Kids resolve to have fun -- and that's it

Port Discovery party gets the jump on New Year

December 31, 2006|By Gadi Dechter | Gadi Dechter,Sun reporter

First-grader Lauren Bryant's New Year's resolution is to lose her two front baby teeth. Michael Heck, 6, plans to stop sucking his thumb, while 4-year-old Mikai James of Randallstown is determined to devote more time to his Christmas toys.

Alas, these goal-oriented kids are the exception.

Most of the hundreds of children who rang in 2007 early at Port Discovery's eighth Noontime New Year's party yesterday were resolved to do nothing more than push, pull, slide, swing and hammer on as many hands-on exhibits as possible, before weary parents dragged them away.

"I don't know what you're talking about," snapped 4-year-old Nolan Toadvine of Crofton, when pressed about his New Year's resolutions.

That reaction is understandable, said Maryland Public Television's Bob "the Vid Tech" Heck, who emceed the event, leading the children in a boisterous sing-a-long before they all counted down the seconds - Times Square-style - to noon.

"You see, the very nature of childhood is change," Heck explained after the confetti had cleared, "so the adult construct of a New Year's resolution could not possibly enter their consciousness."

With 15 years of hosting children's television under his trademark teal-and-fuchsia lab coat, Heck fancies himself something of an expert on kid psychology. To prove it, the North Baltimore actor and comedian asked his 9-year-old son, Thomas, about his New Year's resolution.

"To stop twirling my hair," replied the mop-topped boy without hesitation.

Heck beamed with pride at the child's precociousness.

Though other children appeared content with blissful ignorance of the resolution concept, most parents had no problem ticking off serious self-improvement projects.

"Drink more water, lose weight, pay off some credit cards," said Janice Bryant of York, Pa.

Michael Pulianas of Perry Hall intends to remodel his entire house himself, and then re-landscape the yard. Forklift operator Marcus James hopes to land a marketing job.

And if the old folks had trouble coming up with resolutions, the kids were eager to help.

"I'm hoping he's going to go on a diet," said Greg Noplos, 13, about his father, the Rev. Louis J. Noplos of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Cub Hill.

As for himself, Greg said he couldn't think of a single resolution.

"What a piece of work that kid is," growled his father, who said he would decline his son's advice. "I am a big, fat, happy boy."

Noplos and fellow church leaders brought two busloads of congregants and 50 Greek dancers to the free-admission party at Port Discovery yesterday, where the current theme is Greek culture.

On hand to help Bob the Vid Tech count down the seconds in English and Greek were outgoing Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes and state Economic Development Secretary Aris Melissaratos, both of whom are of Greek descent.

The longest-serving senator in Maryland's history, Sarbanes said he had made no New Year's resolutions this year. Which only proved, he said, that after more than three decades in Congress, the 73-year-old senator is still "a child at heart."

gadi.dechter@baltsun.com

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