Archive for the ‘
Growing Up ’ Category
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Had you been born a girl, I know I would have loved you just as much. But instead, you’re a rough-housing, toy train-holding, spiky-haired little boy.
And I really like all that about you.
I daydream a lot about our future together and what all adventures we can tear into.
There’s a monster truck rally coming to town in a couple of weeks that I’d love to take you to…
Unfortunately, it doesn’t start until after your bedtime and I already know there’s no way that would go well.
But as soon as you’re old enough, I can’t wait to see your eyes light up in excitement as an unnecessarily large truck runs over 1980s Buicks. As for now, you like to watch clips of monster trucks on YouTube with me.
You also love to watch donkeys, buses, and “French trains.” I’m not sure why it’s important to you that the trains are French, but I type it in and clips pop up, so we watch them together.
On the day this picture was taken, I taught you to throw sticks in the water. You were obsessed with the new skill. The truth is, you were actually really good at it.
Just wait a few years and then I’ll teach you the impressive ability to skip rocks across the water.
See, I’m not sure those are the kinds of things girls really care about. But you, you get me.
At only 2 years old, you understand where I’m coming from. I really appreciate the fact that you’re okay with listening to Weezer on the 45 minute drive home from daycare as the two of us silently contemplate life.
We can be in our own little weird worlds, together. It’s like we’re trapped in some parallel universe, you and I, for the rest of our lives. Though we live among the rest of the world, even Mommy, we still speak a strange exclusive language between the two of us..
If only you knew how much I look forward to the two of us building f0rts, having snowball fights, practicing sports, having afternoon-long video game battles, and just simply going on long walks in different neighborhoods as we explore a new mediocre environment. Man, all those things are so important and crucial in understanding what life is really about.
The way you get me, I have a feeling I’ll get you too. I’m going to instantly understand you when others don’t even come close.
I’ve been where you are now. Granted, it was 1983. But hey, Smurfs are still cool, right?
Just know this: The way you think, the way you feel, the things you think are fun, chances are that I did and still do feel the same.
Maybe even now, I’m standing with one foot in 1983 and the other in present day. I’m transcending time and universes just to be close to you.
Pretty cosmic bond we have, huh?
Sunday, November 25th, 2012
The day after Thanksgiving, Mommy and I had to go work, so your Nonna and Papa came up to visit and take care of you.
When I got home, Nonna told me how you kept telling her, “Mama and Daddy go to doctor.”
These days, you have random words floating around your head at any given moment, so you are often spitting out sentences that, while they make sense, aren’t actually true at all.
No, Mommy and I haven’t gone to the doctor; specifically, we haven’t gone there to confirm a pregnancy or get a sonogram. That’s because Mommy’s not pregnant.
But you sure had Nonna wondering.
Jack, you definitely may be an only child. That’s something Mommy and I have been very open about with everyone.
We don’t think it should be weird to only have one kid. In fact, it’s a wonderful and respectable idea.
However, I am willing to admit, now that you’re 2… I’m not completely opposed to the idea of having another kid, like I basically was just a couple of months ago.
No offense, but you’re a lot easier to take care of now. I’m not feeling overwhelmed or slightly angry like I was before.
It also has to do with me feeling more secure at my job as I am getting HR certified. It has to do with Mommy and I getting closer to being out of debt. And it has to do with neither of us being stressed out quite as much.
Like I said in my letter to you on your 2nd birthday last week, “The younger you were, the more difficult being a dad was. I was so clueless, even a year ago.”
I recently realized that I no longer feel clueless as your dad. I am much more prone to take on any challenge if I already sort of know what I’m doing.
A couple of weeks ago, Mommy asked you, “Jack, do you want a brother or a sister?”
You instantly answered, “Stister.”
That’s no typo- you literally said “stister.”
We’ll keep that in mind. But I still don’t think you’ll be a big brother anytime soon. Give us at least a year or two.
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
2 years old.
There’s this cliche about dads trying to live their lives vicariously through their sons.
As the dad thinks back on his own life, regarding things he wishes he could have done differently, he attempts to rewrite history by making sure his son does those things he was never able or willing to.
Well, that’s what I’m doing with you.
But not in the token way where I force you to play sports or try to make you become a doctor or lawyer.
The way I am doing it is much more simple, yet epic.
What I am attempting to do is to make you a braver and more daring little boy than I was.
I remember crying a lot as a little boy because I was afraid to try or do anything new.
Back in Halloween 1986, there was this church party where one of the dads put together this 12 foot long tunnel cave out of refrigerator boxes.
I only made it through about four feet of that tunnel before I turned around. That decision symbolized a lot of the remainder of my childhood.
It was probably 4th grade before I began developing a true sense of confidence in who I was, and therefore, my ability to overcome my fears of taking on scary challenges.
However, I don’t think you’ll be the timid little boy I remember being. With just a little prodding, I am able to get you to choose to overcome your anxieties.
Fast forward from Halloween 1986 to Halloween 2012. A few weeks ago, when we were in Sacramento visiting Mommy’s side of the family, your cousin Savannah wanted to play with you in the “jumpy house.”
