15. Button Pushing

I work in a television control room with video switchers, camera control units, and an audio board with about ten thousand buttons.  If the kids come in there and I turn around for more than ten seconds, my boys will have pushed about 9,843 of them.  Boys will push any button just to see what happens.  They’ll pull levers and flip switches.  They are capable of evacuating entire buildings of people with the single press of a button.  With three boys, I am petrified of those red fire alarm pull switches in our church.  Who thought it would be smart to put those things 35 inches off the floor?  They’re just dangling there like a flashing neon “fun” sign for boys.  Might as well have a tootsie roll stuck to each handle.

Nicholas once pressed such an amazing combination of buttons on our computer keyboard that the entire image on the monitor was turned sideways.  The start menu on the bottom now started on the right side and went left across the screen.  I had to lay horizontal on the desk just to read google and figure out how to fix it.

Nathan decided to fix popcorn one day and jammed the ‘instant cook’ button on the microwave so many times he nearly detonated the entire neighborhood.  You can watch the ensuing video coverage I began producing when I got home from work.  Perfect example of the lethal combination of boys and buttons.  The stench took weeks to leave our house.  In fact, it’s probably still in here two years later, and we just are immune to it.

But the number one button of all time for boys to push is, without a doubt, the power window button.  You’re driving down the road, and it’s usually 110º outside.  Or 7º for you northern folks…and from the back seat, you hear it.



Boys can never just press the window button and make a definitive move.  It’s always about two inches at a time.  In random directions.  Up, up.  Down.  Up.  Down, down.  VRRPPFT.  vrrrmmphht.

“Close the window,” you say, because you have to at least give them a chance to oblige, even though you know it’s hopeless.

“But I’m hot and I need the wind blowing on me,” they whine.

“It’s four million degrees outside and you are not a golden retriever.  Close the window NOW.”

VrrrmMPHT.  Window goes up.

VRRRRFFT.  Window from boy on opposite side of the car goes down.

Repeat process.

At some point, usually very quickly, you realize you are engaged in a losing battle.  You are strapped in the front seat, and must drive.  The boys have the buttons, and are in the back seat, no driving required.  And this, my friends, is when you partake in what I have come to believe is the sweetest little slice of parenting power you will ever sink your teeth into…


Choose your moment carefully…then pounce!  I usually go with the “rest two fingers on both rear window buttons at once then wait for an opening” method.  Moment of boy/window silence?  Jam both switches straight to the top, then deftly make the slide of the window lock button with your thumb, never even releasing the back windows for a second.

Now savor it.

All back seat boys are powerless, dumfounded.  Sometimes they even whisper sad murmurs of defeat to each other.  It’s the most exhilarating rush of power you’ll ever taste.  The sweetest nectar known to parents.  Trust me, you must try it.  It’s so good that I find myself unlocking the windows just so I can experience the sheer enjoyment of pressing the ultimate power button again next time.

After all, I used to be a boy, too.  🙂


11 thoughts on “15. Button Pushing

  1. Being without a vehicle that has power window buttons for the past year, this one brought back some great memories! When in Mexico, using our truck for a church van, I used that “ultimate power button” quite often! For kids who had never seen power windows, they were fascinated by them, and just couldn’t leave them alone. Sometimes, I really confused them, as I would lock the windows, then proceed to roll them up or down from my all-powerful position as driver. We definitely never grow up entirely….:)

    • Thanks man… one of my great hopes is that you get a boy or two. Now THAT will be a fun show to watch! If I happen to be an accomplished or published writer at that point, I may just have to return to my tv skills for a while, and produce a reality show about “Ryan and Sons.” 🙂

  2. As the father of a 15 month old little girl I have to say that it’s not only boys that are fans of the button mash. I’ve even included her exploits in my own writings and oddly enough, given enough time with my parent’s laptop, she was able to flip their screen just like your boys did to yours. It’s like they are just toying with us, these children and their extraordinary computing prowess.

    I hope you don’t mind me linking to the article that I wrote about my daughter.

    Dennis Edmondson

    • Thanks for reading, Dennis! Looks like you have some adventures on your hands there as well… a site like yours was where I found the helpful instructions on how to re-align our computer screen. Otherwise I might still be typing this while lying sideways across the desk! 🙂

  3. Just started reading your blog, Tony. I can’t stop!!! I agree with a previous post , YOU HAVE TO PUT THIS IN BOOK FORM! I love it!

  4. Last year we went on vacation and when we arrived at our Condo my then four year old son ran around switching all of the lights on and off, the fans on and off, etc. basically, button pushing. We walked outside to go to dinner about 45 minutes after arriving and he saw a fire alarm and pulled. Yup. Evacuated the entire condo complex. In the rain. They loved us.

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