Tag Archive: Parenting

I need a spark of ambition

I got a lot of work done on the yarn ball winder project in November, which is good because I’d been neglecting the project for too long. I finished up most of the CAD drawings of the wooden pieces, re-did the first part of the of the instructions and added images within them, I worked through my huge folder of images and got them sorted, and I wrote up the directions for the second part of the winder and started writing up the third part.

Yet, there is still so much more to do before I can get the next revision posted up on the blog here, and worse yet, I can’t seem to be able to drag my carcass to the computer to do it. Part of that I legitimately can blame on Tron. He’s a very needy child and does not countenance his parents to have free time while he’s awake (I may have mentioned once or twice what a handful he is). Even his grandparents, who had a house with 3 children in it, are continually surprised that he does not play with toys much, but would rather lead a person around the house for hours and point at things he’s not allowed to have (DVD cases, glass jars, candy, the calendar, etc). Apparently Tron is more work than all three of their kids were combined and is the highest maintenance child they have ever encountered. If he does play with toys, he needs an audience. Not a playmate, mind you, but an audience. If he doesn’t have an audience he goes and gets one. Thus I rarely get more than 5-10 minutes at a time at my desk while he’s awake. I’ll sit down, be there for a few minutes of tinkering before he comes over, spins my chair around, and pulls me up out of it so that I can watch him play, give him milk, demand candy and scream when I don’t give it to him, demand to go upstairs/into the basement, or tackle me on the floor. That’s fine, but such an environment doesn’t lend well to writing up a woodworking tutorial.
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Toddler Tupperware Radar

If there is one thing that Tron really likes, it’s Tupperware. He’s got a kind of sixth sense for finding it too. You leave him alone in a room with Tupperware hidden somewhere inside and he’ll find it.

Much to the chagrin of TacoMa'am.

While his joy of Tupperware does keep him relatively engaged and quiet for 10-15 minutes (which is a long time for him) it does mean that we have to wash a lot of Tupperware that was otherwise clean. Oh well, at least he stopped playing with the toilet paper…

Tell me honestly: does this toilet paper make me look fat?

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

Being So tired that it’s fun!

In my younger days (Hold on, let me go get my cane) I’d often pull all-nighters for various reasons. Sometimes it was because I was cramming for a test or completing a project for school… but more often it was to do a sleep adjustment. For a handful of years I worked a night shift from 5pm to 3am four times a week. However, one of the issues with this is that no matter how I start out, my schedule would always adjust so that I’d wake up at around 4pm, go to work get back at 4am, and then kick around until 9am or so when I’d finally get tired and go to sleep. This made living in the real world rather difficult; so from time to time I’d have to adjust myself for use in the real world.

This usually entailed staying awake until I collapsed at a reasonable hour, say 9pm. So really I’d only have to stay awake for around 29 hours before I could finally collapse into unconsciousness. And let me tell you, that point where you let yourself go to sleep after a prolonged wakefulness is some of the best sleep I’ve gotten. Generally I’d pass out right away and sleep for a solid 8 hours and wake up around 5am feeling great and prepared to rock the day. From there my sleep would be pretty good for about a week, or until I went back to work, whatever came first. But until the work came along and borked my sleep again, I’d be falling asleep around 9 or 10 and waking up around 6. Nice for a guy who’s battled moderate insomnia for most of his life.

But there have been occasions when I’ve had to push the boundary of wakefulness. When I’d have loved to pass out at 29 hours, but couldn’t for various reasons. One of these was an ill-timed sleep adjustment. We were going out to visit a friend for the weekend, and for some reason I miscalculated when Friday was. I think I forgot that if I’m up past midnight on Thursday, it becomes Friday… or something like that. All I remember, and I can say that I don’t remember a heck of a lot about that day, is that after being up for 32 hours, I found myself in the passenger seat of my wife’s car as we drove across the state to visit said friend. It was that day that I learned something: after I’ve been awake for 30 hours, I hit an energy spurt. From about hours 32 to 46 I was in a wonderland of excitement and anticipation. It was going to be a good weekend, and I had a 6 hour car trip to play one of my new DS games. Everything was coming up Taco! I kept the coffee flowing just in case I got tired, but it wasn’t an issue since I was Mr. Energy. It was all my wife could do not to smack me as I bounced around the car (figuratively) on our drive. Once we got to said friend’s house (now at hour 38.. something like 2pm) she and my wife had to go to a bridal shower and left me to my devices.

