Review: My Fingers vs. Your Fingers

Let’s talk chew toys for a minute. There are so many on the market, but there’s something to be said for tradition though I’m not going to go into a lengthy discussion right now about all the virtues of natural products compared to synthetic. That’s a big debate on it’s own. Let’s just talk instead about the oldest and best of all chew toys: fingers.

Seen here completing a field test recently to complete the article... fun, tasty and totally painless.
Seen here completing a field test recently to complete the article… fun, tasty and totally painless.

Fingers have a lot of benefits:

 

  • Portable,
  • Available,
  • Washable,
  • Chewy on the outside, crunchy on the inside,
  • Often salty,
  • Warm,
  • And perpetually on hand… heh heh, on hand, get it?

Now let’s compare the different fingers available:

My fingers:

 

  1. Most available/conveniently located,
  2. Best-fit sizing,
  3. Less hazardous nail situation,
  4. Softest.

Your fingers:

  1. Indestructible, chomp as I may,
  2. More texture,
  3. Totally painless,
  4. More social.

Plastic hand:; (pictured below)

  1. Noisy,
  2. Crunchy,
  3. Easily forgotten at home,
  4. Sharper edges,
  5. Slippery when wet.

So for tops in convenience, I’d say gobble your own digits. For durability and comfort, however, there’s just no choice like someone else’s hands. Fortunately, this isn’t an either/or choice. My best and final advice is to keep your options open.


Plastic hands? Oh no, none for me thanks. Between the noise and the inconvenience, this really ain’t the way to go. 

Mama Boxes Stuff, Stuff Wins by TKO

There are always so many things that go on in my day. School, play, and that hypnotizing television at a minimum, so when an event centered around boxing occurs, it peaks up my junior summitous interest for sure.

Amongst other things, mama found it fit to stuff us junior kiddo-folk into boxes.
Amongst other things, mama found it fit to stuff us junior kiddo-folk into boxes.

All of our VHS tapes are now in boxes and half of our storage grade plush bears are as well. There’s a stack of boxes marked “misc,” though your guess at the contents are no better than those of the misc. labeler indeed… but what’s next?

The tapes and bears are gone, but Round-3 is our canned goods and Round-4 looks like winter clothes. I can’t speak with too much certainty, but Round-5 might just be the art off the walls!

If that’s the case, what’s left? The furniture? My bestest toys? The contents of my very own dresser, frijgator or pant’s pockets? Where will this end? Who will win?

The answer is quite plain and I lay the due blame on my own patent prediction. From my bleary, blurry observational eyes, I see a war being waged ala Mike Tyson boxing (ala Nintendo — Not the real thing, that stuff is all fixed.)

What I see is mama boxing stuff vs. the boxes stuffing her. And, with her sweat and exasperation as my index, the boxes are getting the best of her.

This is deeply moving to me and befuddlesome, not unlike the time I discovered I had a passport or legs. It’s the same kind of deal here, it’s interesting and stuff but I just gotta ponder what it is that gives. Did I break it up too far? The question was: “What gives?”

I have to go now, it seems I’m also being put in a box. Now I’m even more confused. I hope this will help, but as to helping what I can’t even imagine.

ABOVE - Originally the Miss Mama-Lady tried to stuff us into boxes with other things. We rejected it unanimously, so she upgraded it to things we might like, such as a battery operated chatty Pooh bear, but still no dice. As you can see it just distracted us collectively and all we could do was check it out by way of escaping our respective boxes and trying to climb into the one most interesting.
ABOVE – Originally the Miss Mama-Lady tried to stuff us into boxes with other things. We rejected it unanimously, so she upgraded it to things we might like, such as a battery operated chatty Pooh bear, but still no dice. As you can see it just distracted us collectively and all we could do was check it out by way of escaping our respective boxes and trying to climb into the one most interesting.
 ABOVE - Here's the final assortment of us boys packed in to boxes. It worked well for us this way, as it was three boys in three boxes ascending in size according to our gross fractional tonnage... no? (And in case you can't recognize it, this is the site of a quarter dozen (truly) odd happy boys.

