Monday, September 26, 2011

Finny being Finny

Building on the success of basement baseball, Finn and I spent the last few sunny Seattle summer days in the backyard this weekend working off of the tee.  While my pitching is the stuff of basement baseball legend, the tee definitely affords Finn a little more predictability in ball placement and allows us to really work on the fundamentals, i.e., the proper method of sticking out one's tongue.

Jordan may have perfected the look for a basketball player, but professional baseball is sorely lacking in this department.  Notice how intimidated the tee is.  It really works.

Unfortunately, we were only able to get about ten good swings in before he lost interest and started throwing the ball against the house yelling "Doofa!", which is a multi-purpose Finnese word, but in this case I believe it stood for,"I'm done with you, old man!"

I was happy to get those ten swings.  Far from criticizing his form at this point, I'm just hoping to get him hooked on an activity that we can share.  His existing hobbies of eating dirt and incessantly begging to watch Bob the Builder are somewhat limited insofar as my enjoyment goes.

As I think forward to his inevitable pro career, it occurs to me that we're going to need some Fun Trivia Facts to show under his name and picture up on the big screen at the stadium when he comes to bat.  While I'm not sure "Dirt" would be a good answer for "Favorite Food," I'm positive that we can do better than some of the Mariners.  Ichiro's favorite off-season activity?  Baseball.  Franklin Gutierrez's favorite?  Vacationing.  Don't you feel like you know them so much better now?

While we work that out, at least the kid has shown that he's not afraid to get a little dinged up.

I just hope Major League Baseball has a healthy supply of Cars band-aids for these knees.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This was a great sports weekend.  Even though the sport pages will tell you that the Yankees dropped two out of three to the Blue Jays, that the Nittany Lions eeked out an embarrassingly slim victory over perennial punching bag Temple killing any chances at a return to the Top 25, and that the Seahawks got blanked on the road, I'd still call it a complete success for two reasons.

First, this weekend marked Finn's first request to play catch.  Granted, he wanted to play catch with the toy basketball in the basement, but he still said, "Dad, let's play catch."  I got choked up.  It was just like Field of Dreams.  Plus, he was actually able to catch the ball when I threw it to him.  I used to state that Finn was destined to play shortstop for the Yankees on these very pages, but I haven't done that in a while.  Mostly because he has proved to be terrible at catching balls with anything other than his face.

But not anymore!  Whereas I used to have to very carefully toss the ball directly into the area where his hands were already clenched in order for him to catch it, this weekend he deftly picked the ball out of the air time after time like he was intercepting either of Penn State's ridiculously poor excuses for a quarterback.  Plus, once he picked up the bat, he was able to make contact on enough pitches that he easily could have made the top of the Mariners batting order.  Finally, when we took that basketball and pointed it at the hoop, he nailed four in a row from about 10 feet out.  Amazing, even if the hoop is only three feet off the ground.

I have no idea where this athletic talent suddenly emerged from, but I'm pretty sure it's not his Y chromosome.  For all my big talk and fandom, the only sport skills he's going to pick up from me are the ability to look incredibly awkward in tiny little track shorts, prodigious mediocrity across the board, and an affinity for drinking games.

Even so, it's nice to see that my dreams of retiring on his talents are still alive.

Second, this weekend marked the return of the Puyallup Fair and with it, the greatest spectator sport known to man:  Mutton Bustin'.  

That's not Finn in the picture, but it will be next year.

I don't know whether it was the wet weather or if we just got lucky with a good crop of sheep jockeys, but the Busters this year were awesome.  We saw at least four kids go the distance.  Maybe wet wool is easier to hold onto, but it was impressive.

Finn kept saying that he wanted to ride, but given how he reacted when we put him on the stairs to the slide by himself immediately following this, I'm pretty sure he was just talking smack.  He does like the mud, though, so I'm really hoping that next year is our year.  You can ride until you're six, so we've got some time.

Of course, if we've got major league scouts sniffing around, I may need to put the kibosh on the whole thing.  We can't risk my... er, our future financial security.

What we can risk, however, is our arteries.  Since I chickened out last year, I was determined to end my fest with a Krispy Kreme fried chicken sandwich this year.  Behold, you can actually see my heart attacking.

Now that's good doughnut.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


It's turning into spider season here in the northwest, when the entire town turns into a big sticky web, and this doesn't sit well with Finn.  As we were dodging webs on the way to the car this morning, Finn taught me a new word: "spited".  This is apparently a cross between 'spider' and 'smite' and therefore means: "to be killed by spiders as you try to squeeze into your car seat."

Used in a sentence:  "Daddy, don't let me get spited!"

I successfully kept him from getting spited... but only after he said "please".  Because we're totally hard-asses like that.

Apparently only the threat of getting spited is enough to actually squeeze a please out of this kid, since normally getting him to show any common courtesy at all is like getting him to pull his hand out of his nose.  That is to say, it's not easy - though far less disturbing at a restaurant dinner table.

And though we try not to make it a battle of wills, let's just say that he's spent many an hour locked in the backseat of the car in a hot parking lot with his windows rolled all the way up because he didn't say please when he asked to come inside the water park.

Oh, if only.  That sure sounds like it would work.  Instead, we're forced to use bribery to show how much cool stuff kids that say "please" and "thank you" get, like ice cream and cookies and college funds.  Turning our kid into a polite adult is going to break the bank.

Sometimes he'll happily accept a request, announcing "of course I will" when asked to do something or throwing in a random unprompted "thank you", but still very few pleases that don't come with threats or treats.  Very unpredictable.

But then again, he's an unpredictable kid.  This morning, after I saved him from being spited, as I was leaving daycare I asked him to take off his shoes so he could go play with his friends.  I turned around just in time to see him taking off his pants.

That surprised me, because in my experience, it ALWAYS takes a "please"  to get someone else to take off their pants.