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    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    The Hidden Talents of Little Boys

    I’ve long suspected that my first son has a career as a professional interrogator ahead of him. All kids have that special ability to ask “Why?” until their parents would joyfully swallow nails in order to get them to stop. But Monkey—Monkey is something else. With his auditory processing disorder and the hyper-focusing that sometimes accompanies ADHD, Monkey could get innocent men to confess to murder with no other weapon but the word why.

    I’ve expanded my theory about Monkey’s usefulness in the interrogation room and come up with, what I think, is a brilliant method our military might want to look into when trying to get information from suspected terrorists.

    I’d like to put forth the hypothesis that using no means other than a group of little boys, our military powers-that-be could get more intel faster than they do with their current methods. And so, I’d like to present my top ten list of ways to use the mysterious, obnoxious power of little boys to break hardened criminals.

    10. Star Wars references. To one not enamored with all things Skywalker, the ability of boys to endlessly discuss Star Wars can, AND WILL, drive the non-little boy mind quite thoroughly mad.

    9. Beans. The concept is simple, yes, but mind-blowing in its implications. Feed five little boys beans. Wait two to four hours. Release . . . um . . . well, just release on suspected criminal.

    8. Cafeteria line. This sorta goes with number 9. Why not make the suspects feed the five little boys? Anyone who has ever tried to fill the hollow, gaping black holes that are little boys’ mouths will know that it’s a task similar to spinning plates. As soon as you’ve shoveled chow into the mouth of the last boy in line, you’ve gotta go back and start over again.

    7. Yellow alert. It’s crude, yes, but this is for the really bad guys. Suspect must clean up after little boys take a bathroom break. “You missed a spot.”

    6. Transformers: Give each boy a brand new, still-packaged Transformer. Suspect must remove toy from packaging, then transform toy from character to vehicle following directions in Japanese. (Unless, suspect is Japanese, then I recommend Icelandic instructions.) This also works like the spinning plate game. No sooner will the suspect finish with the last Transformer than he’ll have to start over again and transform them back to vehicles.

    5. Stupid jokes. Boy Number One: “Two guys walk into a bar and FART!” Boys Two through Four: “HAHAHAHAHA!” Repeat indefinitely.

    4. Legos. Put boys in room with approximately 1 billion Legos. Come back and remove boys in one hour. Put terrorist in room barefoot. Turn off lights.

    3. Put your shoes on. This is like those horrible word problems you had to do in elementary school math. You have five boys. Each boy has two feet. How many shoes do you need? 10. How many shoes do you have? 9. And none of them match. “Show your work.”

    2. Car ride: All the fun of numbers 10 through 3, but in an enclosed space.

    And finally, the number one way to break a terrorist suspect using the incapacitating power of little boys:

    1. My Turn! One game system. Two controllers. Five boys. Terrorist must negotiate turn-taking.

    Moms of boys, am I on to something here?

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Un-Camping and Other Adventures

    Why does it take more than a week to recover from being out of town for three days? Maybe the recovery time is proportionate to the number of children taken on the trip and the intensity of activity performed. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

    Last week our family went on an un-camping trip to the Sand Dunes in the southwestern section of Colorado. There were no campsites available so *insert dramatic sigh* we HAD to stay in a hotel. This suited me just fine. I don’t even like to be outside in my own backyard, so having an indoor pool, TV, and comfy bed instead of a sleeping bag was definitely my kind of “camping.” We even had a microwave in our room so we were able to make s’mores. I know some of you outdoor, granola types are rolling your eyes, but this city girl enjoyed her warm showers, thank you very much.

    The boys loved the sand and the undulating creek. They each brought an entire dune home in their pockets. I had to use that fire-fighting nozzle attachment on the garden hose to clean their clothes out. I considered using it on them, but thought peeling the top layer of their skin off was going a bit too far.

    All three of my boys have affectionate relationships with water. Chunky loves it with the enthusiasm of a typical 6-year-old. It seems to tame the ADHD beast in Monkey. Get him near water and he’s happy. And Kory could sit by a lake and throw pebbles in for hours. I think it has something to do with the fact that most of the time his brain is crowded by all things technical and engineer-y. When he’s in nature, simple pleasures take over.

    But my water-crazy boys got a little out of hand when we hiked up to Zapata Falls, a 30 foot waterfall cutting through a rock crevasse south of the Sand Dunes. Monkey and Chunky whined all the way up the half mile hike from the trailhead but stopped complaining as soon as they spied the rushing, frigid stream. Kory hiked upstream and into the cave to see the actual falls while the boys and I scrambled over rocks and caught tiny blue butterflies. Only one butterfly didn’t survive the experience.

    When Kory came back—his feet numb from the just-melted snow—we went downstream to the sluice gate where a deep, icy pool overflows its barriers and tumbles on down the mountain. Kory introduced the boys to his favorite water-related activity, throwing rocks, then he set off to explore the surrounding area.
    Things got out of hand fast. My boys quickly tired of throwing pebbles and small stones into the pool. Everybody knows bigger things make better splashes. Soon they were digging up the largest rocks they could find and carting them over to the edge.

    I twitched as I watched my kids lug heavy stones to the pool, teeter on the rim, then hoist the rocks into the water. Back and forth I went between Monkey and Chunkey, who naturally had chosen separate spots for their aquatic experiments.

    Kory’s exploration had taken him out sight, but finally he returned.“Whew,” I thought. Now I have another set of hands to shadow my daredevil boys.

    Nope. Wrong. Kory began helping the kids dig up bigger and bigger rocks. When the stones were too heavy for the boys, he carried them over and launched them into the clear, green depths himself.

    There are times when a mom of only boys feels very alone with her femininity. I knew it was pointless to bring up my reservations about safety, so I contented myself with watching very closely and taking pictures.