ABOVE – Here’s the final assortment of us boys packed in to boxes. It worked well for us this way, as it was three boys in three boxes ascending in size according to our gross fractional tonnage… no? (And in case you can’t recognize it, this is the site of a quarter dozen (truly) odd happy boys.

 

Mama Disdains Daddy-O Scribble Schedule

Oh that crazy Miss Mama-Lady. She’s so rigid and authoritarian with us boys she’s all about eating vegetables and washing behind the ears. I guess it’s no surprise she’s just as authoritarian with Daddy-O.

I know it`s not the most entertaining picture in the history of pictures, but it`s a clock and a calendar, get it?
I know it`s not the most entertaining picture in the history of pictures, but it`s a clock and a calendar, get it?

Daddy-O makes his professionally writey-works from home, so when we moved out of the tiny place and into this castle last year it was no surprise he took a whole room as his office. It’s off limits to us, I’m told — most often while we’re running circles in it, playing with his books and backup CDs — so supposedly it helps him get his stuff done.

Before that he had his worky terminal in the livingroom. We each scritchy-scratched our respective kindernoggins because we couldn’t figure how he’d expect to get anything done at all with us troublemakers raising Hades at any given many turns.

There’s even a fun kid-proof lock on his door. I say it’s fun because it’s a great puzzle and one we all quickly figured out. You just turn the knob “up” instead of “down”… that was easy.

So how can he expect to get anything done between the screams, shrieks, and engiddied requests for interaction? He must have gone three cursing weeks without getting so much as three incoherent fragment sentences composed. That’s when he introduced the split-shift, and mama frowned and said “no, no.”

Writing requires modest peace, I’m told. Personally I just party away my days and in the end it sure looks like I make my deadlines, but apparently it ain’t effortless to compose the 2000+ words a day it takes for him to eek out this most modest college fund. It’s odd, I agree.

Daddy-O in his decidedly finite wisdom, switched to writing nights and sleeping mornings. On this schedule, he’s back up to speed. It was mama that didn’t approve. And, as we boys know all too well, Mama’s the CEO around here I guess, but the shareholders demand profit so Daddy-O gets to do as he must to get the balance sheet back in order.

Of course rumor has it he’s gone back to the day job just the same, but we’ll address that reality when it becomes all too real, which I’m told it already has.

Above - Okay, I'll admit it, I don't get the joke myself. What's a clock and a calendar have to do with when Daddy-O does his writing?
Above – Okay, I’ll admit it, I don’t get the joke myself. What’s a clock and a calendar have to do with when Daddy-O does his writing?

 

Mini House Hunt Slightly Successful, Too Slight

Around our house it seems all the rage these days is dedicated to the hobby of looking for a new house. Ever the active participant* I am, I jumped in both feet first and pounded the pavement to find something of good value as I see it. My findings were unfounded and only a contribution of slight measure by total volume.

This one seems nice but, what? Too small you say?
This one seems nice but, what? Too small you say?

What I sought was an exclusive neighborhood of fancy new houses that are affordable, spacious, and just my size. What I found was a street of dreams… they built it and we came.

We wanted something bigger and newer… but bigger and newer than what? The places I found (and fully endorse) are newer even than that pesky Dominic and bigger than me, though obviously not bigger than our current place.

If you like fancy, f’get about it! The entire community is designed in the “deco-shed” style, some with ceilings vaulted to fully six feet. As a man of precisely three feet, that’s like a 12-foot ceiling to a grown up.

And that’s just the vertical space!

minihouses-wide1
ABOVE – This represents a fine smattery of my own street of dreams. Seems the good folks at Laughing Logs in Woodinville (a company apparently too successful to host their own website for us to link to) are giddy to cater to folks like me more than folks like my parents. It’s unfortunate since the parents got basically all the money and authority and yet no desire to live in a tool shed, no matter how fancy it may be.

