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Monday, June 3rd, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
You’ve had My Pal Scout (by LeapFrog) since you were a newborn. He’s a toy you’ve literally grown up with. However, it’s now at age 2 and a half that Scout is truly relevant to your life more than ever.
Now that you can talk, it’s like Scout has truly come to life! He’s a real talking puppy… at least, I think that’s what you think.
Sometimes to stall going to bed, you’ll ask for socks from the closet, then see a toy you haven’t played with in the past 4 months; ever since you became obsessed with monster trucks, that is.
That happened to be the case with Scout.
“Jack, let me show you how to play with him. If you want to play games, just press this red ball of yarn on his paw,” I explained.
Scout began talking to you:
“Hi Jack, wanna play?”
In a half-second’s time of confusion, astonishment, and wonder, I saw your eyebrows go up as you excitedly and hesitantly replied with a smile, “Yeah!”
Then Scout continued to engage you: “My favorite animal is a giraffe. Jack, is that your favorite animal too?”
How could it be that this green puppy who has been hanging out in the closet has the same interests as you? He even likes bananas, as you do, and sang about them to you.
Granted, Mommy customized Scout online a couple years ago to say your name and interests. But to you, he’s a cool dog who can talk.
And so the bromance began. All last weekend, Scout was your buddy. You were sort of bummed that I wouldn’t let you take him to the zoo.
At least I let you eat dinner with him.
I think Mommy just needs to program Scout to say he likes monster trucks… then you’ll really be all set!
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Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m a little flattered.
When I step into any toy aisle in pointless attempts to find a small fire engine truck under $3 for my son, my eyes are instantly drawn by the rebooted 1980′s toys I played with myself.
I mean, it’s so deliberate: Transformers, Thundercats, GI Joe, Star Wars, Smurfs, Ghostbusters, and even a new Nickelodeon version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that cost $8.99 per action figure.
(Ninja Turtles were only $3.89 when I was growing up.)
Even Disney is getting in on the rebooted nostalgic action. The next time you go to a Target, take a look in the clothing aisle for their “Disney Artist Collection,” featuring classic characters like The Cheshire Cat, The Big Bad Wolf, and even Mickey Mouse.
Oh yeah, remember that guy?
There’s actually talk of Mickey Mouse getting his very own movie, for the first time ever; in the likeness of the low-key, classic feel of the Winnie The Pooh movie in 2011.
To be honest, and possibly offensive, if you ask me, Winnie the Pooh needed a make-over anyway, so I applaud the fact that Pooh was brought back with class.
It seems like shortly after I stopped being a kid, Winnie the Pooh became this uncool mascot who I identified with those tacky oversized “nighty” t-shirts at Wal-Mart in the 1990′s.
So go ahead, toy and clothing companies, hit me with your best shot. See if you can convince me, the casual consumer, to buy your nostalgic product based on my own warm and fuzzy memories.
The funny thing is, all I have to do is go to my parents’ house, upstairs to my old bedroom, and pull out the bottom drawer of my dresser.
From there I can unleash on my son all the glory of every action figure I ever owned.
But not yet, the time has not yet come. He’s not ready for all that American splendor.
With that being said, so far I’ve yet to give in to the pressure and buy my son a kick-awesome Lion-O action figure.
But just give it time…
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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
My Mexican grandmother, Lola Mendez Metallo, has always been one funny grandma, though not necessarily intentionally. Like the way she has always prefaced her jokes with “I’m gonna tell you a joke…”.
Or the fact that she literally managed to see the movie Dirty Dancing a total of 37 times when it originally came to theaters back in 1987, though she never learned to drive a car.
Not to mention the way she always found a way to delightfully sprinkle our holiday dinner conversations with mentions of the most recently escaped prison convicts she had heard about on the radio. Classic.
Plus, I’ve never known anyone more intrigued by angels. I remember how when the TV show Touched by an Angel was still on the air, she would never miss an episode and had a talent for relating every life situation back to the most recent one she had seen,especially if the episode had anything to do with an abused animal. (Her favorite show in the ’80′s was Highway to Heaven, which was also about angels interacting with humans.)
