Avoiding the big questions


A friend of mine and his five year old son came over for a visit  when I had the above reaction to something this fellow Dad said.   For consistency, I’ll call the five year old Mr. H.

Mr. C and Mr. H were playing with a set of Thomas the Tank Engine trains, which go along with a set of wooden railway pieces which fit together to form any number of railway configurations.   Straight pieces, curved pieces, Y shapes, X shapes.  Kids can come up with their own rail yards by fitting together the wooden tracks.  Mr. H was trying to fit together some of the tracks when his Dad said;  ‘What you need there is a track with a female connector’

That was when I had the above reaction.

I didn’t say anything though, but he could tell by my reaction that I thought something was wrong.  It may have been the shocked look, the audible gasp, the hand slap to the forehead, or maybe the vigorous shaking of the head.

‘What ?’  he said,  ‘Should I call it something else ?’

Just then his son asked ‘What do you mean by female connector, Dada ?’

Part of my previous job in Advertising was trying to find out what my clients might want to do, and part of that is learning how to anticipate  how each conversation can develop, and try to steer conversations to where I want it to go.  I used to think that everyone did that.  I also used to think that I only did it at work, but I’m sure that I do it outside of work too.

So it might be just an unconscious  strategy on my part to avoid situations like this, or maybe I’m reverting to work mode and trying to anticipate conversations, but I would never say that any toy has a ‘female connector’.

“That side is the  “innie”,  the other side is the “outie.”   I said to Mr. H’s Dad as he tried to somehow wiggle his way out of a conversation with his five year old as to why he would call it a “female connector”.


Luckily, Mr. C was in the bathroom at the time, so I could make a quick escape from the play area to check on him, and avoid the potentially embarrassing conversation.   So, I have no idea what happened next, and I don’t want to know.  ‘La,la,la,’ I say loudly with my fingers in my ears as I go off to the bathroom to “Check on how he’s doing”.

Yes, I’m avoiding these kinds of conversations for now.  But Mr. C is just 4 years old, I’ll wait a few more years, maybe when he’s 8, or 10, or 14….    Yes, yes, I know, not a good plan,  I’ll have to do something at some point.

Or maybe I can have Ms. J answer questions like that, and avoid it altogether.

Go Fly A Kite

Would you believe that I have made it this far in life and I’ve never flown a kite ?  Yes, embarrassing but true.  I grew up in an urban area of Boston, so I guess there just wasn’t easy access to kite flying fields.   I do remember my older brother planning a trip to a park to fly a kite, but for some reason it never happened.  Maybe it rained, I don’t remember.

So flying a kite earlier this week was a new experience for both Mr. C and myself.   It seemed to be a windy enough day, the sun was shining, so off we went with a small kite that he received as a Christmas gift, as well as a long roll of string.

My only other experience in this has been reading about Charlie Brown’s hapless adventures in kite flying, so I did not expect much.  Conditions seemed to be perfect since it turned out that it’s surprisingly easy to fly a kite.  After it took a few headers directly into the ground, and a lot of running around, off it went.

And run, run, run, run, we did.  One of the many things I’m supposed to do is to make sure Mr. C gets some exercise during the day.  Both to try to make sure he stays active, and also to try to make sure he’s tired enough to fall asleep at a reasonable hour.

All the running required to get that kite flying ended up tiring me out more than him and I ended up going to bed before he did.   I am an old man.

Turns out that it’s just about impossible to get a 3 year old and a kite to appear in the same photo.  As hard as I tried, either the kite or Mr. C ran or flew  out of the frame.  So I am left only with this shot below.