Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

or: Juggler’s Remorse, My Brush With The Law

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Dylan and I were almost to Bridgeview park (across the river from Oak Grove School) when he fell asleep. Rather than running home I opted to park the stroller and let him nap in the park while I juggled and wrote in my notebook for an hour or so. Naptime is often so strongly needed yet fragile in its implementation. Trying to transfer a sleeping thirty pound human being from a stroller to a toddler bed is apt to draw a penalty flag; Loss of Naptime, repeat afternoon meltdown.

While Dylan napped in the shade in his jogger stroller (with a canopy augmented by my shirt for further sun protection) I played and enjoyed the beautiful day. I wandered near the pond and thought about how excited my boy would be to wake up and realize we were still out playing. Making sure to maintain a sightline in case he should awaken, it never occurred to me that others may have viewed the napping child and thought something sinister was going on.

Once Crackerface woke up, he was a bit ornery despite the slides and swings. A car approached and a policewoman exited the vehicle. I was unsure of what was going on and full protective mode kicked in as I removed Dylan from the swing and greeted the officer. She explained that they received a report of an abandoned infant in the park, and wondered how long I had been here. I told the policewoman that I was disappointed that someone had called them in, but that I understood what had happened. She wanted to know where I was while the boy slept and I showed her and assured her that I was vigilant the entire time he rested. I told her I could understand why someone would be concerned if their line of sight included an unattended stroller with no parent beside it.

Although I was a bit shaken by the incident, it is good to know that others are keeping watch over the well being of our vulnerable children. They say it takes a village to raise a child, perhaps my mystery protector was physically unable to check on the welfare of the child herself and called the police to ensure that the baby was safe.

I will be more careful the next time I leave Dylan parked in the shade so I don’t cause unneeded worry. Thanks for your wakeup call!

Parenting While Male

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I had a great day out running with the boy today…until a police officer showed up at the park to question me about an abandoned infant call they received.

Some nosy jackass called in a complaint, and of course I will never know exactly what he said to the police so I won’t know how he came to the conclusion that my toddler sleeping in the shade in his stroller while I wrote and juggled in plain view of the boy the entire time constitutes abandonment.

My suspicion is that whoever made the call saw me park the stroller then walk away with my notebook and juggling balls, made some assumptions about men and small children, then called the police without bothering to come for a closer look. Perhaps I am being too sensitive and this did not involve sexism, but it seems to me to be the parental equivalent of driving while black.

Now I was not right next to my son the whole time he slept, but if my mystery meddler had bothered to venture near my sleeping boy, he would have seen why my middle name is alacrity.

The police officer was not accusatory and was very friendly, but I still came away from the incident a bit shaken.

I’m reading a book written in 1998 called The War Against Parents for my history project, and it raised some issues with Child Protective Services/CAPTA. The authors state that only a third of the millions of charges filed annually are ever substantiated and that parents charged by CPS are not entitled to their regular constitutional rights such as protection from search and seizure, miranda warnings, access to information compiled, etc. due to CPS claiming that emergency circumstances exist. While agencies such as CPS doubtless help thousands of families and children in need of protection each year reports abound of bureaucratic whack-a-mole, legalistic overkill, and the counterproductive breaking apart of healthy families.

The next time you see a small child who may need help, please take the time to understand the situation prior to calling 911. My parental rights may depend on your decision.

The Plane! The Plane!

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2009 at 8:33 pm

We left the house at exactly 9am and started jogging toward the toll bridge to Fargo. I had heard the bridge was now open and wanted to take our first jaunt into the parks and trails of north Fargo, where a kid can be a kid. The last time I was near that toll bridge was a week before the record crest of the Red River of the North. An elderly but active woman who was out for a walk as well asked me where exactly the toll bridge was. I pointed out the top half of a lamp post in the middle of the river and she was shocked to realize we were looking right at it.

Detour signs and hardhats appeared on our route so we skirted the El Zagal golf course and talked about how all the guys were working hard to take care of the icky water. Since we were forced inland, our funtime options narrowed to Yunker Farm or the airport park. As we made our way along 19th Ave N, my legs decided they were up for a challenge and told me to head for the airport. Thinking I would impress my two year old son I said, “There’s the FargoDome, that’s a really big building!” To which he quickly replied, “Is that the circus? I did a good job high-fiving the clown.” I may have forgotten that he and my wife recently took in the Shrine Circus, but I had an ace up my sleeve; I still had a chance to impress him with airplanes.

We arrived to a mostly deserted airport viewing park, just a man walking his dog and us, so we snacked, juggled, and re-applied sunscreen as we waited for the planes. No jumbo jets arrived during the hour or so we were waiting, but we did get to see a few smaller jets land. Toddlerpants was happy to see the planes and all, but he had a tough time understanding how I could call it a park when there were no slides or swings in sight so we moved on to catch some lunch at a restaurant.

