01 02 03 Prone to Wander: “Flip that water bottle one more time and see what happens!” 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

“Flip that water bottle one more time and see what happens!”


I heard myself shout, rather rudely. On that particular day, I was so totally done with all the nonsense. I had let it go on for far too long. After all, objects flying across the room and through the halls are not an uncommon occurrences in our house. On any given day, there may be Nerf gun bullets, footballs, socks, juggling balls, or even a variety of produce whizzing by. Whatevs. I’m to the point where I ignore a lot of it. Choose your battles, my mom says. Nerf gun wars and oranges used as juggling balls in the kitchen are not battles I want to tackle, unless of course, David drops and bruises all my oranges, which he has done, and yes, then I will fight.

So when they continuously flipped the half full bottles of water so they rotated in the air and then landed on the table and then rolled to the floor, I frowned. The sloshes and then the thuds messed with my sanity. Over the next few days though, they kept flipping, and not just half full water bottles. They flipped bottles of Sunkist, and I even caught Kevin trying to flip a half full milk jug! The lid was not on properly, and milk poured from the jug, all over the kitchen floor.

“Enough with the flipping!” I declared.

“But mom, it’s fun!” he said.

“It’s stupid, and it makes no sense.”

“Stupid isn’t a nice word to say, mom.”

I sighed. “Can’t you play with something else?”

The next day in my own classroom, before class started, a student sat at his desk with a half full water bottle in front of him. With no warning whatsoever, he picked up the bottle and would you believe this, he flipped it. The bottle rotated once, tumbled to the side, and rolled to the edge of the desk. He grabbed the bottle before it fell to the ground and then started over.

The girl next to him looked annoyed. Three minutes until class started.

“Um, could you please stop?” I finally asked, after 4 flips.

“Sorry,” he said as he steadied his water bottle on his desk.

“Wait, why do you do that? First tell me why you do that, flip the water bottles, I mean.”

His eyes brightened and he pulled his phone from his pocket and quickly looked up a video and handed me the device. The video showed him flipping a water bottle with one quick wrist flick. The bottle rotated once and then landed straight up on a table.

“Oh cool.” I muttered. And it was cool.

Then he showed me another video of a kid from Charlotte, North Carolina who flipped a water bottle for a talent show and it landed upright. The crowd roared their fascination and approval. He explained to me that kids all over the world are now flipping water bottles, the goal to land them upright. It’s a skill that takes so much practice, but sometimes, just sometimes, with the perfect amount of luck and skill, the bottle rotates once and lands straight.

Later that day, both of my boys and their neighbor friend were all sitting around the kitchen table, taking turns flipping their bottles. I watched for a few minutes before I too, emptied out some of the water from my water bottle and tried (The water bottle should be ½ to ¼ full, so I’ve heard). I tried several times, but no perfect landing.

I guess at this point, I have changed my attitude about the excessive flippage of the water bottles. The noise is obnoxious, but my boys can entertain themselves for hours and they aren’t fighting with each other or zoned out watching TV or playing video games.

Every now and then, I will even practice my own flip (to this day, I have not succeeded in the perfect landing, but I am still working on it).

Flip. Slosh. Thud. Roll. Repeat.
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