Monday, March 15, 2010

It's a Trap!

Earlier this evening, my 8-year old son asked me for help.

"With what?" I asked.  There was a hesitancy to my voice; not all tasks the kids request are feasible and/or interesting.

"I need to make a trap."

I thought about it.  Both feasible and interesting.  "Okay," I said.  "For what?"

"A Leprechaun."

So much for feasible.

"But you can't do all the fake stuff," he said.  Apparently he had Googled this prior to his asking me, and saw some sites showing parents how to stage Leprechaun pranks.  "Don't make footprints with your thumb, or sprinkle glitter.  If you do then I'll know it was you and Mom."

My mind immediately went to the Elves.  Fortunately, he didn't make the same connection.  I still had to play it off.  "We don't have any time for that," I assured him.

He had an idea for how to build a trap, and he started to sketch it for me.  It involved a box.  But other than two sides of the box his drawing was incredibly abstract.

"Can you show me?" I asked.

In a lucky twist of fate, he happened to know where he had an old shoe box. My wife confirmed the box was not needed for anything more useful than a Leprechaun trap, so we cut the lid off and I helped him build it.

It's your basic box trap, with bait on a string tied to a strut holding up one end of the box.  When the Leprechaun grabs the bait, the strut will fall and the box will come down.  Our bait is a gold coin, because Leprechauns are greedy. 

"Once we'll catch him, we'll have all his gold and then we'll be the richest people ever.  Because gold is worth a thousand," he explained.  He may be a little greedy, too.  I chuckled at gold is worth a thousand.  He didn't say a thousand...anything, just a thousand, because in his world, a thousand is one big gosh-darn number and if you have that many it doesn't matter what they are.

My wife gave us some candy and clover rings to use as supplementary bait.  We covered the string with them.  Now, we wait.

If this ends up being my last post, thanks for having read along.  We just retired with Leprechaun gold, like a thousand of it, and are now taking up residence on our own private island.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Childish Humor

Kids have a funny sense of humor.  As infants, anything from jingling car keys to tapping a soda can on the counter can elicit full-blown belly laughs.  Then they grow up and start to hear jokes.  They laugh when adults laugh, or when their siblings laugh.  They know the words were funny, but don't always understand why.

This is most apparent when they try to make up jokes on their own.

This doesn't always work with the intended degree of success.  I find myself laughing at my kids' jokes, but not in a "Wow that's funny" way.  More in a "Where the heck did THAT come from?" way.

Here's an example.  It's a simple knock-knock joke my five-year-old told me recently.  It's spent two weeks on a post-it note on my desk, awaiting its turn here on Ye Olde Blogge:

SON: Knock-knock.

ME: Who's there?

SON: Working out.

ME: Working out who?

SON: Working out at the place you work at.

ME: Huh?

SON: (Belly laugh).

So I end up laughing at his laughter, and he thinks his joke was a screaming success and tries to come up with more.  It's a self-perpetuating cycle ripe with a mixture of delight and confusion.  I'm sure I'll have more examples in the future, please stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Punctuality. Or lack thereof...

One evening last week my wife met a girlfriend for a drink on her way home from work.  I was at home getting dinner ready for the kids.  Sounds like a role reversal from 1950, doesn't it? 

She assured me it would only be one drink, and she wouldn't be late.  I told her to take her time, knowing she would do that anyway so it may as well be with my blessing. 

"Where's mom?" my younger son asked at 6:25, as we were sitting down for dinner.

"She's meeting a friend for a drink.  She said she would be home around 6:00 for dinner.  She'll be here any minute.  It's just taking longer than she thought."

"The opposite of Mom is quick," my older son observed.  He's accompanied her on many a shopping excursion, and he knows of what he speaks.

My wife's aversion to punctuality comes in handy sometimes, though.  We know that we consistently run on the far side of on-time, and we build that into our plans.  For example, this weekend we were meeting a group of friends at a local pizza place.

"We'll be there at 2:30," we told them.  "Daley time."

By the time we finally did arrive, we found that our friends had taken advantage of our delayed arrival (and their own stellar organizational skills) to arrange and assign the seats around the table.  Eight adults and six kids, placed perfectly:

- The two childless adults were furthest away from the kids.
- The two adults that arrived first and assigned the seats came next, taking advantage of an envious distance from the clamor of the children.
- My wife and I came next.  We sat across from each other, and we each had a one-adult buffer protecting us from the kids.
- The two adults sitting next us also sat next to their own kids (the youngest children, who were most likely to fall off their chairs, and/or provide a general increase in the amount of chaos in the universe, and therefore needed direct parental intervention)
- The two eight year olds sat next to each other and started a crushed-red-pepper-eating contest, while the two five year olds sat across from their siblings and colored.

Had we arrived on time, we would have been expected to participate in the planning session.  As it was, we simply arrived and took our seats.  I like that kind of convenience.

I'm coming from a background of extreme punctuality, so this has been a challenging transition.  I hate to be late.  I get it from my Dad.  He's the kind of guy who will cut through three corner gas stations and a shopping center parking lot to avoid red lights...only to arrive ten minutes early, and then sit in the parking lot and work on a crossword puzzle.  I get it, though.  I would rather do a puzzle than sit at a red light, too.

But these days, I've fully resigned to perpetual tardiness.  Maybe it's what was really meant for me.  After all, delay is really Daley spelled sideways...