My devices ended up being to play my DS and hassle our friend’s cats for 6 hours while singing and dancing around her living room. I’m glad only her cats were around to witness that. Anyway, then 8pm hit; 44 hours awake. Friend and wife were getting back at 10pm, at which time we’d planned to game for a few hours then go to bed. 8:00 found me sitting on one of the chairs in the living-room, staring at the cat sleeping on my lap, and holding my DS dejectedly trying to gather enough ambition to turn it on and play something… or even reach over and grab the remote and turn on the TV. My energy burst had run its course and now I felt like I was dying. I can honestly say that before that moment I had not realized what being entirely bone-weary exhausted felt like. My entire body lost its ability to temperature regulate and I bounced between being way too hot and shivering with cold. I had dry mouth like I’ve never had before; and I kept zoning out and snapping back to myself without realizing how much time had past. By 9pm I couldn’t hold on anymore. I laid out the bed and decided to go to sleep. That’s when friend’s cats came alive. The first thing they did was to pop the air mattress with their claws; which was awesome. I have a moderately bad back, so sleeping on hard surfaces is a no-go, no matter how tired I am. I moved up to the sofa, at which time the cats decided that they wanted to play with me. They pestered me for a good hour (or at least it felt like that) before I finally passed out.

At 11 friend and wife got back and had to wake me up. I was sleeping on the sofa which was also the only other bed in friend’s house, being the least comfortable pull-out bed ever created. Still, dead exhausted I didn’t have too much trouble falling asleep; though I slept for about 10 hours, I still work up sore and tired due to my bad back and ill-designed bed. And thus I learned that my burst of energy was a double edged sword. It was great and euphoric when it pounced on me, but it drained me in a way that only hours of hard labor can mimic.

So we fast forward to the early days of Tron’s toddler-hood. A few months after he turned 1, he decided he didn’t want to sleep anymore. Tron’s never been very good about sleeping; something he probably gets from me. As a baby he’d rarely sleep for more than 5 or 6 hours in a day, and if you could get him to nap it was a small miracle. Until he was 1, like clockwork he’d wake up every 3 or 4 hours at night and want food; and again no real naps to speak of. With some restructuring and a few “hard-love” nights we finally got him on a schedule; which helped a lot since now he sleeps 10-12 hours a night and we can usually get him to nap once during the day… though napping is still a battle. Granted he still wakes up a lot a night, but for the most part he’s learned how to get himself back to sleep without us. Tron also groans, moans, whines, and cries in his sleep a lot; which makes it nearly impossible to sleep in the same room with him.

Anyway, around the time he was 15 months or so, he went through a phase of not wanting to sleep again. We’d put him to bed and he’d sleep for about 4 hours (around the time his parents were just settling down into bed to sleep) then wake up and throw a fit. He’d want to go out to the living-room and play… all attempts at food, water, changing, or what not failed; all he wanted was to be up and nothing else. So, we’d plop him back in the crib and let him scream his anger at us until he passed out… usually it would take an hour or two before he would finally settle down and sleep for the rest of the night.

Now, mix this with Taco’s insomnia and we can have some fun. It was a Monday in February when insomnia had hit me pretty hard and Tron was making a nuisance of himself. I’d been battling for sleep until about 1am when Tron finally woke up and decided he wanted to play. Since I was up anyway I pulled him out into the living room and let him go at it for about a half hour… the entire time he was rubbing his face and only playing listlessly; the sure signs of a mightily tired toddler. When he started to drift off while sitting on my lap and watching some TV with me, I was certain he was ready to tank out. I put him in his crib and he passed out… for about 10 minutes. He woke up again and screamed for about an hour before finally going to sleep. By then it was 3am and I was wired to the nines. So, I got myself ready for work and quietly messed around on my computer for 4 hours before leaving for a fun-filled workday as a sleep-zombie. I don’t remember anything about the day at work; but I think it was busy.