Now let’s chat on the bounty of space in the plain old horizontal plane. Many floor plans range all the way up to 4×8 square feet, so there’s enough room for one toddler bed and five toys with enough space let to comforably doodle (all over the walls).

My mind was made up, my study complete and my findings submitted though it fell on dumb mouths, despite the diligence of its fabrication. The parents exercised their veto authority over my house of progress.**

Apparently my diligence was irrelevant since my findings were as slight as the build of any of the houses I endorsed. Something about “way too small” was all I heard, but come on people, these pads are timmed to the gills.

In all fairness, I’ll concede all my choices lacked the water, heat and electricity I’ve come to depend on so heavily. Not much better nor bigger than the summer home I tried to squat my rights into, except for the lack of bark flooring.

Fine, whatever. I don’t get to pick out our menu*** so why should picking our home be any different? I’ll defer to the eternal wisdom of the elders on this critical matter, I guess. I see the challenge and I look forward to seeing what they can do about it.

minihouses-wide2
ABOVE – Just another shot of me looking through and wholly considering the model homes. It was a great day for me, as I could contribute more to the family’s endeavor to advance ourselves than ever before… sadly, that decision apparently does not include living in a no-power, no-water, no-insulation, one-room shed. Parents dude, it’s like Will Smith said before he was movie-cool, they just don’t understand.

*Not just a participant but an inconjoyable one at that.
**Progress? Regress? Maybe it’s congress I’m thinking. The door worked fine so it wasn’t egress or ingress.
***My menu would be chicky-nugget, fries, hot and/or corn dog and candy heavy. What’s wrong with that?

 

Brother Savant Can Hit Anything with Bowling Pin

City, State � Breaking news… Brother Patrick, whose autism has yet to afford him the luxury of counting to ten or potty training, has allegedly discovered a new talent most uncommon for his age; regardless of how skinny he is and how otherwise unpredisposed he may be, Patrick LaShaw, it seems, can hit absolutely anything with a bowling pin, regardless of what it is.

Here you can see Patrick watching a square home run sail out of the park... or living room as the case may be.
Here you can see Patrick watching a square home run sail out of the park… or living room as the case may be.

The discovery of this innate ability came last week when handler Mr. Daddy-O decided to go against the indoor rulings of Miss Mama Lady and encourage him to swing his makeshift bat at anything he desired, provided only that it wasn’t made of glass, the head of one of his numerous brothers, or Daddy-O’s own crotch.

America’s Funniest Home Videos responded by saying, “No horrific shot to the balls? Sorry, we’re not interested.” Everyone else, however, found the situation very interesting indeed.

Whether a Nerf� ball, a hard plastic ball, a stuffed animal or a piece of fruit, brother Patrick exhibited flawless adeptitude at smacking it with his improvised baseball bat.

The initial event arose due to the inherent boredom of televised major league baseball games, when us junior folks are most dedicated to finding anything other than watching yet another throw over to first to hold the runner on to entertain ourselves.

Daddy-O tossed up a wayward, albeit improvised, projectile and Patrick not only smacked it for a yard, but did so dead-on-the-mark landing it right in my lap some 15-feet away!

Very quickly it was discovered that Patrick could hit anything at all, no matter how small, big, fluffy or edible. Brother Dominic and I each tried like crazy to hog whatever balls he was smacking — aside from Daddy-O’s, again, those were quite guarded — and so they kept picking newer and stranger things to hit, and he just kept on hitting them.

He jumps up and down, flaps his free hand and routinely takes his eye off the ball, but he always connects for extra bases. It’s strange and enviable all at once, not only because it’s a forbidden game (according to the breakables-aware Miss Mama Lady) but also because he smacks every last one of them no matter how many, how strange and how otherwise unhittable they are.

Scouts from both American and National Leagues have been contacted, but as yet have not arrived to see this uncommon talent. It is believed they will be extremely interested since his strike zone is a box of about a square foot and he can run like a leopard.

