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BEHIND THE MIKE By:  Michael Aun


Holidays are fashioned for the little ones.  Make no mistake.  Marketing, sales, even family traditions revolve around the children, as well it should.

For some, holidays are particularly depressing.  I lost my father during the week of Christmas and New Year’s… so the season is bittersweet for me and others who have lost loved ones.

     With the expiration of one generation comes the harvest of a new one.  To watch my beautiful grandchildren Ashley, Ava, Cameron and Keenan helps reinforce the season and insures that the baton will continue to be passed.

Keenan and Cameron (better known to me as Spike and Yogi), have not met a drawer or door they won’t try to open.  We must remind ourselves that they are but a year and one-half old and practically every experience is a brand new one, including slamming their little digits in a drawer.

     They see our pots and pans as “their pots and pans.”  You could put the neatest toys out and they always gravitate to a plastic lid cover or a Fiji water bottle that houses my Crystal Light Tea.

If they had a choice between a toy truck and a simple Tupperware plastic container, they’d rather chew on the plastic container as the pearly whites are slowing appearing in their sweet little mouths.

     From the moment they arrive at Jiddy’s (Lebanese for grandfather), they take the place over.  You can’t get them out of their car seats quickly enough.  They’re squirming the minute the car seat hits the floor, determined to crawl through the restraints if you’re not moving fast enough to remove the restraints.

They are at the phase of growth where they enjoy figuring things out, like opening and closing doors and drawers.  They’re growing so fast that child-proofing the place has become an on-going process as they find new ways to cleverly access neat stuff just out of reach.  And, of course, “no” is not a word they understand.

     Not only do they ignore the word no, they also know how to charm you into helping to conspire with them to get to those things just out of their grasp.

I remember playing with Ashley and Ava, their cousins.  They used to bring me tea in a cup, insisting that I drink it.  When I inquired where they got the water, I learned “the toilet is the only water they can reach.”

My wife and I had three sons, two of whom are twins, Cory and Jason.  Christopher, the third son now has a set of twins himself.   Christopher was an easy to raise… Cory and Jason were another case altogether.   What amazes us is the fact that I rarely see Cameron (Yogi) and Keenan (Spike) cry.  They are just good-natured children.

     Their mom Viviana has terrific onesies.  One set says “copy” and the other says “paste.”  The one that’s interesting says “I was planned.”  The other says “I was not!”

The only time they pitch a fit is when it’s time to go home.  Before shipping them off, we wash their hands and feet and pack them in.  They know the party is about to end and their heading home for the day.

When we were children, we’d draw pictures and color things.  Spike and Yogi send us digital drawings they cultivated on their mom’s iPad.  My… the times they are changing.

     Before they enter school, these kids will be able to read and write on a computer as if it’s part of their bloodline.  Family has aggressively worked on teaching Spike and Yogi to talk and walk.  Viviana and Christopher will spend the next 18 years trying to get them to sit and listen.  The only way they can get their full attention is to sit and relax for 30 seconds… then they’re all over you.

And then there’s the issue of Schizophrenia showers… you know, when you’re in the shower but you know one of them must be into something.  The most satisfying part of the day is those 20 seconds when you think all the laundry is caught up.  NOT!

Gramma is a sanitary freak and cleaning the place up when Spike and Yogi have invaded is closely akin to brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.  Since I’m usually a partner in crime with Spike and Yogi on trashing the place the three of us try to look as innocent as possible.  They pitch their bottles where they took the last sip; it’s hard for me to do the same with my Corona bottles.

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