10 hours later I’m home again and feeling like death warmed up with a fast-foot heat lamp. I spent the rest of my day listlessly trying to maintain consciousness so that I could pass-out at a reasonable time (like 9pm). We put tron to bed and I hold out until about 8:30 when I decide it’s late enough and I had for bed; now having been up for 37 hours. That’s about when the energy burst happened. I was laying in bed, wide awake yet exhausted and wired to the nines with energy. My wife joined me in bed 3 hours later and I was still attempting to have every thought in the universe simultaneously… all with Toto’s Africa stuck in my head on repeat. I heard her fall asleep within minutes and was green with envy. An hour later Tron woke up and wanted to play. The night before repeats itself. Though he is clearly tired and in need of sleep, Tron takes a good hour of fussing before he finally passes out and sleeps soundly. it’s now around 4am and I know I’m not going to see any sleep again for the second night in a row. I make myself 8 shots of espresso which I nurse until work and make myself another 4 shots for the road. That day is one of the few days I’ve drank so much coffee that I threw up. Coffee, if I have way too much without food, upsets my stomach because of the acid. Apparently if I have way, WAY too much I just hurl and carry on with my life. I’m pretty sure I was busy at work, or at least something important was going on because I do remember that I couldn’t call in sick; which I would have being that tired, nor did I go home after beaning up at work.

So, once again I come home and am truly, utterly dead. I’d lost temperature control of my body and I’d developed a mild case of the shakes. I had no appetite and was suffering mild vertigo whenever I stood up or turned around too quickly. At this point I hadn’t slept more than a few minutes in the last 58 hours or so. I’m told that if you keep a person awake long enough they start to exhibit paranoid schizophrenic behavior. I can vouch for the paranoid part of that, at least. Around midnight that night, after having finally captured 3 hours sleep, Tron woke up again. I became absolutely convinced he was doing it on purpose. He didn’t want me to sleep because he hated me for some reason. He was a vindictive little toddler who hated his parents and wanted them to suffer for their transgressions against him. I would never get to sleep again because he wouldn’t ever let me; I was nearly in tears with my frustration. At that point my wife made me put in earplugs, which I generally don’t wear because they hurt my ears quite a bit, and I passed out again. By morning my psychological break was healed and I was ready to join the world of the living again. I was still tired, but more of a “just 5 more minutes” tired than the agonizing tired of the night before.

A few weeks later Tron’s sleeping pattern stabilized again and has remained fairly good since; though he does lose his blanket in the night sometimes and freaks out. Generally though, once you get the blanket back into his hands he’s good for the rest of the night.

I can honestly say that I’d never been as tired as I was that third night. 60ish hours of constant wakefulness is pretty painful and has some pretty profound physical effects on a person. I don’t recommend it at all. I also don’t have many solid memories past the first day outside Tron keeping me awake. I think the brain starts to have trouble storing memories once sleep deprivation starts hazing things up.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

TacoMagic Gets Left Behind

Yesterday, my wife’s yearly mini-vacation with our friend Versai* started (*real name obfuscated with that of her character’s from my Rifts’ campaign).

The whole tradition started about 3 or 4 years ago (I think). Every year for 1 week (or at least most of a week), TacoMa’am and Versai get together at TacoMa’am’s grandparents’ cottage. Said cottage is lake front property, so generally there’s a lot of swimming during the vacation, as well as reading and general relaxation. It’s pretty quiet up there, so relaxation is the main aim of the vacation. During the last 3 years, however, a particular talent of Versai’s has come to light. Since, generally, she has the hardest schedule to work around my wife lets her pick the dates of the little vacation. The last three years, without fail, Versai has managed to pick dates where I am wholly unavailable.

Three years ago the dates were picked to overlap rather well with an out-of-town business trip I had to take. So, they went on their little vacation and I went to training on x-ray systems. The year after that the dates were picked to coincide perfectly with the week I was on-call and couldn’t leave Milwaukee (and we, of course, noticed it far too late for me to swap with somebody). This year, once again the trip perfectly overlaps with my on-call. This time we did catch it far enough in advance that I could have switched… were it not for the shop fishing trip scheduled this weekend. Yup, that’s right, everybody (except me, sadly) is going on a huge fishing excursion this weekend. Guess how many of them wanted to switch on-call with me; goose-egg. Well, somebody has to be on-call and miss out on the trip, it just happened to be me this year. Oh well.

