Posts Tagged ‘ dad ’

And Now Your Best Friend Is Moving Away…

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

For the past two weekends, we have spent time with Sophie and her parents…

Because, you see, well… Sophie’s moving from Nashville to Alabama in a couple of weeks.

I haven’t necessarily broke the news to you yet.

At least the good part is that where Sophie is moving is only about 2 and a half hours from where Nana and Papa’s house is, which is the halfway point between where we live and where Sophie is moving.

So this is not goodbye…

However, it is definitely a major milestone in your life so far. You and Sophie have known each other since July 2011, when Mommy and I enrolled you at the daycare that you both have remained for the past 2 and a half years.

For the majority of your life, Sophie has been a major part of it. Actually, if I cared enough to do the math, you might even spend more waking hours with her than you do Mommy and I each week.

Yesterday as you and Sophie had an ongoing 1970′s car chase/demolition derby at the indoor playground, her mommy and I talked about the move.

We mutually acknowledged the fact that there’s a good chance you and Sophie won’t actually remember all these fun times you’ve had together.

For the majority of your life, you’ve spent countless hours with someone who has been like a twin sister to you.

But will all this time simply be memories for the parents, more so than the kids?

Here’s how I look at it- this is what I told Sophie’s mommy:

Based on what I learned in Child Psychology in college, the first couple of years of a child’s life are arguably the most important for his or her development and future decisions for the rest of his or her life.

So even if these stories I have written about you and Sophie are, at best, foggy memories to you when I go back a year from now and show you these pictures, I’ll still know that Sophie Culpepper had a lot to do with your understanding of what a true friend really is.

It will be her picture in the dictionary, next to the definition of friend.

I will close by providing links for a dozen of the stories I have written about you two over these past couple of years…

Jack And Sophie: Baby Buddies In Crime (November 17, 2011)

The Toddlers’ Beat Poet Society Of Nashville (June 4th, 2012)

Mall Toddlers: My Idea For A Straight-To-DVD Kids Movie (September 17, 2012)

My Toddler Son, The Pony Whisperer/Natural Laxative (October 11, 2012)

Free Craft Activity For Kids: Home Depot’s Little Helper Headquarters (December 5, 2012)

Forcing Your Kid To Apologize And Hug The Other Kid (February 1, 2013)

My Son’s Alter Ego Is A Schlubby Dinosaur (April 29, 2013)

Still, Though, I Think I’d Be Happy With Just One Kid… (July 4, 2013)

A Southern Fried, Sunday Afternoon Play Date (August 6, 2013)

Finding Non-Petroleum, “Bug Juice” Free Cupcakes (November 15, 2013)

A Purposely Low Key 3rd Birthday Party (November 17, 2013)

It’s A Boy’s Boy’s Boy’s World (December 17, 2013)

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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My Son Wore A “Dad Is My Hero” Shirt With A Pink Poodle Costume

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday Mommy and I took you to Shipwrecked, your favorite indoor playground, to hang out with your best friend Sophie on such a snowy Saturday morning.

As usual, you drove around the Lightning McQueen pedal car like a grumpy old man; cutting through the paths of other happy kids.

I stood in the middle of the place, keeping an eye on you from afar.

There you were, collecting random toy “relics” in the back of your car. (Reference to The Lego Movie we saw yesterday.)

It was hilarious to me: You didn’t speak to, or even smile at, any of the other kids as you drove through their neighborhood of the playground to pick up a few random toys… like a pink toaster.

One older girl handed you a plastic banana; which you promptly accepted as if it were simply understood as business as usual.

You even swooped by the giant dollhouse to snatch the tiny potty.

And then, you visited the costume room, to pick up your rarest find: a pink poodle costume, the one Sophie wore when you were Barney the dinosaur.

I didn’t think much of it; I just figured it was part of your collection.

So it caught me off guard when you pulled up to me, stopped the car, and started putting on the pink poodle costume backwards.

All with a stoic look on your face and speaking no words.

Naturally, I didn’t want you to feel embarassed, so I helped you put on the pink poodle costume the right way.

But then I realized you were a bit too tall for it.

So you ended up wearing it like a hoodie for about 20 seconds; before you decided to take it off and start chasing down Sophie in a vintage 1970′s car chase.

(More on that in an upcoming letter.)

So, I will close by pointing out an observation that I find… pretty interesting.

You wore a pink poodle costume while also wearing a “Dad is my hero” shirt.

I would like an explanation here.

I’m sure there’s an interesting psychological explanation in there somewhere. Hmm.

How is your relationship with your father?…

 

Love,

Daddy

 

 

 

 

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I Want You To Go Back To Being A Daddy

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

During the holidays last month, there was a day where I had to work, but you and Mommy were home.

I didn’t realize it until here recently, but I found these pictures that Mommy took of you wearing my hat and slippers. You had proclaimed to Mommy:

“I’m being Daddy!”

Deep thought: In your eyes, what does it mean to “be Daddy”?

