Post 386: Marble Equilibrium

We don’t read as much as we used to about child development, but once in awhile I feel like, “better check the data to make sure there are no glitches”.

And, as I have mentioned before, we often rely on the Louise Bates Ames collection of books as a baseline for where are kids are at. Some of the material may feel dated, but in general we find the studies have been consistent with our own experiences. How often I see these books on the shelves of our trusted doctors and schools, I think it is not a bad place to start.

But it was with some trepidation that I ordered up a copy of “Your Ten Year Old…” because it seems like such a big deal. Then, when I noticed the full title “Your Ten-to-Fourteen Year-Old”, I was flummoxed.

Oh my, what exactly are we getting ourselves into!

The book remained unread or (even glanced at), on my side table for quite a while. But two things happened: The Pandemic wore on and my reading time increased and two, after a overdue visit to Luke’s doctor where he casually notified me that Luke was showing early signs of puberty, I internally pronounced:

Oh jeez, better open the book fast!

As with so many parenting moments of anguish, The written word calmed my worried soul. To paraphrase: Ten is calm, smart, collected, energetic, enthusiastic, smart, healthy and above all else filled with:


It describes our Luke with his many episodes of ups and downs and what one might expect from a thriving human being, so without further adieu, here is a few minutes of pure marble minded equilibrium from Master Luke.

Post 325: Logic beyond words

Example One:

I am quite taken with Lily’s resolute logic many times a day, thought I would share a few moments. Today she saw a sign and asked:

what’s that?”

Dad: “A sign for no smoking

Lily: “Why?

Dad: “Because smoking is no tallowed in many places, in my opinion it should not be allowed anywhere, it is very bad for you. But it IS allowed in some places.

Lily: “like in a fire.

Example Two:

We open a well known and recent favorite book. She sees this image

And asks, “How did they get in the box?”. To which I say I have no idea, there is no apparent way to get in. We turn the page and she says:

“Oh, it is just right there (indicating the proximity to the ground), they just climbed right in”

The list could go on. I know this is not unique, it makes me think of the book: The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship. A book talks about the idea that we are born with full knowledge, we are as smart and as filled with know-how as is possible, but that “learning” the ways of the world slowly removes all that purity until we are left with the closed mindedness of the world around us.

Oh well.

Post 306: Mike TeeVee


We actually stopped reading some of the Roald Dahl books only because they seem a bit harsh, perhaps just not the right time for Lukey, (yet). Of course this is our opinion speaking through, he loves them all.

Then there is Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

I think this was my favorite book as a child. We just finished our second reading of it to Luke. Mom read most of the first pass, so for me, the second reading, which I did, was the first time I have read the book in at least forty years.

And it is glorious. It hits all the right notes and makes me remember what a wonderful writer Dahl is. To that end I was particularly taken by the last verse the Oompa Loompa’s sing once Mike Teavee is transformed into a mini Mike TeaVee by the television machine in one of the Willy Wonka was testing rooms.

Of particular note to me for two reasons.

  1. We dont have a tv in our house
  2. I grew up watching at least four hours of tv a day

“Mike Teavee…” – Poem by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Post 304: Reality


This is how I view my day. That it is a race to the finish line, that my job is to make sure, at all costs, that when Mom comes home the house is not in a complete wreck, that the kids look fed and appear happy and that I have even done some rudimentary household work, pay bills, make a doctors appointment, straightened out a DMV issue, etc.

That is how it feels, but thankfully, graciously, this is not how it necessarily how it goes down every day.

Most days are filled with great moments of admiring, loving and watching, watching, watching, watching my kids grow up.

There is also the delicate moment of “can I do just one more thing on my own before I hear crying?“, the answer is always, no.

Parenting is such a flippy floppy world.

We recently started reading books by Louis Bates Ames that have been around for decades. Each book literally tells you how your child is at 2,3,4,5,6,7,… sounds a bits absurd, but it is actually quite helpful to read in print that a six year old will eat more food than anyone else in the household and that they will routinely make guttural noises.

So, it goes, life in the fast lane.

Post 299: Boys and Happiness

Whether by accident, coincidence or pure harmony, I recently had an intersection of parenting I wanted to share.

Luke’s teacher recommended and gave out an excerpt from this book:


The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy

At the same time a parent in Luke’s classroom recommended this documentary:

What dawned on me is that these two items show the problem and the solution. The problem (with raising boys at least) is that the whole male dominated, angrier, bigger, better, stronger, more masculine world that we have cultivated right here in the United States is very broken. You can watch the documentary for more specifics, but in essence it paints a bleak picture of what it means to be growing up in this country as a male these days…


You work a solution, such as the one presented in the book listed above. A book that simply states that in order to raise healthy, happy children into healthy happy adults all you have to do is keep the magic of childhood alive. Allow your children to be exactly what they are and to love, love, love them unconditionally.

The book discusses the concept of “flow” or “connectedness” described as being “the first priority at home or at school ought to be to create a connected atmosphere in which the child feels cared for, welcomed and treated fairly

Sounds simple, but it isn’t always the case as life is filled with moments that get in the way of staying “connected”. Thus the job of the parent, teacher, coach, care giver is to stay consistent, even, fair and imbued with unconditional love, that everlasting love.