So, as what happened last year, I’m getting a little mini vacation of my own. It’s not like a real vacation, because I still have to work during the day and I’m on-call at night; but without a family to worry about I can do some of the things I can’t normally do with them in the works. Specifically: Watch loads of Anime, sleep in (on the weekends at least), play violent video games before 8 pm, work in the garage without feeling guilty**, work on my computer, blast heavy metal music, go to the rifle range with my shooting buddy, etc. It’s a 5 day marathon of acting like I’m still in my early 20s.

This years’s refrain from responsibility is pretty packed with things that hint of responsibility. I’ve got Saturday earmarked for the rifle range (yay shooting!), there’s a lawn treatment that has to be put out on the yard, a garden bed that needs some serious weeding, the next phase of the yarn ball winder needs to be built (even though I haven’t finished the write-up on the previous portion), an anime series I want to watch that’s been sitting on my desk for over a week, an upgrade to my computer I have to do, I’ve got a goal of finishing my current PS2 game that probably won’t happen, a bunch of blossom bags for my peppers and peas to sew up, I need to adjust the carborator on our lawn mower and I want to make it to a few hardware stores to pick up a some parts/tools for various projects I have in my DIM (Do It Myself) queue. Plus I’ve got a big chunk of overtime I have to do on Friday night at work. Quite a busy weekend it’s shaping up to be, especially given that I had originally planned on locking myself in the house with my computer and anime collection for two days of wallowing in unbridled hedonism.

I guess the days of being able to waste an entire weekend guilt-free have finally vanished from my life. Between home-ownership and having a child, any day that I get to myself I feel like I have to use toward productive ends. Without Tron around I’ve got free reign to devote my attention to projects I’ve been putting off or haven’t had time to complete. When Tron is around you generally have to keep at least one eye on him, if not both eyes; which makes it hard to concentrate on the project. And divided concentration is NOT a good thing when working with things like circular saws. Add in his inquisitive nature, and using power-tools becomes something that you just don’t do lest you pique his interest in said tools.

By the time TacoMa’am and Tron get back I’ll be collapsed in a heap in the living room. “I’m so glad you’re back! I kept being productive while you were gone… it was AWFUL!”

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

**Since I left the asterisk there anyway, I decided to use it rather than rephrasing the thought into a truely awkward sentence. Generally if I’m out working in the garage, it means TacoMa’am is inside begin terrorized by Tron, which leads to guilt because I get the far better half of that exchange. This is why most projects wait until TacoFather/Mother are around to both help with the projects and distract Tron and give TacoMa’am a break from his near constant whining/screaming.

Fathers Day: Tron is an awsome Son

Earlier this week Tron* bought me an early Father’s Day gift!**

He got me a 246 piece drill and driver bit set!  It came with over 150 drill bits, 40 driver bits, a few hole cutting saws, a dimpler, a counter sink bit, drill collars, and a few other odds and ends.  It is a fairly cheapo set, but cheap sets are nice because you don’t feel bad if you break or lose a bit.

Such a thoughtful gift, I couldn’t have picked out a better one myself!

*For those playing at home, Tron is my son’s nickname.  He fights for the users.

**It was totally my year-and-a-half old toddler who picked it out.  Totally.  Not me at all.

Tron likes the outside

I’ve been a geek since I was 4 years old and discovered my father’s Atari 2600 stashed in the back of a closet.  But, I’ve also been a fair outdoors man.  I like to hike and camp (both at the same time if there are backpacking trails), fish, bike, hunt, etc.  I’m not shy about being outside; but I also like a plethora of indoor activities, primarily those of the geeky or crafty nature.

Tron is a bit different from me in this respect thus far.  The boy is all about being outside, all the time, always.  He doesn’t care what the weather is doing.  It can be freezing cold or boiling hot, he wants to be out there.  Raining, snowing, windy, whatever.  It’s all about the outside.  When we’re indoors, he drags us over to the door and wants out, and unfortunately explanations like “Kiddo, there’s a typhoon going on out there, we can’t go outside.” don’t dampen his desire to be out.  Unlike his geeky father, the indoor world seems to hold a much lower interest for him.  Perhaps he hasn’t grown an appreciation for indoor activities yet, or perhaps he never will.

