The Bug Turns 5 | A Reason to Celebrate

Happy MLK day. The Bug is back. Woohoo! He spent the holidays back East, visiting relatives. I missed him something fierce. While away (for 3 weeks), he turned 5. I missed both Christmas & his birthday. (Come to think of it .. I've never seen him on Christmas. Ever.) So we had some catching-up to do.

HelicopterI got him one of those remote control flying helicopters he wanted. Found one on eBay for $15. From Hong Kong. (If you find a better deal, lemme know.)

Hard to believe they could sell it so cheaply .. especially when my buddy just bought one locally for $80. And his wasn't even made of real metal. So I wondered if the Hong Kong copter might be a scam, or bait-n-switch.

But it arrived fine. Just like the model pictured. (Took a week, tho.) Flew great, too. We were pretty stoked when that puppy lifted off the first time.

Are ya ready, dad? Ready for lift-off? Okay .. tell the passengers to climb aboard and fasten their seatbelts. Here we go.

The ad said "for ages 8 & up." But the Bug was able to fly it better than me after only 30 mins of practice. It's more fun than I thought it would be.

They claim it flies for 6-8 minutes with a full charge. But we flew it for 15-20. Maybe 25. Cuz you don't fly it constantly, but land intermittently. Practicing a nice, soft landing (on the bed) was the first order of business. We used a DVD case as a landing pad.

It charges thru either thru a cable attached to the remote control (which is powered by 6 AA batteries), or via a supplied USB cable. (The USB port on your computer supplies ½ an amp, which is decent.)

I chose this particular model cuz of its battery rating (» 180-mAh), which was the best I found for a copter that size. A higher rating means more power & longer flying time.

One little quirk about this model » because it has a GYRO, you need to turn it ON while it's sitting on a level surface .. in the upright position .. to properly 'orientate' the gyro. Not the easiest thing to do (tiny switch).

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Growing Up with Good Ideas

The biggest difference I noticed since he turned 5 is that he now comes up with some great ideas. Before, I used to try to do the things he wanted .. but only to reinforce the notion that his desires are important. (So he gets the idea that *he* matters.)

But now he comes up with some great ideas of his own. I tell him my idea of what we could/should do, and he replies, Okay, dad. Here's *my* idea. This is *my* plan. This is what *I* think we should do... His ideas last week turned out remarkably well. Almost magical .. like he had ESP. More than once I caught myself saying (with surprise), Hey, that's a good idea.

We rode our bikes down the boardwalk to the Fun Zone on Balboa Peninsula. Afterward we hopped on the Balboa Island Ferry and cruised across the channel to the island, where we split a black-cherry ice-cream cone at Dad's Donut shop (if you call him eating most of it 'splitting') .. before catching the bus back. Later we shared a bowl of pasta while watching Up. (« Impressive example of visual storytelling.) All his ideas.

The Dog says, Deep inside us all lives a 5-year-old who knows how to tap into the magic. He later fell asleep as I read aloud from the Hobbit. (Dragons, as you know, get very upset when people try to steal their treasure.)

It pleases me that he knows what he wants (and what he doesn't want) and is able to express himself so well. When you can't be there all the time .. that becomes important.

My birthday is the day after his. So we sang each other a heartfelt rendition of 'Happy Birthday.' I cobbled together 5 different candles from around the house. He shut his eyes and wished for "a flying machine" before blowing them out. I told him, "Five is a good age."

I made it a priority long ago to instill in him the knowledge -- on a deep emotional level -- that his dad loves him unconditionally. I do this by showing up, by spending time with him (much as I can, anyway), by paying attention, and by listening.

I'm far from the perfect dad, but I really try to listen .. even when it might not be what I wanna hear. I'm not exaggerating when I say his laughs make everything in my world seem okay and worthwhile. And now when I ask, "What do YOU wanna do?" I'm really interested to hear his ideas.

CelebrationWhen I arrived at his day-care (to pick him up) he tore around the playground shouting (rapid-fire), My daddy's here! My daddy's here! My daddy's here! My daddy's here!

I once saw a soccer player run around the field like that .. after scoring the game-winning goal.

When your time together is limited & repeatedly threatened, it becomes precious.

Five years. Score another point for the visiting team .. battered & bloodied, but still in the game. Play ball.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » remote control helicopter

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on January 18, 2010 5:55 AM.

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