THING THE FIRST:

Some of you may remember early last spring when I was freaking out over signing up to climb the Columbia Tower in Seattle as part of a fitness event. I plan to do that same climb in March, but in the meantime I somehow managed to volunteer to join a team from my gym this Thursday for another stair climb. It’s 56 floors, and this time instead of walking it with the main goal of surviving, I’ll be racing it for time. I guess the idea is that competing teams will have their group’s total time added up and the fastest teams wins and gets a bronzed barf bucket or something.

I informed the team captain that while I’m willing to join the group, there is no way in hell I will actually contribute in any meaningful way to a winning time, unless of course all the other teams are made up of elderly stump-legged basset hounds or something. (Hope hope!) I just want to challenge myself and do something intimidating, and goddamn if trying to run up a motherfucking skyscraper doesn’t meet those requirements.

Anyway, I don’t usually mention fundraising stuff, but I thought I would for this one, even though it’s a hard time of year for most of us moneywise. Proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and if you’d like to sponsor me I’d be humbled and grateful. You can do this by clicking on Sponsor Participant on the left sidebar on this page, then typing in “Linda” for the first name and “S.” for the last name.

I already paid the minimum $80 donation, so I don’t need anything further to participate, but I wanted to do my part and let you know.

Anyway, wish me luck! I was briefly relieved to hear JB will be out of town on Thursday because I thought that was my excuse for bagging the event, but unfortunately our babysitter is available. Stupid dependable wonderful family resource.

THING THE SECOND:

JB plans to give Riley a skateboard for Christmas. I kind of think this is nuts because this is the same child who came home with two—TWO!—Injury Incident Reports the other day, for 1) slipping in water and crashing headfirst into the bathroom door, and then later 2) walking into the doorjamb of an entirely different door. I’m just saying, hand-eye coordination has not historically been his forte:

Aside from padding and helmets and giant protective plastic hamster balls, is there anything I can add to the skateboard mix to make it less deadly? Do they make a preschool version with extra wheels or airbags or some shit? I’d like to keep his smarmy little face in one piece, is all.

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Speaking of potentially insane, ill-advised holiday presents, I’m thinking of getting this thing for Dylan. Because I’m just not hearing enough “Horse? Horse? Horse? Horse. Horse. HORSE! HORSE!” already, you know?

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alexa
alexa
13 years ago

Good luck on the race..that is a lot of stairs.
They have an almost identical rocking horse at CVS for $30 if you’re interested. I’ve been eyeballing it for my daughter. She is 11 months and not walking yet, so it really isn’t a good idea for us, but it is so cute.

steff
steff
13 years ago

Riley needs a plasma car — and his parents can ride on it too!

Jen O.
13 years ago

Here’s a tie in for you: My 17 month old has a very similar but elephanty version of the padded rocking horse. She calls it her “Wee!” while standing on the saddle LIKE A SKATEBOARD, no hands, daring gravity to take her down.

Do I need to mention that she gave herself a bloody lip this morning in a completely unrelated incident? I didn’t think so.

Bumbling
13 years ago

Dude, the image I have in my head is of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in Bubble Boy. And you know what? I see nothing wrong with sticking Riley in a giant bubble. I forsee two bubbles in my future as well. I also forsee you buying stock in Band-aid brand band-aids.

Corey
Corey
13 years ago
Carmen
13 years ago

My inlaws are getting my 14-month-old kid this thing: http://www.rodytoy.com/Rody-Orange.htm

It’s a horse. That you jump around on. I’m worried for the integrity of her skull. Especially with her 3-year-old brother trying to shove her off of it so that he can have a turn to try and break open his own skull.

Good luck with the stairs. I’d rather fling myself off the building than climb up it, but to each her own. :)

pixielation
13 years ago

my 8 year old is getting a skateboard. I must remember to explain the part about not using it at the top of the stairs.

kristylynne
kristylynne
13 years ago

How about a scooter instead of a skateboard? Same concept, but with handles. My son got his when he was 3 and loves the hell out of it. Radio Flyer makes a cool one.

Radio Flyer also makes an awesome bouncy rocking horse that will take a long time for Dylan to outgrow. Just sayin’.

Christina
13 years ago

Oh that video… I have tears in my eyes from laughing so hard and not just the part with him running into the wall but the looks on his face during the first part. Gawd being four must be a total trip!

I think our four year old tried to ask for a skate board the other day for Xmas. I totally changed the topic before he could get into it too much because DUDE scary! Plus the kid screams bloody murder when he falls down in ice skating class. Like I need to hear that year round?!

