Sunday, August 09, 2009

My week with the Spud

Sorry the blogging's been light this week, but I've had a ten year old boy to entertain this week. He's never really had a chance to do "guy stuff" or "outdoor stuff" (or much of anything that doesn't involve sitting in front of a TV set) so there were a lot of new experiences for him this week. And on my side of the coin, I've never had a little kid around for more than a few hours, so it was an experience for me, too.

And let me state for the record right now that back in my day, little kids were not like they are today. When I was ten, ten year olds were always quiet, polite, neat, quick to do what they were told, infallibly respectful of adults and always eager to assume any responsibilities given them. Remember that "Beaver" kid on the old "Leave it to Beaver" show? Well that's how kids where back when I was one.

I blame television and the liberal culture for the changes that have obviously taken place.

But we had fun.
We played baseball. He's actually not a bad hitter.

We hiked.

OK, this hike up Maryland Heights didn't go so well. The climb was a bit much for him, and he suddenly came down with a "stomach ache" that caused us to abort the climb. (It went away just as soon as we started back down, strangely enough.) He later told me that it was because he got "seasick" from walking across the bridge over the Potomac River to get to the trailhead.

There was swimming too. Lots of swimming in the rivers with his guardian, Lagniappe. Spud enjoyed playing "fetch" in the water with sticks, even despite learning the hard way that when you tease a German Shepherd and try to keep a stick away from him, he will get the stick...and you'll typically get some nice new claw marks out of the deal.

I also took him out for his first-ever canoe trip. And he was surprisingly good at it, paddling well and following instructions. Of course to him, every ripple in the water was "whitewater rapids" that he found extremely exciting.And after a few hours of the river, he was pretty proud of his accomplishment.

We camped for a night at Antietam Creek NPS campsite, and he got to try his hand at marshmallows over a fire that he helped build...after we grilled some steaks, of course. Then he got to sleep in a tent with Lagniappe and wake up to real roosters crowing on an adjacent farm.

We rounded the week out with some shooting (of course...) and a flight from Winchester up the Shenandoah River up to Harpers Ferry.
He even got to try his hand at piloting when I let him take the yoke for a few seconds.
Here's the budding pilot, posing post-flight.

And when not out doing stuff, we spent time together running basic errands, eating healthy food in modest proportions (for a change), watching a couple of movies before bed(otherwise, the TV stayed off completely), and doing some Bible reading and discussion. He got to watch my yard deer come down to eat every day, he saw woodpeckers pecking on my trees, and he saw his first wild turkeys. And last night, he told my mother who came to pick him up that he wanted to stay here because it's so much more fun.

I think that it was a good week for both of us, showing him what it's like to actually do real activities that normal little kids should be doing in lieu of non-stop TV-watching, and it gave me a brief glimpse of what parenting's like. ("I thought I told you to go take a shower...Well then go back and take another one, and this time get your head wet and use soap and shampoo!")
It was fun, but if I ever decide to have a kid, I'm just going to adopt a college graduate with a good job--someone who is independent and just waiting for the time when they can assume responsibility for supporting their old man in his later years.


  1. mr. Kent5:26 PM

    I know "spud" enjoyed it too, Iam sure he learned some valuable lessons and I will be hearing his side of the tail beginning this week. But for the record when you were 10 our household was not exactly like "leave it to beavers" home, if memory serves me right I think there times you questioned what adults had to say but for the most part life was sure a lot easier than it is today. In glad you had the opportunity to expierence from the other side it t ruly is reewarding ...Mr. Kent

  2. I'm completely insulted. You failed to mention the absolutely awesome dinner I made for you and your family on Friday. *sniff*

    I'm feeling much unappreciated and neglected now.

  3. Sounds like a great weekend overall.

    Completely unrelated, is that an Old River canoe? Maybe a discovery?

    It looks quite a lot like a red version of ours.

  4. Nicki, that fantastic dinner was truly noteworthy, to be sure, as was the wine selection and your hospitality in general.

    Smith, I do not know the make of the canoe--it was a loaner from a neighbor. But it handled well and I'd buy one like it in a minute.

  5. It seems like you showed him a great time and taught him some things I'm sure he'll never forget.

    Glad you both had a great time.

  6. Wow. Sounds like he really had a good time learning how to actually BE a kid. Good for you for keeping him off the tv and getting him outside to experience life! Hope it changes him when he goes back home.