Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where parents fear to tread...

I had promised to take Xan to the playground after a nap on our last day in Ann Arbor, fully aware that it was supposed to storm that day. Luckily, there's a cool indoor playground/coffee shop called Jungle Java that has a giant structure to climb around. Xan saw it, went in and didn't touch the floor again until they closed.

At some point, I decided that this was a good moment for me to take my trusty new pocket video camera and venture inside this structure. Clearly, a Steadicam would have been more useful here, if even more impossible to go around various corners; clearly, this was also not made for a thirty-six-year-old man. (That said, you may note I'm not the only one in there.) Please note how appreciative my son is of my travails in maneuvering said obstacle.

video

Monday, July 14, 2008

The power of bargaining

There is so much to blog about, and it's criminal that I really haven't had an opportunity near a fast connection. Not to mention the fact that my poor camera lost its button, and therefore I have lost the ability to take pictures.

But, then there's this.

We are currently on summer vacation in Ann Arbor visiting my folks. My cousin Ed also happens to live here and he and his wife have two kids. John, the elder, is a year older than Xan, but is exactly the same size. Last year, John was three (and all that implies) and this year he's an angel -- but now Xan's three (and all that implies). So when they invited us out for pizza, I was worried how things would go. Luckily, being boys, they were both thrilled at their mutual interest in toy cars and fries. Things were going swimmingly.

As we were leaving, however, I noticed that Xan had the two cars (one larger, one smaller) that he had brought in one hand, and one of John's cars in the other. This could not be good. "Xan," I warned as we went down the staircase, "you have to give John back his car."

"But I don't want to!" This is a common retort.

"It's not your car. It's John's car."

"But I like John's car."

I decided to try logic. Again. It only works occasionally, but I'm persistent like that. "What would you say if John wanted one of your cars." I waited for the expected response: I wouldn't like that, no no, it's my car.

But there was a pause as he went down a few more stairs. Thoughts were being processed. My ears perked up as I realized we were officially off-script.

He replied, "I would tell him OK, and he could give me the car back the next time we see each other."

Holy crap. "Really?" I said.

"Yes."

OK, then! "Well, let's ask him then."

Sure enough, at the bottom of the stairs, Xan heads for John. They talk for a moment and John happily grabs both of Xan's cars while Xan happily comes back with the single (but very cool) car of John's. It takes me a minute to tell John's parents that no, he does not need to give the car back, that the boys have (somehow) worked it out. All of us marvel at this unprecedented event.

Since then, Xan and "John's car" have been inseparable. Which makes me a little nervous as we head to tomorrow, where we will be joining forces at a local (kick-ass) water park. But for now, I revel in the negotiation skills of my son. And how logic worked. Well, for a moment, at least.