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Monday, September 23rd, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
This morning as we pulled into the parking space at school, I turned around to you and said, “Daddy loves you.”
You curiously replied, “And Mommy? Mommy loves me?”
From there, you began naming off other family members as well.
It makes me wonder about something I have surely subconsciously thought of before:
Do you really understand what it means for someone to love you?
I think you’re now able to begin processing that thought, based on the actions and involvement of those closest to our family.
You recognize that people who give you gifts regularly are people who love you. That’s an easy one!
Another qualifer is a person who has taken care of you in their house. I’m not saying you can’t love a person from school, but that’s not the degree of love I’m referring to.
The kind I am talking about today is the kind where you love that person enough to tell them on a regular basis; enough to where if you didn’t tell them, it would be kind of weird.
Trying to simply qualify what it means when somebody loves you is, actually not that simple. I can understand why the 1984 song, “I Want To Know What Love Is,” by Foreigner was a #1 hit 29 years ago.
At first, the words to the song come across to me as slightly lame ’80′s lyrics, like they are part of a corny pick-up line. However, I think the words to the song are actually very relevant to human nature, outside of romance: “I want to know what love is- I want you to show me.”
I could probably make a Top Ten list of “What It Means When Somebody Loves You.”
But I don’t think that list would be very necessary. After all, you can already tell me which people in your life love you. You didn’t need an explanation or a list.
You just knew.
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Thursday, June 6th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
When we pull into our neighborhood each afternoon, there are two ways to drive to our house: Turn right and get there quicker, or continue going straight for the slightly longer scenic route that circles around.
Of course, every day you say, “Go straight! Go straight!”
Then I respond with, “Go straight, what?”
(“Please” is the implied answer, obviously.)
Upon request, I always go straight to appease you. But Tuesday, you were distracted by the commercial airplane flying right over us (we basically live in the landing path of the Nashville airport) so I just turned right to save time.
“No, Daddy! NO! Go straight! Straight, Daddy!” you protested.
But I had already committed to my right turn and we had already been in the car nearly an hour by that point. I didn’t turn back around and “go straight.”
Therefore, you began crying real tears, so emotionally caught up that you could barely hear through my remedy as we sat in the parked car in front of our house:
“Jack, just calm down a little bit and we’ll go inside and see Mommy. I didn’t go straight today but it’s okay. I can’t always give you exactly what you want, when you want it. I need you to be okay with that. All you have to do right now is calm down a little bit and I’ll get you out of your seat.”
Basically, you had to stay in a 4 minute impromptu “strapped in the car seat” time-out session with me as I listened to classic 1984 Bruce Springsteen, but not your favorite song of his, “Dancing In The Dark.”
It’s similar to the assigned seats you’ve given Mommy and I on the couch. If I sit on the wrong end of the couch, you often get so upset that the end result is me turning off the laptop; meaning you can’t finish watching monster trucks clip on YouTube.
My lesson is typically and simply this: Just chill out and you’ll get what you want from me, most of the time.
But I have to know you’re okay with letting the answer be “no” sometimes, because the more you’re okay with “no,” the more likely I am to say “yes” the next time.
Needless to say, the day after your “Daddy, go straight!” meltdown/time-out in the car situation, you immediately said, “Daddy, you go straight? Please?” as soon as we turned into our neighborhood. Nice planning and prevention on your part, Son.
You got your way. Maybe my plan is slowly working.
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Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
2 years, 5 months.
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.
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark.
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Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Very seldom do I credit the word “genius” to artists of my lifetime, because it can be a pretty cliche thing to say. People say Quentin Tarantino and Lady Gaga are geniuses. To that, I submit a circa-2010 “Meh…”.
But there is no doubt about it: Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991, when I was only 10, was definitely a genius artist.
There’s a quote which is often credit to him, though it was actually comes from p.115 of True Love: Stories Told to and by Robert Fulgham:
“We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
That, my friends, is also genius. That is the kind of quote I am jealous of because I didn’t think of it first.
It doesn’t just apply to the person you marry. For me, it also obviously applies to the relationship between my son and me.
He’s only 23 months-old. So for anything weird he does, like his impression of a snake that involves flapping his arms like a chicken, barking like a dog, and covering his nipples, all while he tries to go potty as his Mommy and Dada watch, he has a solid excuse.
I’m 31 years old. Somehow that gives me less of an excuse to be weird.
Since he’s my son and is exposed to my weirdness on a daily basis, he gets an extra dose; on top of the God-given weirdness he already has.
Needless to say, the two of us have joined up in our mutual weirdness and call it love.
In his ever-renewing resistance to falling asleep for naps and bedtime, I have to step up my game as needed.
Recently he’s been going down less easily, so as of 3 weeks ago, I invented a technique that I, for some unknown reason, named “droning.”
Imagine what it would sound like combining the African back-up singers on Paul Simon’s acclaimed Graceland album with your token chanting monk:
On repeat for like 4 minutes.
It’s basically the human equivalent to the white noise a humidifier makes if you could turn up the volume on one.
I hum this into the side of his cheek as I hold him, then lay him down in his bed once he gets in the trance, and then I do it again for a couple more minutes to let it all really soak in.
If he isn’t deep enough in his sleep mode when I start backing out of the room while still droning, he politely calls out in the dark room:
It’s his way of saying, “Will you keep doing that weird thing that helps me fall asleep?”
I appreciate when he does that. It shows me he likes my weirdness. He asks for my weirdness.
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