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Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
It’s a proud moment in a dad’s life to learn that while under the care of another adult, your son elbow jabbed another kid who was hitting him on the head. And that is exactly what happened. My eleven month old son defended himself against a bully’s repeated attacks. Interestingly enough, he and “the bully” are now friends.
My son taught the bully to respect him by putting him in his place. That’s my boy.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. What better way for me to celebrate as a dad than to know my daily wrestling routines with my son have paid off? I play the big scary monster who hides behind the couch and charges towards him to give him a big “daddy hug.” It’s a way for him to test his strength against mine, as he knows I’m no real danger to him. I’m simply his training coach.
Why do men love sports? Playing sports is like “playing war.”
At the end of the day, no one really gets hurt too badly but the players get to engage their masculine strength (and strategies) against other “warriors.” Another thing it reminds me of is the way that dogs “play fight.” It’s their natural way of preparing for an attack by a larger dog or some kind of other serious physical threat.
So why should things be any different with my (not-so) little man? It’s simply an instinct for me to want to wrestle him and that, accordingly, he enjoys the challenge. I’m preparing for him to defend himself from another kid trying to pick on him. What I am not doing is simply teaching him violence for the sake of violence.
Preventing bullying means a lot of things. But ultimately, I’ve yet to talk to one father out there who is okay with his son not defending himself against being physically attacked by a peer.
Bullies attack those who they perceive as weak because they themselves are weak in some way; also because they have a lack of respect for others. I vow to teach my son that he is strong, both in spirit and in body. That may mean that he has to teach the bully to respect him by fighting back.
Sometimes words (and corporate policies) prevent bullying. Other times, a good ole fashioned elbow jab does the trick.
Passing the Mic:
Do you encourage your son to fight the bully in the name of self-defense? Or is my approach a perfect example of “bad parenting?”
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Monday, October 24th, 2011
After becoming a dad last year, I quickly learned that certain things in my life which were previously important had become nearly irrelevant. The funny thing is, I’m so used to my new state of normalcy that I actually forgot that at one point these things even mattered at all. So to celebrate my recent maturity as a dad and as a human being, I now share the top seven things I stopped caring about when I became a dad.
1. Drool: Today at work I looked down at my jacket and saw what appeared to be dried slobber. It’s amazing how much I didn’t care. Maybe there’s something about changing so many diapers in those first couple months that caused me to not even think twice about something as harmless as a little bit of baby drool- whether it’s wet on my hand or dried on my clothing.
2. Sleep: At this point, my son sleeps from 7PM until 6:30 AM every day; but I’m so accustomed to those days of so little sleep for my family of three, that six solid hours each night is plenty good for me. You would think I would crash slightly after he does each night, but I guess I have to feel like I have some kind of life outside of being a dad- like staying up until midnight to publish this blog post.
3. Watching movies: Watching TV shows is different because that is so much more of a passive event. Movies require a sense of commitment- averaging from 90 minutes to two hours. Free time matters so much more to me now; movies just don’t hold their value in my new economy of time.
4. What time I eat: Dinner could be at 6PM… or maybe 7:30… 8 o’clock… it’s anybody’s guess. Coordinating my son’s own eating schedule along with putting him to bed for the night then actually cooking the meal for us parents and then sitting down to eat it; well, it’s the kind of thing that just has to be flexible. I eat when I can, not when I’m hungry.
5. Being on time, in general: I can manage to get to work on time each day despite being the one to drop him off at day care. However, making it to church on time is a whole other blog post. We used to be the people who showed up to events on time. Now the motto is “better late than never.” People seem to understand, though: We have the “parent pass.”
6. Weekend plans: Does it really matter what I’m doing this weekend? Will I be getting any more sleep than a weekday? Will it be any more relaxing than being at work all day instead? I think I just answered my own questions.
7. The perception of being in control: I feel like B.C. (before child) I actually believed I had a decent amount of control over my life. Now, controlling my own life essentially revolves around trying to control my son’s life. Ultimately, if I can keep him from chewing on the power cord to the vacuum cleaner today, then I’ll gladly count that as “being in control.”
Passing the Mic:
What would you add to your version of this list?
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autumn, dad, fall, fatherhood, holiday, holidays, parenting | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Nostalgia, People, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
Cheers to my favorite season of the year, Autumn! With what drink do I make this toast? Well, of course that would be an “off menu” item none among us inconspicuously clued in as the “Dirty Chai Latte” at Starbucks. It’s a Chai Tea Latte with an added shot of espresso.
Why am I promoting it for free? Am I getting a lifetime supply of Dirty Chai’s out of this deal? I wish.
With all the great things that emerge with the fall season, my sinus and allergy problems are among them- especially here in Nashville. Some days, like today, when I accordingly get a headache so intense I nearly get nauseous, no pain reliever will heal me other than a $4 Dirty Chai.
