Road Rage

13 05 2010

I recently gave my 14-year-old son his second driving lesson. It was so uneventful (except for a turn at an intersection that almost ended up in the ditch) that I think I’m soon going to have a chauffeur. What have I done?

The outing recalled our first driving lesson together on those same country roads.

It all started out so innocently. Little drive out to Chestemere, little treat from Tim’s. Maybe, just maybe launch some of the fireworks I just happened to have sitting in my trunk. Kids like fireworks. They like them so much in fact, they are willing to stand on a deserted country road and feed an entire extended family of mosquitoes while dear old dad struggles with a way to make the fireworks stand up straight. Not complaining I might add.

Country roads also happen to be rife with kids as young as ten powering high performance motor vehicles. We all remember the You tube video that got a Quebec dad busted as his 10-year-old son got the family SUV up to 75 KM per hour while said family sat in the backseat swilling maple syrup and listening to Celine Dion completely disregarding Quebec’s seat belt law. Not that they were doing anything wrong…ok, except maybe the Celine Dion.

I learned pretty quick during this little adventure is that my son has no aversion to speed but requires much more training regarding turning at intersections.  I also learned that my daughter will not be riding along on subsequent lessons. Even when Coleman was inching along at a paltry 20km/hr, she had to be restrained from bolting from the vehicle. Those kids are pretty close, but she doesn’t trust him one bit behind the wheel of even a go-cart.

Fortunately, we only had to almost hit the ditch once in order for the lesson to end, much to the relief of our back seat passenger who was seriously close to a total nervous breakdown.

The things we learn as parents.

I fully intend to get Coleman out again on those country roads for another lesson. First I have to call my insurance broker.





New study: “Deadbeat dad’s were unheard of among dinosaurs”

12 02 2010

Calgary, AB –  Top dinosaur researcher, Calgary Zoo Name-Tag Obscured Lady in Khakis Who Conducts Guided Interpretative Tours in Prehistoric Park spoke to an audience of Dino-centric schoolchildren and adults today on the merits of dinosaur parenting skills.

“Dinosaurs actually were very good parents, being very responsible and taking really good care of their babies.”  Dr. Czntolikwcgtipp said to the impressionable crowd who responded with a collective “Awwww”.

The Dinosaur and dino-related specialist then went on to describe how certain dinosaurs “…use their front claws to pull themselves along the ground…” and that certain species “..hunted prey in packs, just like wolves and lions…”.

The audience’s attention however was quickly taken over by the life-size animatronic Allosaurus which suddenly began moving and emitting dino-like sounds.

Yes, this actually happened.

And to be honest, a strangely familiar feeling crept up my spine and set off the BS detector with glaring clarity.

I have no issues whatsoever about suspiciously qualified park interpreters purporting  education to the mostly under 14 crowd at attractions like the zoo. I’ve followed along on several such tours, but the quality of information dissected has always been supported by observation and empirical evidence.

Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes, it has been observed and enough empirical evidence has been documented to support a positive response to this question (hate to be the field biologist whose specialized discipline is large omnivore scatology).

Does a bear use an available Leporidae, like an arctic hare or white tailed jackrabbit to wipe it’s ass? No. No amount of observation on any member of the Ursidae family has  supported the assumption of this said practice. Furthermore, no amount of empirical evidence has been documented to qualify a positive reply.

No matter how many times I heard that joke when I was 10, rabbits and hares around the world can breath a sigh of relief knowing they will not have to worry about cleaning bear shit off their fur.

Herein lies my issue. I have a problem with theories, guesses, assumptions, and beliefs being represented as facts to kids.

Kids are impressionable little sponges that readily soak up information. The weight of what they encounter often is influenced by the representation of “authority”. Parents, teachers, interpreters, television presenters, and the like.

A lot of what kids accept as fact at that early age, however they are influenced, forms the foundation of their beliefs. My sister still laughs about the methodology behind a certain elbow injury I sustained as a child immediately after watching Christopher Reeves as Superman.

My point is, you and I know that anyone can be an “expert”, in just about any discipline. All you need is 14.55 an hour, an official-looking uniform, and a name-tag. Our kids don’t know that, and maybe it is our jobs as parents to point that out.

It may just save some of us the confusion when our kids tell us they are going over to so & so’s house to play “dinosaur”.





Junior High School Musical

8 05 2009

As a parent, there are 3 things to look forward to. Bedtime, back – to – school, and the kids’ school’s spring concert/production/extravaganza. Yeah, I know…most parents would rather have scaling done by their frieimg069ndly dental hygienist, but seriously, my kids never disappoint. This year was no exception. The Band started with a few Star Wars tunes, and the production segued into a multi-media video – dance, song, bells, narration number. The concept was a student sitting in her room flipping channels between Discovery, the Weather Channel, and The History Channel. My kids attend a “Science School”. She was insistent on catching local weather, but growing impatient, kept changing channels and in essence learning more about the subjects she was interested in. The Band played great and Coleman had a saxophone solo during a song that played while video displayed a tornado forming. The student who had by far the cushiest gig was obviously the narrator who sat in bed on stage in her “bedroom” wearing pj’s with a microphone. None other than my amazing daughter. I’m thinkin’ she was channeling yours truly.