Sunday, June 14, 2015

Some Thoughts On Children

Having recently come into the possession of an 11 year old and a 9 year old, I have learned much about children. I thought I would take today to share a few of my observations.

● First, I have discovered that children are not in fact human. No. They are instead constructed of time absorbing material which robs your day of all its useful hours. It's almost like magic, but I suspect we just don't understand the science behind this yet.

● They have amazing destructive powers too. Indeed, just as fairies spread toxic fairy dust in their wake and environmentalists' Volvos belch out black smoke, children have the ability to shed clothing and toys everywhere they go... even when they aren't wearing or holding any. In fact, they are capable of destroying any room in the blink of an eye. Perhaps a post on Pinterest someone sent me says it best: "Before I had children, I had no idea you could destroy an entire house with a granola bar." So true.

● Kids are much more savvy than you think too... with one huge caveat. They seem to have the ability to understand when something is said or done that is beyond their level of comprehension, like innuendo. Yep, they know something is going on they weren't meant to understand and, by God, they caught you, buddy! BUT, despite having the ability to spot these moments, they truly have no ability to fill in the blanks. And their efforts to fill in the blanks are often quite hilarious.

● Kids are horrible liars. Seriously, they are worse than dogs playing poker. You can spot their lies coming for miles. Yet, they are convinced they excel at lying. They can be easily manipulated too just by letting them think they are manipulating you.

● I pick the girls up from their schools each day during the year. In so doing, I have discovered that while all people may be created equal, not all are as capable when it comes to self-preservation. I realized this watching dozens of middle schoolers trying to cross the road to get to the minivans waiting for them. Yikes. Half these kids do well: they look both ways, judge when they can make it before going, go quickly and adjust to changing conditions and finally reach safety. The other half, however, are a disaster. They have no idea when they should go, so they stand there frozen until they suddenly lurch out before oncoming traffic. Once in danger, they freeze up. Then they scurry in some random direction.

● But all that said, let me say honestly that children are amazing. They are amazingly innocent and without cynicism. They can overlook any flaw in a parent to love people we adults would rather had done in by a contract killing and they always look on the best side of almost anything. Watching their eyes light up at the mention of the tooth fairy or Santa (who has been proven to be real because he uses different wrapping paper than mom!) just warms your heart. And watching them glow when you help them grasp some math problem or praise their ever-improving reading is just an amazing experience. Those moments make everything worthwhile... everything.

Just thought I would share that. Thoughts? Any stories you want to add? If not, treat this as an open thread.


Critch said...

And they will eat the groceries out a bag faster than you can unload it. They are amazing creatures who absorb knowledge like a sponge along with cuss words..

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Now that ours are headed into their teens, they are like locusts when they hit the pantry! LOL!

True, their ability to absorb knowledge is amazing. :D

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha ha! Great post, Andrew!
Man, you are right on about the destructive powers of children. They can give the Hulk a run for his money.

First new car I ever bought was in 1984, and the first thing our 2 year old daughter did, while sitting in the back seat, was to somehow get the speaker cover off without any tools (a speaker cover that had four screws firmly holding it in place), and joyfully shred the speaker paper.
Yeah, that was a moment where it was too quiet, and I ignored my too quiet sense. Don't ignore your too quiet sense, parents.

Flash forward 2 years, I'm on shore duty at NAS Fallon, NV, in the parking lot, outside of the base police station (had to get my sticker updated).
We were just leaving, so I look intothe rearview mirror as I shift into reverse, to see....flames shooting up behind the back seat in the trunk (it was a hatchback).

The wifesnd I quickly get the kids out, and I open the hatchback up to put the fire out with my heavy duty, Navy issued canvas jacket, which I got because the base Masterchief thought it would be funny to assign a Radar guy to the Fuel Farm. Very funny, Masterchief.

Just as I get the fire out, base police come pouring out of the building, and a base fire dept. truck comes screeching up, sirens blaring.
Turns out, my oldest 5 yr. old daughter found a book of matches and was having a jolly good time lighting them. Apparently, one singed her finger and she threw it in the back, whereit ignited my welcome aboard booklet and some other papers.
Fun times, fun times.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg, lol. They were great kids, though, and thoroughly learned from those early science lab get togethers.

