Posts Tagged ‘ fatherhood ’

My Kid’s First True Need For Band-Aids

Monday, April 14th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

While you’ve been enjoying the splendor of Band-Aids for quite a while now, or as you refer to them, “tattoos,” it wasn’t truly until this past weekend that you really needed them.

Saturday morning we were helping our next door neighbor Rachel move her elliptical to the other side of the neighborhood, where the community yard sale was going on.

(Fortunately, the thing had wheels on the bottom.)

On the walk back to our house, you were running ahead of me on the sidewalk, in flip-flops.

Granted, I did indeed yell out to you, “Jack, slow down! Let me catch up to you.”

It was precisely 5 seconds later that you fell down, scraping your elbows and knees.

There really wasn’t much blood at all, but it was enough to scare you.

After all, you’ve never really fallen down and gotten hurt before. And that’s pretty amazing, actually!

I can’t believe that you made it until nearly age 3 and a half before your first real accidental injury. Had you not been wearing flip-flops, I doubt it would have even happened.

You’re a boy. You’re supposed to get cut up and bruised on a fairly regular basis, right? That’s how I remember it, first hand in the 1980s.

I find it interesting that you typically remain so unscathed…

Makes me wonder if there’s any way I’m a helicopter parent who is in denial? I try to give you all the practical freedom that a modern day American dad can give his son.

Or maybe you’re just now getting to the age where you can really start getting into trouble?

While I hate to see you get hurt, there is definitely a part of me that is proud to see you growing up, like a little boy should- with scraped elbows and knees.

And well-earned Mater Band-Aids.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Boys And Their Superheroes (Like Captain America, For Example)

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

A few hours ago I was able to be among the first to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

As I was getting ready to leave after dinner, you sincerely asked, “Hey Daddy, can I go with you tonight to see Captain America?”

I wish I could have said yes…

But while you were definitely ready for The Lego Movie, I think Captain America is a bit much for a 3 year-old.

Again, I really wish you could have gone with me tonight. Let’s give it a few more years…

So I guess one of the reasons I write these daily letters to you is so that you can actually know your dad.

I don’t want to be a mysterious man to you.

With that being said, you need to know that Captain America is my favorite comic book character.

He was actually the first comic book action figure I ever had. That’s right- in that picture you’re holding an original 1984 Captain America from your daddy’s childhood.

I was three years old when that toy was made… you just happen to be three years old right now, as well.

Why do boys like superheroes so much, anyway? I’m sure there have been great books written and documentaries made regarding this very topic.

For me, I would say there is a subtle, understood message that boys (and men) have an alter ego in mind to help motivate them. They are looking for opportunities to be heroes in their world.

I’ve mentioned before that one of my roles in this life is that I am a reluctant leader. I think it’s interesting that many superheroes start out as average size, like me.

At 5’9″ and 142 pounds, I am clearly the epitome of what a superhero should look like before he gets his super powers.

But then, something awesome happens and the character in the story becomes larger than life and saves the day.

Personally, Captain America is my favorite because while he’s a bit old-fashioned, he truly cares most about doing what is right; particularly in regards to defending the freedom of America.

That’s why I loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

He realizes that the particular government agency he works for is so good at policing the world, that they actually become a threat to the liberty of the American people… in a 1984, Big Brother kind of way.

And Captain America doesn’t like that, so he rounds up enough people to do something about it.

In other words, it’s pretty much the most Libertarian movie I’ve ever seen; definitely more so than The Lego Movie or Ghostbusters.

Here in a few years, you will be getting old enough to enjoy watching comic book superhero movies with me.

I so look forward to that. And Star Wars too.

We are wired to be the underdogs that save the day; even if it’s just Mommy’s day instead of the entire world’s.

Boys and their super heroes. I totally get it. We’re going to have a great time in a few years with this stuff. But I’m not rushing you.

You’re three years old. Right now, I want you to enjoy the benefits of not being age appropriate to see a PG-13 rated movie.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Before I Met Your Mother: Flashback To 2005

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Until last night, I had never seen a full episode of the popular TV show, How I Met Your Mother.

But after hearing all the hype about the final episode that aired this week, I decided to check out the first couple of episodes on Netflix.

It’s interesting because the first episode flashes back to the year 2005, when the protagonist and narrator was 27 years old and meets the woman he wants to marry… and sort of ultimately begins to chase for 9 seasons.

Seeing the show took me back to a place in my life when I was that single 20something year-old guy without a wife and child.

It’s such a different state of mind.

Yes, there was so much “freedom” back then, yet I clearly remember that deep yearning to meet the love of my life, who would in essence connect me to a universe in which the world made better sense to me.

For me, the year 2005 was when I moved to Nashville to truly “start my adult life” as a 24 year-old single guy.

A year later, I met Mommy. Less than two years later, she and I got married. About two and a half years after that, you were born.

To me, this current version of my life is the one I would pick every time.

I know it could be said that raising a 3 year-old boy is at times, chaotic.

But one of my roles in our small family (and in this world as a whole) is to help organize chaos.

It’s as if I find safety and security in the structure of chaos, because it brings meaning to my life.

There are so many things I can’t do well. And there are many obvious roles in our family that Mommy handles.