It happened again yesterday afternoon, as we had just finished watching Brother Bear 2 on Netflix. In the movie, the main character, a girl named Nita, chooses to turn into a bear.

As you played trains on the carpet with Mommy, I asked you if you wanted me to turn into a bear. Out of curiosity, you said yes.

In the likeness of Brother Bear 2, I stood up, sort of twirling in slow motion through the air, and when I crouched back down, I pretended to be a roaring bear.

Almost immediately, you stopped me:

Go back to being a daddy!”

So with another slow motion twirl in the air, I turned back into “a daddy.”

But what does in mean, in your eyes, to be a Daddy? And more importantly, to be your Daddy?

For me, it was one of those moments in time where I got accidental confirmation that I must be doing something right, as your parent.

Whatever it means to you that I’m your Daddy, it’s a thing you want and need.

This reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies, Garden State:

“It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”

Last night as I wrapped you up in your snowman blanket, singing you “Yellow Submarine,” I heard the mix of nostalgic sadness and happiness in the song.

I imagined what that must be like on your end. I remember. I do…

There’s this deep sentimental connection between a parent and a child about your age; a certain connection I still remember having with my parents in the early 1980s.

You’re in it, right now. You’re in it.

I’m not saying that feeling goes away, but I recognize it as particularly special during those preschool years, when lullabies and stuffed animals are part of everyday life.

It feels like… home. It’s both happy and sad.

The reason it’s sad is because it’s so happy and, deep down, you know it won’t last forever.

You know that the two of you will both grow up and eventually become both be adults.

But as for right now, you get to be the cute little boy, ironically wearing Daddy’s hat and slippers.

 

Love, Daddy

 

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I Think, Therefore I Am… Made Of Noodles

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

I love your artwork.

Just look at this magnificent piece you created recently, which you simply entitled Bones; where you were instructed to place spiral noodles where your bones are and yarn for where your hair is.

Here’s my favorite part: You recognized that there was no reason to use any yarn for hair as all your classmates did.

You understood that because I “buzz” you every month or so with a #2 guard on the clippers, you don’t have enough hair to show it in the picture you made of yourself.

Meanwhile, all your other friends in the class, who happen to have a lot more hair than you, did use the yarn;  some to excess.

I cracked up when I saw your friend Porter’s self-portrait. According to the yarn he used, he has hair down to his fingers; when really, his hair isn’t even down to his eyebrows.

And your friend, Madison, who I recently had to instruct you to stop calling an eyeball

In her rendition of herself, she has the Pippi Longstocking thing going on.

Your recent piece of art shows me your sense of self-awareness. It took Bones to show me that you are able to recognize yourself from a 3rd person perspective.

I like how when you see yourself in front of a mirror and I ask you that is, you always smile and curiously say, “Jack.”

It’s almost as if you see yourself from that 3rd person perspective but are still somewhat confused in the connection of version of yourself to the 1st person perspective.

Hey, I know the feeling.

Something I am definitely aware of is that I have trouble connecting who I think I am to who I really am. I want them to be the same, and in theory they are, but I’m never fully convinced.

“I think therefore I am” is not as easy as it sounds.

But when you involve noodles and yarn, it somehow is easier to understand.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Photo Of Doyin Richards, Of Daddy Doin’ Work, Goes Viral

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

I’m very passionate about shining a spotlight on any stories or situations where dads are being portrayed in a positive spotlight, unlike 20/20’s disrespectful Father’s Day piece entitled “D Is For Dad And Dumb,” or those stereotypical Robitussin commercials where the dad can’t help but wake the baby with all his annoying coughs.

Here’s a perfect example of the exact kind of story I love to feature:

A picture of Los Angeles dad (and blogger) Doyin Richards has gone viral. In the photo, he is seen brushing his daughter’s hair, while cradling his baby in an Ergo.

I think it’s interesting to dissect why this picture has resonated with so many people.

To me, it’s a candid view of what modern fatherhood is all about: involvement.

Clearly, this dad is involved… very involved- to the point he’s multitasking with his two children.

The picture is credible and sincere; and I think people appreciate that.

In addition to those things, I also found subtle and charming humor in it. I do see irony, but not the kind of irony as to imply that it’s weird for men to “babysit,” because that’s an outdated concept that both Doyin and I agree is not cool, as I see from this other picture from his blog, Daddy Doin’ Work.

What makes me laugh is because Doyin Richards appears to be a large, muscular, masculine guy who seems to be quite familiar with the routine and method of simultaneously getting his daughters ready in the morning; a very caring and thoughtful image.

He illustrates a perfect paradox of being both strong and gentile.

I’m sure the rest of the world has their own reasons for making the picture so popular, but those are the reasons I like it so much.

Gentile, yet strong, and definitely involved- I say that’s a good way to describe the modern dad.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Photo credit: Doyin Richards of Daddy Doin’ Work.

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What's Your Parenting Style?
What's Your Parenting Style?

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