Unknown said...

Andrew.....While your kids might be the funniest, smartest, cutest kids EVAH!, to other people they are loud, dirty, obnoxious and should be tied up with duct tape over their pie holes. We all think our kids are THE BEST!!

Thought experiment: How cute are kids screaming, loud and disruptive when you are in a restaurant/diner trying to grab a quick bite of breakfast/lunch? Oh look....Timmy just spilled his drink on his sister who let out a scream that was louder than the air raid siren! Isn't that cute?!

We always told our kids if they act up and/or are loud when we're out eating we will leave immediately. A couple times of following through on the threat and they behaved going forward.

Ben, sounds like your little girl was the model for McGyver! It always amazed me how my kids, one especially (the one who went into the Marines btw), could find a way somehow to turn any common household item into a weapon and/or destructive implement.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Bob,

Semper Fi. :) That's actually not a far off prediction. My daughter was 101st Airborne. After serving honorably for four years, she got a degree in psychology, then became an emergency surgery doc. She's also into MMA and trains with her former, and active duty SOP friends. She can also shoot better than me now, LOL.

Critch said...

We always told our kids that if they embarrassed us in public, we would embarrass them in worked..they knew their manners. Our youngest was recently complimented by his Army drill instructor for being polite and knowing what to do in social situations.

tryanmax said...

USS Ben, in fairness to your daughter, that car was new in 1984. But seriously, I know what you mean. My daughter likes to pick at everything. She'll find a finger hold in things that are supposedly single-cast, seamless, waterproof and airtight. And don't get me started on her ability to spot a single crumb in an otherwise clean carpet from 1000 yards.

tryanmax said...

When I see other people's kids acting up in public, I always look immediately at the parents. If I see some actual parenting in response, then OK, this is probably the off time when the kid just blew a fuse. They are unpredictable, autonomous creatures, after all. Nine times out of ten, it's some granola parent who's pleading and negotiating with the kid to behave instead of just being a **** grownup.

AndrewPrice said...

Great stories, Ben! :D

Don't ignore your too quiet sense, parents. This is so true. Silence means evil is afoot! Always investigate silence!

AndrewPrice said...

Bob, Very true! And good parents realize that and don't let their kids annoy the crap out of other people. Unfortunately, there are always lazy/bad parents out there who just don't care about anything and let their kids run wild.

BTW, our kids are awesome... they hate Obama! :D

It always amazed me how my kids... could find a way somehow to turn any common household item into a weapon and/or destructive implement.

This is so true! They can't solve the mystery of how to put dishes in the dishwasher or how to place their trash in the can, but they can turn anything a weapon of mass destruction!

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Wow! Impressive! :D

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, I've done that too! It works really well! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's what I see every time too! Most parents are doing a good job to stop the misbehavior and get it settled right away, so I have no problem with it. The ones who bother me are the hippies/liberals who start pleading with their little monster to behave... which leads to more outbursts, and the white-trash baby-mamas who can't get off their f**ing cell phones to even try to shut their future convict up.

Unlike yours, ours can't spot crumbs. They lost that ability once we told them they need to clean up their own messes... blind as bats. Even worse, our older one sheds crumbs like a ship leaves a wake.

Kit said...

Great article from Washington Examiner on the new "Affirmative Consent" law.

"Schulhofer and Murphy do not intend to make sexual intercourse impossible to construe as an innocent act. But this would be the consequence of their draft. Any act of sex in which permission is not repeatedly requested and granted would put at least one of the parties, usually men, in legal jeopardy. Absent the repeated "May I…?" and affirmative responses, any woman could later have her partner locked up over unexpressed mental reservations. Men could make the same accusations.

No one who opposes this legal change argues that consent is unnecessary. But the "yes means yes" standard is so stringent that it would criminalize millions of Americans overnight unless no one reports them."

BevfromNYC said...

I have to admit that I teared up a little when I read your article. I am not sure if men have always talk about their children and child-rearing when they are together, but it really is heart-warming to read.

