Sounds of a Boy Who Didn’t Like the Beach

“I don’t like going to the beach,” my son said.

Start the sound clip below and then click the thumbnail image to get an idea just how much he ended up hating it (earbuds will immerse you, but speakers will work):


I didn’t specify when he said it, because he told me that more than once during the first several days of our Sanibel Island vacation.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, son,” I said. “I would like for you to go with me in the morning. It’s my last day here, and on Saturday mornings you and I always have our father-son time.”

“Okay,” he said.

On top of that, he had another incentive.

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For You, Son, on the Last Day You are Six Years Old


Remember that night I recorded you while you read one of your bedtime books? You read Slip, Slide, Skate, and then you asked me to record myself reading the next one.

In my hotel room on Tuesday night I listened to you reading the one about the little girl who goes ice skating. I listened to the whole thing, and you did a great job. I smiled when I heard your voice and the pages turning.

I thought that on your last day of being six you might like to hear the recording of me. If you are at home, then pull out Duck and a Book and follow along; if not, then just imagine the pictures. It’s only a little more than a minute long.

I am sorry my work trip got extended by a day and I can’t be there to read it to you in person. I will see you on your birthday.


Lumps of Air

“Okay, you start changing, and I’ll come back to check on you in a minute,” I said.

Hanging around while he changes almost guarantees he will waste time putting on the Benjamin show instead of changing into his pajamas. A carefully orchestrated series of distractions, it simultaneously entertains the boy and frustrates the parent.

“Hey, I could feel you talking in my dresser,” he said.

I noticed that his feet were propped up against the side of his dresser.

“You mean you could feel the vibrations in your feet while I talked?” I said, opening my throat more to make my voice resonate. I’m a sucker for pretty much any audience, so naturally I wanted to enhance his experience.

“It’s like, a lump of air came from your mouth and went into my dresser, and I felt it.”

I blinked. Part of me hit the ceiling.

“Yes, son, that’s right. The sound from my mouth pushes the air into waves and they go into other things and make them vibrate. Very good, Benjamin.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“Okay, keep going. I’ll come right back.” I said.

I turned and walked away so he would start changing his clothes. My explanation probably wasn’t scientifically accurate, but I figured it would do in the moment. I didn’t have time to set up a wave lab like we did in high school physics.

I walked straight to the refrigerator scratch pad to jot down our conversation.

Pretending to be Six

Fatherhood is absolutely huge. Yes, this could be expanded to include parenthood in general, but I like to be specific.

As a father of an only child, I find myself worrying whether I’m a good playmate for a six-year-old, at the same time reminding myself that I’m not there primarily to be his friend. It is difficult to balance the two, because nobody wants a playmate constantly stopping to throw in points on ethics and morality. It is not his fault he’s an only child, so shouldn’t I step back and just play sometimes, as if I’m six, too?

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Kick it One Time

Dribbling Drill     Waiting His Turn
(click to enlarge)

Benjamin’s first full day of kindergarten doubled as his first day of soccer practice. Unlike tee ball (which we “volunteered” him for at age three), he eagerly participated. When I wasn’t helping, I was taking pictures, and Shannon sat in a camp chair, busily filling out a stack of forms for Ben’s school.

That morning at the school, Shannon stayed in the cafeteria with a few other parents while children of several grade levels lined up with their classmates.

“Mommy, what are you still doing here?” Ben said.

It seems that our son is not in the separation anxiety camp. (She scooped me on this by adding a comment to an earlier post.)

The funnier part? While in the library for the “Kleenex and Coffee” session after the kids reported to class, Shannon leaned over a kid-sized table to fill out a form. She somehow lost her balance and fell, literally, on her butt, and her feet went up in the air. I’m just sorry I wasn’t there to catch her see it.

I blame it on her heavy purse. Or genetics.