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.
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.
It doesn’t help that over the weekend you watched an episode of Transformers: Rescue Bots, as well as the 1981 animated Spider-Man series, where the plot involved dinosaurs coming to life in modern day, causing chaos and therefore invoking the help of the good guys to save everyone.
When your teacher, Ms. Lauren, asked you what else besides dinosaurs you are excited to see at the zoo this weekend, you quickly responded: “Trucks. Fire trucks.”
Son, this may be a very disappointing visit to the zoo. Hopefully, I can pass off the iguanas as “baby dinosaurs.”
It’s just that I feel compelled to protect your belief in dinosaurs. I kind of don’t want you to find out the truth about them.
So that’s what will happen. I will encourage and build up your version of reality where dinosaurs are still alive in the world. Because honestly, that sounds like a pretty cool version of reality. Who am I to mess that up for you right now?
Last week as I was putting you to bed one night, in the pitch dark, I heard you say, “Here, Daddy…”.
Expecting for you to give me one of your half a dozen Hot Wheels cars as a parting gift before I made my way downstairs, I reached out my hand.
My instant response: “Ewwwww! GROSS!”
Yes, it was a big, long, slimy booger you had just picked fresh for me. It felt like the size of a caterpillar.
That sort of ruined the whole ambiance of the “settle down” part of the night.
Another strange surprise I experienced, also while putting you down for the night, was when I asked you which song you wanted me to sing for your bedtime song.
Your request: “Nooning.”
Having no clue what that was supposed to mean, I started singing the word “nooning” to a made-up tune I hoped would sound like some famous traditional Chinese folk song.
You interrupted my glorious musical number: “No! Talk about it!”
Talking about “nooning” was definitely more difficult than singing it; I must admit.
At that moment, I imagined you as a toddler talk show host, introducing the topic for the episode that day.
During those final minutes before I officially put you to bed before leaving the room each night, you basically just see what kind of random stuff you can say and get away with… and so do I.
To celebrate our mutual randomness in the pitch black darkness of your bedroom at 7:43 PM each night, I have now added Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit “Dancing In The Dark” to my list of bedtime songs to sing as I’m holding you.
When it comes to intercepting caterpillar-like boogers and trying to figure out what “nooning” really is, this gun’s for hire.
(Here’s a chance to, if you haven’t. Go ahead, please. I’ll wait.)
As you just watched, the boy in the green shirt puts his arm around the boy in the striped shirt while he was holding the ball, dusts him off when they fall down, compliments him on his throw, lifts him up to the bar he can’t reach, pretends like he’s about to push him into the water, patiently looks over his shoulder as he plays his video game, recognizes the boy’s crush and encourages him to talk to her and insists she likes him too, takes the “fatal hit” while using sticks to play sword fight, serves him juice, stays awake after he falls asleep watching T.V, takes his shoes off for him, carries him upstairs and lays a blanket over him.
They’re clearly friends, right?
The ad closes with the boy in the striped shirt saying, “Good night, Dad.” Then the dad tells his son good night too.
In those 60 seconds, through play, encouragement, and affection, the dad serves the son.
“It probably comes down to this anyway: The most important things I do in life, and that I am best at doing, are the things for which I’m not regularly thanked. Serving is loving and leading. I get that now… no thank you’s required.”
In a history of commercials making the dad out to be an idiot, finally, somebody really (!) gets it right.
“So, in review, a stubborn, penny pinching, Dave Ramsey following, Generation Y dad like me will magically buy a product for his son if he believes that… the product will reinforce the traditional ideas and principles that remind him of his own 1987 version of childhood and/or… the company makes it clear that dads are helpful and important, not idiots.”
A+, Robinsons “Pals.” You are the official dad ad to beat.
Here’s a secret, Son. A dad can never hear enough, from anyone, that he is a good dad.
To outsiders it may appear to be a sensitive male ego thing, but as a dad, I can confirm that routine, positive affirmation is one of the most effective ways to reach and connect with a dad.
So now, I need to go wipe my nose. I could blame it on the Maple trees blooming here in Nashville, triggering my allergies.
Instead, I’ll just admit it. After watching this ad a few times, I’m pretty tore up, in a good way.
For the past two weeks on the way home from school, the two of us have been swinging by Walmart each day. Why?
Not because you, a nearly 2 and a half year-old boy, are zeroed in on finding a certain elusive toy, but because your 32 year-old dad is.
The exact toy I am referring to is none other than a $8.97 monster truck, exclusive to Walmart: The I-Screamer, which is an ice cream monster truck.
This basic $8.97 version is so elusive that I couldn’t even find a picture or video of him on the Internet. Oy vey!
As you know, Mater wrestles and defeats the I-Screamer in Mater’s Tall Tales.
I don’t want the big, fancy, action-packed version that costs 20 bucks or more. I just want the cheap one that is comparable in size to your favorite black one, that you carry my old Micro Machines in.
Working in the logistics side of the transportation industry, I know that most dry goods are moved out of the warehouses by the end of the month, to prepare for the new month.
So that means… the I-Screamer is waiting there in the back of the store right now; it’s just a matter of the new shipment being stocked on the shelves.
Therefore, you and I show up every single day, hoping that today is the day. In fact, today we went before and after I took you to school. No luck.
Not to mention, I’ve got your Nana, back in Alabama, as well as your friend Sophie’s mom, looking for the I-Screamer for us.
I’m trying to figure out why I’m so obsessed with getting myself, I mean, you, a monster ice cream truck that sort of resembles a crazy clown.
All I can think of is this: Back in high school, one of my favorite bands was The Smashing Pumpkins. The video for their song, “Today,” features the band driving around in an ice cream truck.
I even considered buying an old ice cream truck from one of my uncles, as my first car when I was 16. It didn’t end up actually happening, but I suppose I’ve never really let go of my love for ice cream trucks, and that was half my life ago.