I Did It All For The Gadgets

Humble Pride

There's nothing quite like those moments -- those rare public moments when the child you've spent years of your life raising as a kind, empathetic and polite human being opens his mouth...and says the most impulsive, selfish and socially tone-deaf thing he could possibly come up with. In front of God, everybody and at least 50 other adults with video cameras.

So I left a little anecdote out of my entry about Noah's belt test. Because...well, it wasn't exactly the sort of story I felt deserved to be preserved for posterity. At least...not at first. At first it was one of those "let's forget THAT ever happened" stories.

So Noah was waiting for his turn to break his board. It's the last task of the test, the big moment that signals your successful graduation to the next belt level, the part where everybody claps and cheers for you, and not to mention, is completely fucking awesome, because you get to break a damn board with your fist

But the little girl ahead of Noah was not getting that completely awesome moment, because she could not break her board, no matter how many times she tried. The instructor switched boards, had her practice over and over again, but the board would not split. They quickly abandoned the punching idea and had her try an easier stomp kick move. But the board would not split. 

The instructors continued to cheer her on, as did the entire audience of parents, grandparents and siblings -- you know, ANYTHING to keep the poor thing from getting upset or embarrassed during a moment that is solely intended to be a self-confidence booster, as I've always suspected that those balsa wood boards get a secondary helpful bit of snapping pressure from the instructors. 

Noah sat silently during this, growing slightly more impatient with every failed attempt the little girl made. Finally, he could take no more:

"SHE'S NEVER GOING TO BREAK HER BOARD!" he announced. Loudly. Very, very loudly.

There are a few sounds that I will never, ever forget, dear readers: The sound my car made during a violent head-on collision in high school, the sound of my newborn babies' cries for the first time...and the sound of every other person in that room making the same horrified and dismayed "OHHHNOOOOOOO!" sort of gasp.

Noah was quickly admonished by an instructor and we, the audience, were ordered to cheer for the little girl even louder. Jason and I looked at each other, completely mirroring the other's embarrassment and desire for the floor to open up and swallow us whole, because yeeeeah.

That's my kid, right there.

 The one that EVERY OTHER PERSON IN THIS ROOM is thinking, "oh God, I'm glad that wasn't my kid."

Argh. Kids. Five-year-olds. Whattaya gonna do, right? 

Well, if you're Jason, you spend a nice chunk of your afternoon assembling an extremely complicated Harry Potter Lego set while talking to your kid about why that wasn't a nice thing to say, how that probably hurt that little girl's feelings, and what "encouragement" means and why it's important, and suggesting that maybe an apology is in order, the next time that little girl comes to karate class.

But you might also probably feel like everything you said went in one ear and out the other, cuz LEGOS LEGOS LEGOS.

And if you're me, you'll completely forget to bring the topic up again and prompt your kid about that outstanding apology while driving to karate class a few days later. Until you watch the little girl in question arrive late and take her spot directly behind your kid in line, like, ooohhhhhhhhhrightthat. 

But if your kid is Noah, you will also watch him immediately turn around and face the little girl. And you will hear him, clear as day, say, "I'm sorry I said you couldn't break your board. I'm sorry you were having a hard time. But you did really, really great and I'm happy you got your yellow belt too."

And you will realize you are sitting next to the little girl's mom. And you will see the corners of her mouth turn up in a charmed sort of smile. And you will see the instructor's face similarly melt, as he turns to your child and thanks him for being such a gentleman and a good friend, and tells him he just earned himself an extra raffle/prize ticket for a random act of kindness. 

And then you will watch your kid earn a second ticket for winning that day's special "flying kick" competition, expertly performing a new double-leg jump-kick thing that requires all sorts of gross motor skills and coordination and crossing the midline (and lands 90% of his classmates on their butts), and you will think, "That's my kid. That's MY kid. That's my amazing, unbelievable kid."



Oh...sniffle. That's so lovely.


I cried. Why do you always make me cry, lady?


That post rocked. Fuckin' A, Noah.


I just choked up a little (okay, a lot) with this post. Noah really is amazing. <3


And that made me tear up... Good going Noah!


(weepy)thanks for that story. Noah, you're the MAN!(/weepy)


Awww, boys *g*


This absolutely brought tears to my eyes. See, he was listening! Thank you for saving this as its own post -- definitely a story worth waiting for.

Heather P

Oh, Amy. That was beautiful. Way to go, Noah.


That is amazing! Such a sweet, good kid.


I just did my makeup to get ready for date night. Now I have to go and redo it again.


Wow. There are people many times his age who aren't capable of that. (The apology, I mean, though the same is probably true for the double-leg jump-kick thing.)


awww way to go Noah!!

Dawn K.

A good reminder to all of us that what defines us isn't automatically the mistakes we make or the missteps we take, but how we respond to those situations that make a difference in the world.

So touching!


Awwww Noah. What a great kid.


So awesome!


Oh, that is so sweet. Good on you, Noah. And you too, Amy. Sounds like you're raising a wonderful little guy.


That totally gave me the a good way! What a very, very special kid. You done good, Mom & Dad.

