Outer Banks: Kid Observations (Part 2 of 3)

If you’re driving through Philly and heading for the Ben Franklin Bridge, there is a light that always has a few panhandlers shuffling around asking for change.

My kids would be great at that.

Spending a week in a beach house is about my boys begging me for sweets and for screen time.

“Can we have a fruit bar? Pleeeeese?”

“I want to watch another Jessie!”

“But I’m hungry!”

“I started watching one and I have to finish it!”

“It’s vacation! Can we get ice cream?”

Christ with a crutch it was annoying. Until finally at the end of 2 days, Shani got smart and cut it out completely.

“No more sweets. No more screen time. We’ve got the beach. We have a pool. No more. Done.”

And it worked like a charm. Take away the obvious, easy route to entertainment and the boys will find all kinds of things to do.

Jack and I played Stratomatic. It’s like baseball cards on steroids and you roll dice to determine the outcomes of each batter/pitcher matchup. We re-played the 2012 World Series over the course of days and in this case, Detroit won it in 5. It was a blast.

The other big thing Jack did was write his first draft of his minor league baseball article.

Now look, I’m his dad, but I’m also a creative director of an entire team of writers. I will report to you that in my expert opinion, my son is a very strong writer. His first draft had a point of view, a great tone…the first draft was literally better than I expected the final product to be after I’d worked with him through several revisions. If I’m being honest, I did not really think we’d get this into Sports Illustrated for Kids. I figured we’d find some online publication to publish it. But now I genuinely think there is a shot the article gets in SI for Kids. I think it’s that good. I’ll post it when he’s done revising. I’m excited to share.

Alex broke out his Rainbow Loom. For those of you who don’t know, this is a huge thing with kids right now. They weave tiny dime-sized rubber bands into patterned bracelets and rings. It is also a tremendous case to allow child labor. Alex can weave tiny, complex marvels together at an astonishing rate. Check this out

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He even invented his own pattern (the Double Decker), and we filmed a demonstration video which we’ve posted on YouTube. (1238 hits and counting)

We returned to the beach daily and the boys spend countless hours out in the waves. Here is a short list of some of our wave-related activities:

  • Wave worship: Boys throw both hands in the air in some form of rapture and let the wave smash over them. Repeat this for 30 minutes.
  • Fosberry: Boys run at wave and try and jump over it without the wave hitting them. Rate of success: 0%.
  • Epic battle: Boys (and I) face off and wrestle. The object is trick your opponent into turning their back on a big wave so they are unsuspectingly slammed. In spite of the obvious object of the deception, they both fall for each other’s tricks quite often.
  • Rhino charge: One or both boys climb onto Dad’s back and try to hold on as Dad charges head first into a monster wave.

We bought flashlights and hit the beach at 10 PM to search for ghost crabs. Finding these crabs takes seconds – the beach is teaming with them. The crabs are a translucent yellowish white and they skitter at terrifying speeds around the beach. They range in size from smaller than a quarter to bigger than your hand. The boys whooped and fled and chased crabs down. We had 9 in our bucket at one point. Although none of the big ones were allowed in because the boys didn’t want the big crabs to hurt the little ones. (It certainly wasn’t because they were scared of the big crabs.)

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And on the final day, Jack could go no longer without his fix. He pulled a wiffle ball bat from the trunk. I was doing dishes and saw him out the window. He was on the front lawn in the midst of his own imaginary baseball game (complete with announcers: “And Jack swings…connects…that ball is…it’s out of here!”).

I watched him. He’s so little but he’s gotten so damn fast. I saw him fly around the “bases” and it felt like my chest was suddenly filling with beach sand. He’s 10. 10 years have gone by so impossibly fast. I’m more than halfway through my time with this boy. In less than 10 years he will be gone from my home. He will live where I am not. It felt like an aperture opening wider and wider right in my damn heart. That space where my boy, my son…just the thought that he’ll keep running faster and faster and someday literally be gone.

I had to wipe my eyes and I got soap in them, which burned like a mother. And in all honesty I was pretty appreciative for the change of sensation.

Scripts from Jack Nuckols, Announcer

As the Voice of the baseball team playing the front yard

“And Jack Nuckols is up. This pitcher has been unhittable tonight, but Jack Nuckols is known for making adjustments. Here’s the pitch…swing…he gets it. The ball is going. Jack Nuckols is heading for first…that ball is…out of here!”

As the Voice of the gold glove fielding in his bedroom (accompanied by much thumping as he dives and rolls for the imaginary ball)

“That ball is hit hard, Jack Nuckols dives…gets it! Throws from his knees…in time! The runner is out – what a play by Jack Nuckols!”

As the Voice of the waves in the Outer Banks

“Here comes the next wave…and this one is a monster. It’s rising…rising…holy cow that thing is huge! And here it comes! POW! That wave has slammed down and smashed everyone!”

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3 thoughts on “Outer Banks: Kid Observations (Part 2 of 3)

  1. Doris Madsen

    Great! Nothing like those waves on the Outer Banks — Our first rental on OBX did not have a TV. The next time the cottage had a TV and we quick tried to cover it when we walked in, but to no avail. The kids found it. Good teamwork S and M.

  2. Eileen

    Great blog! On our way back up to KC with the boys, they got a little antsy as we approached KC (about 45 minutes out), so I told them that we would have a contest and see which fast food place had the most signs. Highway signs counted and even the signs on the front of the establishments themselves counted if they could see them from the highway. So basically it was a contest between McDonalds, Subway, Burger King and Wendy’s. Jack “broadcast” the whole contest like it was a thoroughbred horse race. It was very cool and reminded me of my brother doing the same thing when we were little. Love you all.

  3. Kay Tucker

    Mike, Somehow I get your blog. Maybe Mike (Tucker) sent one to me a while back. I enjoy your stories about the boys. Of course I remember you and my Mike as first graders…

    I love your description of getting to the Outer Banks! Especially the Saturday part.

    BTW, Jack certainly IS a writer and it looks like he was inspired by you!

    Kay Tucker

    Sent from my iPad

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