Dogging it at breakfast

Unnamed Child: Dad, will you get us donuts?

Commuter Daddy: There’s coffee cake (on the counter).

UC: But I don’t like that coffee cake.

CD: So you want me just to get donuts for you?

Other UC: I want donuts!

CD: I’ll tell you what… you take the dog out for a poop, and I will get you donuts.

UC: I don’t do poop. I only do pee.

CD: Well, then I don’t do donuts. I only do coffee cake.

Game. Set. Match. Exit, stage left, to take the dog for a walk, of course.

We forgot to work carpooling into the marriage vows

The gas station we passed on the way home from Benjamin’s basketball game must have inspired the question.

“Dad, when people get their car fixed, why do they always walk home after?”

“We only see that because of the garage that is right down the street from us,” I answered. “Most people have to get a ride, rent a car, or get a loaner car. You’ve seen Mom and I do that. We’ll both drive to the dealership to drop off one of the cars, and then we give each other a ride home.”

“That’s one of the good things about getting married,” he said without skipping a beat. “You can give each other rides.”

Can’t argue with that.

Conversations I have in my office that you don’t


“Dad, we need some duct tape.”


“We’re making a spear.”

“Okaaaaaaaay,” I say warily. I fork over a roll of bright red duct tape while also eying the reed in Benjamin’s hand.

He walks out of the office, and I overhear him discussing next steps with his friend.

“We need some scissors.”

“I’ve got scissors,” I offer.

“Geez, Dad, you have everything.”


I hand over the scissors with this piece of advice: “Better take that project outside.”

As the screen door shuts I voice the next item on my mental checklist: “And don’t run with the scissors.”

Pause. That was a layup. Next item: “And don’t throw the spear at each other.”

“We won’t!” Benjamin and his friend answer in unison.

Pause. Next item: “Or the dog!”

At this point, I’ve crossed a line. Benjamin is indignant.

“Of course we won’t do that!”

Silly me.

Moments later, Benjamin returns. “Where’s the measuring tape?”

The good news? They are not on the Wii or other electronic devices. They are being creative, demonstrating their position atop the food chain by utilizing basic tools, opposable thumbs and problem solving.

They are also directly outside my office window, and there’s at least a half dozen unvoiced warnings on the tip of my tongue. I am keeping them to myself… for now. I am enjoying this reality program too much to spoil it with my influence.

Not to be rude, but no offense

It is not rude to deny entry to anyone without a key
Photo by Kate Tomlinson

Benjamin was firing up the Wii this morning, and “The Imperial March” was at a pretty high volume when “Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga” was ready for play.

“Where’s the remote?” he shouted.

“Next to the TV,” I replied from the kitchen.

“It’s too loud.” he said.

“…then you’re too old.” I added instinctively.

“I’m not old!” he shouted indignantly. “You’re old!”


“No offense…” he added.

That addendum is commonplace in our house these days, though it’s usually said as a preface.

“No offense, Dad, but….” Even better is “I don’t mean to be rude, but….” There’s always a but.

The good news is they are trying to be polite and truthful — two behaviors we are working hard to promote. We are realizing, however, that those two altruisms may not always peacefully co-exist.

File under “Be careful what you wish for.”

Wii justice at high noon

Overheard from the living room last night:

“Mason, stop punching me!”

“But Ben, I’m not punching you in real life.”

That’s when inspiration hit. The next time the boys get in an argument that can’t be settled civilly, we’re firing up the Wii for a virtual boxing match to settle their differences.

Learning takes many forms

Overheard beyond the breakfast table….

As the boys were killing time before school this morning, they decided to pick up where they left off with a movie the night before. While one son was readying the DVD player, the other used is iPod Touch to begin researching red pandas — an add-on to a homework assignment that led to snow leopard research the night before.

DVD Player: Maybe you should wait and talk to (your teacher) to see how many of those you are supposed to do.

Researcher: I don’t care. I just want to learn about animals.

Hope remains alive for this generation.

Putting my weight to work

Rawlings PL105RP Player Series Youth Little League Baseball Glove RHTA new baseball glove came home last night, an acquisition to replace Mason’s tattered glove that he has had since T-ball.

Mason and Mom decided they would adhere to the old adage of placing it under a mattress, to break the glove in.

“Actually, we have to put it under dad,” Mom declared. “He weighs the most.”

Finally, I get to throw my weight around, guilt-free.

Age is all about perception, Take 2

Benjamin was reviewing his school work tonight while I was finishing up some of my work. Because he knows I am a fan of history, he decided to use me as a reference on presidential birthdays.

“Dad?” he called from the other room.

I walked from the home office to the living room. “Yes, Ben?”

“When is Abram Blinkin’s birthday again?” Only I didn’t quite hear him. Luckily, Brandy was there to translate and repeat “Abram Blinkin” for me.

“Oh, Abraham Lincoln? His birthday is the day after mine — February 12th,” I said confidently.

Benjamin paused and pondered.

“Wait, so you’re older than he is?”

Confidence deflated. I now know how Mrs. Lincoln feels in this ad:

(Also see “Age is all about perception“)