I have learned that there are certain things that are just so much better once a child is introduced to the equation.
Swimming would be a great example. The only times I’ve bothered stepping into a swimming pool in the past 3 and a half years has been because of you.
Having a child has also introduced me to new experiences that I might not have otherwise been exposed to.
When I was invited to attend the Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con, to my surprise, Mommy said she wanted to go too, and of course, we brought you along as well.
Turns out, it was a really good idea to take a 3 and a half year-old little boy who loves Spiderman and Captain America to a place where there would be a lot of people, many of them who were dressed up as Spiderman and Captain America.
So we loaded up the Prius and took the fun drive from Nashville to Atlanta. When you’re in the presence of so many adults dressed in impressive costumes of comic book characters, it’s only natural to want to get your picture made with them.
In fact, I got the feeling that’s part of the culture at Wizard World Comic Atlanta Con: It’s as if there is an unspoken contest going on the whole time in which those who show up in costume are seeing who can get the most “uncostumed” people to ask to get their picture made with him.
And of course, we helped many costumed attendees gain points from us.
In addition to the array of Captain Americas and Spidermen, we also saw many scary looking villains and zombies. The funny thing is, they were some of the friendliest to speak with.
You just went along with it, no matter how scary or creepy; Mommy and I explained to you beforehand that the Wizard World Atlanta Comic Con was kind of like Halloween.
And he’s always so happy to be there; often just slouching in his seat with a big cartoon grin on his face.
Recently he watched you cram Play-Doh into the medicine dispencer while you were dressed in your Batman pajamas.
Then, a few days later, while wearing your Lightning McQueen shirt, you asked me to make you a Play-Doh anteater, only to have you “chomp it” with some tongs, running a circle around me.
These are the kinds of things you love to do these days.
So, as you know, we drive a new Toyota (or Lexus or Scion) vehicle each week, as I have unexpectedly (!) become a car reviewer on the side; as a result of writing these letters to you.
This week we’ve had a lot of fun in our real-life Lightning McQueen:
A 2014 Scion tC!
This marks the first time we’ve driven a 2 door car with you. Though actually, it’s considered a “3 door liftback,” which you’ve had a lot of fun with.
Oh, that reminds me, you bought a $5 purple elephant from Kohl’s who you named Ellie. She’s been following you around everywhere that Donatello doesn’t go.
To my surprise, only having two doors (or three) hasn’t been a problem in this car.
Something you like about the Scion tC, or “Lightning McQueen car,” as we call it, is that it actually has two moonroofs- one over me and then a smaller one over you.
Needless to say, I felt pretty special this week chauffering you around in such a cool looking car.
This is your random life and mine.
Just as I wonder which new car I’ll be driving next week, I also wonder what new weird toy you’ll be obsessed with for that week as well.
I have to admit, I am pretty impressed by your creativity, shown through your new play idea of meticulously stuffing a medicine dropper with Play-Doh. You never smiled once while doing it. That’s how serious you took the event.
Disclaimer: The vehicle mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Scion, for the purpose of reviewing.
P.S. Here’s a collection of my Toyota family reviews so far; just click on title to read the full story:
I feel like there’s this stereotype about fathers, that especially as they get older, they tend to have less of an open door policy with their sons.
And I get it.
By the time the two are both grown men, there’s almost this unspoken rule that the two can’t or shouldn’t talk to each other about serious stuff, involving the need for jpersonal advice… because they’re both grown men.
However, that’s the very reason they should depend on each other in that way.
For me personally, I can’t just talk to any guy friend about certain stuff.
My heart is very guarded. I know that may seem out of character for me, being that I appear to spill my guts out in these letters to you. But there’s a whole lot I keep private.
Rabbit trail here, but as I’m nearing my H.R. certification exam on January 11th, I’m planning to start focusing more time on writing songs again (which is why I moved to Nashville in the first place) because soon I won’t have to spend all my free time (which isn’t much) on studying. I can begin easing my way back into my forsaken hobby of creating music.
One of the songs I’m working on contains this line:
“I am a skeleton with meat on my bones/I walk around with secrets nobody knows.”
