2.10.2005

Time to say yes.... Time to say no
well actually a few rants about this evening
all the energy I should have spent blowing steam in the bar was directed to slaping the keys to my laptop... I am such a geek.. okay loser.


the scales tend to be tipped and the answers often seem predecided...

when the request is for soda the answer is no, while almost always the answer is yes for milk
which is not to say that there is not the occassional sip of soda
when the request is for candy the answer is no, while almost always the answer is yes for fruit
which is not to say that there is not the occassional acceptable piece of candy, most anything or everything in moderation
we know that each situation needs to be reviewed with a case by case basis
but
I try to keep the list of answers ready in my head so that I know the right choice even if I am leaning toward the often easy or lazy answer

There are always going to be times when it is right to say yes and others when it is right to say no...

when I am headed out with the dogs in the woods after a long day at work

sure I may want to zone out and relax as I move at my own pace
but when Dena has asked to come along.... this is a time to say yes

well...

this happened tonight
this was a time to say yes... and I did say yes
just as I leaned over to leash up the dogs Dean ran up to my side and asked me where I was going
I told him I was going to walk the dogs to which he said without hesitation that he wanted to go along
without asking if he really has the energy or if he understands that we are going for a long walk... I agree
I have Dean put on some winter boots then his jacket as I run down to the basement so I can grab an extra Petzl
with boots on our feet, hoods and headlamps on our heads, and dogs leashed up
we cross the street once it is clear of fast moving post work commuter car traffic
in seconds we are free in the woods
we are out for a hike with the dogs in Rock Creek Park
the dogs step a few yards off trail to lift a leg and release
I bend over to tighten the laces on one of my shoes
Dean looks at me and says, "I want to go running in the woods."
with the same freedom I have given the dogs I tell Dean to run ahead but to be careful
He knows the rules.... stay on the trail, stay out of the street, and be careful
the Petzl Headlamp on Dean's head lights the trail ahead of him
while my headlamp lights his blue jacket and the reflective strip that runs along his midsection
Dean turns around to see where I am as I accelerate my pace
Dean stops and allows me to catch up
It is cool and windy... actually it is cold and windy, but not frigid
I turn off my light then I show Dean how his lamp is set to light the trail in front of him
then I turn off his light so that he can see how dark it is in the woods without his bluish white halogen headlamp
Dean seems to understand
but I am a dog owner who thinks my dogs understand when I talk to them
we turn our lights on
I congratulate Dean on his turning on his own headlamp
He smiles proudly, not for what he has done, but because of my praise
I hold his hand as he jumps off a massive fallen tree
then continue to hold his hand as we negotiate down a very muddy and slippery section of trail
there are some makeshift stairs that exist there somewhat by my creation
as we are past the stairs I continue to hold his hand as we march up a patch of trail that we have named "slippery hill"
as we walk Dean makes an observation
actually he has been making observations all along
he has already pointed out the moon to me and the swooshing traffic
but this reaction is more subtle
Dean tells me that my hand warms his hand and his hand warms mine
I contemplate that
he is right
I think about it some more.... it is scientific and magical all at the same time
our body heat exits
but rather than dissipating it enters the other person's body

Dean has grown tired and expresses this by telling me that his legs hurt
I remind him that he came out to take a hike with the dogs
Dean asks to get on my shoulders, honestly, that is exactly what I do not need after a long day or work and a short but aggressive spin on the bike
so I distract Dean by reminding him that we were going to hike to a higher spot for a better view of the crescent moon

so we move forward quickly
Dean is again running off ahead
it amazes me how he stays on the trail
he is really good at reading the trail and anticipating the trail
this loop he is particularly familiar with
so he moves not only with the headlamp but also with second nature
as we make a turn paralell to Beach Drive Dean makes mention of the cars

from where we stand we get to see the cars buzzing down the parkway... white lights coming red lights going away, we get to see the dogs chase each other through the woods... but only when they pass through the glow of our headlamps, we get to see the moon and the star up in the sky only when the trees do not obstruct them, most of all we get to be outside and we get to be outside together

