Thursday, June 23, 2011

This? Oh, that? Wait... What? Hold it!!

Went to the lake where I was going to fish with a kid (or two).  So, my ride and I arrived early enough to see the arrival of the group.  The motorcycle cops led, lights flashing, followed by a city car with lights, then a truck (no lights, might have been Child Services), then the bus with... the kids! 

They scrambled out of the bus, and were more or less lined up for us to take out.  We were handed one or two kids, and were to put life jackets on.  I should have figured what the day was going to be like when the little guy (he said he was JUST 8 years old) zipped right past me, ran down to the lake, and then couldn't understand why he wasn't fishing.  I managed to get him in a life jacket, grab a pole, and get him back to the lake. 

Whereupon I had to remind him to watch out for people casting, and not to walk in FRONT of people fishing.  Dodging at least three casts myself, trying to keep up with him, we made it to a tiny dock, far from the others... And the fish, oh, there must have been at least a dozen or more.  It was a nice shaded area, and the fish were just lazing about!  I picked up the bait cup... And there were 2 eggs left.  Where did they-?  That's when I noticed the little guy was studiously taking each egg out and squishing it between his fingers. 

Why are you mushing the eggs?

What's in 'em?

They are fishing eggs.  It's just a... Could I have that egg before you squish it?  We need it for bait.

I don't like fishing.  I am hungry.  Is there baby fish in a fish egg?

About that time one of the 'cooks' came by with cookies.  He took three, pocketed at least two more, while I managed to finagle the egg onto the hook and get it in the water. 

Where it fell off. 

So much for my fishing prowess. (Sorry, Grandpa.)  I grabbed the last egg, while the kid was still munching cookies, and baited, cast, explaining that no, there wasn't a baby fish in the egg, and told him he could fish now.  He took the pole, looked at it, asked, what does this do?  Then pushed all the levers and buttons, which made the line pay out, fast

And, of course, that was the exact SECOND that a fish bit.  He handed the pole back to me, and said, I don't want to fish.  I grabbed the line, and tried to stop it.  Not being familiar with the pole, I was trying to lift the bail (which stops the line), with what I thought was the right button.  Turns out, that was a protruding gear, which did nothing but put a tiny bit of grease on my fingertip.  I managed to get the right lever, and stop the payout.  Reeling back in, I don't know what I caught the line on, but it broke.  The kid is watching this, eating yet another cookie.  I am NOT going to lose that fish, and grabbed the line.  And the darn fish managed to loose itself. 

Can I go catch salamanders?

I look at the disheveled wad of line, in a hairball that would impress a large cat, and sighed. 

Sure. Let's go get a cup.

Another child gave him a salamander, which was promptly named Nickolaus, and he proceeded to introduce him as Nickolaus the Sea Urchin. 

Hon, it's a salamander.  Sea Urchins are spiny, and I think, purple colored.

(To the officer busy reeling in a fish)  Hi!  See my sea urchin?  I call him Nickolaus!

(Yeaaah... Got that one through, all right...)

Several shades of wet shoes (his), and ducking interesting casts (me) later, he went over to a smaller boy, and showed him his "sea urchin".  The officer looked up, and said, are you going to be with your brother?

Sure!  Can I catch salamanders, too?


I couldn't blame the officer, he had his hands full with three kids under ten, and I had just one, (now two), that weren't.  I proceeded to chase a just eight year old, and his four year old brother allll over the place. 

The boys discovered:

When you are in the bathroom, yelling WHOOO-HOOOO  makes an echo. Repeating it makes the walls ring.  I had to remind them that we only had one bathroom, hurry (WHHOOOOO!) up.

Salamanders that are grey don't move much, but are really easy to catch. (I had to explain that it was also, very, VERY dead...)

Maple bars and Mountain Dew makes your butt sticky when you wipe your pants, and then you get this really cool camo look from the dirt when you sit down. (I am so sure the bus driver loved this observation, let alone foster Mom.)

Even though everyone wore a badge of some sort, we weren't all allowed to sit on the motorcycles.  They were surprised to find this out, even more so when I told them that they weren't allowed either, unless they knew which officer to talk to.  (Fortune would have it, some one came up with more salamanders, and they lost interest in the bikes.)

If you run up real fast and say please, you can get lots of cookies, maple bars, and at least two sodas before the gal trying to keep tabs on you can say no. 

My discoveries:

If  I have these kids for any events again, I will absolutely have NO need to exercise, because I will certainly get my fast walking in...

I need to ask about the pole we used, and try it a few times BEFORE going fishing next year, so I am not learning, while doing.  On the job training with kids isn't the best learning period when doing this activity.

I thought boys became walking stomachs at the teenage years.  This young boy was proof positive that endless gut must start early. 

"BUTTERFLY!" is a good way to stop two little boys long enough to catch up to them, (they were fascinated with the Monarchs by the lake), when used in moderation. 

Giving an explanation of why you have to wash your hands after handling salamanders, stringer lines, at least one deputy's pant leg and shoe, and a large rock, just isn't worth it.  Just let them know they wash, or don't eat.  Explaining why they have to get out of the bathroom, between WHOOO-HOOO's, doesn't accomplish a lot more, but does mean I will use the word "Potty" more times than I think I have in the last several months, including talking to my dog, who was trained to the word!

So, that was the great 2 1/2 minute fishing extravaganza...  I had fun, I think the boys did, too.  I was sort of surprised at how much the DHS gal kept fretting that they were so hyper.

I guess I figured: little boys + outside + mondo sugar= running around having fun.

They kept coming up with hyper.  I told them not to worry so much.  Most of the officers and deputies looked highly relieved that I was with these little guys.  Maybe there was something to it, when guys that at random times have to run down and catch people, are just as happy to pass on the duty...

I do know that the just 8 year old will make a great fisherman when he grows up.  He heard we were getting ready to go, and picked up a stringer in the lake with about 7 fish, and would show it to all concerned with a lusty,

"I caught all these fish!"


  1. You must have the patience of Job. Kids are great, as long as you can hand them back to their parents after about five minutes. Seriously, it sounds like you had fun, dirt, salamanders, fish, active eight year olds and all!

  2. Laughing fit to bust a gut on that last one.

    Yes, they can eat endlessly when it is sugary junk. Try to feed them one good meal, and their stomachs shrink.

    They aren't hyper, they are boys, and if we would let them burn off their energy outside a lot, we wouldn't need to label them so often for what you saw as normal behavior.

    Glad you and they had fun.

  3. I'm tired just reading about your experiences! How wonderful that you would take your time to bring this experience to some kids. They will probably never forget it!

  4. 2 1/2 minutes?! you mean to tell me i took you longer to tell then to live it? ha!

  5. You're a saint!
    Loved this post

  6. Sure does bring back memories! (Only I had to take the kids home after.)


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