I think a lot of men feel that way. I think that’s why classic superheroes are so popular. Batman is the example that comes to my mind, immediately. In a way, superheroes compensate their own personal failures, fears, and insecurities by leading and helping others. It’s a great escape and a perfect distraction.
Yet still, they have received an emotional scar at some point in life that characterizes, and in some ways, defines who they are.
I can relate. I have an emotional scar or two. And I would actually be surprised to meet a man who didn’t feel that way about himself. It’s for that very reason it’s important you’ve always got other men to depend on, emotionally… or psychologically, or whatever you want to call it.
It’s not that I don’t trust other men, but it does take a lot to make myself that emotionally vulnerable. It’s easier just to keep it inside and try to sort it out myself, a lot of the time.
I’m realizing I’ve got more to say about this than I realized, so let me put a bookmark right here. Go grab yourself a glass of water, then come back and read the rest of this letter.
I remained clean-shaven for the entire month of “Movember” last month, though quite the opposite is true for December.
It’s just too cold. I’ll get over it soon, but a few days ago as I was getting ready to take you to school, without realizing it, I was singing the mysterious song, “The Wolfman’s Brother,” by the band Phish.
(Please note that I never have been and never will be cool enough to be a “phan” or part of the “phellowship,” which means that I’m not a huge fan of Phish. I’m more of a Guster kind of guy, myself.)
I only know that one Phish song and it was in my head after I looked in the mirror that morning; I guess I simply reminded myself of a werewolf.
As I buckled you into the car seat, you smiled while looking straight ahead, then began singing, “It’s the Wolfman’s brother, the Wolfman’s brother…”.
You surprised me.
“Oh, you were listening to me sing that? You actually got the words and the tune right!” I replied.
Granted, it’s mostly the same 3 or 4 words repeated over and over for the chorus, but that served as a reminder to me:
You’re pretty much always paying attention, especially when I assume you’re not.
And that would explain why you’re slightly obsessed with A) being a garbageman (I mean, “waste collector”) and B) getting a toy garbage truck.
On the Saturday following Thanksgiving, you saw for the first time, the garbage truck stop by our house.
It usually stops by on Thursdays, but Thanksgiving was on that day, so we happened to be here the day it came instead to make up for the holiday.
Every day since then, you have built a “garbage truck” out of storage baskets, couch pillows, and the Wii steering wheel, placing your Hot Wheels and trains in the back.
“That’s my garbage back there,” you always clarify to Mommy and me, referring to your toys.
You even made it clear to us in your most recent Christmas gift request:
“I want a plane, a Ruldolph reindeer, and a garbage truck- a big one, that I can put my cars and trains in for the garbage.”
That’s who you and I are, at least for this month:
The Garbageman and the Wolfman’s Brother.
We could probably be Batman’s villians, with nicknames like those.
By the time I was your age, I had already seen a movie in the theatre: it was E.T. back in 1982.
But as for you, Mommy and I still haven’t taken you to experience a movie on the big screen.
Actually, we had planned to take you to see The Croods back in the spring, and then Planes during the summer, or Monsters University, but you never seemed impressed by the idea… maybe because of the instant gratification of Netflix instant streaming.
If only there was a kids’ movie about Batman that was going to be coming to theatres this winter…
After all, you dressed up as Batman for Halloween. (That means we let you wear your Batman pajamas out in public.)
Or maybe if there was a movie about Legos. You love to watch those amateur stop-motion videos on YouTube that feature Lego men.
And Ninja Turtles, too. You’re starting to think they’re cool.
What if… what if there was a movie that contained all these fun characters and it was a kids’ movie and I actually wanted to see it too?
You guessed it, this hypothetical movie actually exists and it’s coming out in February.
So, I think we should go see it. If Mommy and I haven’t taken you to your first movie in a theatre by then, I declare it shall be The Lego Movie.
I’ve been so hesitant about taking to you to see a movie because I don’t know what kind of attention span you might have for it; especially in public.
Here at the house, you’ve sat through entire movies before, but I think it had a lot to do with the fact you were able to avoid a nap because of it.
(Sometimes it’s just easier to let you watch a lazy movie with me on the couch instead of bothering with a nap. It works for both of us.)
Well, February is only three months away. You’ll be over 3 years old by then. I think you’ll be ready for it. Right?