Archive for the ‘ Home Life ’ Category

When Others Think Your Kid Behaved Better Than You Thought

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

All Mommy and I really could do was just embrace ourselves and expect for the worst, as we boarded the plane yesterday morning from Nashville. It was your first time with your own seat on a plane (and that we’ve had to pay for one for you) and we didn’t know if that would be better or worse than you sitting in Mommy’s lap like the other two times we’ve flown to California.

The 90 minute flight to Minneapolis was fine, being that we all had to wake up at 3:30 AM to get to the airport in time. You were in a daze.

And during the one hour layover in Minneapolis, you were fine, because they offered free use of tablets, which you took advantage of by watching clips on YouTube of Jeeps plowing through the mud.

But by the 2nd half of the 3 and a half hour flight to San Francisco, you had plenty of energy to release… in the form of kicking the seats of the people in front of us.

I immediately (!) corrected that- by letting you kicking my legs instead.

It was the best idea I could come up with.

Trying to discipline an overtired, energetic, and restless toddler on a plane is a tricky thing.

After all, everyone was watching. And I just simply wanted to subdue you and most importantly, not make a scene.

Mommy was able to tone you down a little bit by pulling out crayons and coloring books for you.

About that time, the man sitting across the aisle from me, a friendly Wisconsin resident named Tom Potter and his wife let you borrow a couple of their grandson’s books… ones that you’ve never read, like Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop.

Soon after the plane landed, Tom and his wife, as well as the lady sitting next to them, all individually commented on how well-behaved you were.

My reaction was something like this: “Ha ha! Oh? Really?.. Um, thanks!”

I had prepared for a a meltdown, but fortunately, it never happened. This was a situation where less was more.

It was best to not try to discipline you for being an overtired, energetic, and restless little boy. You just needed a distraction.

In reality, you weren’t the token brat on the plane that annoys everybody. What a relief!

Having those people tell me that you were well-behaved made me feel really good.

As for the hour and 50 minute drive from San Francisco to Sacramento, you fell hard asleep about 10 minutes into the ride.






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Daddy, I Kick You In The Face Right Now?

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I suppose it would sound weird to describe to anyone else our shared understanding on how you and I play together, when it comes to your toys.

Basically, you always want me to lay down on the floor near you as you push your monster trucks over less fortunate Hot Wheels.

But, you do not want me to actually touch any of your cars and actually play with you.

You want me there, but not officially involved.

So I honor your style. I just lay there on the floor while you play. From time to time, I help you locate whichever random car in your toy box you can’t seem to find at the moment.

While I honestly would prefer to get involved in your plot lines of play time, I have to admit it’s nice to be able to just lay there lazily on a Saturday morning like that.

Granted, I have to keep my eyes open because sometimes you will just charge towards me with a crazy smile on your face; therefore initiating a wrestling match.

Last weekend, you caught me off guard with a very sincere question:

“Daddy, I kick you in the face right now?”

It was hard not to laugh, but I could see you were truly unsure of the answer.

“No, Son. We don’t kick each other in the face. There’s a difference between playing and hurting. We can’t kick each other in the face, but we can’t definitely wrestle.”

I’m empathizing with you, though. It’s got to be confusing, trying to figure out what is playing and what is hurting.

All I can say is, trial and error. But yeah, it’s always a good idea to ask me first when you’re unsure about which is which.

When it comes to kicking me in the face, I’m especially glad you asked first!




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A Farewell To (Mommy and Daddy’s) Arms

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

As I look through the pictures from our Louisville Zoo trip on my Facebook page, I realize how challenging it is to find a picture of you with Mommy and/or me where one of us isn’t holding you.

(See the album “Louisville Zoo Road Trip Summer 2013.”)

Son, you’re more than half my height now. You don’t need me to hold you.

However, I recognize that’s the #1 way you show physical affection with people.

So it’s never been easy (or felt natural or right) for Mommy or me to refuse to hold you when you ask us to; which is pretty much anytime we’re in public, as well as when we are putting you to bed.

But now, I think the time has come.

You’re pushing 3 years old now. More importantly, Mommy is the one who holds you most.