Representatives from MLB were not immediately available for comment, but they’ve never returned our calls so what do you expect?

Above - Here you can see a balloon flying a good distance, despite its poor aerodynamics.
Above – Here you can see a balloon flying a good distance, despite its poor aerodynamics.

 

House Pecking, Hunting, Gathering?

I’ve been studying the habits of the elden folk for the past few weeks and have spied me an alarming trend. They search the classifieds, get reports and paperwork from the agent lady, and drag us around to be impressed by spendy places aplenty. Dare I speculate: They’ve got house envy.

I`m not sure what I`m doing right here.
I`m not sure what I`m doing right here.

Having myself been a kid who was one-downed by a newer, louder version of the same, I have a pretty good idea how our current apartment must feel. It’s the same way your old and faithful car feels when it catches you turning up the radio during ads for the new 2005 models with easy financing and handsome rebates. Change is good for some, but sad for others.

It’s undeniable, the ‘rents are house-hunting and I’m a bit nervous. I checked with our state’s Department of Fishies and Gamey Wildlife, and my folks don’t have a permit to hunt –no matter how primal the instinct may be — and I’m just sure they’ll get caught. I’m too young to see my parents dinged with a fine ranging up to dozens of dollars, even without toting a gun.

On second thought, maybe they’re not hunting. Maybe they’re gathering… but that doesn’t make any sense at all. Gathering houses? They’re just too big. If you are considering house gathering, consider too that they’re awfully big and somewhat difficult to corral. I mean, come on, they’re bolted down.

Leaving only one last theory possible, and that’s “pecking.” I know pecking comes part and parasol with hunting as surely as gathering does, so I’ve taken it upon myself to do my best.

Nobody has ever called me a “pecker,” but when it comes to checking out these places, I do my very best.

I hide in closets and run room to room but, best of all, I certify it’s kiddoescent suitability. I try to run for traffic, grab for uncovered outlets and electrical hazards, teeter precariously atop uncommonly steep staircases and slap around the periphery of hot water tanks. If there’s danger to be pecked out, consider me your miner’s parakeet. Don’t worry, I’ll be the first to fall and that is precisely my safety inspector role.

I’ve given the parents a referral to a good counsellor who can help them with their envy issues, and Dominic’s even chipped in by grabbing the paper off the table and ripping it to ribbons yet I don’t know how it will end. Hopefully it will come down to an overall maturation, familial satisfaction, a new Perplexing Times corporate headquarters and a bigger house for the gaggle of us troublemakers.

 

Mold Allergy Bloody Gross

Sniffle-deep scratchy-sneezy snauz of mine, for what do you forsake me? Through the night it tickled but I did sleep through Armageddon. Today I awoke to find someone’s replaced my under-snoozy pillow an synthetica… my pillows soaked with blood.

Just a ketchup re-creation, during the ACTUAL times the parental photographers are too busy cleaning and nurturing me.
Just a ketchup re-creation, during the ACTUAL times the parental photographers are too busy cleaning and nurturing me.

Statistially speaking (regardless of your age) you’ve never awoken to a pillow soaked wet with your own blood. Still, in my mere three minus, excruciatingly long years dillydally doddeling about this earthen orb, we’re up to a good half a dozen times for baby me-man, man.

I always told you I was weathered, now you’s got the proof.

Sneezies is snotties and even sickly peoples is a messy waste; but blood is life, and a pillow thusly soaked smells of oxidized copper. I need my blood. I’m still using it and at a scant (albeit chubby) 34 pounds I frankly need all my last drops.

If I’m going to shed even the first drop of my A-positive* plasma, I should at least skin my knee or break a nose in a pool diving accident. Those would be drops, this is ounces.

In case I forget to mention it, “Yuck!” Also, “Nasty!”

I’m intolerant of lactose and racists, but I’m miserably sick with my inability to stomach mold spores (which is really bad since we live in the gloriously green and dank Pacific Northwest).

