Sunday, June 24, 2007

When the kiddies go marching home

It’s amazing how much quieter the world gets when vacation ends and the four year-olds go home. My ears don’t quite know what to do with themselves. I have the same feeling I get when my wife clicks off the blow dryer, allowing all the other sounds to come rushing in, which are usually the sounds of PlayStation2 zombie heads exploding.

I’m finding that quieter isn’t really better. Everything is just a little bit more boring without five kids from two families tearing around the place. Now when I wake up in the morning, I can make it all the way to the bathroom without a four year-old latching onto my shin, sitting on my foot and yelling, “Go!”

Of course, when this happens, you have to encourage the child to say “please,” or the next thing you know they’ll be knocking over liquor stores without even thanking the proprietors.

“What’s the magic word?” I’d say.

“Go NOW!”

“I mean the other magic word.”

“Go FAST!”

“The other one.”

“Go, please?”

Forty pounds might not sound like that much, but when you’re dragging it around from your ankles, you learn very quickly that children do not make comfortable footwear, except maybe at Nike plants. Also, as long as they’re not the ones doing the work, kids don’t mind that it takes forty minutes to ride your leg to the kitchen. They’re too busy pinching out your leg hair. And when a six year-old grabs onto your other leg and yells “giddyup!” you could easily lose a footrace to a one-legged glacier.

As the week at the beach progressed, I was fascinated to learn that the hot commodity with people in the single-digit age bracket was other people’s litter. Kids all up and down the beach were pushing perfectly good sea shells out of the way to look for “sea glass,” which adults normally refer to as “broken beer bottles.” Sea glass has all the edges worn smooth, rendering it completely ineffectual in even the most rudimentary of bar fights.

To me, hunting for sea glass seems a lot like strolling along a meadow full of wildflowers and saying, “Aw, yes! Check out this cigarette butt I just found. Oh, smell it. Menthol! I bet whoever smoked this one had minty fresh breath. Do menthol smokers even need to brush their teeth? I’m saving this one for my butt-and-macaroni collage.”

But I suppose making little kids happy is about the best way to make use of other people’s slovenliness. If you’re the kind of person who hurls beer bottles into the sea, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve probably made some little girl’s day, assuming she avoided getting lacerated. If only we could get kids interested in “sea broken snowblowers,” I might finally get my garage cleared out.

As we walked with the kids down the beach looking for sea glass, the father of three of the kids said to me, “The transition from two kids to three is the hardest. When you have two kids, you can play man-to-man. When the third one comes along, you have to move to a zone defense.” The kids worked diligently on punching holes in that defense, driving hard to the basket all week long. They were just like little cookie-powered LeBron Jameses.

An ankle-deep wave came along and somehow managed to knock over all three kids, causing a Loony-Tunes-like dustup.

Their mother offered this: “Don’t kill your sister! I’m not making another one.”

But the kids quickly became distracted when their dad found a piece of blue sea glass, which is the Holy Grail of sea glass finds, and probably the most entertaining piece of trash not found in an E! True Hollywood Story. If those kids knew who Elvis was, they would have thought their dad was even cooler. Or at least as cool as the yellow Wiggle.

You missed Mike, you missed Mike, now you have to kiss Mike online at


  1. Only one so far. was planning another. Now you have me thinking - I'm too slow to run a zone defence.

    Or unpick horse apples.


  2. Oh my gosh, this was so funny. I especially liked the part "don't kill your sister, I'm not making another!". Man, do I know that feeling. When my two girls get into a fight, I usually tell them, "go into your room and lock the door and have at it. Whoever makes it out alive is the kid I'm keeping. The other one has to go."
    Kids are fun, until they hit 16 and 20, and then they're just bitches...

  3. The other half doesn't know whether to say anything when you sneeze the second time.

    Please explain.

  4. Janelle Sitebreaker6/25/2007 9:24 PM

    You simply can't explain the sneeze joke. It will take away all the magic and I will be forced to find another site with which to instill humor and goodness in my week.

    Oh, I'll do it. "Sneeze the second time" refers to the uncomfortable moment after you've already said "God Bless You", etc, after the first sneeze. Do you say it again? Sit there? Knit something? The perfection of this joke is the irrelevance to the intro.

    Sorry, Mike. Now I've broken your web site. Loved the kids story. Wish I could bottle that age.

  5. J. -- Dude, you still get another freebie before you have to move to the zone. Happy procreating!

    melodyann -- Sounds like your house played by "Blades of Steel" rules. That rocks. And if you don't get the reference to the ancient Nintendo game, that's okay. It wasn't all that well thought-out. But still, if you won the hockey fistfight, you got a power play, which is how real hockey should be. If it's not, I mean. Who the hell watches hockey anyway?

    Anon -- I shall refer you to Janelle's answer above, which you've probably already read at this point and is far better than I could ever do.

    Janelle -- Holy crap (comma?) you rule. Thank you for giving me twenty minutes of my life back. I was going to spend way too much time on that one. You are a cool person.

  6. I guess my kid is boring on the beach, all he does is bury himself from the waist down, over and over again. hehehehe

  7. Burf -- That's doesn't sound boring at all, especially if he's standing on his head when he does it.

  8. "That's doesn't sound boring at all, especially if he's standing on his head when he does it."

    *gasp* *snicker* *gasp*


    Hey Mike, guess what? My word verification said "Mike will guest post on your blog" Dude, is that a coincidence, or what? Random!!

  9. This was terrifyingly accurate. Double up for safety everyone!

  10. Holy Hell I had a great sea glass comment then I got to picturing my nephew (Burfica's Kiddo) buried up to waist head first in the sand and laughed till I peed. Now I have to go shower.
    Gee thanks

  11. melodyann -- You had me at HA. I'm in.

    Rima -- That's the first time anybody's called anything on this site accurate. I owe you one.

    Alekx -- When you dry off, let's go huck some blue bottles into the ocean for Burf's kid to find, assuming his head is above ground.