Ready, Set, Stink


One of the teachers at Beren's future school asked if he was right or left handed. Neither of us really knew, but we both leaned towards righty. He uses both, but tends towards right. She said we could roll a ball towards his feet and see which foot he chose most frequently. From that, we could see which was his dominant side. "Good idea," I thought. "That sounds fun and interesting."

A couple evenings later we explored whether our child was right or left hand dominant. Here's how it happened:

Mountain Kitten peed on his bed while we were in the Catskills. Our house-sitter kindly washed it, but in a note to us she also said that she could still smell cat pee. We re-assembled the bed, and he peed on it again.

We tossed the bed out into the lawn. It laid out there for a week. The rain didn't help.

In July, Beren, Jared and I went to a local music fair. We brought our plants to sell. Our neighboring vendors were a jewelry maker and an artist. Across the path, a local bank had a tent and table set up with piles of plastic giveaways.

Beren and I ambled over, and I encouraged Beren to spin the bank's game-of-chance wheel. He was unaware that there was a purpose to the wheel other than spinning it and listening to the clicking sound it made. I watched. The bank representative told him to give it one hard spin.

He won a fanny pack. He declined his prize and was handed the blue frisbee instead. He took it.

At home, Beren became quickly discouraged by the frisbee, so its final toss wedged it between a purple flowering raspberry and the deer fence. Weeks passed and the grass grew over it.

One evening the three of us checked on the greenhouses. I'd fertilized the plants earlier in the day. "The smell never used to bother me," Jared said. In previous years, I had let Jared apply the fertilizer, an organic, blood and bone meal mix that nauseated me.

The greenhouses represent the only flat and open outdoor space on our property. Their aisles make  great raceways. "Let's race," Beren said. "OK," agreed Jared. "READY! SET! STINK!" And off they went again and again.

After awhile, we drifted downhill towards the house. Beren rediscovered his frisbee. I searched for his purple ball from Shop-Rite. I found it, hidden in tall grasses and ever more bespeckled by the black spots that grow on plastic things left in the elements.

I'm not sure how the cat bed came into play, either Jared or Beren grabbed it. Jared started kicking it into the air, while shouting "READY, SET, STINK!" Beren found that the frisbee and ball fit into the bed perfectly. We ran around taking turns launching the ball, the bed, and the frisbee into the air.

"READY, SET, STINK!" yelled Jared we all laughed. The cat bed was on Beren's head at times. We played tug o' war with the cat bed - I held Beren under my arm while he and Jared tugged back and forth on the squishy bed. "READY, SET, STINK!" Jared shouted again and again.

I think we confirmed he's a righty.