It’s Not There

Aaron, our six-year-old, was browsing instructional art videos on YouTube.  The art subject of choice was Mario, of course.

He knows how to do this sort of thing himself.  After logging in to his account, he launches his web browse, and types “youtube mario” in the Google Search field to get to YouTube.  After that, he’ll type “draw mario” into the YouTube search box, and he’s off and running with his instructional videos.

His mother and I were in another room when we heard him get frustrated a few minutes later.

“It’s not there! I can’t find it. It’s not anywhere! I can’t find MS Paint.”

I knew right away what had happened.  He’d navigated from a YouTube clip of somebody drawing Mario with a pencil to one doing it in Microsoft Paint, and he wanted to try it out himself.

I ran to him.  He was on a Windows PC, so he obviously had Paint, but there was no telling where he was looking for it.

When I got to him, I saw that he’d typed variations of “ms paint” into the Web Browser’s search box and into YouTube’s search box about a dozen times.

Poor kid. He was searching for Microsoft Paint in the only places on the computer he knew. Wasn’t everything on the web?

Aaron Stops Playing Super Mario Galaxy

Aaron’s a great Super Mario Galaxy player. He’s gotten all 121 stars over and over again. Now he’ll start playing the game just to pass the time. He’s even found a glitch in the game.

It’s pretty much all he wants to do. Bringing him outside to play catch or go for a bicycle ride is like asking him to do homework.

A few days ago, when he asked to play the game again I told him, “No, you really should do something else. Put one of the puzzles together or play with your toys instead.”

He walked off and called back to me from another room, “I’m going to play Jenga, Daddy!” I answered “OK, Aaron.”

Everything seemed fine.  Maybe he really could entertain himself without obsessing about Super Mario Galaxy.

A little while later, I went to the kitchen and discovered what he called “playing Jenga.”


He drew a Grand Star in Jenga pieces.

Thoughts From A Mother

Yesterday, my wife and I were chatting with Maddie’s piano teacher, Ms. Kim. She just sent her youngest kid off to college and her house feels really empty now. This morning, my wife dropped our kids off at school and I went directly in to work. A little later I got the following email message from my wife…

I walk the kids into the school and stand there with Aaron waiting for the first bell to ring…

I ask him if it’s okay for me to leave after the first bell rings and he says it’s okay…

I give him a kiss, and he gives me a kiss…

The bell rings, and Aaron and I say goodbye to each other…

He begins to walk away with the other kids to their respective lines…

One kid amongst thousands it seems…but I watch our son leave…

After a few moments, he turns his head towards me, and our eyes meet…

I feel the same thing you’re feeling, son…

I wave at him… he waves back at me, and he continues to walk forward…

I feel a certain something in my chest, and I knew I could start blubbering if I didn’t walk away too…

I feel Ms. Kim’s pain…

I know what empty nest syndrome feels like…

And I don’t look forward to that part of my future…

Boys’ Adventure

Boys’ Adventure
Originally uploaded by dblume

This weekend, the whole family went to San Mateo County Memorial Park to celebrate the birthday of one of Madison’s friends.

Aaron and I took the opportunity to go on an adventure in the park, on our own, away from the girls.

We went straight to the creek, and wound our way along the trails following signs to the Tunnel Tree and the Largest Tree. There were plenty of fascinating trees with burnt-out trunks in which to explore and lots of paths leading off towards unimagined adventures.

The photo here captures Aaron sitting at the end of a concrete wall a few feet above the water just before a spill-over. He had to walk carefully along the edge of the wall to make it to the pylon. This is what he and I deemed “the most dangerous part of our adventure”.

How do you spell “dare?”

My son called out from across the house, “How do you spell dare?”

Seeing as how this was on Valentine’s Day, I thought that that was an unusual word for a valentine.  But I spell it out for him anyway: D, A, R, E.

What I got back was an awkward silence.  Then he asked it again, “How do you spell dare?!”  So, somehow he knew that that wasn’t the spelling he wanted, or he just didn’t hear me.  I asked him to pronounce it clearly.  He yelled back,

“Duh!  Air!  Ruh!”


Yeah, well, that didn’t help at all.  So I asked him to use it in a sentence.

“Dere’s a giraffe over dere.”