Mary
Mary
13 years ago

The most fun my kids ever had with an outside toy was a scooter that was basically a skateboard with a handle…the four of them rode it for YEARS until it actually fell apart one day from old age. Nobody was ever injured. But a regular skateboard for a preschooler is asking for an ER visit … be warned.

tina
13 years ago

1.) I second the suggestion for getting a Rody instead of the rocking horse. My kiddo got one last christmas. It holds up to 250 lbs, believe it or not so I get on it and jump around some too. (I’m really rather short) Anyway, it really burns some energy up! 2.) Radio Flyer makes a three wheel scooter, which is KIND of like a skate board right? I got it for my tot when he turned 2 and he loves it…and yeah, I make him wear a helmet. But I figure he will get good enough at it to get a skateboard soon.
3.) Good luck with the stairs! Love to read your blog!

Marie Green
13 years ago

1. Riley is going to be one bad-ass, beat up kid with a skateboard! I know a little guy that had one about Riley’s age and small dude was AGILE. So many starting younger, when their bones are still made of marrow instead of ah, BONES, is a good idea.

2. You are going to BLOW Dylan’s MIND with that thing. Do it- totally let him have his fettish. After all, it’s only a “magical” holiday for a short while!

SJ
SJ
13 years ago

I have a boy, exactly Riley’s age (by days if I’m not mistaken) and he received a skateboard for his 4th birthday as a gift. It scares the living daylights out of me each and every time he gets on it but so far (crossing fingers / knocking on wood) he’s not had any types of accidents riding it. General walking, running type activites however? The dude needs help. He’s a mess and is always doing something to hurt himself. Totally self inflicted as you can imagine. Just make sure you get Riley a helmet and all the necessary pads and stay close. That’s all the advice I can give unfortunately.

This same son of mine? Loves horses too. And as a matter of fact he requested a ‘tractor trailer w/horses’ from Santa. Why I have no idea, but you better believe I’m on the hunt to find something.

Good luck with the stair climb! As with everything else you do – I’m sure you’ll kick ass.

Gina
13 years ago

When he was little, my son has a skateboard that with a handle. his folded to convert back and forth, but here is something similar: http://tinyurl.com/ycauw7x

victoria
victoria
13 years ago

Maybe ask your pediatrician what protective gear would be appropriate?

April
April
13 years ago

My nephew has a similar equine obsession, so my mother is getting him the rocking/spring horse version from Radio Flyer. http://www.radioflyer.com/products/horses/353.asp I fully expect he will end up injured, but so far, he’s a sturdy little guy ;-) It is, however, quite likely that my sister will end up in the Booby Hatch from the endless chorus of ‘HORSE. HORSE? HOOOOORRRRSSSSSSEEEEEEE?’

Jenny
13 years ago

I have a 10-year old and still remember thinking a skateboard was a bad-bad-idea, when he was five. Somehow, my clumsy-trips-on-his-own-constantly-untied-shoestrings-kid is more graceful and balanced on four wheels than on his own two feet. Make sure you get a “cool” helmet (with skulls or something equally manly) so he will like the helmet. Just wait. check this out:http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/communities/rmtchicks/entries/2009/08/28/oh_no_no_no.html

Courtney
13 years ago

Thing the First:
Riley’s eyes when he backs up from the camera crack my shit up.

Thing the Second: dude, send the video of him running into the wall into America’s funniest home videos. I watched it on repeat. (what, no one watches that show anymore?)

Thing the Third: Totally get the bouncy horse. But maybe also a helment to go with it too? A riding helment?

Michelle
Michelle
13 years ago

I didn’t read all the responses yet, but the Costco in Southern CA has almost identical rocking horses for $34. We got one a couple years ago and my three year old still plays with it.

Aunt Becky
13 years ago

You should so wrap him in bubble wrap. And stuff.

jennifer
jennifer
13 years ago

Rushing out to pick up kids from daycare, so sorry if this is a repeat…

we (I! The MOM!) bought our TWO year old an inexpensive skateboard from Target. Not sure what I was thinking at the time, just couldn’t resist the twinkle in his eye I guess. Turns out the small inexpensive skateboard doesn’t really go anywhere! Plus he doesn’t really get it yet either…and he is an athletic kid. We’ve had it for over a year and he loves to stand on it, all helmeted and padded up and put all his weight on the back and make the front pop up. He mostly does that and maybe pushes off a little, but it doesn’t get out from under him. So THINK CHEAP!

Kate
Kate
13 years ago

My brother got my daughter one for her second birthday and I thought it was a little crazy but she really likes it, and it’s really not that dangerous if properly supervised. The key is getting a helmet that is fitted to him, specifically, at a good skater/bike store, along with all the other pads. But mostly, look up the proper method for teaching him to use it. Some places have lessons for little kids. First they need to sit on it, then kneel on it, then eventually stand and so on.