Here recently, I have been thinking about her a lot. I know her health has faded more drastically since my Italian grandfather passed away over three years ago. It’s one of those things where I know that she could just one day never wake up; or she could ultimately be here for several more years. In either case, I am consciously aware of the fact that her time on Earth is especially limited.
It’s an interesting (and sad) perspective; to know my grandma may be in her final months, yet everyday I watch my young son grow up a little bit more. I see one life coming to a close and another just getting things started. It’s a constant paradox in my head.
Knowing her time could be soon, I’m literally dealing with her passing, now; before it even happens. People deal with death differently- I guess I deal with it prematurely, reminiscing her life while she’s still here to answer questions I still have and tell her I love her several times in every potentially last conversation I have with her.
I know she’s going to love finally joining the angels she has talked so much about, but I really would mind hearing a couple more of her jokes; especially if she tells me up front that I’m about to hear a joke.
It can be easy to write off human interactions with angels as tall tales, but according to the Bible, we entertain angels unaware. Today, someone will win a free book called Angels, which helps explain the interactions of angels in humans’ lives, backed up with Biblical stories and references.
If you would like a free copy of Angels mailed to your house, just be the first person to leave a comment on this post, then within 60 minutes, send me an email (email@example.com) including your name and mailing address.
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1980's, angels, cancer, death, dying, grandmother, grandparents, Health, Mexican | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Health, Nostalgia, People, Spirituality, Storytelling
Wednesday, June 29th, 2011
We all want our kids to be unique, right? But that’s easier said than done in an age where being unique is so darn trendy.
It was my mom who brought it to the attention of my wife and me: Jack typically reaches for things with his left hand; seldom his right. In the process of deciding which pictures to use for my Dadabase posts in the past couple of weeks, I realized it was true. In most pictures where Jack is holding a toy or reaching for one, it’s his left hand that’s in the action.
Left-handed people represent only 10% of the world’s population. No one I know of on my side of the family is left-handed. However, my wife is 9 of 10 kids in her family; and she does have one brother and one sister who are left-handed. So if left-handedness is indeed related to genetics, then at least it is there somewhere in the gene pool.
So Jack is probably left-handed. And of course, I’m not the least bit surprised. I mean, he managed to utilize the rarest genes my wife and I had. He’s a blond-haired, blue-eyed, fair complected, big-boned baby from a family of dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-complected skin where most men are slender and never grow taller than 5’ 11”.
I’m convinced that one of Jack’s many purposes in this life is to preserve the endangered traits of mankind. Of course, this doesn’t just go for physical traits.
His name was deliberately chosen to preserve a seemingly dwindling tradition: giving your son a simple, easy to spell, familiar, strong, masculine, classic American name that a girl could not be named. I noticed that so many modern baby boy names are now sounding more like Irish last names. And that’s fine- it’s just not my preference. With all the unique names out there these days, I figured the way my son’s name could actually be the most unique was to give him one of the most universally recognizable names in American history.
And I guess that brings me to today’s dose of irony. It seems that most of us parents find value in knowing our child is unique. After all, my wife and I grew up in the 80’s and were told on a regular basis by our teachers and cartoon shows that we were special and there is no one else in the world quite like us. Of course, it is indeed true that we are all special.
But I think we like to reinforce that fact in raising our kids. I named my son Jack in an effort for him to be unique. Meanwhile, a good number of other parents have named their son a form of “Brady” or “Collin” or “Quinn” or “Aiden” with the same inspiration. I guess it’s safe to say that none of these names (whether classic or trendy) truly accomplishes the goal, because ultimately a name is either really familiar or it’s so unique that it’s not really that unique, because being “unique” is currently trendy. And being trendy is not being unique.
I’m not convinced that a name itself can actually make a kid that unique anymore. Unless he’s named something gnarly like Mayor McCheese or Grimace- and then he’d be branded as the weird kind of unique. And that’s not what any parent wants for their kid.
