The Push Button Kid

For a kid, age 3 is the age of Columbus, the age of discovery. And just like in Christopher Columbus’ time, when you are 3 there is a world to discover… and conquer.

Kids assimilate very early in a process called causality: the relationship between a cause and its effect. They grasp very quickly that when you push a button something exciting will happen. There will be light or sound, images, noise… it will be stimulating and entertaining.

For kids, buttons rule the world and when transplanted in a new environment, their most pressing task is to find those magic knobs.

Last weekend the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria sailed into San Francisco Bay and shortly after our grandson (the Pushbutton Kid) strode in our abode. He is sweet looking but as willful as Captain Henry Morgan.

He is like quicksilver: he moves rapidly, and it is difficult to hold or contain him. It is almost impossible to control his every move 24 hours a day. He is only quiet when engaged in a questionable endeavor or taking a nap.

You might not realize it, but a modern home is brimming with buttons. They are everywhere. On walls, on objects, on remote controls… there are buttons on toasters, coffee makers, mixers, surge protectors, electric fans, phones, thermostats, printers, routers… and all of them have to be tested at least once.

The effects of his actions might not be immediately felt, but later on, you wonder why a few devices that were working perfectly well in the morning, suddenly refuse to function in the afternoon… all at the same time. Any Criminal Investigative Unit would find the kid’s DNAs all over the place.

The key to distracting him from unsanctioned behavior is to show him something even more exciting than launching ICBM’s. And this activity turned out to be a kite-flying session.

We went to an open field looking for an ascending current of air. After a few attempts, the wind caught the kite’s sail and sent it aloft. As the kite’s tail fluttered wildly, the pushbutton kid couldn’t contain his excitement and jumped up and down like a fired up young goat.

Kids can be a handful, but they are so endearing that it is almost impossible not to love them.

“Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don’t have the top for.” ~Jerry Seinfeld

The key to getting along with them is to engage them and find as quickly as possible where the missing blender top is located.


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