Postscript to the last post

A few supplemental notes about Aiden’s injuries:

– The poor kid who ran him over felt awful, and the other kids immediately began to yell at him as if he’d kicked a baby. The whole thing was an accident, and I put my arm around him and assured him that Aiden would be fine and that it wasn’t his fault. It was important to me to declare his innocence in front of the other kids. A few of Aiden’s biggest fans seem interested in acquiring the kid’s address. Not necessary. He’s a sweet kid who’s about six years old. Aiden holds no grudges. In fact, while still sobbing as I was cleaning up his face, he started asking to go back outside to play with the kids again.

– Aiden is very proud of his wounds, and he’s "telling the story" to anyone who will listen, including me and Amy (over and over). He’s just beginning to really display a command of the language, using phrases we aren’t teaching him and understanding almost everything we say. Every time he touches his nose, sees himself in a mirror, or someone remarks on his injuries, he proceeds to babble out the same half-intelligible version of the story. Despite it only being partly in English, it’s clearly the same every time, and it includes enough pertinent words (like ball and nose) that it’s obvious he’s telling his war story. Clearly that inclination is nature more than nurture.

A rite of passage: The boy’s first face plant

Yesterday afternoon Aiden and I were hanging out in the living room with the windows open. Some neighborhood kids were playing out front, and after watching them for a while, Aiden started yelling at them. A few of them came over to the window to talk to him. After a minute I walked over to the window to observe the interaction, and the kids scattered. It was one of those moments you realize that you’re old…kids are scared of pretty much any strange adult.

I assured them it was fine to talk to Aiden through the window, and eventually one of them asked him, "Do you want to come outside and play with us?" At two years, three months, Aiden has a pretty good handle on the language (better than I realize a lot of the time), and to my surprise he said, "OKAY!" and headed for the front door. I stopped him to put his shoes on, and we went out to play with the big kids.

They immediately gave him their basketball, and one or two of them would pass it back and forth with him while the rest of the group played tag. I stayed in pretty close proximity the whole time, but obviously not close enough. As Aiden was chasing the ball across the drive, he ran out in front of one of the kids–probably five or six years old and twice Aiden’s size–being chased by whoever was "it." It was a classic high-speed playground collision, and Aiden went flying. Fortunately he fell forward onto the basketball, which he caught right in the gut. His upper body continued toward the ground, and his face skidded across the pavement. He came to a stop inverted, face in the ground, belly on the ball, legs in the air. I knew he was hurt, but I also knew the facial/head impact with the ground had been relatively mild, enabling Dad to maintain a reasonable amount of calm. The tears were profuse (Aiden’s, not mine), and we went inside to clean him up.

I wanted to document the scars, so I put him against the wall to take a few mugshots. Turns out he’s entered a posing phase, and he made me follow him from one wall to the next taking pictures of him. "This wall, Dad….this one, Dad…"

The first one is from last night, just a few hours after the carnage. The last two are from today, with the wounds fully developed. You can click the photos to enlarge them.



Signing autographs at the local Wal-Mart

Regular readers are all too familiar with my late night Wal-Mart adventures. I’ve cut back on these trips for several reasons, not the least of which is the traffic volume at the Bryan, Texas Wal-Mart Supercenter is roughly twice that of the Dickson City, Pennsylvania store. Tonight was no exception as I arrived to a chaotic, packed scene at about 10:00 pm. As I was picking through the apples, I noticed that the produce guy (and I’ll save the commentary on a 60-year old produce guy working at 10pm on Saturday night for another day) kept looking at me. I assumed I was either in his way or he thought I was going to jack some apples. When we finally locked eyes, he stared at me for a couple of seconds and then laughed and said, "Oh jeez man, I thought zhou was the guy from The Weakest Link."

Strangely, I’d heard that one before. A couple of years ago, some students at BBC told me that I looked just like the host of the game show, The Weakest Link. At that time I was only familiar with the dour British woman who hosted the primetime version of the show several years ago. They told me there was now a syndicated daytime version hosted by, well, by me. It was a few weeks before I saw the guy, and I forgot about it pretty quickly. I’m now on the other side of the US, and the graveyard shift produce guy at Wal-Mart says the same thing. Strange. Tell me what you think…

Babies, storks, and the dangers of laptops

There seems to be some legitimate confusion about my last post. In case anyone still doesn’t get it, that’s the latest addition to our family, about 6.5 weeks old. We anticipate an external arrival in late July, and we are very excited.

In other news, one of our regulars is a new pop. Todd and his wife Sara (college friends) welcomed their son Walker to the world this past Saturday. Congratulations to all three of you.

I remain amazed at the stunning and overwhelming gift of life in all its varied manifestations. We are surrounded by so many who are having/adopting/praying for/raising children, and it has yet to get old or uninteresting or unremarkable.

Speaking of conception and related matters, male laptop users beware. The good news is I am a regular laptop user and…well, let’s just say I’ve apparently managed to dodge this one. I will, however, be a little more conscious of positioning after reading this.