Kate P

Amy- Awesome story. Noah is an amazing kid, for sure! But, remember, that doesn't come from the and Jason are amazing parents, as well.


Oh what a sweet sweet story about a sweet sweet boy!


Like! Like! Like!

(with tears in my eyes like everyone else).

Noah really is trying. Empathy is not his strong suit (nor mine, unfortunately), but he really WANTS to learn, WANTS to be nice, WANTS to get it.

(so do I... but when you're not born with it, it's hard).


Wow. He is awesome.


Like many times before, you brought me to tears. So sweet.

Amanda aka Superpucky

Way to go NOAH! It just goes to show you can put your foot in your mouth and you can take it right back out.


Bravo kiddo.

Amy B

Aaaaaaaaand now I am crying at my desk at work. Thank you.

Sara Rethwisch

This is my hands down favorite post ever.


That is one awesome kid, with two awesome parents. :)




Oh, good job , Jason AND Noah. This is like a double win becos he remembered and he got extra encouragement on making apologies, which should'nt be a big deal but so many adults I know just REFUSE to issue one. Probably due to a great deal of shaming over as kids.
Life is so much easier when we acknowledge that mistakes get made but don't mean we are worthless and taking responsibility with a sincere apology heals everybody up, pretty quick.
On another note ..the kid who says "THE THING"? Take it in stride are HONEST so I and most parents understand that last round of OMG was taking my then 5 year old out for Chinese and being quizzed LOUDLY about " how come these people don't speak English Right ? I bout fell off my chair..teachable moments indeed !! He said "these people" !!! It's a family legend now of course.


I imagine every parent reading this was instantly transported back to a time when their kid said something that made you wish the rapture would take place right NOW! (Or maybe it's just me.) Nice follow through Noah! Most excellent.


Way to go, Noah, indeed. And I'd like to add: way to go, Jason. It's especially good when these lessons come from the Dad to a son, so that he can learn what it truly means to be a man.


Awww, Noah, that is so sweet. *blub*


Yay for Noah and yay for you all. It's those special little moments when the kids "give back" that keep me going!




Okay, totally crying now. Thanks for sharing!


Love this story!


Seriously Amy, if you're not making me laugh, you're making me cry...Go NOAH


I love kids. Love them. Good job Noah!!!


I'm reading this as Van Morrison's "Have a Little Faith in Me" comes across my Pandora. Good song for Noah. Congrats to Noah, and you guys for raising a good kid!


I dunno if it's just because I'm pregnant, but I'm crying my eyes out every time I read any of these sweet posts. Dammit!

On that note, I am more and more convinced that my current state of misery (Sick! achy! agh!) is totally, totally worth it.

Laura in PA

Well done, Noah and Noah's mom and dad! What a great story.


I got all weepy reading that! What a wonderful moment!

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Awww Noah! That is wonderful. What a kind-hearted compassionate kid you and Jason are raising.


Aaaaaaaaaaaand cue the tears. Damn, Amy, great post!


Oh, you just made me cry in public. What a great story. Way to go, Noah.


My son who was about 5 at the time, said out VERY loud in the grocery about a woman who had the biggest ankles I've ever seen 'Mommy that lady has elephant legs!' OH.My.God.

I did not however get a chance to have him apologize. I'm glad you did... Go Noah!


That story absolutely brought tears to my eyes. That is so sweet. I see it had the same effect on many other commenters. This post is powerful! How far your young man has come!


LIKE. Very nice.


Awww so sweet. He was just saying what everyone was thinking.


This is so powerful, a great testament to great parenting. What a sweet empathetic thing for him to do. And, awesome flying leap kick. Parenting is awesomeness.


I love Noah. It's so great watching him grow up and also "grow up."


Kudos to Jason for talking it through even if it seemed the Legos were getting all the attention. Amazing how much they listen and absorb. Amazing and more than a little scary.


I love this story! And I'm so glad that he did it without prompting. That's huge!


Go, Noah, go! You are so many layers of awesome!


Your kids are so awesome.


Yay for Noah. He is such a gorgeous child in absolutely every way.

My grin totally stretched from ear to ear when I read his apology. What a great kid!


Just this morning, my son couldn't break his board. He was pretty bummed, but then he got his white/yellow belt and beamed.


Yay, Noah!! Yay, Amy and Jason!

(From your cheering section.:))

Plano Mom

Isn't it funny how the little shits will ALWAYS prove you wrong, both good and bad?

Way to go Noah. Keep it up with the Mom and Dad epic fails. :)


Noah is such a gentleman! He did a flying kick right to the face of accidental rudeness!


Congratulations Mom and Dad! You done good with that one there. :)


Ok... granted I'm do to give birth any time in the next couple weeks, but I teared up. How sweet!


Okay that just choked me up. I'm blaming it on pregnancy hormones, but awwwwwwww I'm so glad he got the lesson.


Kids; just when you begin to wonder which teachings have really made sense to them, you get a gift. And it's one that you created, in every sense of the word. Be proud of Noah, and know that you are doing a great job. Hopefully that gets you through the next few really horrific bits. Hey, life's a cycle, right?


Oh my. What an awesome kid Noah is.