You had always been afraid of jumpy houses. I basically forced you into the jumpy house, then Savannah took over from there.
The truth is, you barely hesitated once you got inside. Then you you couldn’t get enough.
I was only able to eventually pry you away because it was time to eat cake.
Sure, I sort of forced you to overcome your fear. But ultimately, it was your decision. Had you cried and thrown a tantrum, I would have given up.
Instead, you gave it a shot.
You’re a brave little boy.
I never made it through that refrigerator box tunnel in the church basement. It still bothers me to this day.
Son, I admire your will and your courage at such a young age.
So while I may live vicariously through you sometimes as I try to get you to do things I would have been too afraid to when I was your age, you don’t really need my influence too much.
Sure, my gentle push helps. But you’re brave and curious enough on your own.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
There’s a decent chance you will begin actually remembering certain events now. I say that because my own 2nd birthday party in April 1983 is the very first memory of my own life.
I remember my Italian grandfather holding me in his lap as everyone around the table sang “Happy Birthday” to me. It was somehow overwhelmingly sad, so I cried until it was time to open presents.
It is from that experience that I planned your 2nd birthday party. I wanted to make sure that you would have a fun, memorable party for you, your friends, and our family.
So I implemented 3 simple rules for planning your 2nd birthday party:
1. Find the right-sized location for the amount of people invited.
We invited about 30 people and they all showed up. (Yes, Jack, you’re that cool of a kid!)
Fortunately, our church had a mini basketball court for you and your friends to chase each other around in. My top priority was making sure you didn’t get antsy.
I also wanted to make sure you didn’t get overwhelmed by the amount of people there. With a location that open, you never felt closed in or crowded. That kept you happy.
2. Downplay the eating and singing part.
I think the real reason I got scared and starting crying at my own 2nd birthday party was because I couldn’t understand why so many people surrounded me and were singing a song I didn’t know. It freaked me out.
So as non-traditional as it was, I made sure we purposely didn’t sing “Happy Birthday” once it was cake time.
We didn’t even have you blow out candles in front of everyone. We just let you enjoy your cake while we served the guests.
Actually, you were more excited about sampling the Teddy Grahams, Animal Crackers, and Angry Birds crackers.
You were actually quite proud of them; as you see in this picture I took of you.
3. Speed up the gift-opening.
When it came time for you to open your gifts, your Mommy was equipped to jot down who gave you what. Then as I quickly read the cards to everyone, you opened your gifts.
I wanted to prevent stop-and-go action, ensuring a continuous flow instead.
That gave your guests time to see you actually react to and play with your new gifts beyond your initial reaction of opening them, because you didn’t necessarily know what everything was at first.
So that’s it. I’m not sure you actually will remember any of it, but in an attempt to help jog your memory, I conveniently saved the pictures from your 2nd birthday party for you on this link to The Dadabase Facebook page.
You didn’t cry at your 2nd birthday party like I did 29 years ago. Good job, son.
Monday, November 19th, 2012
2 years old.
Son, I have to break the news to you: You won’t be tall enough play in the NBA.
But while a career in professional basketball may not be in the cards for you, I know you’ll still have a lot of fun playing on your Little Tikes basketball goal you got last weekend for your 2nd birthday.
So here’s what we’re looking at: I think you’re going to be around 5′ 8″ or maybe 5′ 9″ by the time you’re done growing up.
We measured you on your 2nd birthday (several times just to be sure) and took several pictures to make it official.
When I see these pictures I laugh because the look on your face makes it seem like it’s your mugshot. A 2 year-old getting a mugshot; that’s funny.
Especially the one where you have dried spaghetti sauce on your face because I made you line up for the picture immediately after dinner, before I would let you play with your toys.
The theory is that, despite growth spurts and growth lags, proportionately on your 2nd birthday you’re half of your adult height.
It worked both for me and my sister, so I know it to be true in my own life.
On your 2nd birthday, you were about 34 inches tall. Doubling that means you will grow to near 5′ 8″.
So basically, you’ll be about as tall as me, which is about 5′ 9″. That sounds about right, because hardly anyone on either side of our family is over 5′ 11″. Mommy’s daddy was that height too.
You won’t be tall, nor will you be particularly short.
You’ll be as about tall as Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.
What’s funny is that your Mommy and I thought you were going to be like 6′ 3″ and 200 pounds. You were born big.
And up until recently, you were a big kid. People thought you were a year older than you were.
But by the time you reached your 2nd birthday, you started to become proportionally more like me: A smaller framed, yet averaged sized male.
During high school, you’ll probably wish you could be a little bit taller as some of your friends shoot up to over 6 feet tall. I remember feeling that way around 11th grade.
Eventually though, you’ll begin to appreciate your completely normal and average size.
I guess it’s pretty unusual knowing so early in your life how tall you’ll grow to be.
There’s really no wondering for you on this. Jack, you’re destined to be physically average sized. Just like me.
But I promise you: You are no average boy.
You are my son. I am pouring my into life into you. I will make sure you turn out to be no average kid.
I already know you’re destined to challenge the system, to be strong in your opinions, and to take pride in the things that make you different.
So with that being said, I don’t think you can be an average boy. Well, maybe in height, but that’s it.