Monday, April 14, 2014

Third Child

An interesting, yet timeless, phenomenom is playing itself out here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere.  Whenever an instance of the phenomenom occurs, it is met with the same explanatory observation...

"Third child."

The first child born to a set of parents (and two sets of grandparents) is a wonderful and frightening thing.  Every squeak, hiccup, stumble, and cry draws an immediate and deeply concerned response from the parental (and grandparental) units.  

A soon-born second child elicits nearly the same wonder and fright with each similar action.

The third child?  Not so much...

Cases in point: the Colonel's three grandsons -- the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dashes 1, 2, and 3 (H21CC--1, 2, & 3).  The Colonel is enjoying the rare priviledge of participating in, and closely observing, the raising of three boys from infancy to..., well..., boyhood.  His not-so scientific mind has logged, analyzed, and categorized every aspect of this process, and he is as qualified as any to relate the following findings of fact. 

The first child is watched like a hawk.  If Dash 1 happens to stumble and bump his head on a piece of furniture, the reaction of his parents and grandparents is similar to that of a mass casualty event...

"Call 911!"

"Cordon off the area!  Remove all hard-edged furniture from the premises!"

"Is that a bruise?  Oh no, he'll be scarred for life!"

"You take him to the Emergency Room and I'll go buy a bike helmet to protect his precious soft head."

If Dash 2 stumbles and bumps his head, the reaction is somewhat less frantic, but no less concerned...

"Call 911!"

"Cordon off the area!  Why is that coffee table still in the room?!"

"Is that a bruise? Oh no, Child Protective Services are going to think we are beating him!"

"You take him to the Emergency Room and I'll go buy some bubble wrap for his head."

When Dash 3 stumbles and bumps his head, the reaction of the adults in attendance is entirely different...

"What's he crying about, now?"

"Did he scratch the coffee table?"

"Hey, look at that scratch on his face! Gonna call him 'Scarface!'"

...and then,

"Ha, ha, ha... Third child."

Another example, just in case a slow Bama fan (the Colonel knows -- redundant) is reading...

A parental unit notices that Dash 1's pacifyer has fallen from his mouth and landed on the floor.  Before said parental unit can react, Dash 1 has retrieved said pacifyer and put it back in his mouth.

"Call the Poision Control Center!"

"Induce vomiting!"

(The Colonel will pause at this juncture to point out that inducing a baby to vomit is a complete waste of effort -- give any baby 15 or 20 seconds and it will regurgitate the entire contents of the last three bottles it has consumed.  If you still feel the need to induce a baby to vomit, the easiest way is to put on a clean shirt and hold the baby on your shoulder...)

"Gather up all of his pacifyers and boil them for an hour and a half!"  

The reaction to Dash 2 placing a dropped pacifyer back in his face is a little different...

"Give me that, you're gonna get worms!"

"Did you just spit up again?  This is a clean shirt!"

"Here, take this pacifyer, the dog just licked it clean."

Dash 3 is allowed much greater freedom of movement than his older brothers.  Said freedom of movement includes the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda's flower beds...

"Hey, look!  He's got a whole wad of dirt in his mouth!  Looks like a major league pitcher." 

"Gonna be gross when he spits all that up!"  

"Hey, do they make dirt-flavored pacifyers?"

...and then,

"Ha, ha, ha!  Third child." 

Dash 1's diet is closely monitored.

"No, you can't give the baby ice cream!"

Dash 2?

"Okay, just a little taste of ice cream..."

Dash 3?

"Man, look at him chow down on that fudge bar!"

"Hey, do they make Rocky Road-flavored pacifyers?"    

"Ha, ha, ha! Third child."

Dash 3 completes his first air-breathing revolution around Ol' Sol this week.  

Happy Birthday, Joshua Bradley Gregory!

"Hey look, he just took a big swig of coffee from the Colonel's mug!"

"Ha, ha, ha! Third Child."     