As a parent I have mixed feelings about his joy of the outdoors.  On the one hand I certainly want to nurture this love of things out-of-doors.  Such a desire will make the “Go out and play” portion of parenting much easier if he’s wanting to go out and play anyway.  Things like sports, hiking, camping, fishing (and other things I like to do outside) will be things I can share with him and that he will enjoy doing with me.  If he’s always outside running around I won’t have to worry about child obesity in him, nor will I have to worry about him spending all his time on the computer or watching TV.  And, we have a fairly big yard (for the city anyway) so there’s plenty of room for playing.  Plus there’s a pool, so if all else fails he can go for a swim or have an impromptu pool party with friends.

On the other hand, he still needs constant, direct supervision outside.  Indoors he’s pretty well contained.  The house is reasonably child-safe; and he hasn’t yet figured out how to get into the areas that aren’t so safe for him.  He doesn’t need a lot of supervision if he wants to play by himself, and that means I can get stuff done or even goof off a bit.  Outdoors, however, it’s pretty much all about keeping Tron in the yard and from hurting himself on the plethora of random dangerous things he manages to find.  Without one parent wrangling the child, nothing can really get done outside. Be it yard work, gardening, cleaning the pool, or working in the garage; if there’s only one parent nothing gets done because the toddler needs watching.  If you don’t watch him, he’ll make a b-line for the street and try to play in traffic; or he’ll want to play with Daddy’s tools; or eat rocks.

That’s not to say we don’t take him outside a lot, it’s just a much more monotonous job watching a toddler pick grass then run around the car 40 times than it is to just look in the living room every now and again to make sure he’s still in there organizing his toys (Seriously, he doesn’t really play with toys, he organizes and re-organizes them).  We try to make sure he gets several hours outside time every day the weather is amicable, but all of that time for us is just watching him run around; which is fine, but you don’t get anything else done at this point and he can exhaust you pretty fast chasing him around.  And better yet if you do try to do something, Tron steals your tools.  I cannot edge the lawn with him around or he steals the step edger and runs amok with it.  Nor can I shovel or rake for similar reasons.  I haven’ t even attempted wood working with him around; all I need is him fixating on my circular saw.  He’s a “helper”.

So it’s nice that he loves being outside, it would just be nicer if he was willing to play within line of sight and not steal our tools if we want to get something done.

I’m rather looking forward to when he’s a bit older and certain rules can actually be imparted and understood by him.  Things like “don’t run into the street” or “don’t pull all the mulch out of the flower bed”.  Better yet will be the time when he becomes a source of labor, but one thing at a time.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

De-enriching children’s lives

With my current foray into 1980s and 1990s cartoons I unavoidably started thinking about and comparing the cartoons of my childhood with more modern cartoons.

The comparison was not favorable to the modern cartoons.  For example, let’s take one of the best cartoons of my childhood: Batman The Animated Series.

Everyone squee for Batman!

 Batman started in 1992 during a time where superhero cartoons were extremely popular.  It joined the ranks with The Uncanny X-men and later Spiderman in 1994.  All these shows were rather good, though X-men probably fared the worst with age.  Rewatching the X-men is almost painful during the first dozen episodes; the dialogue is pretty corny.  Batman, on the other hand, aged very gracefully and is still one of my favorite cartoon series.

But, looking to today, what do kids have?  Well, shows like Young Justice.  A show that allows the X-men to feel good about their dialogue.  Teen Titans is another in this basket.  In order to both appeal to the younger crowd, and meet the ever increasingly stringent guidelines for child-friendly TV, we end up with cartoons full of fairly whiney teens that seem more preoccupied with fitting in with their peers than actually fighting crime.

And it doesn’t just extend to the odd Superhero Cartoon; even the humor cartoons have dwindled.  The jokes are milder and there seems to be more of a focus on ninja-ing wholesome values and learning at children rather than entertaining.  In a comparison with today’s cartoons, Ducktails is down right racy with some of its humor.  Which is why it’s still rather funny.

So what happened?  Well, it started primarily with the downfall of Saturday Morning Cartoons.  As cable children’s networks started to take over the cartoon scene in the 90s, the need for a saturday morning cartoon decreased.  The problem there is that when you go from 7 competitive channels trying to put out cheap but quality cartoons in order to suck in the kids to 2 channels that don’t really actively compete with each other; there really is no need to try to produce something really good.  The lack of competition means the lack of innovative product; which is why 90% of the cartoons that come out these days are basically the same.  They found a jig that works well enough so they just cookie cutter new cartoons to fit the mold.

