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March 10th, 2009:

Notes on the Great Kid Adventure

Well, last night I ran down to Midway Airport and picked up Gretchen and Bill, and calmly handed kids, cat, and household back to them after four interesting days. Carol and I then retired to the condo and slept for ten hours. We had a good time and learned a lot about small children, and I’ll put down some notes here while everything’s still fresh in my mind:

  • Katie knows us as Kayol and Jep. Those are good enough names to use in an SF story someday. (Tucked away for future use.)
  • One wonders what posessed A. A. Milne (apart from simple ignorance of future cultural conventions–how dare he!) to call a teddy bear “Pooh” in a world of still-diapered but rapidly linguistifying children.
  • Joe’s O’s are a standard at Gretchen’s house, and Katie calls them “yoats,” which is as good a generic term for the genre as I could think of beyond “oat toruses.”
  • I built a Sphinx for Katie out of supersize Mega Bloks, and while I was still puzzling out how to attach a head, Katie grew impatient and asked, “What is?” I agonized over how to answer a question like that when baby sister Julie crawled over and demolished it. Problem solved. Whew.
  • The one sure way to make Julie quit fussing and smile is to get in her face and sing do-wop songs. I got very good at singing the intro to the Marcels’ cover of “Blue Moon,” if half an octave higher than their seminal bass man. “Ba-ba bomp ba-ba bomp ba bom ba bom bomp…” She also responded well to “On the Road to Shambala,” at least the parts without genuine words other than “yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.”
  • We watched a lot of videos. Katie is very fond of Rocky & Bullwinkle, who (by the way) will be 50 years old later this year. She didn’t have the CD set with the Metal-Munching Moon Mice, but we did see the counterfeit boxtops adventure, which sent an eerie shiver down my spine. Swap in bankers and the Fed for Boris Badenov and see what you get.
  • Pertinent to the above: The infectious Muppets cover of Mah-Na Mah-Na (see my entry for April 15, 2007) was the very first musical number on the very first episode of the Muppet Show (1976). We saw it several times this weekend, mon dieu.
  • I had forgotten how much I admired the Muppets brand of comedy. Something definitely went right in the 70s. Even the guest star fashions weren’t as bad as I had expected, though I saw things I hadn’t seen in a while. (Does anybody even remember what “espadrilles” are?) And watching one of the Muppets slobber paint on a taciturn, toga-clad Candace Bergen was worth the price of admission.
  • Katie seems to like kites, though Carol thinks that “fly kite!” (as Katie puts it) is now code for running around in circles in the big field outside their back gate. No matter–we didn’t have ideal kite weather, and the kite we were trying to fly is arguably an antique and probably not up to much rough handling. When we’re here in better weather, I will build a kite tailored to 2-year-olds and we will wait for a dry and blustery day.

All in all, a complete success. Carol and I are now fairly sure we made the right decision in not having children of our own, but borrowing them occasionally may not be a bad idea.