Father and son enjoy an extended weekend

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

Mine was spend with my 3-year-old son. Mommy went to her sister’s for the weekend in the Chicago suburbs, and Forrest and I had three days of father-son time.

Friday night we went to the 3D movie “Shrek Forever After” at Cinema 7. The 3D effects are cool, but it indeed is hard to pass the popcorn wearing the glasses. By the way, thumbs up to newest “Shrek” film.

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I am writing about Forrest because I have had so many people ask me to write about him. So here you go. Thanks for asking.

On Saturday, Forrest was such a good boy in a toyless place — my work. Reporter Kelli Lageson and I had to put out the Sunday paper and website on Saturday. Forrest watched cartoons on the office TV set and played with my office supplies, especially the Scotch tape dispenser. He made a big ball of tape.

He is so used to seeing Publisher Scott Schmeltzer when he comes into the building that he went straight to his office door and began to turn the doorknob. I explained that Scott wasn’t there. Later, when Scott did drop by the office, Forrest hardly said a word to him because he was engrossed in a cartoon.

We finished in the afternoon and went over to Hayek Field to catch the Albert Lea Tigers baseball game against Hastings. We made it in the third inning, and we bought lunch at the concession stand. We found a nice place to sit in the stands next to the loudest yelling — that’s a good thing in my book — fan. I encouraged Forrest to say things like “Go Tigers!” He clapped with happiness when the stands erupted in cheers for Tiger runs.

But a 3-year-old can remain still in the stands for only so long. We headed along third base to watch behind a fence while seated on the grass. He had more room to run around, to wrestle me and to sit on my lap. We watched the nerve-wracking extra inning standing with the coach’s wife and her daughter. Forrest was playing in the dirt of the catcher’s area in Hayek’s bullpen when a pitcher and catchacer came out to warm up. He didn’t know where to go when the catcher moved into his space. I rescued him. He stood by me but watching them, with his head going left, right, left, right, like fans at a tennis match.

The Tigers lost, but they posted a good season. We headed home so Forrest could take a short nap. He protested but then was out like a light bulb. Why do all kids do that?

We then made a shopping trip with a stop at Collective Spirits. The store was closed, but owner Kevin Blake was on the premises and is an all-around nice guy. He kindly let me purchase a beer-making kit for English pale ale. Forrest left the store with three big balloons.

That evening, I made wort — pretty much beer without the yeast — on the stove. The process involves a lot of boiling with long waits, so Forrest and I were play fighting in the living room. Yes, you can lecture me about fighting if you want, but he’s a smart kid. He knows when hitting is not OK and when it is just play. And he never hits for the head, just my chest and arms. Boys need fathers sometimes just to pound on. Forrest won all our fights by knockout. Indeed, the boy can count to 10 fast when he wants to.

He likes to say, “I beat you!”

The evening finished with us watching “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.” Forrest likes “Star Wars” movies and TV shows, but not as much as he likes Lightning McQueen and anything to do with the animated movie “Cars.” Will they ever make a sequel?

On Sunday, we slept. Then we lounged and ate breakfast. Then we had to go to the Tribune because I had more work to do. Again, he was a well-behaved child.

Then it was time at a park, followed by lunch, followed by a nap, followed by me taking him to Geri Murtaugh’s house while I went to run the Sunday disc golf league. After the storm passed, the Murtaughs took him on a boat ride. When I picked him up, Geri said he likes it when the boat goes fast.

By the way, Forrest is made mostly of chicken nuggets and fries. That’s what we ate for supper, along with some corn. We played a few holes of video game golf on “Wii Sports Resort.” Believe it or not, the 3-year-old is fairly good at the game. It’s unbelievable to watch. Guess what he says if he putts his ball in the hole before I do?

“I beat you!”

Never mind who had the lowest score.

Then we watched the animated movie “Ratatouille” before hitting the hay.

On Monday morning, after breakfast and after I mowed the lawn, we went for a bike ride. He rides in the Burley bike trailer while I pedal. We went to Wedgewood Park, then to Sibley Elementary School, then to Frank Hall Park — where he climbed the wall! — and then we went to Burger King, where he enjoyed the indoor playground. Again, he ate chicken and fries.

Then we pedaled to City Beach, which was indeed the place to be on such a sunny Memorial Day. People of all ages filled the park. I showed Forrest how to step out when the waves recede and to jump back when they crash. He couldn’t get enough of that.

He protest leaving, but I knew he was getting tired. He konked out in the bike trailer on the ride home around Fountain Lake. I carried him to bed. Around 4 p.m., Mom arrived.

Well, I hope you enjoyed your weekend, but I have to say I wouldn’t trade the weekend I had with anyone.

Tim Engstrom is the managing editor of the Albert Lea Tribune.