As for me, I’m here for “everything else.” That’s what I’m good at. I’m starting to fathom that now.

That includes getting rid of spiders for Mommy. That includes being the official disciplinarian for you. That includes me being consistently positive for the two of you even when I don’t feel like it.

I bet it’s hard to imagine me any other way though, right? Before I met your mother, I was a lost boy.

You and her changed that for me. I like 2014 a lot better than 2005.

 

 

Love,

Daddy

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My Son Talks To Strangers, Part 3: The Kohl’s Incident

Monday, March 24th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 2: The Talking Dog.

Dear Jack,

I remember a few months back, I read an article on Parents.com that said one of the best ways to handle a child who is having a meltdown is to distract them.

So that’s exactly what I did this past weekend when we were at Kohl’s.

You were checking out the toys and came across a track for your Monster Jam trucks.

After asking both Mommy and me separately if you could get it, and we both individually told you maybe for your birthday (in November), you decided to ask a lady that works at Kohl’s.

She jokingly said yes.

Let’s just say you had a difficult time accepting the fact that a stranger’s confirmation on a $30 toy does not override your parents’ decision.

The story continues with me carrying you out, from the very back corner of the store and you crying loudly the whole time.

Fortunately, fate would have it that right next to Kohl’s, there just so happened to be a construction crew, building… something.

It doesn’t matter what it was, though I will say it reminded me of Level 8-3 of Super Mario Bros.

What does matter is that it was solid entertainment for you: a cement mixer, a crane, ladders, men in construction hats, smoke and dust.

You stood on the light pole (with me a couple feet behind you) in reverence of the real life Bob the Builder event happening right before your eyes.

My plan had worked, much better than I anticipated, actually.

Shortly afterwards, Mommy walked out of Kohl’s and met us in the parking lot, then we drove around the corner to Whole Foods to buy groceries.

I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea for you, having just had a meltdown, to be placed in a shopping cart in a grocery store.

So Mommy suggested you and I grab lunch while she shopped in the other side of the store.

Another miracle, from my fatherly perspective at least, was that there were some musicians performing there right next to our table in the Whole Foods cafe.

(Well, I guess it wasn’t that much of a miracle; after all, we do live in Nashville.)

I was able to teach you how to clap after each song ended.

That article on Parents.com (“10 Ways To Handle Your Kid’s Tantrums“) was right- the art of distraction really goes a long way. Fortunately, this past weekend, there was a lot to distract you.

All because I’ve taught you to talk to strangers.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

P.S. Read the entire Talking To Strangers series:

 Part 1: The Dishwasher Man

Part 2: The Talking Dog

Part 3: The Kohl’s Incident

 

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My Son Talks To Strangers, Part 1: The Dishwasher Man

Monday, March 24th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

I never in my life thought I’d be so happy about getting a new dishwasher.

One of the assumed roles as the modern dad and father, I have found, is that he takes care of cleaning up all the dishes.

Actually, it would be a foreign concept for me to think that I, as a modern-day American dad, could still be considered a “good husband and father” if I didn’t take care of the dishes everyday he’s…

Or at least some similiar equivalent time-consuming household chore, like laundry or cooking.

At least, that’s my version of reality. I’ve yet to speak to, or even hear of, or watch a stand-up comedian on Netflix (like Tom Papa or Don Friesen), who is a husband and father who is in a “happy household” who doesn’t do the dishes (or an equivalent chore) pretty much on a daily basis.

In all the confusion these days of what roles a modern dad is supposed to assume, “dish duty” is a given for me personally. It’s a way I know I can easily help out our family.

With that being said, our dishwasher has been broken since September.

That means for over 5 months now, I have been washing, and drying, all of our dishes by hand.

And we use a lot of dishes at our house.

Because we have a plant-based diet, Mommy uses the food processor and I often use the juicer, on top of all our normal dishes and utensils.

This is the first time since September that I will have at least 30 more minutes more of “free time” each night that I will be able to use to get more work done… because, we bought a new dishwasher! (During the cheap time of the month, of course.)

My experience as a parent equates free time with work… from other household chores to career enchancing opportunities; but if I’m lucky, catching up with friends.

So yeah, this is a big deal! We now have a working dishwasher!

This is like Christmas.

Saturday when the delivery man came to our house in his big white truck, you were eager to talk to him. Actually, you started with a song:

“I said a hip hop… and you don’t stop.”

This is because Mommy and I finally saw the hilarious Brian Williams/Lester Holt version of Rapper’s Delight:

So you were eager to teach the dishwasher installer guy your new song that you’ve been hearing your parents do all week long.

He was impressed.

You went on to tell him about, and show him, your new 1972 Rachero lowrider Hot Wheel car from Kroger. And as you can see from these pictures, you also had some questions for him as you observed from just a few feet away:

“What’s under there?”

And… “Where are you taking our old dishwasher?”

Talking to strangers isn’t always a bad thing. If I’m there with you, it’s okay.

The thing is, I’m pretty big on talking to strangers, so I’m sure you’re picking up that habit from me.

Love,

Daddy

P.S. Read the entire Talking To Strangers series:

 Part 1: The Dishwasher Man

Part 2: The Talking Dog

Part 3: The Kohl’s Incident

 

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