A Word In Your Ear - August 18, 2011

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Many an old sage will tell you we never forget the things that came naturally to us as kids.

Riding a bike is perhaps the most well known, but how about flying a kite?

Regular readers will know I’ve spent almost every waking moment of parenthood ticking things off on the checklist of knowledge I need to pass on to my little Rugrats.

How to walk, talk, count, kick a ball, set the Sky+ box. . . those kinds of things.

Riding a bike was mastered last year by both, and so I was keen to continue the University of Rhodes education on my recent week off.

Shame I chose last week when the promised balmy August sun was replaced by a wet and windy week more akin to the grey-slate skies of February.

“At least it’s great weather to fly a kite,” the Put Upon Wife joked, as she tried to lift my less than impressed spirits.

Remembering we had bought the very thing on last year’s holiday in Scotland, I thought why not?

As a child, I remember being a bit of a kite top gun, and can recall owning a stunt craft with the face of Peter Powell on it. It took years for me to realise he was some toy inventor and not the Radio One DJ.

Anyhow, loop the loops and Stuka-dive bomber plunges were my thing, and so I was like a giddy schoolkid when we headed out as a family to a wide open field, with a chill wind blowing right through it.

By the time we had reached the said spot, the Rugrats were left in little doubt they were in the company of a true Olympian of the aviation world.

Problem One: I needed to build it. Could I remember how the strings were attached? Could I heck.

Problem Two: I could not remember whether you waited for the wind to take the kite from the ground, threw it into the oncoming wind, or got someone to run along like an idiot until the breeze took it.

It had been 30 long work and alcohol-filled years since I last flew a kite in anger. Sadly, it showed.

First the Put Upon Wife ran with it. I got frustrated, told her she was not doing it right and took over.

I was even more hopeless.

It was demoralising to say the least. At least the Rugrats only saw half of my misery, given they had given up after five minutes and found a slide to play on.

Half an hour later I, dejected and embarrassed, decided to do the only honourable thing - give up and start lying to my kids.

“Too windy, you see,” I said with the kind of stern authority only defeated dads can pull off.

“That and I think the kite wasn’t right. Yes that’s right, it must have been broken. Sorry kids I will have to take it back to the shop.”

I reckon Frisbees could be an easier one to pull off – “look kids it’s magic. . . a kite with no strings.”

Making it up as we go along – it’s what dads do best.