we finish the loop encountering a few dog owning residents of a street that deadends right into the park, just a block away, almost in view of my house
there we have a near incident as a German Shepard who likes to say hello by bum rushing and barking
which makes my dogs behave in that parental bumper sticker fashion where "they do not start fights but they finish fights" luckily I had anticipated people at this point where I exited the woods
after all this is an urban trail in an urban setting
urban more than anything means people
Dean had all sorts of questions as he moved confidently between the swarming dogs
Ajax the Golden goes in for the face but pulls back either by chance or by response to his owner.
Kona the Burnese mountain dog circles around in a strangely awkward slow motion pace due to the massive fur and the never been shedded puppy fat. While Brutus is eventually set free on the leash as Barnaby has said his aggressive hello and Roscoe was able to be retracted with a verbal command. Brutus is released to be free for the last moments of human exchange where we leave being dubbed "the cyclops family" due to the lights that adorn the heads of Dean and myself.

we were both glad that I said yes
having to put him on my back to complete the loop would have made me wish I had said no
so sometimes you have to say no
this was a good time to say yes

there are also times to say no....
daddy can I watch a movie
daddy I want to watch cartoons
there is a time to say yes and a time to say no
there are books to read and bedtime is close
so this time it is time to say now
most of the time it is best to say no
when Dean or Grant watch television we usually watch it with them
the movies or shows we watch are enjoyed and discussed
it is not just a case of the blue baby sitter
it is a time to bond, a time to entertain, and a time to interact at a different level

reading
wrestling
playing
hiking
driving
eating
sleeping
cycling
climbing
and even watching tv are things that we can do together
all are good to say yes to
but not all the time
there is a time to say no to wrestling and yes to reading
there should be options
there should be structure

on many occasions it is late and I am tired
there are times where I have already read Dean a few short little children's book
Dean asks for one more book.... one more story
there is a time to say yes and a time to say no...
exhaustion does not effect the choices
it is just a matter of the right thing to do at the right time
most everytime is the right time for one more book
unless it is like tonight.....

tonight Dean started to splash as I started this post
as I started to type Dean started to splash
as I started to think about what I wanted to read to Dean this evening
then Dean started to splash more
then I started to remind him, "Dean keep it in the tub. You know the Rules."
the splashing continues
then I repeat to Dean, "Dean keep it in the tub! You know the Rules!"
not only did the splashing continue but the intensity increased
then I was forced to stand up, raise my voice as I headed over to get control of the situation
with more parental meaning and a tad more serious tone I got Dean's attention by saying, "DEAN KEEP IT IN THE TUB! YOU KNOW THE RULES!" Ending in eye contact with no more splashing and water everywhere
all over the rug
all over the bathroom
all over the walls
out the doorway
and
into the office and down the hall
with eye contact remaining I began to show Dean the water and explain the potential damage
Dean listened and repeated as if to show not just understanding but evolution to a higher level of understanding
sort of that same way that you or I would act if we had just been pulled over for speeding and were trying show changed future behavior through remorse and understanding in an effort to dissuade the officer from writing the ticket
during my explanation of the types of damage that could be caused to the walls, floors, and ceiling I had told Dean that he was going to be punished and would have to go to bed with no books... no books read to him... no light on so that he can read to himself
Dean's little heart rate changed, his little lip grew big.... but before he form a tear I gave him a hug and gently explained
it is difficult
but it is important for him to realize the seriousness
the only way to do that is to remove something that he likes.... something that is special to him
he understood
discipline can hurt on both sides of the equation.... both giving and receiving
temptation was great after tucking Dean in and exchanging a hug and a kiss Dean again gave affirmation of his development, "daddy, I know I shouldn't splash in the tub. I won't splash in the tub any more"
again Dean is trying to get off easy
Daddy is an old softy
daddy's daddy was an old softy
but sometimes you need to stick to the plan
the enforcement of the punishment is best for everyone involved
a good night and a stay in bed

he is a great kid with a great deal of energy
I don't blame him for his splashing
yet somehow we need to try and keep order and control
his behavior in the tub is not unlike my actions in my father's backyard pool
I love the power of creating waves
it is not uncommon for me to create a pool of waves by working the foam raft
the waves are so great that the pool feels more a river or the sea
water splashed in great amounts over the sides
so I understand Dean's curiosity and his expression of his powers over the water
yet we need Dean to understand that he can not do what ever he wants when ever he wants
but that he should slow down and understand consequences
after all... he is going to be 4 this June

now get this...
this is so wacky
so wacky.... but only wacky to other parents.... so any non-parent or anyone who was bored by the previous story.... let me warn you that this story is my version of a story of a cat.... a story of a cat should only be told to cat lovers as no one wants to hear a story about a cat! Well, only a parent cares about a story about a kid....

