Lately, it seems as though I’ve been invaded by little kids. I have them around me all the time. Now, this is actually a gift from the gods because they amuse me and put me in a good mood. It’s hard to be in a bad mood with happy little people running around playing. The one exception is when they wake me up in the morning. I hate mornings.

I find that kids look at the world from a different and innocent perspective. They also just blurt out whatever is on their mind. Some of the stuff they say is absolutely hilarious and makes me think they are somewhat crazy, which makes for great powerlifters. We all know powerlifters are at least a little crazy. Most of these kids haven’t learned how to quit or give up. If they want something, they keep trying. They’re also born with proper squat technique. Have you ever watched a little kid who just learned how to walk? When they pick something up off the floor, they squat down with perfect technique and then squat back up just as perfectly. All I have to do is keep these kids from getting messed up, and they’ll be great powerlifters. That’s my plan with the little fellas around me.

My biological nephew, Travis, is three and a half years old. He’s still a bit of a whiner, but every now and then I see a glimmer of a future powerlifter in him. He has a serious problem with being told what to do. He hates it. I respect this because I feel the same way. However, he goes a bit overboard. I think if I put a bag of Oreos in front of him and told him he had to eat them, he would stomp his feet and cry. He wouldn’t eat them just because I said he had to.

Well about a year ago, I told him that he had to pick up his toys or something, and he turned around and told me he was going to kill me. Now, I’m not sure what the proper parental response is for this, but my first reaction was pride because he had enough of the Aichs family blood in him to give that type of response. My next reaction was to laugh hysterically and ask just how he planned on doing that. In complete frustration, he crossed his arms and went into the other room, stomping his feet the entire way. I had to give the little 30 lb guy credit for saying that to 380 lb me. One of the other things he likes do is to have growling competitions, which I always win because I’m louder. The other day he was carrying some dumbbells around the house, and this almost made me tear up. If I can channel that stubbornness and anger into powerlifting, he’ll be a freak.

Amber is my biological niece, and she is five years old. It’s hard for me to believe that a girl so cute can come from the same bloodlines as me. Amber says tons of very funny stuff and amuses the hell out of me. About three years ago, she got to see me perform in a meet for the first time. After watching me get all pumped up during my squats, she turned to my sister (her mom) and asked why Uncle Chad was crying. That really let the wind out of my sails. It wasn’t really the response I was going for.

The other day I was lying on the floor with my legs up on the chair watching TV. Of course my fat belly was sticking out of my shirt. Well, Amber came over and sat on my belly to watch TV with me. She looked at my belly and said, “You need to shave your belly Uncle Chaddy.” This forced me into a discussion about how real men do not shave their bodies. It apparently didn’t work because she told me that I needed to at least shave part of it. She’s kind of a girly girl, but I still have hopes that she’ll be a great powerlifter. She does love to push her brother around.

Anyone who has seen me in a meet has probably seen my adopted niece, Bailey. Bailey is Ethan and Carla’s daughter. She can be a complete handful and would probably outlast the Energizer Bunny. In fact, she would destroy it and then dance around the little pink carcass while beating on its drum. Bailey is awesome and is also my biggest little fan. Before every meet, she threatens that I better win and is always proud of me afterward.

One of the funniest things she ever said was during a trip to Vegas to do a meet. Scott and I had adjoining rooms with Ethan and Carla. Well, Bailey was hanging out in our room trying to pick on us. She stopped just long enough to see these girls in bikinis on TV during Fear Factor or something. She said, “Ooooooooh sexy.” Scott and I just looked at each other and started laughing. There’s still a running joke about what Bailey’s sexual orientation will be when she grows up. It’s funny to everyone except Carla, who I’m probably in trouble with when she reads this. I love you my best-est friend (that’s Carla).

Bailey is kind of a tomboy, but the other day I got this great call from Ethan. He told me that his daughter is in the store buying dresses, and he’s just not sure what to think about it. Bailey is already on the road to becoming a great powerlifter. Whenever she’s in the gym, she runs around doing Smith machine squats, Smith machine bench presses, pull-ups, rows, push-ups, and any other exercise she can think up. She only weighs like 60 lbs, but she deadlifts 75 lbs and bench presses 40 lbs.

Little Hanna is a friend of Amber’s and one of the few kids that has had absolutely no fear of me since the first time we met. She’s a very cute kid with a great smile, but she doesn’t say too many funny things because she doesn’t talk much. She can talk very well, but she just doesn’t unless she has something important to say. I actually respect this. Even though she doesn’t say much, she still cracks me up.

The other day all of the kids were sitting at the table eating, and because they’re all like little pigs, they had to go wash up after they were done. Hanna ran back into the kitchen and started pushing me while I was eating. This really didn’t bother me, but I had to ask her what she was doing. She looked up at me, gave me this big smile, and then proceeded to continue pushing me. She kept pushing me for ten minutes or so and even pushed me so hard that her feet slipped out from under her a few times. She hit the floor and got back up to push some more. I have to respect that kind of persistence. For a little 30 lb girl to think that she can push big 380 lb me out of a chair, that’s a good start for a powerlifter.

All of these kids are just great, and they make me laugh all the time. Maybe I get along with them so well because my mental age isn’t much higher than theirs or maybe because I laugh at the cartoons more than they do. I have to keep them away from my favorite cartoons though like Family Guy, American Dad, and South Park. Their favorites are Jimmy Neutron, Sponge Bob, and the Fairy Odd Parents, which also make me laugh. I try not to push them too hard into sports and powerlifting, but I really hope that I get to share some of my knowledge about strength with them. Whatever makes them happy is cool, but I hope it is powerlifting.
Kids rock. Sometimes I like them better than adults.