Beautiful and inspiring story...brought tears.


Cripes, empathy is so hard to learn no matter what the age. Awesome for you and Jason working with him on this! Your kid has the biggest heart!


I am *not* a crier, but my eyes are welling up a little over here. What a sweet boy your son is.


Verklempt. Great kid, there.


What a wonderful boy. And yeah, I'm crying, too.


heart melting.
Please save this post and all the comments somewhere you'll remember to give it to him when he's being a punk teenager!

Alberta Grandma

Always know that what you say to extra-sensitive kids will stick! Noah is an old soul like my granddaughter--- she is now 10 and on my birthday in a place where there were people all around us in our small town where someone ALWAYS knows you, told a very racist "joke" a classmate had shared - we did not laugh -- her mother leaned over explained why it was not funny -- and bless her she looked so shocked that she could hurt someones feelings- then went back to school and did an intervention on bad jokes, her teacher called to say Thank you. SOOOOO be careful what you say, so far you are doing an wonderful job just carry on lol

Hairy Farmer Family

Ah, buggeration, Amy, you just made me sniffle. :-)


Aww. Sounds like karate is the perfect thing for Noah to be in.


damn. i'm not crying, i've just been cutting onions. i'm making a lasagna.


Okay, you made me sniffle. Not quite cry, because I am hard as nails and never cry, but suddenly my contacts are itchy and my nose felt sniffy. Noah is a fantastic kid.


My staff must think I am loony for crying on my lunch break.... oh well. Go Noah go!


This is a great story and all but I've grown accustomed to pictures of Ike being attached to your posts so please include pictures of adorable monkey with all future posts. K? Thaannnnnnks.


I love that kid.


You are such a great writer, Amy! Your words about your lovely family always inspire me and make me feel better about my amazing, beautiful kids. Keep it up please!


You often make me tear up, and sometimes make me out-right cry. Today was an out-right cry kind of day. Give him an extra hug from us please.


I think you should start putting stars on your calendar for everyday you manage to make your (empathetic and loving) readers cry like babies.


Hooray for Noah, and extra cheers for his wonderful parents who always go the extra mile (or three) to make sure he becomes the very best person he can be.


Best parents ever. Beautiful story. I hope I get a parenting moment like that one day.


Noah is awesome.


hmm, from my perspective, Noah is what like 4,5? Not quite in kindergarten?

This is pretty much the time when those "out of the mouths of babes" comments are really ripe. That's about the age I was when I used to ask my dad about his fat belly (He's 88, not sure if he's forgiven me yet ...)

That's how old my best friends daughter was when she asked me the very same thing! (of course she also was overheard explaining to someone that (about me:) "she's my Lisa!" and that completely explained it all to me!: I'm her Lisa and I have a fat belly and I rock! Yeah!

Actually, according to Kohlberg's theory of moral development, Noah is probably ahead of the curve at stage 3 (first born that he is)

The blurt seems to be about stage 2 behavior, and is make up message is very stage three. He's just a little blurt-ee now that he's getting so good at expressing himself verbally.

High five to Jason and you for being such a good parents to help him figure this stuff out, as you give him the tools he needs to harness his great powers of love, observation, tolerance, and friendship. Just like Yoda and Luke Skywalker.


Oh that Noah of me all teary-eyed again...(I think your fabulous writing had something to do with it, too, but still. :)


This made me so happy and so impressed with him and the guidance you and Jason are providing him. Go Noah!!


Thank you for sharing that uplifting moment. I needed to hear this kindness today.


I love THAT kid! :) Awesome job Noah!!!!!!


Yay, Noah!


Gah, seriously. I feel like we need to pass some Kleenex around here.

To realize you did something wrong, own up to it, and make amends is a skill a lot of adults I know haven't mastered. (Including myself at times, sadly.) You did great, kid.

Anthony from CharismaticKid

Oh I wish I had a happy ending to my embarrassing story. So I was taking the kids to swimming class and I noticed their new cool teacher had exceptionally SMALL feet. Like child size. But he's probably about 45 years old.

After swim lessons I commented on his feet to see if the kids noticed. They said no.

Just then, the teacher came out from behind me with his bike to go home. He heard me. All of it. And I felt like a huge douchebag.

There's no happy ending to that. And I'm not going to tell him I'm sorry I said you have small feet.


Made me cry and made my day all in one fell swoop.


*sniffle* Always, when I feel that I've reached the end of my rope in parenting arggghhhs, you manage to make it all better with an awesome story about one of your boys.

I think you should write a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" type book - they are the only other ones that make me cry as much as you do! :)


Just when you think all your teaching has gone in one ear and out the other... they pull something like this outa their hats. Extra raffle tickets all round!


Ahhhh, shit. I know I'm 41 weeks pregnant and hormonal as all get out, but that made me shed a tear. Nice work, Noah.


Someone before me said sniffle and well, yeah.

Moments like this are the point when you realize that you're getting there; to that point when your baby can go out and do his part to make the world better.

Well played, Noah.



My espresso maker just broke so I'm a little incoherent. Thanks for launching my day with such a delightful story, Amy. GO NOAH!!!

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