Aug 15

Children Are Spongely Sponges


There’s a cliche that I’ve heard probably 1000 times since I had kids (my wife had them, duh!): children are sponges.  I’ve also heard that they are blessings, they are precious, they are nightmares, and they are annoying as hell (this last one is mostly heard on airplanes or on long bus rides).

I’ve been witnessing this sponge-like situation throughout the summer.  It’s been an eye opening experience watching my children, mainly Noble, sponge things up.  Alistair sponges, for sure, but he’s 2 years old, so he mostly sponges up naughty physical things that Noble does like screaming in the house, peeing on my vegetables, bothering me on phone calls, or using the furniture as a Gabby Douglas gold medal recreation.

But it’s not just the sponging of stuff that is the most rewarding thing to watch as a parent.  It’s the squeezy ringing out of the sponged up liquid.  Hmmm, ok, I see the metaphor sort of dies at this point.  Normally when you sponge up water, you squeeze water back out.  But children aren’t like that.  They sponge stuff up, and then it transforms in their tiny little brains and magically a new substance rings out.  This new substance, I guess, is called creativity? I’m not sure.  But I do know that it means a massive mess.  And I do know that it is fantastic to watch.

Oh, you want a case in point?  Well certainly!  I have two, and thank you for asking!

Case in point one:  The Natural History Museum

Warning: sponging this may cause fear!

It’s the big museum with all the dinosaur bones.  Oh, it’s much more than that, but as my children have such tiny little sponges in their heads, there’s only so much they can sop up before they start leaking knowledge out of their ears.  So we ooh-ed and aah-ed at the giant dinosaur bones and watched videos of paleontologists digging for bones and we saw a dinosaur show with a giant T-rex puppet.  Quite a fun afternoon.  And upon arriving at home, after his sponge had time to ferment or do whatever it needs to do, he began his own inspired archeological dig in our backyard!

No bones found. But not for lack of trying! I’m secretly glad that his ambition died after the third hole. I will save the motivational speech entitled “Perseverance” for some other situation. My lawn thanks me.

Normally, in cases where my children are destroying my yard, I tend to raise my voice and ask things like, “What in the hell are you doing?!” But I had to appreciate the inspiration, and his creative mind at work.  It’s really quite marvelous watching a child wring out their sponge.

Case in point two: The Fair

HUGE Ferris Wheel! He was brave, I was trying not to poop my pants.

We took a trip recently to the Orange County Fair (best fair in southern california BY FAR!) with some friends of ours.  During the trip Noble braved some new rides, more dangerous and exciting than his last trip to the fair.  I’m steadily grooming him for Six Flags.  Some day I’m going to throw up/ pass out / have a great time on one of their new “test the limits of the human body” coasters with my son.  Some day.

We also played some of the carnival games.  Noble had a blast, and unbeknownst to me, he was fully sponging it all!  When we arrived home he got to work after dinner making a complete mess out of our house.  Normally, when the kids start making messes at the end of the day, I say things like, “”Woah woah woah! No sir!  No way! I just cleaned this room!  Nuh uh!  Not happenin!”

Noble’s carnival game. Knock off a Bob book and win a….thing on the door!

But he was fully releasing the contents of his sponge in the form of a carnival game for all to play!  It was a fun game, too.  He even made everyone tickets. The game: knock the Bob book off the cooler and win a prize.  I did pretty good.  Gayle kicked ass.

Kids need to be taken to places, immersed in things that cause their little heads to sponge.  Every so often, when they stop complaining about food and they aren’t trying to get into things they shouldn’t, and they aren’t punching you in the butt and trying to get you to throw them in the air, they stop to absorb; they sponge.   It’s a beautiful thing.  And so, with that, we are heading off to Cleanliness Land, the theme park that is all about cleaning up after yourself and then shortly after that we’ll embark on a wonderful journey to the Manners Museum, where we’ll see interactive games about how to behave yourself in public and at home!  Get your sponges ready!!!


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