You’re like me: You often process your thoughts out loud, sometimes not realizing that other people are listening and taking your curious trains of thought more seriously than you are.
Today as I drove you home from school and we listened to John Lennon sing “goo goo g’joob,” you interrupted “I Am The Walrus” with this deep philosophical creed:
“I not eat boogers? I eat food?”
Somehow I didn’t laugh, and instead, instantly responded in a tone that proved your questions to be legitimate.
“That’s right, son. You eat food, not boogers.”
I realize that your version of the food pyramid is almost exclusively built on mac and cheese, beans and rice, bananas, pureed veggies, and raisins. But even at the very top of that pyramid, there is no space available for boogers, with a caption reading, “Use sparingly.”
So maybe you saw some friends at school picking their nose, then eating their findings. Then you thought it was weird but maybe somehow you thought it might be acceptable, so you figured you should ask Daddy.
Or maybe, with all the talk of finding Easter eggs this weekend, and your confusion on whether or not chickens eat the eggs they lay, which leads to more confusion on whether cows drink the milk they so willingly and graciously share with the human population instead of their own young, I could see how you might think that you also could produce your own food source from your body.
Not the case.
Son, I’m glad we had our talk in the car today. I always want you to feel like you can approach me with important questions like this.
While there may be other families out there who disagree with our lifestyle choices, our family is firm in our beliefs:
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.
Though I am intentionally keeping Jack from regularly watching TV until he turns two years-old, because I believe in the theory that it is linked to Autism, I really really look forward to the day that he and I can watch some cool shows together. Just about a half a year from now…
So I’m currently in the process of scouting out shows for he and I to enjoy together, as a I scroll through the children’s section of Netflix’s instant streaming on my Wii.
My favorite so far is Yo Gabba Gabba! It is surreal, extremely repetitive, and saturated in techno music. While watching this show, I make it a personal goal of mine not to get hypnotized by DJ Lance Rock and friends.
As for my only niece on my side of the family, she wasn’t as successful to resist as I have been.
While spending Easter weekend in Alabama with my family, I told my sister she had to watch to first episode of Yo Gabba Gabba!
Her husband watched Jack play on the living room floor as I held their daughter Calla in my lap, who was curious to catch a glimpse of the show.
Calla has a reputation for not easily taking naps during the day. From what I’ve observed, she has to be held and rocked to fall asleep.
So it was very strange for my sister to watch this happen:
She ended up sleeping in this awkward face-down position for about 20 minutes. I wish I could give Yo Gabba Gabba! all the credit, but I should take some for myself. I’m thinking that my “manly musk” is part of the comfort in helping my niece enter Slumber Land.
I naturally smell like an enchanted forest. Sort of like the one featured on Yo Gabba Gabba!
This year’s traditional Easter pictures were taken in my sister’s storm shelter; and Jack just went along with it, not knowing any different. Though I admit, he looks pretty intense in the picture above.
I think it’s safe to say, we may have very well started a new family tradition for Jack; as random as it is.
While spending the weekend in Alabama with my family, my sister wanted to make sure we checked out the new storm shelter that she and her husband just got installed behind their house. (A year ago around this time, while we were living there, we had to flee across the Georgia state line because tornadoes caused the power to go out for the whole city.)
So Easter morning, after we gave our kids their Easter baskets, we opened the hatch (yes, like on Lost) and all descended six feet into the earth; to test out the storm shelter.
Somehow during the process, my dad ended up with a camera and did his best to capture a couple of shots of the glorious event. Between the two shots, mostly everyone was smiling and looking at the camera.
I already know that 10 years from now, the thing I will remember most about Easter 2012 is testing out my sister’s storm shelter. Jack won’t remember it, but I’m pretty sure a new family tradition has been born.
In a few years, as we step down into the white abyss for the current family Easter photo, I’m sure he’ll ask me, “Daddy, why do we always go down here to take our picture? Why not outside in the yard like most families?”
The truth is, I won’t have a real good answer for him. Because like most good memories that make for good stories, this wasn’t planned. So much of life is just simply showing up and participating. A lot of times, from there, something interesting is bound to happen. Especially when we’re surrounded by family.
Note: It has recently been brought to my attention that based on the picture below, a theory has been formed that I caused a stinky situation in those confined spaces. I officially dispel this rumor. It was a mere coincidence that my wife happened to be covering her mouth as I apparently did my best impression of Robert De Niro.
But I will say, give it a few years, and Jack will definitely be the guilty, stinky culprit.
Pictured from left: My mom, my son Jack, my sister, my dad, myself, my wife Jill, my brother-in-law, and lastly, my niece.
This Easter, enjoy the by-products of pig bones, crushed bugs, and my personal favorite, beaver anal glands. I know I will!
Sorry for the Debbie Downer title and subject matter today, but I think you will appreciate how enlightened you will be by the end of this.
Though I haven’t consumed any meat in a long time now, I will be breaking my vegetarian streak this Sunday.
It’s not because I will be grilling out steaks or chewing on some deer jerky, but simply because I want to join in on all that marshmallowy goodness; as we evidently celebrate the bunnies and baby chicks who were present when our Lord and Savior was resurrected from the grave.
Here is why vegetarians, as well as the kosher abiding, must compromise their principles in order to truly enjoy their children’s Easter candy. And for any of you Doubting Thomas’s or blog snipers out there, I’ve conveniently paired each one with a snopes.com (or other more-legitimate-than-Wikipedia) link where you can verify these aren’t simply urban legends or Internet hoaxes left over from April Fool’s Day.
1. Marshmallows: They are what makes Easter candy special, as compared to Halloween or Christmas candy. But what makes marshmallows themselves so special? Well, it’s just that they are made with gelatin, which is comprised of cow hide, pig skins, and bones of both. Pudding, anyone?
2. Red food dye: If any of your candy contains the red food dye Crimson Lake, you will be appreciating the splendor of crushed scale insects (parasites of plants). This is why Starbucks is currently taking heat for their Strawberry Frappuccinos. Could be worse; at least it’s not made from beaver genitals…
3. “Natural” vanilla flavoring: How can you know when a vanilla flavored food is made with actual vanilla or just castoreum, which is the oily secretion, found in two sacs between the anus and the external genitals of beavers? We can’t, thanks to the FDA. But at least we can credit Jamie Oliver for bringing the truth about castoreum to the national limelight for us; just as he did for “pink slime.”