So instead, I’m looking elsewhere for my son’s own uniqueness. Because he’s got plenty of it. And so does your kid. No matter what his name is, whether he’s left or right-handed, or whether or not he is an identical twin.
When my son laughs at my every attempt to scare him by making my “evil hissing cobra face” at him. When he gets so thrilled and excited he starts coughing as a result of me pretending like I’m going to step on him as he lies belly up on the rug. When Jack gets completely quiet as I take him on a walk at 6:00 AM to help my wife catch up on sleep lost during the night while I slept soundly. That’s unique enough for me.
Sure, “Jack” was the 6th most popular boy name last year; so my Jack is one of a million. But… my Jack is also one in a million.
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1980's, Aiden, baby names, baby names 2010, Brady, Irish last names, Irish names, Jack, left handed, popular baby names, Quinn, trendy, trendy baby names, unique | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, People, Story Bucket, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Monday, June 27th, 2011
I believe everyone has multiple personalities and different versions of themselves that they reveal based on their environment. But these multiplicities of ourselves ultimately are still built on top of one default personality. My default personality is amazingly similar to the character of Peter Klaven (portrayed by Paul Rudd) in my favorite movie ever, I Love You Man.
The movie focuses on Peter’s lack of ability to make and keep strong male friendships and the difficulty that means for him in trying to find groomsmen and most importantly, a best man, for his upcoming wedding.
Most of my guy friends are scattered across the country; instantly available via text message, but not for hanging out with on a regular basis. And I’m completely okay and comfortable with that. And interestingly enough, whether it was my female-orientated major in college (English), or every work environment I’ve been in since then, I’ve constantly been surrounded by women instead of men. And again, I’m completely okay and comfortable with that fact.
Even here on Parents.com, I’m the only male parent blogger. It is simply my life’s destiny to be a guy who relates to women almost as well as I relate to men. Need I remind you, it’s mainly women reading The Dadabase.
(Granted, my wife edits out anything too masculine or overly male-driven. Recently, she had me delete several paragraphs which went on way too long about the details of a Nintendo game.)
But now I have a son. A baby boy who will eventually grow into a big boy who will eventually grow into a teenage boy and eventually a man. This means that I will ultimately have a buddy.
I will always have a reason to get to do what I want to do with my free time, as long as Jack is with me. Because I will be spending quality time with him while I do what I enjoy anyway (or at least enjoyed in my youth).
Already, I’m mentally working on a list of things I will enjoy doing that also will serve as good male-bonding, quality time with my son over the next 2 to 20 years:
1) Watch the entire series of the following movies and TV series: Rocky, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Band of Brothers, and Lost.
2) Go hiking and exploring in the woods on the weekend.
3) Build awesome Lego sets.
4) Take our bikes for a long ride in a new neighborhood.
5) Have old school Nintendo game marathons.
6) Blow stuff up with fireworks.
7) If ever can ever afford it, take him on a trip to Thailand.
Of course, this is only the beginning of my list. But I really look forward to the underlying male friendship in my father-son relationship with him.
I am adamant on being Jack’s father, not his friend. However, just like how I mentioned in the beginning that we all have different personalities, I know that a father is not simply the paternal figure of his son’s life. Being a good dad means being someone to relate to and it involves a lot of mentoring. It requires good communication and quality time.
Being a father is like being a friend, but it’s so much more than that. Yet it’s paradoxically both more casual and more demanding of respect than simply being a friend. But even though I won’t refer to my son as my friend, I will gladly call him my buddy.
Man, now I’ve got the jingle to the 80’s toy, My Buddy, stuck in my head:
“Wherever I go, he goes… My buddy, my buddy, my buddy and me!”
All pictures taken courtesy of Dave Stanley at Little River Falls in Fort Payne, Alabama.
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1980's, Alabama, baby blog, dad, father and son, fatherhood, fireworks, Fort Payne, Fort Payne AL, friend, Harry Potter, I Love You Man, Lego, male bonding, multiple personalities, My Buddy, Nintendo, parenting, Paul Rudd, Peter Klaven, state parks, Thailand | Categories:
Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Story Bucket, Storytelling