Further, around the same time, children’s advocacy groups started dismantling TV programming to fit their more extreme view of what the programming should be.  Less violence, more values; less humor more learning; less entertainment, more structured information.  The problem there is that, just like adults, children need a break.  Playing outside, watching mindless cartoons, hitting each other with stuff, etc.  So by trying to enrich which is essentially a break for the children, you marginalize the actual purpose.  Less cartoons are watched, and children gravitate away towards other, truly fun/entertaining things.

Further, these groups also cracked down on the focused advertising campaigns of companies who sponsored the cartoons (which is probably a good thing, actually).   So, with cartoons producing less income now that companies can’t pimp their new marshmallow explosion cereal or the new line of action toys, there is once again no real incentive to continue producing good cartoons, let alone bad ones.

This probably explains the rise in popularity of video games.  Kids need a break from all the enrichment (I know I did).  You can only take so much structured learning, ninja’d value lessons, and wholesome activities before you need something stupid, brainless, and fun without strings attached.  That used to be cartoons, play fighting, lawn darts, playgrounds, sports, and video games.  But with the introduction of the super parent who has nothing better to do than add more structure to everyone’s children, these things have been taken away.

Play fighting is now a thing of the past, lawn darts are now plastic and blunt, playgrounds are close to the ground and most of the more dangerous and fun equipment has been removed, sports are still around but funding isn’t really there anymore, and cartoons try to teach morals and education or just whine about middle school.  So we’ve got video games left on the list… and those are getting cracked down on as well.

So soon we’ll have children who are enriched on every front.  Everything they do is aimed at teaching them a lesson, giving them knowledge, or tricking them into learning.  They will live their joyless lives under the thumb of the wholesome entertainment we have provided for them; dreaming every day that they can grow up and start having fun.  Is it any wonder that kids are spending less time being kids these days?  We’ve done that, by design or by accident, it’s all on us.  So preoccupied with enrichment and wholesome activities for our children we have forgotten that, from time to time, they need to be kids.  No learning, no structure, no moral lesson; just kids playing for the sake of fun.  Why is that considered such a horrible thing?

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

Table Style Discipline

Here’s a story that I tell often when those around me lament the lack of control that modern non-parents have over their children.

I was at a Mongolian Grill with my family when a pair of parents and their troupe of ill-mannered, ill-controlled, and likely ill-planned children decided to join us and improve our afternoon with their presence. The children, whom the parents ignored to the point where a kidnapper really could have made out pretty well, proceeded to terrorize the entire restaurant.

The banged on the fish tank, screamed and ran around, and just basically made a huge nuisance of themselves. If my sister and I hadn’t already been in high school at the time, they would have made perfect “Hey, you see those kids? If you EVER do that nobody will find your body!” material.

Nevertheless, we had been sitting through this terrorism for a while, and, despite it, I wanted to make another trip to the grill. So I snagged my empty plate and headed over. On the trip over I noticed one of the smaller children (about 6 years old or so) running from one of the larger ones, either in mortal terror or in a game of tag… whatever. Either way he was screaming/squealing all the way and not generally paying attention to what he was doing.

Brain to me, “If that child continues at his current collision course he will most likely collide with your elbow in about 3 seconds. Should we take evasive action? We have more than enough time to prevent the collision if we simply stop walking or change speed.”

“Naw, that’s OK brain. I’m sure he’ll veer off. Maintain course and speed *Snergle*”

“What was that, I thought I heard something after you said “speed”?”

“I think there must be some static on the line, just your imagination.”


The child runs face first into my elbow, probably giving him a black eye but at least hurting him enough that the tone of his screaming changes to a less gleeful to a more “I’m in pain!” variant and goes running to his parents.

I proceed to fill a bowl and get myself another plate full of Mongolian noodles. As I get back to my family and take my chair, everyone at our table overhears the bad parents, who haven’t yet calmed their crying son.

Bad Parent, “Oh are you OK? Did you hit your head on a table?”

The child never became coherent enough to rat me out, and apparently the larger child didn’t see what happened. I have been overly satisfied with myself since that moment.

Now, whenever my family and I are somewhere and uncontrolled children are running about, they ask if “The Table” can do anything about it.