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Saturday, March 15th, 2014
3 years, 3 months.
My main role when our family goes grocery shopping is to distract/entertain/keep you from knocking over the fruit stands.
Fortunately tonight, we had just come back from the Monster Jam truck show and you were occupied as long as I could keep helping you find new places to crash your toy monster trucks into each other.
As we finally were checking out at Whole Foods, you instinctly grabbed on to the end of the grocery shopping cart, as if it were understood you wanted to ride out to the car while the helpful Whole Foods staff member pushed you.
This is not something you had ever seen before- like I said, it was simply an instinct.
After gaining a quick nod of approval from me, Emily, the girl who eagerly and kindly helped us take the groceries out to the car, began pushing you out to the parking lot as Mommy and I escorted you.
That is a classic childhood memory that every kid should have. Emily, the Whole Foods girl, was very cool about it.
As you can see from the photo collage (above) I made of the event, you loved it!
Just yesterday I wrote to you about how there were certain freedoms that I got to enjoy as a child, that you won’t be able to.
Well, fortunately, riding on the end of a shopping cart was not mentioned.
The way I see it, it’s your right, as an American little boy, to enjoy riding on a shopping cart.
It’s a right of passage.
I feel as your daddy, it’s sort of my responsibility to help set the backdrop for these little adventures.
Granted, you can’t wander around the neighborhood aimlessly like I did back in the 1980s… but you can ride a shopping cart like I did back in the 1980s.
At least there’s that!
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Friday, March 14th, 2014
3 years, 3 months.
This week I happened to read a really cool article that is going viral right now, called “Things I Did As A Kid (But My Kids Won’t)“, by Amber Dusick.
She explains how parents born in the 1980s, such as myself, were basically the last generation of children to enjoy no seat belts, no helmets, no childproofing, flying attempts, (certain) playground equipment, sledding, and freedom.
What I see that all 7 of the things have in common is that they all are related to safety.
In other words, if I raised you by the same standards of safety that were okay in 198os in the mountains of Alabama when and where I grew up, I would be considered (by some, at least) as a bad parent.
That sounds weird to say because in no way is it to discredit the parents who raised Generation Y; it’s just that things are a lot different now.
Out of the 7 things that Amber Dusick describes in her article, the one that jumps out to me as the most valuable is… freedom:
“Perhaps the most striking contrast is the freedom I remember having. I’d eat breakfast and then leave.
I’d wander around. Aimlessly. Sometimes with neighborhood kids and sometimes alone. I’d cross our creek with homemade bridges. And catch turtles without ever hearing of the word Salmonella.
I’d put roller skates on and skate down sidewalks. And stop myself by crashing into a bush, just before the street.
I never stopped to eat lunch. Because I remember being out all day long. Only to be called in for dinner when it was getting dark.
My kids? Yeah, right. At least not until they are older. Like thirty.”
During my own childhood, I had the privilege of riding my bike, as well as my moped, through nearby neighborhoods. I explored the woods with my friends. I went around shooting my BB gun at power poles and metal fences.
I totally know what the author means when she refers to wandering around aimlessly as a kid. I loved doing that!
Almost seems almost like taboo now.
I want you to be able to have the kind of adventurous boyhood I had, and you will, just in a different format… somehow.
We’ll have to make a few changes, but we’ll find a way to make it work.
Even then, it’s hard to imagine you ever wandering around in the woods like I did. Double standard, I know.
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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
3 years, 2 months.
While we were in Alabama last weekend celebrating your Auntie Dana’s 30th birthday, I heard her say something clever.
It was an interesting, parenting-related spin on a very popular catch-phrase of 2013: “YOLO,” which stands for “you only live once.”
In reference to raising your 2 and a half year-old cousin, Calla, your Auntie Dana’s motto is “you’re only little once.”
As a parent, this new twist on “YOLO” is a simple phrase to remind me that however enjoyable, or frustrating, a particular moment in parenting may be, it’s a fleeting event to be appreciated either way.
One of my favorite TV shows ever, The Office, ended last May. In the final episode, Andy Bernard had one of the best lines in the entire series, in my opinion:
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”
I have always been a very nostalgic guy; yearning for the past.
Nineteen eighty-something and Nineteen ninety-something are definitely warmer, safer, easier places for me to escape to, in my mind.
I graduated high school in 1999, nearly 15 years ago. So for me, anything that has happened in the year 2000 or beyond has taken place in my adult life.
My childhood (1981-1999) ended right before the 2000s began, which is why I am the very oldest of Generation Y. (We Millennials began adulthood once the Nineties were over.)
But as for you, from 2010 to 2028 is the span of years designated for your childhood; your warmest, safest, easiest place to be alive.
For you, it’s not a collection of old memories. Instead, you’re living it right now.
And I feel like I’m your host.
I feel like the Ryan Seacrest of your childhood.
You’re only little once. You’re only this young once- when things are still so obviously magical and mysterious.
When animals can talk. When getting a new Hot Wheel car is a big deal. When just running around the room in your pajamas in front of Mommy and Daddy is the highlight of your day.
These are the good ole days. You’re far from leaving them.
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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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