Sunday, July 13, 2008

Natalie Rides an Elephant

It’s odd to think of our little Natalie as a “Jersey Girl,” but there is the fact. She was born in Edison, N.J., and is distinguished as the only actual Jersey native among “The Clarks of New Jersey.”

Mom is from the Philippines. Theo was born in New York City. And Dad was born in Indiana.

Saturday afternoon, we drove to Point Pleasant to enjoy an afternoon at the beach – but an offshore hurricane created havoc. Lifeguards prevented people from swimming, then shooed them off the beach entirely, making the Jenkinson’s Boardwalk area as crowded as the E-train platform during rush hour. Still, there were highlights. I record them here:

• Natalie demanded to ride by her herself on the elephant ride, and she picked a pink elephant.

• Theo won a Pliplup doll in the water gun game: “Don’t be shy, give it a try. It’s easy it’s fun, it’s the water gun!” He beat Dad by six inches.

* At Big Ed’s Barbecue on the way home, Theo and Natalie discovered the joys of tender baby back ribs.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Development of Theodore

Caption: Theodore and Mrs. Fischer, his kindergarten teacher.

Our little Theodore will soon enter first grade. His development as a student and young man is progressing nicely. His kindergarten report card was stellar. Only one area received a "needs improvement" -- exchanging coins, or coinmanship. And I suspect Mrs. Fischer marked his card that way to show parents that she was painstakingly measuring each and every area of learning, as opposed to just handing out "all A's" like candy.

Regardless of the grading system, we're very proud of Theodore's accomplishments. Here are some other examples of his personal development:

• He has graduated to an intermediate level of "beach going." He has shed all fear of loud ocean and breaking waves. He taunts them, then happily and repeatedly runs away as the surf chases him up the beach.

• He's finished three New York Times bestsellers: "Captain Underpants," and the first two volumes of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

• His baseball skills have advanced. Here is a direct quote from yesterday. "I can hit it every time." It is not a bad thing, wrote Bertrand Russell, for a young fellow to think highly of himself.

• He enjoys a game of tackle football with his dad. This is a very recent, sudden and spontaneous development. A kickoff, a football rolling in the front lawn, a collision, a take down! (These highlights are almost identical to those of the early 1970s in the back yard at 814 Park Road in Anderson, Ind., where the author very much enjoyed tackling and being tackled with his own dad.)

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What are your best memories of Indiana?