Steven managed to convince Benjamin that he could run faster while playing soccer if he wore a mouth-guard. I was late to join the conversation, but Steve's explanation had something to do with the fact that he could "run faster if he clenched his teeth -- which he could do if wearing a mouth-guard." Benj seemed to buy into it, so I thought it best to suppress my guffaw. I reasoned that if he was willing to wear a mouth-guard to "run faster," the protection it afforded his teeth was gravy. It is still not obvious to me, however, why he chose a black mouth guard. Not transparent. Not white. Black. It looks to me like he has a wad of tar pressed up against his teeth. To Tariku, it must look like a camera lens cover.
Game face on.
Trying to look tough.
|Does it look like he is running faster?|
|The mouth guard must be working.|
|Don't let his preoccupation with my sweater fool you... When he is not watching Ben play, he is playing with him. Sylvia, on the other hand, is truly more interested in her shoe than the soccer game.|
Fast forward to today. Taki wanted to play baseball. He retrieved the gray plastic bat from the shelf in the garage and managed to knock down a tennis ball in the process. It's all the same to him. (Or so I thought.) He proceeded to toss the tennis ball in the air and try to hit it with the plastic bat. He was not having much success.
|Retrieving the tennis ball from the over-grown grass.|
|Got it. Ready to try again.|
|Game face on.|
|You can say you knew him when....|
|Getting in position.|
Recognizing that things were not going well, and refusing to believe that he had lost his mojo, Taki attributed his lack of success to two things: 1) the tennis ball; and 2) the lack of mouth-guard. He quickly retreated to the garage to retrieve the wiffle-ball, which had rolled under my car earlier in the afternoon. I cringed as he hunched down on his forearms on the crumbling, cement garage floor, derriere seemingly suspended in mid-air, and masterfully maneuvered a hockey stick to retrieve the errant wiffle-ball. Wiffle-ball in hand, he detoured to the rear bumper of my mini-van -- where I had carefully placed my camera lens cover. He picked it up. Looked at it. And popped it in his mouth. When I "gently" yanked it out of his mouth and asked him what the @#$@#% he was doing, he replied simply, "Ben-min" (his nickname for Benjamin). I gave the lens cover back to him. Wouldn't you?
|Not sure if it was the ball change or the gear in his mouth, but suddenly he was a boy wonder -- making contact and running the imaginary bases.|
|This is how he runs. All the while, he is chanting "run, run, run, run."|
|Until he stops to catch his breath.|
And, of course, Sylvie had to get in on the action. But, the dear child was confused. She perfectly coordinated her Dora pajamas with her hot-pink hair-bow and the neon flower painted on her cheek, but the lady-bug-balloon-bracelet just didn't cut it. Red with pink? C'mon. Even this tomboy knows better. I'll blame the transgression on Fancy Nancy, which I can recite in my sleep. In Sylvia's world, like in Nancy's, there is no such thing as over-accessorizing.
|Can you see the "diamond" necklace she chose to complement the rhinestones on her dress for our morning at the zoo?|