Archive for the ‘ Growing Up ’ Category

Mazel Tov On My 2 Year-Old’s Bed Mitzvah!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

I now wrap up the year 2012 with a noteworthy milestone in your life: Mommy and I just tucked you in for the night, for the first time… in your “big boy bed.”

No more crib for you. You have graduated into the day bed version.

Look how proud you are in this picture!

At long last, you are now sleeping like a 2 year-old, not a baby.

Son, tonight was your Bed Mitzvah.

This change in your life also is aligned with your parents’ more deliberate focus on helping your become potty trained.

Yesterday at T. J. Maxx, Mommy and I bought you 3 metal Chuggington trains. We explained to you that for the next 3 times you go pee-pee on the potty, you get to open a new train. (Sure, it’s an unavoidable pun: We’re potty training you.)

As an added bonus, you have recently received a surprisingly relevant gift last week that helps you sleep easier for your naps… a Thor indoor play tent.

It’s random because you have no idea who Thor is yet. You call it your tunnel.

“I can sleep in my tunnel?”

While attempting to get you to go to sleep for your afternoon naps on the weekends has always been a struggle, this new “tunnel” of yours is a pretty cool thing.

It has a side door which I pop my head in to read you a quick story. You never seem to mind when I slip out the door afterwords. Two hours later, you wake up and you’re ready to play again.

I just wish we would have known the wonders of a tunnel sooner!

So between your new “big boy bed” and your “tunnel,” I’d say things are pretty exciting in the world of sleeping, for you.

To this day, whenever Mommy and I ask you if you’re ready to go to sleep, as we can clearly see you are, you’ve never said yes.

Here’s to my wishful thinking that might change now that you’ve had your Bed Mitzvah…

I know, it’s asking too much.





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Dad Speaks To 2-Year-Old Son On 12th Grade Reading Level

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

2 years.

Dear Jack,

I just never could bring myself to talk to you like you were a baby, even when you actually were a baby.

The closest I ever came was back when you were 7 months old, when one of my ongoing bits with you was to say, ”Ya wanna give ya Daddy-Waddy a kissy-wissy on da wippy-wippy-wippies?”

Basically, I was trying to playfully annoy you by puckering up real big and acting like I was about to kiss you on the lips.

But clearly, I was mocking the concept of “talking baby talk” to you. To actually talk to you the way I was supposed to, all cutesy… just the thought of it somehow made me feel phony.

So since the very beginning, I’ve always spoken to you like an adult. And really, so has Mommy.

You’re 2 years old now and we haven’t changed the way we speak to you. But you, on the other hand, definitely have changed the way you communicate with us.

You are now regularly speaking in 5 word sentences. I know that you grasp a good majority of what I tell you, even if you still haven’t figured out the meaning of the phrase, “I don’t know.”

(Right now, your version of “I don’t know” is just to simply look down at whatever Thomas the Train toy is in your hand until I change the subject.)

The main reason I love the fact you can understand what I say now is because I can more efficiently give you realistic expectations, which helps prevent surprising disappointments.

For example, when it’s nearing time for Nonna and Papa to go back home after a weekend of staying with us, I look you in the eyes and map out the plan so that you are not ambushed and consumed with anxiety a couple of hours later:

“Listen, Jack. I want you to know what to expect. After we eat lunch, it’s going to be time for Nonna and Papa to go back home. So make the most of this time because it will be a few more weeks before you will see them again.”

I am not worried about saying words that are too big for you to understand, because at this point, that would include a lot of words.

For what it’s worth, you can now say the name of Mommy’s home state: “California.” You pull it off quite well.

The way I see it, my use of words beyond your comprehension level (and/or reading level) is a good thing.

Besides, you’re used to it by now: You have a Daddy who has an English degree and a job in writing. For all practical purposes, I’m Ross Geller.

I have a feeling you are going to be one articulate little boy. Can you say “articulate?”

No, seriously… can you?





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Dad Gets Trapped In Parallel Universe With Son

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

2 years.

Dear Jack,

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?





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Surprisingly Asking, “What If We Had Another Kid?”

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

2 years.

Dear Jack,

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.





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Dad Admits To Living Vicariously Through His Son

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

2 years old.

Dear Jack,

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.





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