Will you like it? There’s a good chance you won’t. But I definitely do.
It’s made with cinnamon, anise, ginger, cloves, cardamom, milk, a little bit of sugar, and of course, a shot of espresso. So it’s earthy, spicy, malty, rich, and just sweet enough for me not to feel guilty.
By all means, the Dirty Chai is a drug; but at least it’s a legal one. If you are feeling sick, its warmth and caffeine will mask your pain. If you’re feeling stressed by the reality of parenthood, it will lift you up. If are already feeling good, it will make you feel even better.
As parents, we have our vices. This is one of mine. There’s just something about drinking a Dirty Chai amongst the company of strangers at Starbucks who are lucky enough to “work from home” on their laptops that makes me feel like all is well in the world.
Passing the Mic:
I’ve shared my favorite drinkable Autumn vice with you. What’s yours? Do you have an “off the menu” item to introduce to me?
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Saturday, September 24th, 2011
I finally made my first purchase through Groupon: a half priced entry fee for 2011 The Warrior Dash in Manchester, site of the famous Bonnaroo music festival. My good friend Dave told me how instead of paying 60 bucks to run in the obstacle course-infused 5 K race, I could do it for only 30. It was just random enough that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
While I do ride my mountain bike during my lunch break every day, and run when I can, I am definitely not conditioned for a 3 mile, American Gladiator style race. I was well aware of the fact I wouldn’t come close to winning. I was just in it for the thrill of the unknown adventure. So much so, that I didn’t even research what kind of obstacles I would be encountering in The Warrior Dash.
Last Saturday morning, I drove Jack and Jill nearly an hour outside of Nashville and joined the thousands of other adventurists; many of them in outrageous costumes. My goal was simply to run the entire race, never slowing down to a jog or walk.
The race was designed to wear a person out. During the first half of the 5K, there were only a couple of challenges, like scaling a 10 foot tall mountain of hay bales and running on top of junk cars; no prob. But that final mile and a half was barbed in wire; both metaphorically and literally.
I remember having to climb three separate walls (being at least two stories high) with the help of a knotted rope. Reaching the top was the “easy” part. It was the other side of each of those walls that was the problem. One wall simply had wooden planks about three feet apart to climb down on, the next had a steel pole to slide down, and the third had a makeshift ladder that went half way down, then it just dropped off: I had to fall at least 12 feet, fortunately landing on my feet.
Of course, having ran hard the whole way, each obstacle was that much more difficult to cross; my arms were automatically shaking as I crossed the vertical rope ladder and the man-made cave, which involved crawling in a completely dark, two foot tall tunnel.
Mind you, there are so many participants in this race, we were constantly bumping into each other; simply not tripping over each other was a challenge in and of itself. The race ended with a 3 foot deep mud pit. I didn’t want to ruin my good pair of running shoes, so I carried them above my head while avoiding the barbed wires.
Needless to say, I achieved my goal- I ran the entire race. And though I came pretty close two times after the race ended, I never threw up.
It took me about 45 minutes and I’m pretty sure I beat the guy running in a tutu as well as Papa Smurf; so I felt pretty darn accomplished. I can’t wait to run it again next year!
Everything is a mysterious, physical adventure to my son, Jack. I think I envy that about him. After all, I sit behind a desk on the phone for 8 hours a day. The Warrior Dash allowed me to imagine myself in a world similar to Jack’s; adding mud, blood, and bruises.
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5K, autumn, fall, fatherhood, Health, holiday, holidays, race, running | Categories:
Health, Must Read, Nostalgia, People, Storytelling
Friday, September 16th, 2011
My wife and I accidently taught our son Jack to do something weird this week. We taught him to “be a chicken.” Sort of.
For most of his life, my wife Jill has done this bit routine with Jack where she rushes up to him, acting like a mutant chicken. His typical response has always been to start hysterically laughing when she does.
But this past Wednesday night when Jill pretended to be a chicken, Jack decided he wanted to try to be a chicken too. He started opening his mouth really wide, hoping the “bahk, bahk-bahk-bahk” sound would come out. But it didn’t. So he just simply kept opening his mouth and closing it in the hopes that a chicken sound would magically be there.
To make this situation more hilarious, Jack has also been doing this new move where he smiles real big and shakes his head “no” as if to say, “I can’t believe these crazy people in front of me…”. It somehow remains me of Morgan Freeman playing the character of God in the movie Bruce Almighty.
Well, for the past couple of days now he has been combining his “no” move with his attempt at being a chicken. We should be teaching him things like how to pick up Cheerios with his index finger and thumb. Instead, our son can act like a silent chicken who is disapproving, yet very happy about it.
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autumn, baby blog, baby games, Bruce Almighty, Cheerios, chicken, fall, funny, God | Categories:
Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Story Bucket, Storytelling