.303 Bookworm
.303 Bookworm
13 years ago

OMG my mother got the same horse for my 2yr old horse mad niece last christmas. she ran (ok, toddled) screaming when it moved or anyone squeezed the ears (triggers the neighing or clip clop sounds). 12 months later it’s her favourite toy.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

We have that horse! It neighs. It scares the crap out of my 3 year old. I finally pulled the batteries and made her watch me do it, so that she knew it wouldn’t neigh anymore. I’m not sure how I feel about that fact that she had to watch me kill the horse, but she likes it, now that it no longer has a voice…

Heather
13 years ago

I know nothing about skateboards, but I asked my fiance for you, and here is his advice:

First, get an inexpensive skateboard from Target or Walmart, as you will be able to avoid any that are made for more serious skateboards that will go too fast.

Second, once you bring it home, tighten the wheels so it rides slower, and also tighten the bushings on the trucks to keep it from tilting side to side too much. He says that it needs to turn, but not quickly, and that the factory tightening WILL NOT BE ENOUGH. (He actually looked away from the computer to emphasize this, so it must be important.)

He recommends starting Riley out on a piece or two of plywood in your backyard, so he can learn the basic skills without the pitfalls of asphalt, and when he falls, it’ll probably be on grass.

And lastly, if you can find him gloves, he says that those would be a great addition to the regular elbow/knee pad/hemet trio. It’ll keep the scrapes off the palms of his hands when he does fall. He also says to understand that he WILL fall, so to show him how to catch himself before you ever let him put his feet on the board.

Heather M in AL
Heather M in AL
13 years ago

Ditto on the scooter instead and I’d get the variety with four wheels. My own two are 8 and 6 and have skateboards but my nephew, who is almost 4, is perfectly content to race his older cousins on his scooter. I just think their balance is not quite there yet for the fast-moving-object-underfoot-with-no-hands-deal.

Kami Lewis Levin
13 years ago

I’ve always loved skaters I mean skateboards. But my brother did manage to turn his balls black (I swear to God) by fucking up some sort of trick that caused him to land on the edge of his board, balls first. Uh, we’re pretty sure he’s not sterile, but have no concrete proof as of yet…

Joy
Joy
13 years ago

I agree on trying a scooter first. Our 5 year old has a skateboard and is normally very coordinated. The skateboard has been trickier to master, so he gets really frustrated by it. He had a 3 wheeled scooter and now has a 2 wheeled one. He can really fly on the 2 wheeled one now that he has the balance down.

Go for the horse too. His eyes will light up with magic of Christmas.

msheidi
msheidi
13 years ago

Long time listener, first time caller…
I have the exact same horse for my 2 year old. We bought it last year for xmas and like the commenter above, at first he was totally scared of it. Now he loves it and rides it all the time and loves to make it neigh.
Also, I would be totally petrified of a skateboard too – has he ever tried one? The idea of getting on plywood in the grass sounds like a good start – soften the fall(s).

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

eep, a skateboard does seem premature. Four year olds tend to be clumsy and…yikes.

This might be helpful
http://pediatrics.about.com/library/weekly/aa031302a.htm

“Among the recommendations are that children under age 5 should not use skateboards. Children between the ages of 6-10 should have close supervision when riding a skateboard, as should children under age 8 years who are riding a scooter.”

I’d sand the wheels square. :D

Megan
Megan
13 years ago

Dont do it. Unless you are Tony Hawk I highly advise not to get a skate board. I do not have any horror stories of a child getting hurt, but I did buy one for my child when he was three or four.

He loved the thing and wanted to be on it all the time. I was having a heart attack everytime he was on it. The stupid thing would roll out from under him and down he would go.

The skate board is now in the garage and I wont let him play with it. Get the scooter it might be a bit calmer for yourself!

MelissaLynn
MelissaLynn
13 years ago

Two years ago I grabbed a rocking horse for my two year old in a frenzied two days before Christmas shopping trip. On Christmas Eve my husband and I are setting out the toys and he says, “What does this button do?” and when he pushes it the horse breaks out into a song, “I’m a little pony, clippity clop clippoty clop, such a pretty pony, clippity clop, clippity clop!” Yeah, we loved hearing that over and over for months on end.

Brenna
13 years ago

My nephew has had a skateboard since he turned 3, he does really well on it. The poster who suggested tightening the wheels of a cheap board gives the best advice. JB’s got his heart set on a board, not a scooter. I’ve witnessed this dad passion first hand. So let him get the boy a board, then put down the plywood and watch him fall, safely. Good luck on the stairs.