Grant is going to be 1 next week. His birthday is on Valentines Day. We have been so proud of our little man and his lack of concern or interest in walking. It makes it so easy on us that he prefers crawling... we do not have to lean over and walk.... holding his little hands as he takes his little steps.... nope.... he has no interest. Try it. Grant takes one or two steps and plops down to a crawling sprint. Usually a crawling sprint to the staircase, Grant loves the stairs. Grant has been going up stairs since he was six months old. His love for vertical climbing has extended to the 6 foot ladder that goes into the kid clubhouse so that he can crawl over to the slide. YES! I HAVE PICTURES! So, Grant is active, but has never shown any interest in walking or even doing much cruising. Sure he crawls to a location and stands but usually crawls to the next location. He has yet to do that beginner adult skater at the public rink clutching the wall anticipating the next fall.

Walking early is great. But the only real advantage of a child walking early is bragging rights. Yep, that's it, bragging rights. As soon as a child learns to walk, especially boys.... it means mobility and mobility means trouble. Sure... Grant can crawl.... but when he walks... I am sure that the excitement will double and so will the trouble. So that is why we have been letting this whole walking thing happen at its own pace, when Grant wants to. And up until now Grant really did not show much interest in staying vertical while he moved forward. That is right UNTIL. Until tonight while Lisa, Dean, and myself are finishing dinner. Grant is out of his high chair moving freely about the floor. He crawls up to me and eyeballs a piece of my lemon chicken from City Lights Chinese restaurant. Then in a very strong and steady way Grant stands up and reaches out. Sure, Grant has been standing up on his own for some time. So, I reach over to hand him a piece of chicken. He takes it and turns towards the kitchen. As I take my hand away he is fully balanced on his own, not leaning on my hand as he takes the chicken.. not leaning on anything.... he is vertical and moving his feet propelling himself towards the kitchen door. Lisa and I look on in bewilderment. Like watching a flower bloom before our eyes. I catch Brutus as he moves in to try and snatch that piece of lemon chicken from Grant's hand. Six or seven very short steps forward Grant intentionally drops down to crawl over the threshold of the kitchen. My hands release Brutus and I snatch up Grant helping him over the natural wood threshold onto the cold kitchen tile where I out Grant back in the vertical position so that he can repeat his performance. After a bite of chicken in the vertical position Grant starts to move forward, but instead of moving one foot then the other.... Grant only moves on foot as he stands erect. So rather than moving forward he is actually moving forward as if someone had nailed his one foot to the ground so that he can only walk in circles.

I am spent
no time to proof read
no time to try and edit this rant so it comes full circle
no time for anything but putting up my feet and finishing up this jug of water and maybe treat myself to some ice cream
I may not deserve it
but
I sure do enjoy it

okay....
before I forget
DIRT RAG came in the mail today
it looks sweet
the cover is HOT!
the topics look good
I flipped through the pages and the design looked beyond cool and clean
the design is hip and cool
the photography looks beyond journalistic.... some of the photography looks bold
the story on Ray's Indoor Mountainbike Park is great and the photo of Ray is a great shot with a great deal of character
the image has great colors and great depth
it is so above and beyond a snap shot

I read a few other stories and will more than likely go back and read those stories again.
Glanced and grazed over the story about the trails in VEGAS as I am headed that way this fall for one of those "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" type of weekends. Well, bringing my bike is just what I need to keep honest. Can't get so drunk that I can not hit the trial. I don;t know Vegas, but I have an idea about the desert. Riding tends to be a morning activity which would aid me in cutting my evening short. Guess I will have to start drinking early.

Go to the newstand and grab a DIRT RAG if you have no set things up with DIRT RAG to send one to your door!

and
those photos are at work
I need to post of Dean and Grant each doing their thing with the Petzel
Grant is the cutest little splunker!

was about to proof read and edit this post....
it is too dam long
too dam dam long
guess I should have listened to my own Surgeon's General Warning

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