air hockey hindrance

i’ve been a parent for a little more than five years. the fact that my son and i are both still breathing, eating and conversing let’s me know that i may, MAY, be slightly successful at it. but don’t hold me to it…. just yet. everyday my son absorbs and learns something new. and so do i.

sometimes teaching a “concept” is not as easy as it seems. for instance: learning about his physical self was something he had to experience on his own. i could (and did) warn him a hundred times over that he could bump his head while passing the kitchen table. but it didn’t matter until he actually bumped his head. he looked at the table and then looked at me with a certifiable look of “why? why didn’t you tell me it would hurt?” this was more prevalent and far more serious when he ran into the arm of the recliner and mashed his little man business. he was horrified, upset, hurt and suddenly aware. you get my drift? no amount of conversation was going to bring to light what he was feeling. he had to experience it in order to know that he never wanted to experience it again.

it is almost impossible to teach something without simultaneously learning. most times it’s just a shortcut to the end result or maybe cutting out something unnecessary. yes, parenting is a torturous lesson in teaching lessons. all the while we must maintain simultaneous levels of care, concern, fairness, equality, just, discipline, fun, guidance, respect, admiration, and sprinkle it all with a little friendship. just a little now, we don’t want them getting the wrong idea.

yesterday we went to Balboa Beach. a classic beach town with a very seventies nostalgic feel. we went to a vintage candy store specializing in salt water taffy and items that are not stocked at the local liquor store. we walked and talked and oogled the standard beach related fare. we saw some crabs, some barnacles and too many birds. we found a tall ropey-climby thing:

the ropey-climby thing

i cannot resist climbing… i was at the top before my son took his shoes off.

my son is five, so his world revolves around him. good thing there was that strategically placed arcade. my aunt got some tokens and he played a few games. he was mostly interested in riding a fake motorcycle. it took a few minutes but i was finally able to convince him to play skeeball. you remember skeeball don’t you?


probably the most classic arcade game ever. besides pinball, of course.

after a round or two of good ole skeeball, my son bounced about on silly little token wasters. those store front rides that barely move, a game or two with buttons that didn’t really work… but, hey, what’s that in the corner? is that an air hockey game???? well sweet potato pie from the sky!! cut off my legs and call me shorty…. WHO WANTS TO PLAY? my son accepted the challenge… poor little human.

air. hockey.

let the tail-whoopin’ commence! i don’t care if you are 5!! oops.. did i say that out loud?

now. we, obviously had to get more tokens. and when the plastic puck was ejected and the soft blanket of air was on…. I lost all of my parenting skills. all of them. i was not interested in teaching fairness, sportsmanship or rules. i wanted to whoop some five year old ass and walk away with an I-WON-WITH-ALL-FIVE-TO-YOUR-ABSOLUTELY-NO-SCORE victory. i really did. and with the first few volleys of the puck, my PARENTING senses came back and i knew that it was my job to do the exact opposite of that. but i’ll be truthful, it was difficult.

you might think that i’m exaggerating, but i’m not. NOT. i spent years at the local skating rink playing air hockey, frogger, and 1942. i would consider myself an air hockey semi-pro. true story. so, you understand how difficult it was for me to hit softly, ignore his pulling the puck back to”try again” and the worst of the worst… to leave my goal wide open????? it hurt. it was painful. i actually had to look away to LET him score because if my eyes were to see the puck hurling toward the goal my arms and hands would instinctively smack the holy bajeezus out of that plastic green puck and send it in reverse at five times the speed and fifteen times the velocity and watch it crash into the back of the goal faster than my son could focus.. but ARGH! i was not allowed to and i DID NOT commit this travesty against childhood. but dammitalltohell if it wasn’t hard!!!

here’s the end result. he won. he smiled. we all cheered for him. shortly thereafter we left and i can’t seem to shake the fact that i HAD to LET him win. isn’t that just awful? I can tell you this… he better practice because when he’s old enough to THINK he can beat me, the tail whoopin’ will commence, and when it gets down to the wire, i’m gonna hafta dig real deep to possibly let him win. sad? I know. at least i’m truthful.

here’s something to smile about:

i’m part pirate.

4 thoughts on “air hockey hindrance

  1. Yet again, my friend, you capture the crux of your subject matter to a T. ….Do we beat them at A.H. to show them the real world? Or do we let them have a easily earned victory to encourage them? Tough position, but we need to give them enough credit to know that we let them win. And inside, they love us for it.
    I must say, however, that I’m not a fan of “everybody gets a trophy”. There’s a big difference between not blocking his shot, and knocking it in for him. Job well done Shug…as always.

    • i don’t believe in everyone gets a trophy either. it’s not realistic. if that were the case, what would the olympics be like? why strive for the best if it’s the same as all the rest..? winning is winning. and second place is the first loser. it’s not cruel, it’s truth. what kind of kids turned horrible adults would we have if we made them all believe that everything is fair and to be shared??? let them loose into the cruel world where their entire mind will meltdown into a puddle of pitiful mush that can’t take a criticism, a joke or even a fight… and then what? they become incomprehensible underachievers diagnosing and treating their own problems while they fear the rest of the world and recess into their own minds???

      thanks, but no. i’ll let my son lose, fall, get scraped and hurt if only to show him that if “you play, you pay”. what a world, eh tom? i’m glad i didn’t grow up in it. 🙂 and i got the scars to prove it.

  2. That little girl looks like she can’t believe an adult actually climbed to the top of that rope thing. Sometimes we have to show our kids what we’re capable of — they need to see it. And we also have to let them taste what victory is like, so they’ll know how to pursue it for real someday. It’s a tricky line that parents walk, and they’re learning (and making it up) as they go along. I think you’re more than slightly successful at it.

    • ha! she was eyeballin’ me quite a bit. i enjoyed my time up high. looking down and surveying the scenery. i was certain that my son was going to follow, but his interest stood with levels one and two. he’s not one for heights, so he did what he could and went back to kicking sand and such nonsense. i probably would have stayed there for the rest of the day but it appeared to be “senior trip day” and the beach was crawling with high school seniors. my being up there must have caught their eye and they came running. about fifteen attacked the ropey-climby thing and i slowly made my way down. mind you, there are no restrictions or limitations posted for the ropey-climby thing but i certainly didn’t want to be in the group to find out what it would take to knock it over.

      i’ve come to find that parenting is a thin line between being a child and an adult. you have to be an adult and provide, care for and secure the life of your little one. but you also have to find a way to engage them on a child-like level and keep their interest, their attention and their focus. you can’t do that without being one of them.

      i prefer being a child to being a parent, and who doesn’t? right? but alas, i’m SuperBoy’s mama and it’s my job to make sure that when the time comes, he knows that he could never beat his mama at air hockey. ;D

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