Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Do NOT ride your bike down the waterfall"


Intuition is a funny thing. It seems to be all tangled up with instinct and common sense. Without a doubt, some people have a natural feel for it. On-the-other-hand, just recently I heard someone at work ask a woman that he had never met "when the baby was due". Whoa. Divert your eyes. Back away slowly. For most men, we would intuitively recognize that a question like that has a fairly high probability of ending in an uninvited castration performed via blunt trauma. I shouldn't be too critical I suppose. I, like most men, have tended to develop what intuition I have slowly and painfully.

And that, my friends is where the funny comes in for parents. Kids have no common sense. They run at full speed into walls, cry as if they were wronged, and then kick the wall to get even. They throw scissors. They play with matches. They willingly sit and watch Barney and think it's hilarious. They ride their bikes down a waterfall. Yeah, that's right, down a waterfall.

A few weeks ago my wife had some errands to run on a Sunday morning, and left the three boys with me. I was working on laying some tile in the house, and had let the two older boys go outside by themselves. This was of course a treat for them, as they felt very grown up. We've been easing into the whole "outside by yourself thing", given that we just recently moved here, and that there are plenty of cliffs to fall off of, streams to fall into, and poison ivy to step onto. To be honest it was a treat for me too. With the older two outside on their own, there was only one helper left to walk off with tools.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself for how smoothly things were going. The tile was getting laid, the kids were all accounted for. Any parent should recognize those moments of calm confidence as a setup. It's one of those Survivor scenes when a contestant is shown saying "I've got this game under control." You can count on the fact that they are about to be stabbed in the back, publicly humiliated and possibly eaten by an alligator.

Evan came into the house, holding his head and doing one of those "crying so hard that I can't make a sound" numbers. I did a quick triage and noticed no missing limbs, teeth or blood, and began the debrief.

Me: "Evan, are you OK? What happened?"
Evan: "I was riding my bike and hit my head on a really big rock!"
Me: "Oh, I'm sorry. How did you fall off of your bike?"
Evan: "I didn't."
Me: "Then how did you hit your head on the rock?"
Evan: "Well, , umm, my bike bounced off of that little rock, and then hit that big tree, and then went up in the air and landed next to the big rock and that's when I hit my head. "

At this point, I'm thoroughly confused and checking his pupils for signs of a concussion. Evan is not quite five. He hasn't mastered the art of bike jumping, certainly not to the level of doing leg kicks off of trees, or trying to clear large boulders. Since Evan has inherited my tendency to embellish facts, I figured that I might need to get the story from Nolan, who is all about detail and accuracy.

Me: "What? Evan, that doesn't make any sense. Where's Nolan?"
Evan: "He's down in the stream trying to get my bike back up the waterfall. He told me to ride it down the hill..."
Me: "Nolan!"

Keep in mind this "hill" is a series of very steep drops, more like small cliffs. The waterfall only runs when it rains. Now as a dad I'm just a little bit proud of the fact that he a) was brave enough to try, and b) actually made it to the bottom in one piece. I had to play sergeant, though, and couldn't share that with either of them. Their punishment was getting the bike back up on their own, which took the two of them almost an hour.

As for me, my punishment was the realization that I could no longer be lax on the helmet thing. Ever since then, each time they want to ride I've got to find the stupid things, figure out which one belongs on which kid, adjust them, and snap them on, all while listening to them complain about how they "make my hair hurt."

Oh, and I have to remind them that they are not allowed to ride down the waterfall.

23 comments:

Dee said...

That looks like something my brother and I would've done as kids. We used to like to go to construction sites and climb up the huge piles of dirt, and try to knock each other off. He's now and ex-army officer who works in the security field. Go figure. LOL
Dee

Andrew's Daddies said...

YIKES...scary man. I would have freaked out...
They are pretty gutsy...I'd make them wear a helmt and wrap them in bubble tape until the age of 19.
Good luck :D

Mocha Dad said...

Looks like fun.

Heather G. said...

Oooohhhh boy - you are going to have a whole new raft of crazy kid moments out there in the country.....is it bad that I cant wait to hear about them? :-)

musing said...

And make sure you cover all your bases or you'll be hearing this soon: "But, you didn't say I couldn't skateboard down the waterfall."

WeaselMomma said...

Thanks for sharing, that was entertaining.

NukeDad said...

At least he didn't try to ride UP the waterfall, so you know that he has a layman's grasp of gravity. Great blog! I try and focus on the funny too; and kids sure can provide the funny, can't they?

The Dadical said...

NukeDad, yes, good point. I should be proud, right? I suppose I am...

CK Lunchbox said...

That's pretty flippin' scary, but they'll come up with worse. My three tried to make a bomb and almost set the garage on fire.

Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday!
http://www.fivestarfriday.com/2009/04/five-star-fridays-edition-51.html

box offices said...

wow
you are good father
I think your contain its very interesting and very pure out in your heart

Nan said...

Hee hee! We have three boys too, aged 11, 9 and 7. So I know what the next few years of your life are going to be like.... Keep that first-aid kit well stocked mate, and do a trial run to the nearest A&E!

Jonathan said...

Boys will be boys as they say :) Dadical at least you know your sons have a great sense for adventure. And it's always good to have the safety gear going no matter how annoying it is to them or us. I Know! :D

SHIMI said...

hi
nice to be here

Ken @ Dad to Two said...

THAT is some scarry stuff! WOW! I am not letting my kids out of the house again ever.

Mike said...

Isn't funny that we as parents have to point out the obvious to our kids. Common sense just doesn't compute for kids until they become parents.

But then again, don't ask my wife, she might give you her opinion on my lack of common sense...

La'Tonya Richardson said...

This was so funny I laughed out loud! That was so my son at 4. How did you explain it all to your wife? You letting them go out alone and all.

Texasholly said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

MrNiceGuy said...

interesting topic you have... keep blogging your a good father...

Baby care said...

oh my! You seem to be new to the kids business. They do weirdest things you can even imagine. and think about this, i got 3 of em!

Parenting is for crazy people said...

And I would have taken the bikes away for a month - and then my wife would have said i was crazy.
My kids have always been Danger" avoiders - but when I came back from my last camping vacation with the kids - something changed in my five year old son. now he's climbing trees, hanging off the top of the swing set, attacking me when I'm not looking. hell - danger is his middle name now !!!

trainingupchildren said...

I am glad that he is o.k. My two year old was paying with my neighbors kids recently when she decides to ride the neighbor's tricycle down their steep driveway. I noticed just in time to see her disappear down the hill. I went running as fast as I could but could not catch her. Fortunately, she was able to steer it into the grass and off the pavement before wiping out.

Rob Wilcox said...

Well, here in Colorado we would say your kids have the makings of some fine downhill mountain bikers! Even as a dad, I learned about bike helmets the hard way (and in my 30s nonetheless). Glad everyone's OK - and who knows? Maybe they'll go pro and support you with their daredevil downhill antics someday...

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