Simon says try to make up a post about squirrels that uses the words "stinking ass"

May 28, 2010

When you adopt a child, especially one from an orphanage in another country, you have an expectation of watching your sort of weak, sickly kid bat last in the batting order and get playing time only when the game is out of hand. And that's a fine way to go through a sporting life. I played baseball for many, many years before working my way out of the nine hole and right field, and I had fun all along the way.

But I ended up with a kid who thew his first spiral at the age of three. He's as strong as a bull and freakishly fast. Somehow, I ended up with an athlete. Until it comes to swim lessons.

Swim lessons have been an exercise of holding onto the side of the pool while crying. Just like they were around this time last year. He got through his first lesson without tears this afternoon, but no one was mistaking the kid at the far end of the pool for Aquaman. Nevertheless, he was pretty proud of himself at the end.

As we drove away, he passed two joggers, running shirtless. Vanya looked out his open window and shouted, "Hey! You running NAKED!" I'm not sure they made out what he said, but the one closer to our car looked over, so they definitely heard that he said something to them.

I had told him that we could go play on the Indian Mounds if he got through swimming without crying, so we pulled into a parking lot, and climbed to the top. I had my headphones with me, but it was a pretty evening, and I was enjoying the quiet. There was a far away air conditioner and an occasional car, but mostly, it was just the sound of little bare feet running through the grass.

Vanya ran up and down for a couple of laps, and then asked if he could catch a squirrel who was standing nearby. Knowing that he was asking if he was allowed (not whether he had the ability), I gave him the green light. So he chased them up a tree, and then he waited under the tree, noodling that since they went up, they would sooner or later come down.

When I was young, I had a black lab mix named Flo. Flo would do the same thing, oblivious to the fact that the squirrels went from treetop to treetop in our forested back yard. She would wait at the bottom of a tree for six or eight hours some days, while the squirrels were off doing their thing wherever they wanted to be.

Flo would also take the opportunity on cool fall days to nap on the warm asphalt road in front of our house. Cars would pull up and crawl to a stop, the occupants thinking, "Oh shit, I don't want to go tell these people their dog is dead." But as the car came to a complete stop in front of her, Flo's tail would wag in anticipation of meeting the people. Whack whack whack, the tail banged the asphalt. She usually didn't get up until someone physically made her.

The sad thing is that Flo is the smartest dog that I've had.

Today's squirrels didn't have the luxury of a jump to a neighboring tree. We watched them from the ground, finding them easily by looking for the shaking leaves and magnolia blossoms. Finally, one decided to get down. He did so by diving straight down, hitting branch after branch, and finally launching himself toward the ground from about 12 feet up. He hit with a good, solid thud, stood still for about two seconds, and then took off again.

When we got home, we fixed dinner, played outside for a little while, and took a bath. During bath time, Vanya decided to lead a game of Simon Says. I hadn't realized until today that he knew the game. Apparently, they play it in Episcopal School from time to time.

His Simon Says couldn't be easier. They ALWAYS start with "Simon says," so you'll never, ever face elimination, and the instruction is always to touch a body part. "Simon says touch your knee. Simon says touch your hair." Like I said, it couldn't be easier.

This particular round started with "Simon says touch your balls." I chuckled and played along as Simon directed me to touch other body parts. Most were innocent, but he also worked in "touch your penis" and "touch your boobies" along the way. "Touch your bottom" is fine with me, although I'm sure it's just a matter of time until that turns into, "Simon says touch your stinking ass."

It won't be nearly so funny when he pulls one of those during school.