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mensa Minion

The Colonel's newest grandson -- the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dash 3 (H21CC-3) -- is three weeks shy of the first anniversary of his air-breathing ride round ol' Sol, and yet is demonstrating intelligence and physical ability quickly surpassing that of the Colonel.

Two weeks ago, H21CC-3 let go of any physical support and began walking, without any regard for the next item of physical support. 

The Colonel rarely walks anywhere any more without first landmarking his next resting point. 

Over the last month or so, H21CC-3 has begun training the Colonel to make animal sounds.  He's actually quite gifted at this.

The kid, not the Colonel.

The youngun points at a figurine or picture of an animal and the Colonel makes the appropriate bird call, quack, roar, whinny, or trumpet.  If the Colonel is not sufficiently robust or accurate, H21CC-3 corrects him with a better rendition.

H21CC-3 has begun to increase the rapidity and frequency of these drills to the point that the Colonel rapidly and frequently loses track and often erroneously substitutes a hoot for a snort, or a quack for a tweet.

The kid immediately corrects the Colonel and restarts the drill.

When he grows up, H21CC-3 will probably either be an NFL lineman or a globetrotting non-discriminating chef.

The kid loves to eat; will eat anything; and loves to share.

He wants you to share what's on your plate with him.

When it's time to eat, H21CC-3 lets you know it.  If you are slow with the spoon to his mouth, he lets you know it.   

His brothers (H21CC-1 and 2) don't eat enough at one sitting to keep a cockroach alive.  Dash 3 would out-eat a ravenous pack of hyenas.

But first, he would correct their laughs.   

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Little Men

The Colonel is a student of history.

The word, "student," is used here in the strictest definition: one who studies something.

The Colonel makes no claim on mastery of history, or any subject for that matter.  But, it takes no more than just a casual glance at the current world situation to see clearly that if history doesn't repeat itself, it certainly rhymes well.

The current United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced to the world the other day -- during his sneeze-in-a-whirlwind visit to Kiev -- that Vladimir Putin's thinly disguised occupation of the Crimean Peninsula was "not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior."

The problem with Mr. Kerry's worldview is that it is hopeful at best, woefully naive at worst.

The Colonel is always hopeful.  But, he always plans for the worst case.

He can't help but.  The Colonel was trained by some of the world's foremost skeptics -- Marine NCOs.

Mr. Kerry, himself, was presumably exposed to similar instruction prior to and during his self-aborted tour in Vietnam. 

It didn't take.

The John Kerry's of the world -- including his boss -- view the world as they wished it was. 

A world in which no one acts in self-interest -- that is, self-interest as the John Kerry's determine it.

A world in which nations play by the rules -- that is, the rules the John Kerry's decide are appropriate.  

A world in which appeals to common sense and propriety (as the John Kerry's define those concepts) are met with immediate repentance and reparation by transgressors.

A world in which, in order to lead, the United States need only stand in the background and nod sagely at appropriate behavior and give stern looks at misbehavior.

A world in which bluster and drawing of "red lines" is sufficient.   

Surely the John Kerry's of the world know better.

Surely the John Kerry's of the world know that for millenia, statesmen and politicians have hailed new centuries in which men and nations were far more "civilized" or "progressive" or whatever than the men and nations of the preceding century.

Surely the John Kerry's of the world know that history shows each century's statesmen have been wrong in that assessment.

As long as a gracious God delays the end of man, little men will seek to make themselves and their nations bigger than they see themselves.

Vladamir Putin is such a "little" man.

The oligarchy in the People's Republic of China are such "little" men.      

Turning the calendar page to a new century does not change the nature of man any more than setting the clocks forward adds more daylight to the day. 

Our national leaders will serve and protect us best to see the world as it is -- and forever will be -- rather than risking our security and prosperity through inane naivete. 

By the way, John Kerry, the Colonel sees you for what you are -- a little man who abandonned his comrades in arms and threw them under the bus to further his political ambition.