Kids are fun. I particularly like the little ones before they become jaded by life around 9 or 10. I think that it is the double digit age that changes them. Little kids have such a sense of magically thinking. Everything is new and wonderous.

Of course since I do not have children, it is easy for me to wax poetic about the wonder and magic. I have the best situation, I am the favorite Aunt and I can do no wrong and there has been very little poop involved. ;-)

tryanmax said...

Bev, it is always the ones without children of their own who tend to wax poetic about little children. But make no mistake, small children, especially pre-schoolers, are capricious little tyrants. The only things that separate toddlers from despots are a few decades in age and the absolute control over a small chunk of Asia.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'm glad you liked the article! :D

I'm not sure about men generally, but all the male friends I've known love to talk about their kids. And they all seem fairly involved in raising their kids. I suspect this wasn't as true with the older generation but I'm not sure though.

Our girls are still too naive to by cynical, which makes them great. They KNOW Santa is real because they proved it (Santa uses different wrapping paper than we have around the house), they still see the world as a place of recess and roller skating and where hospitals hand out stuffed animals when you need to get something done. :D

I can see the cynicism creeping into the older one, but I'm working to keep that down; plus, she's a nerd so her cynicism is limited. But both are still young enough to be amazed by everything. We're planning a big Disney trip in December and they are so excited to meet these characters "for real!" :D

Being a favorite Aunt is a good thing. Our girls LOVE my sister because she does the Aunt thing very well. And yeah... a lot less poop! LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That sounds like a mess.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! To back up your point, there is this commercial on television where a baby has smacked a stuffed doll with a fruit box and the parents are cleaning the doll before racing it back to the kid, and the father yells, "Don't let her see the fear in your eyes!"


It's hilarious!

Kit said...

"We're planning a big Disney trip in December and they are so excited to meet these characters "for real!""

Disney World or DisneyLand? Orlando or Los Angeles?

AndrewPrice said...

Disney World... and then a seven day Disney cruise. I'm really looking forward to that part! This will be my first cruise and EVERYONE raves about this ship. Apparently, even people without kids book this ship.

BevfromNYC said...

Disney World really is the happiest place on Earth. I was really surprised and thought I would hate it. But it's a great place to go. They cater to children and will go out of their way to make sure every single child has a great time. What impressed me the most were the Disney costumed characters. There is no rush to get the kids through the line. The kids can spend as much time talking and taking pictures as they want. it was really great.

My 8 year old nephew got into sword-fight with some Pirates when he picked up a plastic sword at the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop. Two of the costumed sales clerks challenged him to a fight! It was extraordinary and my nephew was in pirate heaven! Oh, yeah, every ride exit has a gift shop...;-)

Oh, and take advantage of those fast-passes! It will save lots of time.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think it's going to be amazing. I still remember my one trip to Disney in 1976!! I'm especially looking forward to the cruise, where they actually have places the kids can go without adult supervision so the adults can get away. And then they have their own private island with a massive waterpark for the kids and all kinds of activities... and a sunken pirate ship!

At this point, btw, Disney has been amazing. They've sent us a ton of material. We've been able to book everything including restaurants. We've ordered these arm bands that do all kinds of things (credit cars, room keys, child identification, etc.). They apparently pick up your luggage at the airport and take it to your rooms!

On the cruise, an amazing amount of stuff is included free, unlike other lines. And we've seen some shows on the food (and seen the menus) and it looks amazing! Everyone online says that their buffets are better than the specialty restaurants on other ships. So I can't wait to try that.

We also have actually booked a restaurant reservation for the Contemporary hotel late at night so see we can watch the fireworks from their viewing platform. I've always wanted to do that!

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - We went to that restaurant to watch the fireworks. The food was great and kind of "fine dining", but family oriented. And the view is great.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Since I was a kid, I was fascinated by the hotel with the triangle shape and the monorail passing through. And then knowing that was probably the best place to watch the fireworks, we had to go there. So it's great that we could already reserve a night! :D

I'm really excited about this and one of our girls and I are walking each day to get ready for it!

Kit said...


There is a lot of walking. A lot.

Kit said...

I remember when Animal Kingdom opened. Or, rather, I remember the ads for it on VHS: LINK

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