She’s definitely strong, but you’re not a light kid, and I know that holding you all the time can’t be good for her back.

It’s a struggle as your parents to deny you the type of physical affection you crave, when we feel like we hardly ever get to see you anyway.

In our version of 2013, Mommy and I both have to work full-time; even though we’re debt-free now.

I’m taking it upon myself to transition you into you holding our hands and walking, and making up for the lack of closer physical contact in other ways.

Yesterday morning, I tried our new way of doing things.

“Jack, this morning when we go into school, you’re going to walk and hold Daddy’s hand.”

Yeah, it didn’t go well.

It was even worse when I came to pick you up at the end of the day.

You were so happy to see me, but then had a breakdown all the way out the building into the car.

And I imagine it will be that way for the rest of this week, at least.

I wonder in what new ways you will begin showing affection to Mommy and me as we transition out of holding you.

As you get used to walking in public and holding my hand everyday going to and from school, my hope is that it becomes more normal for you to let Mommy do the same.

After all, we were at the Louisville Zoo for nearly 6 hours and Mommy was the one carrying you around most of the time.

So here’s to a new transition in our lives. Oh yeah… we still need to work on that whole “potty training” thing too…





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Donkey Stickers And A Spatula… Because That’s Normal

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

At first glance, this picture of you from yesterday morning doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary.

There’s nothing atypical about a little boy holding snacks in a plastic baggie in one hand and his pal Scout in the other.

But when you look closer, you’ll see that you’re also holding a black spatula and have a Band-Aid on your arm.

Actually, you have a Band-Aid on both of your arms, though you have no injuries.

You call them your “donkey stickers.”

Let me explain…

The night before, just as I was about to officially tuck you in and leave your bedroom, you had a special request for me:

“Daddy, I need my donkey stickers!” You pointed to the bathroom.

It’s sort of a blur, but I was miraculously able to figure out that you were asking for Toy Story Band-Aids, featuring Bullseye, who you think is a donkey instead of a horse. You wanted a “donkey sticker” for each of your forearms.

Sure enough, you fell asleep within like three minutes after you got your wish.

So yesterday morning, as I was making sure I was getting you out the door in time, I noticed you were holding a spatula in your hand. (I later asked Mommy how you ended up with it, and she simply responded with a subtle smile, “Jack asked for it.”)

You wanted to take it with you in the car, so I let you. After all, you’ve done much weirder things.

Granted, your daycare director wasn’t so thrilled to see you walk in the door with a spatula, explaining to me that it could be used as a weapon.

“Well, actually, I’m taking the spatula back with me when I leave here in a minute…”.

Yeah, that’s a pretty random thing for one adult to have to say to another.

You were so excited to see your spatula again at the end of the day. You didn’t let go of it for the entire car ride home.

While still wearing your donkey stickers, of course.







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Fun Summer Activity: Playing With Wet Toilet Paper

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Our family believes in being classy. Therefore, toilet paper is a toy.

Hey, it was your idea, not mine.

Last Sunday, the weather was a bit overcast and you wanted to play outside in the water, but didn’t really want to get wet.

So I just let you figure out for yourself what that even meant once you got outside.

It so happened that your nose started running once you got out there so I grabbed you some toilet paper real quick, leaving the extra sheets in my pocket.

As you dunked your plastic tiger souvenir from the Louisville Zoo into your Little Tikes water table, you saw the extra toilet paper hanging out of my front pocket:

“Daddy, I have that? Toilet paper… please?”

With me being in “whatever works” mode having survived the road trip from [Louisville] the day before, I didn’t hesitate to grant your wish.

I stepped away for a minute to pour a glass of water and returned to your explaining to me what was going on in your world:

“Look Daddy, the tiger has a mane!”

That confirmed that our Louisville Zoo trip was actually educational… sort of.

You then proceeded to use one of Mommy’s measuring cups to wash the tiger’s mane off.

I also learned from you that wet toilet paper serves as great “cement” for your toy trucks.

Admittedly, I was hoping yesterday’s thunderstorm would magically wash away the debris.

Turns out, wet toilet paper that has been dried by the sun does not necessarily turn mushy again by heavy rain… and then just “disappear” after that.

I guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.





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