Sunday, January 6, 2008

Developing that sense.

When I was about twelve, I went on a camping trip with a friend of mine. I knew her and her family well. Her dad worked all the time, so I didn't know him as well as I knew the mom. They were from Philadelphia, so they had that whine (don't deny it, you know what I mean). I learned a lot from them (like, not everyone celebrates Christmas, who knew?).

Anyhoo. On this camping trip (which, to me, wasn't really camping), we got the mobile mansion (trailer) to a site at some hokey little New England campground with an algae-ridden pool, a long walk to the bathroom, very little nature, but organized macrame (what could go wrong?). As her dad took the fifth pass at backing into the camping slot, I piped up, "what's the matter? Can't you just park it?". He slowly turned, ashen-faced, toward me. He said nothing, but the hushed and frightened family members let me know that this was not a time to talk - dad will blow.

When I was little, I never needed the sense often. But, it is a useful tool for any child. You know that sense I mean... the, my mom's head is going to explode little bits of blood and gray matter all over, she'll lose it, much shrieking, unreasonable chattering and so on will follow. A smart child sees the signs, backs-off, stands-down, disappears, makes themselves scarce.

My kids don't need it (too) often.

But, jeez Louise, they need to learn when they see it to back the hell off.

My oldest in a frantic need to poop, always gets in trouble. He got to the dinner table with T, and apparently (though he denies it) gave him my salad tongs to play with. My salad tongs that were a special gift from a friend that bought them for me in Africa. The wooden tongs that makes me think of these special people that moved away four years ago every time I serve salad. He apparently (though he denies it) helped show T that he could pry at the fork with the spoon, and in the process snapped the business end of the fork in two - effectively ruining these. "Oh well, you'll have to get some new salad thing. Look what T did."

This would have been a good time for that sense. That, or any time in the following two hours. But, I haven't seen any sing of remorse, or any sign that he can recognize when I am about to explode.

(think Martha Stewart's voice) That would be a good thing.

Do your kids have that sense?


richgold said...

Ah, only in 20/20 hind sight, and that's a _maybe_. My dear huz doesn't even have that kind of sense. ;-)

I'm sorry that your tongs are gone.

Jonathan said...

This is going to be one of those really interesting things to discover about myself once we have the children.

I am the most placid person I know. Unflappable even. The adoption people have commented on it.

I wonder what buttons the children will find? I wonder how hard they will hunt for them?

Thinking about it - I am going to be their worst nightmare - a Dad that has no buttons to press.

Kari said...

You need to really lose it, then develop a warning look to go with it!

K said...


J is just the same (same engineer as well - maybe it is an engineer thing?).

Even still, I have seen him reach the boiling point just a few times with the kids.

Adults that know J, the few that have seen him get angry, pause and back off as it is so unusual.

Our kids... it just goes right over them.

K said...

Oh, and Jonathan?

You have buttons - they'll find them.