be good depending on how long you have been inside the house.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Your Shortie's Shortcomings

Adam had T-Ball this summer. They play T-Ball when they are 3-4 years old. Kids start baseball when they are 5 here! Five? It doesn't seem fair. Most of them can't throw with any consistency, or catch with any consistency, or know WHERE to throw it when the ball comes to them. A baseball to a T-Ball team might as well be a football because if the ball is rolling that means every kid on that team is diving on the ball. With everyone diving on the ball, there is no one to cover 1st base, 2nd base, or any base. It's hard to watch your kids in these situations because you desperately want them to be the next Strasburg or the second coming of Ken Griffey Junior. I watched my boy talk to other players, pick weeds in the grass (his dad despises weeds) and proceed to wear his glove as a hat while he tried to catch the ball with his hat! I wanted him to belt the ball off the tee like we had practiced all summer only to watch him put his left hand on top and stand on the right side of the plate (he's a righty). Thank goodness for do overs!

Adam's coach was an awesome guy who definitely knew how to teach little kids. Teach them the fundamentals and bring your extra patience. It's hard to believe that I was once this terrible. There is no sugar coating it, they just have to learn the hard way...with their coach yelling at them to leave the four leaf clovers alone in the outfield and pay attention. So good luck out there moms and dads. Teaching your kid a sport is hard work. Eventually it will pay off like the Mr. Pibb at the end of the game or that time I hit my first home run off Yung Jip Kim and watched the ball land on the tennis court, I can't wait for that day for my boy. Until then I will leave you with this: The 1982 World Series Little League coach once told his players "Don't even bring your glove tomorrow because all we are going to do is run"