Thursday, February 16, 2017

Grandson Lessons – Tough Guy Face

My eighteen-month-old grandson has very expressive facial features. Most of the time he is a happy guy, but once in a while he will let us know when he is displeased. He doesn’t hold back whether happy or unhappy.

But there is one facial expression that always makes me laugh. I refer to it as his tough guy face. He scrunches up his nose like a tough guy in a TV show. He may not be all that tough, but he knows how to disarm me.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Left Coast Crime Conference 2017

In March, one of my favorite conferences takes place—The Left Coast Crime Conference. This year it’s in Honolulu, so darn, I have to force myself to go back to where I grew up. This conference features mystery writers and fans and is an action-packed four days of catching up with old friends and making new ones.

I have the pleasure of being on a panel titled, Favorite Heroes and Villains: Why Do We Remember Them, which will be moderated by Penny Warner and include other panelists Susanna Calkins, Colin Cotterill and Augie Hicks. With this great group of authors we’ll have a lively discussion.
I’ll also be moderating the Meet the New Authors Breakfast. This is an opportunity to introduce authors who have published their first mystery/crime/suspense/thriller novel within the last year. Each of the new authors will describe to the fans at the conference the most important thing to know about their debut novel.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Grandson Lessons – Friends and Strangers

Our eighteen-month-old grandson has an opportunity to meet people at the park, library and other places we go. Some are people he knows and some are strangers. I enjoy watching his reaction to other people.

People he knows he greets with a smile. When there is a stranger, he tends to stay close to me and watch for a while. I sense he is assessing the person and situation. Nothing wrong with this in our day and age. Unfortunately, little kids have to be cautious about strangers.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Grandson Lessons – Testing Limits with a Smile


One thing little kids are good at is testing limits. I’ve watched this with my eighteen-month-old grandson.

There are some that are non-negotiable, such as holding Grandpa’s hand while crossing a street. Of course, when he gets older this will change, but for now this is the rule.

Our grandson is very good at trying to negotiate less critical limits. As an example, I have a bookshelf in my home office that he can reach. He loves pulling out books, which I have asked him not to do. His response—he gives me a big smile and keeps doing it. I will say in a loud, authoritative voice, “No!” He grins and pulls out another book. He knows this technique is more effective than throwing a tantrum. We usually reach a compromise of leaving my books alone and giving him a pickleball to play with instead.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Grandson Lessons – Being Alone versus Socializing

While observing my eighteen-month-old grandson, I keep learning interesting lessons. Today’s deals with being alone versus socializing.

He now enjoys playing with toys by himself at times. Still, he doesn’t like being left completely alone. His ideal is having time to himself with my wife or me close by. This way he can decide what he wants to do, but has someone to check in with periodically. Then when he’s ready to interact with us, he comes over to indicate he wants a book read to him or would like to build blocks together.
I can identify. I like time to myself but also enjoy socializing.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Grandson Lessons – Playing with Cars

Boys and their cars. My seventeen-month-old grandson loves playing with his toy cars. We have a corner of the kitchen where we keep his collection of fifteen toy cars lined up. When he comes over to visit, in addition to books, blocks and empty bottles, cars are on his priority list of items to play with.

But it isn’t just pushing the cars and carrying them around that interests him. There is a step between the kitchen area and the living room. What is more fun that sending the cars careening over the step as if going off a cliff.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Grandson Lessons - The Best Toys

Some people relish expensive toys—cars, boats, airplanes. Kids sometimes buy into the same paradigm by asking for expensive games and toys. I’ve learned from my seventeen-month-old grandson, that you can have just as much fun with an inexpensive toy.

He has an ample supply of toy cars, trucks and airplanes. We have a corner of the kitchen with his collection of cars that he plays with. But another toy location is a cabinet where we keep empty plastic bottles and containers. He entertains himself by taking bottle tops off and putting them back on, carrying an old jar around with him and putting things inside and dumping them out. Kind of like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh with his useful jar to put things in. Our grandson will often abandon the more expensive toys for the simple joy of playing with the bottles and containers.