Ashleas
Ashleas
13 years ago

Can’t help but hope Dylan’ll be a small, short guy when he’s older. Send him down to the California Racing Tracks!

Or just introduce him to Seabiscuit.

Yeah..

angelynn
13 years ago

Regarding the horse, check this one out on Amazon (and *please* watch the video, it’s hilarious) – http://bit.ly/7hcZFW In case the link doesn’t work it’s called the Giddyup N’ Go Pony. Product Features? “As you bounce up and down, your pony’s legs move and you really go for a ride.” Too funny.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Can’t help you with the skateboard. I was in 5th grade and perfectly agile and still managed to break my arm on our driveway. But my brother skated all his life and never hurt himself badly. (He got hurt doing other things but not skating.)

Ryan
13 years ago

we got my son a skateboard and a ramp. the ramp was used for bicycles until my daughter went face first into the ground nearly knocked out her front tooth. does he have a 2 wheeled scooter? maybe you should start with that so he can learn balance…my son is now 7 and just getting the hang of the skateboard and he is a pretty athletic child. good luck! helmet, knee and elbow pads are a must!

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

My youngest daughter is two and completely obsessed with the moon. Gets downright PISSED when it disappears from her sight. And screams. And screams. And a little more screaming thrown in. So – I ordered her a moon. Anything to help with the screaming and incessant repeating of one word, right?

Michelle
Michelle
13 years ago

I once severely sprained my elbow attempting to ride a skateboard. But I was 28 at the time.

Thanks for posting the link to your fundraising, Sundry. I know it can be hard to ask like that, but it’s a great cause and I know your readers will appreciate the chance to help. I ran the Chicago marathon for CF last year, so I’m all about helping others do the same kind of thing!

Wendy
13 years ago

More power to you on the stair race. I’m up for trying most kinds of races, but I have drawn the line at any that involve climbing stairs, exclusively due to the hork factor.

My first triathlon involved having to run up 30 stairs toward the end of the 5K portion and I was an angry angry person at that moment.

Tracy
Tracy
13 years ago

my 3 1/2 year old is getting a Batman 3-wheeled scooter this year. We’ll see how it goes, but our neighbors swear it’s great for his age.

Deanna
Deanna
13 years ago

We got the lion non rocking similar thing. Toddler was terrified of it. Horse seems a better choice. As long as there is not trotting noise when it is used. If so, perhaps never install batts and keep sound effects a secret.

Erika
Erika
13 years ago

Yes! Yes! Yes! Please get the horsie for Dylan and show us a video of him riding it! I can’t wait!! :)

Redbecca
Redbecca
13 years ago

I haven’t read all the posts so forgive me if I repeat what someone else said, but…

1. scooter is much better idea! And safer! My daredevil niece has one and while I know she’d prefer the real skateboard, this is the safer option for her clumsy butt.

2. The Rody horse is a great idea provided Dylan isn’t a chewer. My kid figured out how to bounce on that thing the same day he CHEWED on the ears so hard he PUT A HOLE IN IT. Did I mention his grandma got it for Xmas and it was less than a month old? Yeah. We still haven’t fixed it.

Nell
Nell
13 years ago

The horse is a great idea – but i would go for this:
http://www.amazon.com/Radio-Flyer-Liberty-Spring-Horse/dp/B000EYF5IO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1259706313&sr=1-2

good luck with the skateboard!

Joanne
13 years ago

I am scared of the skateboard, I think he is too young. My 4.5 year old is too young and he is super coordinated. I just worry a LOT about head injuries. Maybe JB can get himself a skateboard, and Riley a scooter? :) That horse is a-dorable.

Maria
13 years ago

That video of Riley is awesome!

Thing 1: Wow, good luck!
Thing 2: Love the horse (we have a similar unicorn) and all things Melissa and Doug.

And my daughter gets freaked out
By Thing 1 and Thing 2.
What, are you trying to say
It’s not the same for you?

Chelsea
Chelsea
13 years ago

Seriously, if I have a kid as that is 1/100th as cute as Riley, I will die of cuteness overload.

I had a weird ass skateboard when I was younger. It was like double wide with chunky wheels. Made it hard to fall off.

Keri
13 years ago

The horse is CUTE and on SALE! Get it, get it, get it! As for skateboards, they do sell preschool sized ones. Get a plastic bubble and put Riley in that with the skateboard and he’s all set. ;)

DeeDee
DeeDee
13 years ago

Screw the rocking horse, get him a Daddle:

http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/2006/06/daddle_a_saddle.html