Monday, May 20th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
On Mother’s Day, Mommy and I took you to your very first baseball game. Coincidentally, the Nashville Sounds (our family’s home team) was playing the Sacramento River Cats (Mommy’s hometown team).
I almost have to use the word “miraculous” here to describe how long you lasted: You watched the game for 30 whole minutes!
Mommy and I were so impressed that as a 2 and a half year-old, you were able to pay attention to the game without wanting to get out of your seat for that long.
Seriously, you watched the game for 30 straight minutes!
Though, I should admit, you were due for a nap. So your drowsiness was countered by the fact that a real baseball game was going on right in front of you.
Not to mention, Ozzy, the mascot for the Nashville Sounds, came by to visit all the kids in the bleachers.
I’m pretty sure I actually convinced you that we had just visited him in the zoo the day before.
You didn’t really question why a giant cat who was creeping along the ground one day at the zoo, would be so friendly, walking upright and in uniform, and so happy to meet you the very next day.
But you rolled with it.
Then, you realized there was a whole stadium to explore. You were mesmerized (!) by the “tractors” (glorified golf carts) you found.
Mommy and I literally had to snap you out of your gaze on them:
“Jack? Jack! Let’s go…”.
And so you did. You discovered that the ramp of the deck served as a great “hill” for your red Hot Wheels car to race down.
Interestingly, that was the first toy car we ever bought you, exactly a year ago.
Now you have like 53 of them; many of which currently serve as the crushable cars for your monster trucks.
Mommy and I secured both ends of the ramp to make sure you didn’t escape us in all your excitement.
As for your “sock giraffe” that I bought Mommy on our honeymoon in New Hampshire nearly five years ago, you felt it was necessary he shared every adventure of the baseball game with you.
Along the way, you caught the attention of a sweet older man who was running the ticket gate:
“Hang on, little guy. I think I have something for you in the back.”
He handed you an official baseball that the Nashville Sounds had used for their practice.
As seen in the picture of you holding the ball, you were a bit confused on why you were getting a free gift that didn’t come wrapped in plastic or that didn’t require a trip to Target.
Or involve you earning it by going potty.
But again, you rolled with it.
I was thinking today about this. Something I really miss, as a 32 year-old man, is experiencing a version of life where everything is new and exciting and mysterious.
As for you, the kid, the boy wonder, you get to wake up to new adventures every day.
Dinosaurs are real.
A big cat lives in the zoo but serves as a baseball team’s mascot on the side.
Your imagination has no limits because the universe is truly magical.
I miss that.
It’s funny how these thoughts can stem from a baseball game.
I suppose that’s part of the reason that baseball games are so intertwined with American tradition and nostalgia.
Watching a baseball game at a stadium is like being taken through a portal where life seems both completely familiar yet completely brand new.
Maybe some would say it’s just a baseball game.
I have a feeling you understand where I’m coming from on this one.
Oh, and needless to say, you slept the whole way home… next to your baseball, of course.
P.S. To see more pictures of your first baseball game, go to The Dadabase Facebook page and click on the picture folder, Zoo and Baseball 2013.
Sunday, May 19th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
Twenty years ago in 1993, as a 12 year-old boy, I got to see Jurassic Park in the movie theater with my dad. It was the most life-like experience I’ve ever had in regards to believing I was actually seeing real dinosaurs.
As for you, your version of that happened last weekend when Mommy and I took you to the Nashville Zoo. You finally got to meet a real “dinosaur,” as promised. (An iguana, to be exact.)
Though you enjoyed finally getting to see one, as promised and hyped up, you told me your favorite animal was actually, of all exotic things, the turtle.
(Maybe it’s because our last name is Shell and turtles have a shell?)
You brought a red lowrider truck with you as your companion.
Somehow, from the beginning of our zoo visit, you assumed that in order for the thing to be legitimate or official, you were obligated for each zoo animal to see your truck.
It was like getting your passport stamped. You had to have each new animal hear your offer to play with them.
Impressively, we ended up seeing every animal in the entire zoo in an hour and 25 minutes. Your concept of going to the zoo is like mine of going shopping: Get in, get it, get out!
But of course, along the way, you did have time to unintentionally (?) heckle the zoo animals:
“Hey Tiger! I ride you?”
“Hey Meerkat! Wanna play with my red truck?”
Fortunately, you never seemed too bummed out when the animals stared in the other direction while you sincerely tried to befriend them.
Oh well, we ended up buying a family season pass to the zoo, so this wasn’t your only chance to befriend the (hopefully) enchanted creatures of the forest.
Most importantly, you still believe that dinosaurs are alive and well.
I care less about you losing faith in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
Or even Mickey Mouse.
But if you still believe that dinosaurs exist, I believe I can assist in keeping your childhood wonder alive even longer.
Randomly enough, the zoo helps with that.
P.S. To see more pictures of your recent visit to the zoo, go to The Dadabase Facebook page and click on the picture folder, Zoo and Baseball 2013.
Sunday, May 19th, 2013
2 years, 6 month.
Last night Mommy and I watched a total chick flick, What To Expect When You’re Expecting.