My first choice, Buffalo Wild Wings, had yet to open so we ate at Subway instead. I spoke with a mother of four while she prepared our sandwich. She was very friendly and was interested in us and what we were up to today. It occurred to me later that I missed a chance to point her to this site so she could read more about our adventures. I think the time has come to start advertising via T-shirt while we run around town, it would be a lot easier than trying to throw paper airplane flyers into the open windows of passing cars.

We stopped at the “Elephant Park” for a bit on our way back to Moorhead, and the boy fell silent and nodded off as we crossed the toll bridge. The events that next conspired to transpire are worthy of their own column, which I have tentatively titled “Parenting While Male or: Juggler’s Remorse, My Brush With The Law.” Stay tuned.

Sloshed By The City

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I donate plasma at Biolife Plasma Services as often as I am able, but it can be tricky since I need to wait for my wife to get home from work to take care of Dylan while they take the life force out of my blood.  Well, they finally opened their playroom for kids so I scheduled a morning appointment and it went really well!  My little guy didn’t cry when I dropped him off and when I came to get him an hour and a half later he was receiving one on one attention from the attendant while Charlotte’s Web played on a television in the background.

We stopped by home for some lunch and saw Janelley, who was popping by after a medical appointment and on her way to work.  Did you know Janelle is pregnant?  Well she is!  She heard the whoosh whoosh whoosh of our amphibious fetus’ heartbeat for the second time today.  Nelly wants a green eyed dark complexioned girl named Julia, I’m hoping for a healthy  human being.  Maybe we’ll both get what we want.

After our lunch we packed the Daddybag and got out our bike and trailer for a jaunt to M.B. Johnson park on the far north edge of Moorhead.  There was some kind of motorcycle racing group setting up orange markers and cruising around, but I never did see any drag racing.  Dylan played on the playground while I juggled and helped him climb up the slide.  There was a platform missing on the playground equipment so there was no way he could make it up there on his own.

It started to rain so we retreated under the shelter and hung out there for a bit.  The boy ate a snack at the picnic table while I worked on my four ball skills with my hacks.  The rainfall intensified, so I got out my rain poncho and got ready to leave.

The trip back was grueling but satisfying.  There was a lot of mud on the shoulder of the road (where we were pedaling into the wind and rain) due to the dike that just got dismantled along Oakport St N.  It is wonderful to see those clay dikes disappearing all over town and to regain access to public places that have been closed such as M.B. Johnson.  Dylan was safe and warm in the trailer since the rain flap was secured, and things went fairly well except for the soaking I took across from the sugar beet plant.

A crew was spraying away residual clay with a firehose, so automobile traffic was slowing down to go through the splash hazard stretching across the road.  I slowed down, signaled my turn, and made my way to the middle of the road thinking that the boy would be high enough that he would not get splashed.  He didn’t get splashed, but I took a soaking from my left shoe up to my left knee.  Rats!  Looking back, the smart thing to do would have been to go all the way to the other side before attempting to cross.  Better luck next time!

Contact Juggling Wizard

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2009 at 2:38 am

Dylan and I needed to drop off some paperwork for my part-time job today, so we took the stroller for a jaunt and had ourselves a little radventure.  Once business was taken care of we were off to Island Park.

We played on the playground, met a few parents with their toddlers in tow, and I got to juggle for a bit.  We left Fargo via the Main Avenue bridge and took notice of how far the river has dropped.  Still a way to go before it looks normal but there are a lot fewer floating trees and one can even see some of the bike paths peeking out of the water.

I wanted to run all the way home in hopes of using our neighbor’s rented rototiller (we missed it btw), but there were a few busloads of kids playing at Davy Park so Dylan insisted on “more slides”.  The kids were from Pelican Rapids and were having a blast in the big city while their handlers relaxed in the sun.  Dylan wanted his snack so I took out my 4″ acrylic while he ate and started doing some moves.  Before long I had attracted the attention of the curious youngsters and a big semicircle formed!

It was a lot of fun to perform for these kids so I gave them a show and a bit of banter in between answering their many questions.  “What is it made out of?”, “Is it hard to do that?”  and “How long have you been doing that?” are the kinds of questions I love.  Luckily no one thought to ask “Why do you do that?”, which is much more difficult to answer.  As we left I heard some kids calling “Bye cool dude!”  and “Thank you!”.  *smiles*

Absconding With The Toddler

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2009 at 1:16 am

Jogging and slogging

The time has come to break free from the sheltering wings of the High Plains Reader.  Ok, so they probably won’t even notice that I’m gone.  At all rates, the domain will soon be pointing to this wordpress blog and I’m not sure if I will feel the need to simulpost on the Wellness blogs at  It was kind of an awkward piggybacking arrangement, but I will miss the hipster cachet associated with the one and only alternative press of the Red River Valley.  Or is it the alternative press of Fargo and Grand Forks?  The editorial focus is decidedly North Dakotan, which is fine, but I long for the cultured refinement of the Minnesota side of the valley, with our towns named after women like Ada, and the things that they are like Fertile, and the things that they do like Climax.