Friday, April 18


My little buddy here is Rebecca's nephew, Marek. He lives in Santa Cruz with his parents. He's a lucky little sprout, growing up in a clean environment, being fed well, cared for. He's pretty funny, and does a good job of mocking me when I talk. I think I taught him how to say "bless you" after someone sneezes. Not sure if he already knew that one, but he sure got a kick out of saying it at/with me.

He is currently obsessed with Backhoes. He gets very excited seeing one next to the road. He also owns a few toy backhoes, a shirt with a backhoe on it, and multiple books about backhoes. "BahKo BahKo!" You hear it everywhere you go. He doesn't really seem that interested in other construction vehicles like steamrollers or dumptrucks. Also, he mistakenly shouts "BahKo BahKo" at machines that are in actuality called excavators. Apparently he hasn't learned the subtle differentiation* of the two.

This trip was really fun, but educational as well. For example, I learned that Redwood trees' roots form a weblike community underground. This network allows them to share nutrients with each other, and support each other's weight. This approach to coexistence apparently works, since the redwoods have been around long before Jesus.

The other thing I learned on this trip is that a child (especially one that is almost 2) is A LOT OF WORK!! Whoa. Sarah, Rebecca's sister, pretty much spends all day caring for him, helping him do the things he wants to do, feeding him, finding subtle ways of manipulating him, and learning graceful surrender when manipulation doesn't work. There were a few tantrums. As much fun as kids are, it is always nice to hand them back over to their parents. One day I'll be ready for that I'm sure, but it's quite a ways off still...

*Dan, Marek's father, has been inadvertently learning quite a bit about backhoes, since he's been reading so much about them lately. (another ubiquitous phrase, "Booka BahKo!" = please read to me about backhoes). He informed the group that a machine with a hoe on it was merely an excavator. With the addition of a front loader, however, an excavator becomes a mighty backhoe. No one cheers for excavators. Another interesting fact is that you will often find backhoes with pneumatic drill attachments, but the drill matters not to young Marek.

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