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Sunday, April 15th, 2012
Jack is 7 months older than his cousin Calla; my sister’s daughter who was born last June. I think he’s still trying to figure out how to react to her.
Last weekend as we were visiting my family in Alabama during Easter, I paid special attention to the two of them. I tried to imagine what Jack was thinking:
“Is she a fellow toddler citizen? Not quite yet.
Is she a puppy? Maybe.
What am I supposed to do with her? She keeps staring at me.
Why does she keep touching me? Why does Daddy look upset every time I start to reach back at her?
This is weird, man.”
For me, as Jack’s dad, watching him try to socialize with his very feminine little cousin was kind of like hoping your dog doesn’t bite someone else’s smaller dog at a park.
Fortunately, I think he realizes that she is no threat. That became evident to me when we were hanging out in the storm shelter and Calla stuck her fingers up to the side of his eye, then plopped her leg up over his. He didn’t move; he just sat there, confused.
It was like in an Eighties’ sitcom where someone knows they’re about to get pie-faced but instead of moving out of the way, they just stand there and take it.
By the end of the weekend, I think Jack began to assume she really is a baby friend. They read a book together and then had a lot of fun out on the swings in the backyard.
As many pictures that have been taken of Jack in a swing, none of them have ever been featured on The Dadabase because Jack doesn’t look like he’s having any fun; just very stoic.
This is the exception. Jack’s cousin doesn’t walk or talk yet like he can, but she is able to show him how to have fun; even if she is a girl.
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Sunday, September 4th, 2011
Due to Jack’s increasing mobility and creativity, he’s never been more fun to play with. Our newest playtime activity is for us to crawl around the coffee table, taking turns chasing each other. Ultimately, when one of us catches the other, we have a bear hug while growling in each other’s ears. Our chase game is a great way for the two of us to bond both physically and socially.
As the dad of a nine month-old son, it can be easy to feel like a third wheel sometimes; Jack obviously has a much stronger bond with my wife. But now, I am getting to a stage where I am able to feel more connected to him- as my son, not just my biological baby. I am so anxious to be able to experience more of this social bonding with him, as he continues to mature in communication.
I got a taste of this kind of heaven about a month ago while we spent several days out in Sacramento with my wife’s family. My wife is number 9 of 10 kids; that means I have a lot of nieces and nephews. Throughout the three years we have been married, I have gotten to know some of them better than others.
During this past trip, I really got to spend some quality time with her brother Jeff and his wife Joni’s kids- who gave me a glimpse of the social involvement and emotional connection that comes with a child, as opposed to an infant.
Several people took notice of the physical resemblance of their eight year-old son, Neil, and my son Jack. Coincidentally, Neil and I really hit it off this time around. Despite my lack of sports enthusiasm, I found myself tossing the football with Neil out in the backyard. Even stranger, I actually taught him to improve his football-throwing skills: “Just hold the ball a bit past your ear to where the tip of the football is like your nose, then move your hand forward like it’s being jerked by a rope.”
Now, for all I know, that could have been the worst football-throwing advice ever. Regardless, he started throwing the football straight after that.
I also spent some time with Neil’s older sister, Bella, whose artistic interests completely reflect my own when I was her age. She is such a cool girl and I really enjoyed getting to know her, through easy conversation. Bella really made me think of what it will be like if eventually I ended up having a daughter. In fact, Bella makes me want to a have a daughter.
Needless to say, I long to be able to communicate and interact with my own son the way I was able to with his older nieces and nephews.
Will Jack look like his cousin, Neil, several years from now? I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.
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Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
A new character joined the cast of The Dadabase this week…
I’ve been mentioning that my sister, Dana, and her husband, Andrew, have been expecting their first child: due July 2nd. Well, July 2nd came early this year… because at 2:07 AM this Tuesday morning (June 21st), my sister gave birth to her baby girl. She weighs 6.1 pounds and is 19.5 inches long.
Jack has always been a big boy and he’s all I know when it comes to babies. After seeing and holding my sister’s newborn daughter, it is apparent she will always be a petite little girl. How appropriate- she will have a strong, protective cousin to watch out for her; even if the two cousins never really look anything alike.
On my side of the family, the only cousins Jack will have are through my sister and her husband, since I don’t have another sibling. (Of course, this is not the case with my wife’s side of the family, since she is number 9 of 10 kids!) So this is Jack’s first cousin through the Shell side of the family and this means I am officially an uncle, through blood.
For the past seven months, my brother-in-law Andrew has filled the typical uncle role. He knows how to make Jack laugh better than anyone else. He’s the fun uncle. Now, I get to be a fun(ny) uncle to his daughter.
Have you noticed yet that I haven’t given the name of Jack’s new cousin? If not, that means I’m doing a good job of my goal. Whereas I plaster Jack’s name all over every post I write and have no reservations in making it public, I respect my sister and her husband’s decision to keep their daughter’s name semi-private; meaning I don’t include it on The Dadabase.
It makes me wonder, though, in the likeness of the name “Emma” gaining popularity because of the sitcom Friends, if the name would at all increase in popularity if it was featured in a Parents.com blog. Because right now the name is virtually unused- the last time it even made an appearance on any kind of popularity chart was the 1880’s.
“Emma” was the 13th most popular girl’s name in 2001. Then the following year Rachel named her daughter Emma on Friends. Unsurprisingly, Emma was the 4th most popular girl’s name of 2002. And every year since then, it has either been the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd most popular girl’s name.
Well I know I can pull this off. I can feature Jack’s new cousin in my stories without ever saying her name or even using her initials. It wasn’t until I had seen the movie Fight Club about a dozen times before I realized that you never actually know the narrator and main character’s name.
So this won’t be the first time a story is told without revealing a main character’s name. What actually matters are the stories. And for a guy who never suffers from writer’s block, I know I can provide the stories.
To cut down on reader confusion in regards to the resemblance that my brother-in-law Andrew (featured two pictures above this one) and I share, I shaved my head this week. People are constantly mistaking us for each other. So I hope the buzz cut helps.
That’s not really why I did it. I mainly just liked the idea of saving 15 bucks instead of paying for a real haircut. Plus, I probably subconsciously wanted to be as cool as Bachelorette contestant J.P. Rosenbaum.
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baby blog, baby names, buzz cut, cousins, dad blog, Emma, fatherhood, Fight Club, friends, J.P. Rosenbaum, JP Rosenbaum, narrator, parenting, The Bachelorette, uncle, writer's block | Categories:
Growing Up, Must Read, People, Storytelling