Ah, mold. You make my gude blue, my live cultures active, and my tender nasal tissues bleed by night or day. And, there’s nothing I can do about it but wake up looking like a stabbing victim, protein hungry and crying in a moist and half coagulated cotton bog of my own red cells.

I’m not here to complain, just to relay an inequity my father asserts. It’s that no child should have to suffer sickness, least of all those inunderstandable to the victim.

Dad got an A+ in blood. Mom is negative something I’m deducing.

 

You Played My Battleship!

First of all, let me say that I’m already keenly aware of how uncouth it is to use an exclamation point! in the course of journalism, and how much worse it is still to use it in a headline, but I can’t concern myself with such things in the face of an imperfect idiom. Maybe he didn’t sink it, but he definitely did “play” my battleship, and I didn’t like that so much either.

Here you can see Dominic taking a handicap as he gets momentarily distracted by the coolness of the beverage coaster. I`ll sink HIS battleship!
Here you can see Dominic taking a handicap as he gets momentarily distracted by the coolness of the beverage coaster. I`ll sink HIS battleship!

I don’t know the greater rules of this game, neither specifically nor in general, but I do know that it’s a game and that in order to win, one must cry out that the opponent has sunk ones battleship. For that matter, I don’t know what a battleship is and I won’t even try to get into it’s point or meaning, since the last time I made a commentary on war I got torn to bits by our military readers*, but no less, I’m ready to cry something out, whatever it may be.

Best I can figure this game is played by stabbing plastic pegs in well-fitting holes and yelling at each other something like “You sunk my battle sheep!” I’ve never met a battle sheep I didn’t like but, then again, I’ve never met a battle sheep. Maybe I heard it wrong but I don’t think so. Still it’s a puzzle and a half and I never understood the game any more than I played it by any rules other than (and including) my own.

I said something like, “You stuck my baaa-ship” and Baby-D just said, “Ship, yay!” So I think that means that I won, but who can be sure with such a complicated endeavor?

When playing games, I suggest sticking to something less involved like maybe Candyland or Connect Four. I can’t speak for this “Battlesheep,” no matter how much I talk about it. I just know it challenges the players’ minds, strategic abilities, fine motor skills and ability to articulate complicated phrases and notions. Bah! Who needs that?

* “Military readers” in this case should be read as “militant readers,” since they were pretty bent on showing me how insensitive I was for my childlike** opposition to the very notion of war.
** And although I say “childlike.” I really mean “childish,” because that’s what the mongers of war from amongst my reader base said in just so many terms.

Above - Here you can see Dominic, who apparently has found the needed coordination to place all the pegs in the count-defying blowed-up holes available to the board upon which we're playing, even if it isn't exactly "the game" around which our play focuses.
Above – Here you can see Dominic, who apparently has found the needed coordination to place all the pegs in the count-defying blowed-up holes available to the board upon which we’re playing, even if it isn’t exactly “the game” around which our play focuses.
Above - The casual observer would suspect all my ships were sunk by the holes I'd done-did take a blast to, but you'd be as wrong as you are right, though I know painfully little of either instance. Bigger question is the difference between the white and red pegs, which as far as I can tell, is limited to color.
Above – The casual observer would suspect all my ships were sunk by the holes I’d done-did take a blast to, but you’d be as wrong as you are right, though I know painfully little of either instance. Bigger question is the difference between the white and red pegs, which as far as I can tell, is limited to color.
Above - Here you can see that I've pegged all my ships and Baby-D's pegged everything but his ships, so there you go, that's us playing. No clue what's going on here and not even entirely certain I'm having fun, though I suspect I am.
Above – Here you can see that I’ve pegged all my ships and Baby-D’s pegged everything but his ships, so there you go, that’s us playing. No clue what’s going on here and not even entirely certain I’m having fun, though I suspect I am.
toddlers don't understand the game of battleship Above - Here's a larger, wider shot of our lead photo. Here you can see that our play strategies do not include hiding our boards from one another, but that it does include trying to figure out what's going on and also getting distracted by just about anything, most noticably beverage coasters that have no beverages.
toddlers don’t understand the game of battleship
Above – Here’s a larger, wider shot of our lead photo. Here you can see that our play strategies do not include hiding our boards from one another, but that it does include trying to figure out what’s going on and also getting distracted by just about anything, most noticably beverage coasters that have no beverages.

