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June 05, 2006
Cool Kid Moment of the Day

Yesterday afternoon, I was getting ready to go for a run down the River Road in Emo, and, inspired, I asked Gareth if he wanted to come for a run. I really, really want to make sure that Gareth and Naomi both build a healthy, active lifestyle now, to make it easier to continue doing so as they get older.

In my head, I was frantically doing recalculations of distance and what route to take, so that Gareth could run a part of the distance with me, I could drop him off at home, and continue my run. He was a little hesitant to run with me, mostly because "I get out of breath when I run, Dad."

Then his eyes light up, and he says, "I could ride my bike with you, Dad!" *slap* Stupid dad. Great idea, Måno. Away we go, him helmeted up, and me running behind him, heart jumping into my throat every time a vehicle passes us (which, being a country road, is about one every three or four minutes).

It's important to realize that, once you get onto the River Road, it's not even a half-mile before you're in the country -- fields, fences, cows and few houses. As we head down the road, we pass a herd of about 60 head of cattle ("They stink, Dad."), and, a few minutes later, come upon a second group of about a half-dozen cows, placently munching grass. The following conversation takes place:

Gareth: Hi cows!
Cow: (lifts head, and bell rings)
Gareth: Dad, the cow rang its bell at me!
Cow: (stares)
Gareth: Hi cow! (Rings bell on bike in response)

I chuckled as we ran on. And, on the return leg, we got up to the cows, and he didn't even speak -- just rang his bell in acknowledgement, and kept going. Twas cool.

He also rung *my* bell when he said, "Dad, I'll ride slower, so that you can keep up with me."

Posted by Lincoln at 08:36 AM
February 14, 2005
Planet Baobab

In the tradition of Valentine's Day, we did dinner and the theatre tonight. At least, that's how I can technically describe taking the two beans to Pizza Hut and going to the Kids & Company presentation of Planet Baobab, an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, made – in theory – for children.
Wow. And not in a good way.
The stage set was a cloth backdrop, approximately 15x10, on which the AV part of the production was projected, and a 10-piece electronic drum set. Two French Canadian performers in child-performer-esque outfits come out on stage, one goes behind the drum kit, and the other narrates the story. The drummer clanks out a bunch of space-agey sound effects, and controls the sound, while the narrator jumps around on stage to a plodding, directionless story – which, really, is The Little Prince in a nutshell.
Having done the kids' performer thing for six years with Dill and the Big Cheese Band, I've got a pretty good idea of what works and doesn't in entertaining children. This show misses the mark in so many ways, it's not even funny. Kids respond to respect and authenticity. As a parent, I see so many performers that think that children expect everything to be dumbed down and silly. This is a prime example – it's written by people who don't get kids, and think that they'll be amused by bright lights and silly gesticulating. As in production for adults, a weak story can't be fixed by special effects. And these special effects are CG and animation from, oh, 1992 or so. It was kind of like what you'd expect Cirque du Soleil performers who get busted for drug addiction to be doing.
Ah well, I take heart that the next place they're taking their show is Atikokan. They may never make it out alive.

Posted by Lincoln at 09:20 PM
December 28, 2004
"Rudolph is REAL!"

December 23 -- 4 miles, -34C
December 24-27 -- Off
December 28 -- 3.5 miles, Treadmill

Christmas was a *lot* of fun in our house this year.

Two moments from this year stand out for me. The first was Gareth's response to the note Santa left in place of the shortbread, chocolate milk and reindeer food left behind. Upon seeing that the letter was signed, "Love, Santa and Rudolph," he ran down the hallway, yelling, "Grandpa, Rudolph is real!"

The second was the two of them coming downstairs to see what was under the tree. Naomi saw the doll and doll activity centre (no gender bias -- she adores dolls, even though she has access to all sorts of non-gender-specific toys), and ran across the room to grab the doll in a bear hug. Gareth, however, came down and immediately was looking for the gift that he and Grandma had picked out for Frances and I at Tompkins Hardware, because he was so excited over it -- no thought or attention at all as to what he got from Santa. It was one of those "Maybe we're not such bad parents" moments. Of course, seconds later, he discovered the Rescue Hero Command Centre (Santa was, I'm sure, cursing as he put that toy together), and all thoughts of anything else were banished from his mind.

Other than that, we are and drank too much good stuff, and it was fscking cold -- minus-43 C on Christmas Eve day. The grandparents are now on their way to meet and greet the extended family in Winnipeg with their newest granddaughter (Alexsis). Sadly, they'll also be attending the funeral for my wonderful great-aunt, Eva Rowe, who passed away Christmas Eve at the age of 97.

Posted by Lincoln at 04:34 PM
December 03, 2004
Gross, but funny as hell

December 1 -- 3.5 miles, road run, -10C
December 2 -- Day Off
Okay, stop reading now if you're easily disgusted.

Gone? Ok, good.

Frances and I woke up at 2:30 this morning to a certain almost-five-year-old crying beside the bed.
"I have a nosebleeeed," wails the child.
My response was (approximately):
I hear Frances get up, and exclaim, "There's blood everywhere!"
That'll wake you up in a hurry. I open my eyes, and survey the trail of drops of blood that runs from Gareth's room, across the hall, around the side of the bed, back into the bathroom...
Crap. Well, no, actually, blood; but you get the point.
As I'm wearily pouring vinegar on the bloodspots, and helping Gareth to quell the drops from his nose, I ask, "How did it start, pal? Were you picking it?"
"Yes," was the tearful reply.
Exasperated, I ask the fateful question, "Why did you do that?"

"Because I was hungry."

Funniest. Grossest. Gareth Story. Ever.

Posted by Lincoln at 12:11 PM
November 30, 2004
Photo update

I realized I haven't put up any family shots in a long while, so here's a whole family pic, from the week in Osoyoos. Unfortunately, Aron (Lisa's partner) couldn't make the trip, but the rest of us are there. Sorry for the size, all you bandwidth impaired, like myself:


Posted by Lincoln at 11:48 PM
January 01, 2003
Cold-weather sports day

For New Year's Day 2003, the two male members spent the day revelling in the -15 C weather in Emo to partake of two firsts for Gareth: (a) skate on the outdoor rink, and (b) ride snowmobiles with Michael and daughter Emily Loney.
We lasted about half-an-hour on the ice, and twice that on the snowmobile. There's something disconcerting about your son bouncing his (helmeted) noggin off the handlebars of the snowmobile every once in a while, but he loved it.

Posted by Lincoln at 10:08 PM