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Saturday, February 9th, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
Last Saturday morning when it snowed here in Nashville, I snapped a few quick pictures of you discovering the glory of it through the window.
However, those pictures of you didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped.
Instead, they could easily be filed under the categories of “safety hazard” or “a mess to be made.”
Without an explanation, the picture to the right looks like I just let you regularly pretend to strangle yourself with the strings from the window blinds.
In reality, the exact second this picture was shot was the only time you’ve ever put the strings from the window blinds close to your neck.
The main reason you I’ve never let you play with the window blinds is explained in the picture below.
Not only do I not want you to hurt yourself, but I don’t want you to learn that it’s okay to play with something that could easily turn into a big mess, or more importantly, something that could break and be so expensive to fix.
(Those blinds throughout our townhouse costed us a total of $500 for the 3 windows we have, by the time they were installed.)
Trust me, I don’t want to be a stick in the mud parent who is telling you “no” anytime you try to do something new.
I want you to be curious and adventurous. You are a little boy. You’re basically wired to discover fun new things on a regular basis.
But as your dad, I have to constantly be asking myself, “Is this a safety hazard?” and “Will this make a big expensive mess that I’ll have to clean up and pay for?”
Speaking of snow, it reminds me of when I was a kid in school and the Superintendent would have to make the call very early that morning on whether or not school would be cancelled because of snowy or icy weather.
If he cancelled school, and the weather ended up not being as bad as everyone thought it would be, then it could make it look like he jumped the gun and overreacted.
But if he didn’t cancel school, and the weather really was as bad as everyone thought it might be, then he could be seen as unwise and not concerned enough with the safety of the children.
I feel like the Superintendent. You give me enough reasons each day to have continually ask myself whether I should approve or cancel whatever potential hazard or mess you are about to get yourself into.
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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
A year and a half.
Whenever I say or type the phrase “thank you,” I instantly assume I actually just said “f— you.”
To me, the words sound so similar.
It’s not that I’m a vulgar person. In fact, my constant suspicion of my subconscious has much more to do my preoccupation of not being vulgar.
My habit of questioning my automatic actions bleeds into my parenting abilities.
Each time after having just strapped my son into his car seat and starting the ignition, I run the following questions through my head before looking over my shoulder at him:
“Did I actually strap him in all the way? Is he crawling around right now on the floor of my car? Is he outside, behind the car? Will I back over him?”
I just don’t want to commit some huge crime on account of running on autopilot. It’s not that I question my abilities as a dad.
Instead, I question my most unguarded moments in the midst of my daily dad duties. One little slip-up can instantly morph into an avalanche; in regards to protecting the life of my child.
I don’t fear being a bad dad. I fear being a good dad who in one careless moment throws it all away.
What if I somehow accidently cause my son to lose an eye or allow him to choke to death on a piece of bread? What if he suffocates during the night, trapped under his blanket and I’m not there to stop it?
It’s not that I’m overcome by the fear of “what if’s?” but instead, like a good Boy Scout, I always want to be prepared to keep these things from happening.
I want to prevent these catastrophes like Desmond repeatedly saved the life of Charlie on Lost in season 3.
Taking this “2nd guessing concept” a step further in parenting, there are so many controversial topics when it comes to deciding what is right in raising a child.
Are you wrong or right for letting your child “cry it out?” Should you regret letting your child receive immunizations? Why are some parents against letting their toddlers drink juice?
After having made a decision for your child, do you second-guess it or are you proud to have done what is right for you as a parent?
There will always be something to question yourself on as a mom or dad. But it’s my goal to make the best-researched and most-educated decisions and then follow them through.
If I’m wrong for letting my son cry it out, we’ll find out eventually. As for now, I’m confident in how wrong or right I am in my decision.
I just don’t have the mental capacity to honestly worry about that, in particular. I’m too busy trying to make sure I only just said “thank you” and not its evil counterpart.
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Thursday, August 5th, 2010
It’s not so much that I will relive vicariously through him as it will be that I will raise him according to what I know boyhood to be; therefore, Jack’s youth will in certain ways resemble mine. And not only will I influence him regarding what it means to be a boy, but also by what it means to have a dad, based on how my own dad influenced my life. Looking back, I can see that my dad was extremely patient with me and willing to spend his free time with me doing whatever goofy thing it was that I was into.
Whether it was helping me make the perfect Pine Wood Derby car for Cub Scouts, going exploring out in the woods, playing “Ninja Turtles” with me (I still have an impressive collection of those action figures at my parents’ house), or playing Nintendo for hours at a time.
Being a dad to a son also means confronting potentially dangerous situations and keeping him safe through it; whether because he has to, or for fun. And in the process, the son learns to trust his dad to take care of him, knowing his dad wouldn’t allow him to get hurt.
Like when he was leading our family in a 5 mile hike in Mentone, AL and he encountered a Copperhead snake- he killed it by throwing a huge rock on it. Then when we got back home he skinned it and displayed it for all of us Cub Scouts.
And like when I was really young, my dad would put me in a pillow case, hold on to the open end, and sling me around the living room. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
I also would sit up on his shoulders while he stood under the ceiling fan, in front of the mirror, so I could see that my head was just inches away from the spinning blades. He called the event “The Head Chopper-Offer”. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
And I always liked to wrestle my dad. Obviously, it was impossible to beat him. He was way too strong and way too big for me; not to mention he had a black belt in karate. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
It was about testing those limits of danger with someone whose job it was to keep me safe. Ironic, yet necessary. My dad and I wrestling on the brown shag carpet represents what being a dad to a boy is all about. The typical “play fighting” allows a boy to test his own strength and power against his own protector and guardian. And it’s a very natural way for a father and son to be physically close- without even realizing it.
Dads and sons are close in their own unspoken ways. And as a dad, part of my job will be to initiate some of these weird ancient rituals. Even if it means confronting danger- it’s part of the journey of becoming a man. And these types of adventures are a rite of passage meant to be passed down from father to son.
Baby Jack is the size of an eggplant.
Here’s what The Bump says about Week 26:
Let your spouse put an ear to your belly — he might be able to pick up baby’s heartbeat (no stethoscope required). Inside the womb, the formation of tiny capillaries is giving baby a healthy pink glow. Baby’s also soaking up your antibodies, getting the immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and baby will soon perfect the blink — perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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adventure, baby, blog, blogs, boyhood, Cub Scouts, dad, dad from day one, danger, eggplant, Mentone, Nintendo, parenting, pregnancy, protect, ritual, safe, snake, sock monkeys, son, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, weird, wrestling | Categories:
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