 

Everything’s a Butt

It isn’t just the day’s hot, hot heat that’s got us stripped to our skivvies, it’s more or less a household standard. Maybe it’s my limited vocabulary or my limited understanding of the words I command, but I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em and everywhere I look, it seems, is a butt.

I know it`s both rude and rudimentary, butt these are both rude and [sic].
I know it`s both rude and rudimentary, butt these are both rude and [sic].
When brothers strut their stuff with Pull Ups creeping up the crack, I make mental and verbal notes of it with my loudest pointing shout, “Butt!”

When parents hop from the shower I likewise point, poke and proclaim it proudly, “Butt!”

But I’d be remiss if I left this well enough alone right there, so I won’t. I point out each and every butt I see as I’m sure it must be defined. I know what a butt is when I see one; don’t I?

Brendster’s Pre-Collegiate Buttonary defines “Butt” as:

  • 1. (n) A piece of skin normally covered by clothing, whether on the arms, shoulders, legs, stomach or elsewhere. (sl) Hieny.
  • 2. (n)Body part placed on potty chair for gut squeezing, typically to earn Golden Potty Chocolate. (sl) Hieny.
  • 3. (v) The act of going stinky potty.

4. (n) Recipient to or victim of a most clever joke.

It’s this first definition that is so very fun for me as I’ve been keen to seek out and announce these sorts of butts* regularly and at my tippy toppest volume.

I poke baby Dominic in the belly and yell “Butt!” I poke Miss Mama-Lady’s back where her shirt is fashionably gapped and holler “Butt!” I poke my hand down Daddy-O’s shirt and gigglingly mutter “Butt!”

I say it but I fear I’m just not heard. The talkers that be seem to think there’s more to a butt than simple skin, but I just ain’t sure that’s the case. Covered skin is, after all, a butt, right?

I’m going to appeal their decision but, in the meantime, I ain’t backing off my butt shoutig hollery. Right or wrong it’s just too much fun. And if it feels this good being wrong I don’t want to be right.

Butt!

*What sorts of butts? Well, the butt on my belly and yours, silly.

ABOVE - Get it, no matter how inconsequential it is, that bad scrap of forbidden skin is a butt to me, baby!
ABOVE – Get it, no matter how inconsequential it is, that bad scrap of forbidden skin is a butt to me, baby!

 

Review: Family Walking Tutors Quite Good

In an effort to bring you the most balanced news possible, I often do things that do not interest me. Walking is no exception. I’ve been pretty happy with my crawl so far. Gets me where I’m going for sure, good exercise and plenty efficient for my needs.

During a lesson early this month, I spontaneously started stepping forward on my own. A week later, I decided to start stepping backwards.
During a lesson early this month, I spontaneously started stepping forward on my own. A week later, I decided to start stepping backwards.

I know in most every family there are walking tutors. People who are really good at it who have been practicing for like a million years. This walking thing seems pretty popular, so okay, sure, I decided I’d check it out.

First thing to note, is that it’s really hard. Do you have any idea how much your head weighs? Sure, it’s a handful of pounds, which may not sound like much, but as a percentage of your total body weight, it’s really a bit out of hand. Also, when you’re a career crawler like myself, the balance thing of going from all fours to just twos? Well, it’s tricky. There’s a knack to it, and I ain’t got it yet.

My overall review is favorable. Good fitness, good practicality if you can get it down. Good stuff all around. Biggest factor to remember though is a lot of tutors don’t feel complete without the illusion that they are helping people out, even in some small way.

For usefulness, it scores a rare “A.” Value, it gets an “A+.”