By Jim Magdefrau
I had very high goals when asked to watch my great nephew and great niece. I was going to use very form of technology to entertain and educate. I had it charted, with bullet points and graphics. In my head.
First thing I learned was that all goes out of the window. It’s not my world. It’s the world of a 4 year old and a 7 year old.
The first stop was the flowers in the front yard, where a lot of monarch butterflies bounce from flower to flower. They were entertained, but Jalen, 7, advised Kylie, 4, that they are poisonous. I was going to quickly research to prove him wrong. But … he was right. The kids win this round.
It was a hot and humid day. So Plan A of going to the park across the street was out. So we went high tech and played an animal quiz with an Amazon Dot. They liked it, but they were intent on getting out the trucks, Hot Wheels cars, Nerf ball, farm animals, yacht cap, banjo, kazoos, tambourine and ukulele. Well, that’s what those things are there for. I showed Jalen the C chord on the ukulele. He played it five minutes straight while Kylie accompanied on what ever she could find.
It was time for the first round of drinks. They found their favorite glasses and favorite color of Gatorade. Then it was time for high tech again and figuring out the old Wii. They love to drive. In another corner of the basement was a set of electronic drums. I tried to teach Kylie some Iron Butterfly. She instead instructed me on which drum to hit and when and which stick to use. She’s a good teacher.
Then it was time for Millstream root beer. We were on a roll.
I called up some Disney cartoons and that kept them occupied, then Kylie stated firmly, “I need to go to the farm to check on my doll.” A four-year-old kid is pretty direct. When I obfuscate, they read it. I just mumbled one more game, one more cartoon, or more drum solo, or any activity to keep things going.
Popcorn! I think she had never seen a stir crazy popper before. Fascinated. They buzzed through the bowl and kept asking for more of that yellow stuff to sprinkle on it. Naturally, a round of popcorn led to a lesson on how to use the Dyson. They were in.
Now, if I could teach them how to wash dishes. No. Not happening. But they did ask questions about every utensil in the kitchen.
Farm questions came back again. The distraction this time was the school park, on a humid day and supposedly with funnel clouds popping out the sky, nothing was going to stop them from trying every piece of playground equipment. Then it was back to the house for more Gatorade.
Finally, I kept their mind off of going to the farm by showing them how the leaf blower works. This turned into a battle that their mother bore the brunt of as she pulled into the driveway.
Lesson learned. The kids always win. But when it doubt, get out the leaf blower.