As far as the main takeaway for me, as a dad, the movie served as a visual reminder of what it’s like for the dad as the mom is giving birth.
In particular, I’m referring to the ridiculous and easily mockable theatrics that an empathetic and supportive father engages himself during labor:
“Hee-hee-hoo! Hee-hee-hoo! You’re doing great! I’m so proud of you! Hee-hee-hoo!”
Those words of encouragement are of course accompanied by the dad making constant, unflattering, John-Mayer-singing faces.
At least no one other than Mommy or the doctors saw my 12 hour goofball performance while Mommy was giving birth to you.
I know this has to sound petty, but when I think of Mommy and I having another baby (not necessarily any time soon, by the way) the first thing that enters my mind is, “Ah man, I have to be that dramatic character again.”
That’s one reason I wouldn’t mind Mommy getting the epidural right away if we have another baby.
Unlike the extremely pro-Business Of Being Born dad I was back in 2010, I’ve sort of went the other way on that one. I just want to be able to fast-forward through the whole labor process, as awkward and exhausting as it was for me, and I assume, Mommy.
While there’s this traditional concept of “there’s nothing like holding your own child for this first time,” it took months for me to feel that way. I’ve said multiple times that being a dad actually wasn’t something awesome for me until you were 15 months, because that’s the age you starting acknowledging my presence.
That was the age where I felt psychologically needed by you, not just physically.
That was the age where I stopped subconsciously thinking, “I have to do this,” and started thinking, “I want to do this.”
What I’m not sure of is whether it sounds selfish of me to say that out loud. Maybe I’m the only dad who feels this way, so I can’t speak for anyone other than myself.
If nothing else, the simple thought is this:
I feel awkward enough in life on a daily basis. I have a very unsuccessful high five record with other guys. I never know if there’s going to be a snap or a half-hug involved.
So the thought of going through the labor process again, not to mention, the first 15 months, again… well, I can handle it, but it is a little intimidating.
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
I no longer have a 2 year-old son. As of today, I can start referring to you as my “2 and a half year-old.”
You are just as close to your (assumed) monster truck & dinosaur themed 3 year-old birthday party as you are to your Thomas the Train themed 2 year-old birthday party.
I look at you now and see how you’re clearly looking more like both Mommy and me.
Sure, the (now darkening) blonde hair and blue eyes are still a surprise, but gone are the days when I would write about how you don’t really look like either of your parents.
Something I was thinking about this week is how in classic sitcoms, by around the 5th season, the family would typically have another child, to better engage the audience with fresh new story lines.
From there, the next season would feature the zaniness of life with a new infant and baby. Then magically, the following season, that toddler who could barely talk instantly became a wise-crackin’, catch-phrase coinin’ 5 year-old.
In other words, producers of classic sitcoms evidently had reason to believe that the ages between about 2 and 5 were not interesting enough to entertain.
Okay… here we are. Let’s find out. As a 2 and a half year-old, falling in the category of what I call “the flyover years,” will life still be interesting? Will you still be just as funny and entertaining to Mommy and me as you’ve been for the past 2 and a half years?
I’m thinking yes.
I’m eager to prove writers of classic sitcoms wrong, as if that’s even a thing that matters.
If you were a character in a family sitcom in 1988, you would be replaced today by a different, older actor.
Well, I’m keeping you. I predict life won’t skip a beat, even if you’re entering the flyover years.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
2 years, 5 months.
When I starting writing yesterday’s The Thought Of A Male Daycare Worker Weirds Me Out, it was meant to be a simple story about you calling me “Miss Daddy.” Instead, it took a random turn by the 5th sentence:
I broadcast my opinion (which has now proven itself to be unpopular and undefended) that the thought of a male daycare worker is weird.
In case it matters, I am referring specifically to a (hypothetical) full-time male daycare worker in the 2 to 3 year-old classes.
The main reason this concept is “weird” to me is because I find it strange that a man would choose to work full-time with children who are still potty training, but who still need their diapers changed.
It just seems like there wouldn’t be that many men wanting that job.
However, I could totally see a part-time storyteller/music man/entertainer who “floats” around to all the classes, regardless of a child’s age group.
Technically, a person’s opinion can’t be wrong. But there were definitely some things I predicted about how other people feel, which I realize now, were wrong.
I was wrong to think that a lot of other parents feel the same way as I do about this. They don’t.
Here’s a quote from yesterday that is completely off with reality:
“I think it’s one of those nearly irrelevant conversations that could cause quite a stir on Facebook, but in reality, I would bet most moms and dads would agree that they wouldn’t feel comfortable with a male worker at their kids’ daycare.”
Wrong. That’s not true. That’s not how they feel.
That’s how I feel.
And honestly, it’s not a belief I am passionate about or am interested in talking about again.
Back in college, I worked in after school programs and taught elementary school during the summers. I am so in favor of men having an active role in young children’s lives.
Even so, for me personally, the thought of a man working full-time in a 2 to 3 year-old daycare class seems a bit bizarre. But who cares? After all, I’m referring to a hypothetical person who doesn’t work at your daycare.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming about dinosaurs and monster trucks…