Monday, May 26, 2008

Field Day, Kilts, Christenings, The Hallowiener, and Nooooooo!

Friday was Field Day at Eli's school. All the kids from first through third grade were put on teams and competed in different events.

We had something like this when I was a kid, except it was a straight-up track meet with all the traditional events. First through sixth place in each event got ribbons. Now, individual awards have gone by the wayside. An individual competes for his team, not for himself. I have no opinion on whether that's good or bad, but it's a big difference in the vibe.

Eli 6.9, because his birthday is July 31, is the youngest kid in his class, and since quite a few parents are holding kids back a year before they start school, he's more than a year younger than several of his classmates. Since boys are boys, he occasionally gets teased about his size.

One boy, in particular, gives him the business, even though they're friends.

One of the events at Field Day was rope climbing. The rope was suspended twenty feet above the floor. There were two ropes, and when Eli's team started climbing, they were struggling badly. I remember how hard climbing rope was when I was a kid--I used to calculate how long I needed to hang on to make it respectable, because I was both very fast and very weak. So I wasn't surprised that most of the kids didn't even make it halfway, and no one made it to the top.

Then came Spiderman.

Eli 6.9 climbed up the rope like he was wearing a jetpack. Twenty feet in less than twenty seconds. He made it look like the easiest, most effortless thing in the world.

The guy right behind him? Mr. Teaser. He also made it up the rope, but it was a struggle that could only be called brutal. It took him over a minute, and he was completely drained when he came down. Eli high-fived him for making it to the top and the boy sat down beside him.

Then, after everyone had climbed, Eli walked up to the rope and climbed it again. For fun.

Even for first graders, I believe that's called scoreboard.

At lunch, two kids in Eli's class sat close to us, and one was outraged. "NO, you DIDN'T," he said to his friend. "You did NOT kill the first mosquito in the UNIVERSE. There were AT LEAST two thousand people ahead of you."

I shared his outrage. At least, I thought.

On the way home from Field Day, I saw a man in a kilt standing next to an ambulance. My imagination, stunned, was silent (your punchline goes here).

Friday night, I took Gloria to dinner, and she mentioned that we had been invited to a christening. "I don't see how we can go," she said. "For one, there are a bunch of relatives coming in from out of town, and we don't know any of them, so we'd be totally isolated. There's also a Mass first, then the ceremony, and there's no way Eli could sit through all of that."

"Plus, I'm really uncomfortable with watching the removal of the foreskin," I said.

I've been trying to get Gloria to do a spit-take for thirteen years, and she's still undefeated, but I almost got her that time.

We were walking out of the restaurant, and Gloria mentioned my friend Mike, who I've had approximately one thousand conversations with in the last several years, 99% lasting one minute or less. I told Gloria that one of her phone calls with her friends would be longer than the total time I spent talking to Mike in the last year, even though he's one of my best friends. "Well, women share things in conversations--like their feelings," she said.

"Now that is just gross," I said. "Gross and wrong."

When we got home, Eli read a book to Gloria before he went to bed. It was called "The Hallo-Wiener."

"See, it's funny because it's HALLOWEEN combined with a WIENER DOG," Eli 6.9 patiently said to me.

"That is genius!" I said. "Who would have ever though to combine those two?"

"Hold on," Eli said, opening the book and flipping to the title page. "DAVE PILKEY," he said.

Saturday morning, I took Eli to Krispy Kreme. One of the highlights of Krispy Kreme for Eli is the long window where he can watch the doughnuts progress from dough into glazed dougnuts, and the icing "waterfall" is his favorite spot.

We were eating our doughnuts when a mom came in with two little girls that were about three years old. While she got in line, her daughters went to the glass and stared at the doughnuts moving down the conveyor belt. They were barely tall enough to see over the wall, but when one of the little girls saw the doughnuts reach the icing waterfall, she yelled "NOOOOOOOOO!" at the top of her lungs.

That was annoying, at first, but she kept doing it, and every time a row of doughtnuts got glazed and she yelled, it got funnier. By the last time (about her twentieth), we were almost falling off our chairs.

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