Posts Tagged ‘ fear ’

Lost In Translation: “Mommy, Are My Beaver Gone?”

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Mommy stayed home with you on Tuesday, the day after you had your 2nd febrile seizure. Fortunately, you had a quick recovery and were back to school by Wednesday.

Even still, Mommy kept a close watch on your temperature that day; knowing that if it spiked again, you could have yet another febrile seizure.

As she cared for you in our bed, you made this face (featured right) and asked her:

“Mommy, are my beaver gone?”

This hasn’t stopped being funny to me yet.

Evidently, you think that the word beaver and fever are the same thing. At this point, I don’t think you quite comprehend the fact that “having a fever” means your body’s temperature is too hot.

I imagine a mischievous little beaver hanging on your back, running across your legs and arms; just pestering you and keeping you from being able to go to school.

It makes me think of how last Friday I spent my lunch break with you at the park and you saw a squirrel doing his typical, paranoid, jumpy circus act on a tree. You asked, “Daddy, he gonna get me?”

So I wonder if in general you have a fear about small critters “getting” you.

As your Daddy, I will protect you against it all: Monsters underneath the bed, squirrels in the trees, beavers… not to mention- gophers, duckbill platypuses… if it’s an irrational fear, I’m on it for ya!

If it’s a rational fear, like having a 105 degree temperature and having to rush you to the ER, well, I’m good for that too.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Dad Admits To Living Vicariously Through His Son

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

2 years old.

Dear Jack,

There’s this cliche about dads trying to live their lives vicariously through their sons.

As the dad thinks back on his own life, regarding things he wishes he could have done differently, he attempts to rewrite history by making sure his son does those things he was never able or willing to.

Well, that’s what I’m doing with you.

But not in the token way where I force you to play sports or try to make you become a doctor or lawyer.

The way I am doing it is much more simple, yet epic.

What I am attempting to do is to make you a braver and more daring little boy than I was.

I remember crying a lot as a little boy because I was afraid to try or do anything new.

Back in Halloween 1986, there was this church party where one of the dads put together this 12 foot long tunnel cave out of refrigerator boxes.

I only made it through about four feet of that tunnel before I turned around. That decision symbolized a lot of the remainder of my childhood.

It was probably 4th grade before I began developing a true sense of confidence in who I was, and therefore, my ability to overcome my fears of taking on scary challenges.

However, I don’t think you’ll be the timid little boy I remember being. With just a little prodding, I am able to get you to choose to overcome your anxieties.

Fast forward from Halloween 1986 to Halloween 2012. A few weeks ago, when we were in Sacramento visiting Mommy’s side of the family, your cousin Savannah wanted to play with you in the “jumpy house.”

You had always been afraid of jumpy houses. I basically forced you into the jumpy house, then Savannah took over from there.

The truth is, you barely hesitated once you got inside. Then you you couldn’t get enough.

I was only able to eventually pry you away because it was time to eat cake.

Sure, I sort of forced you to overcome your fear. But ultimately, it was your decision. Had you cried and thrown a tantrum, I would have given up.

Instead, you gave it a shot.

You’re a brave little boy.

I never made it through that refrigerator box tunnel in the church basement. It still bothers me to this day.

Son, I admire your will and your courage at such a young age.

So while I may live vicariously through you sometimes as I try to get you to do things I would have been too afraid to when I was your age, you don’t really need my influence too much.

Sure, my gentle push helps. But you’re brave and curious enough on your own.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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Jack the Fearless Vs. the PetCo Cat

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Nine months.

Ever since he was born last November, Jack has never been afraid of anything.  In fact, things that should scare him to the point of crying are actually the things that make him laugh.  On the other hand, when people try to make him laugh by being silly, he just sort of gives a blank stare, as if to say, “What? That’s all ya got?”.

Just to be clear on what doesn’t scare Jack, I often speak to him in my Freddy Krueger voice while making my Freddy Krueger face, saying things like, “How’s this for fine dining?” while feeding him his bottle.  Or during playtime and he’s crawling on the floor I’ll chase him while crawling myself, again in Freddy Krueger mode: “Come here, son.  I eat babies for breakfast!”. And he grunts with delight.

One particularly fun and unsafe game I play with Jack is when I throw a thin blanket over him. As he tries to remove it, waving his arms, he looks like a generic ghost from Scooby Doo. It usually only takes a few seconds for him to reappear and as soon as he does, he’s always laughing.

With that being said, we finally found something that scares Jack. Recently we ate at a restaurant meeting some friends for breakfast.  Oddly enough, the place we ate was adjoined to a PetCo pet store. So we decided to check out the live animals for some Saturday morning entertainment.

Jack loved the dogs, birds, fish, and even the smelly weasels- or were they ferrets?

But on our way out the door, we realized we had totally missed the cats when we had entered the PetCo.  As I held Jack in my arms, walking closer to the caged cats that happened to be at Jack’s eye level, he started crying a different kind of cry than I am used to hearing from him.  It wasn’t “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired.” Instead, it was the rare “I’m scared! Get me out of here!”.

In particular, there was a black cat with green eyes that started creeping toward Jack.  Though in a cage, it really freaked him out.  To be fair, the cat truly was a bit creepy; all panther-like and whatnot.

The fearless and adventurous Indiana Jones was known for being terrified of snakes. Looks like the equally daring Jack has found his weakness in the feline form.

*These pictures were taken at a random mini-amusement park in Lodi, California; the same city that was featured in the 1969 song “Lodi” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, containing the lyrics, “stuck in ole Lodi again.”

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The Fear of Messing This Thing Up

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Eight months.

As a dad, I have fears. Something I have learned in life is that when I say my fears out loud (or “type them out loud”), I can get a better handle on them, putting them into their proper perspective.  It’s my way of controlling my fears instead of them controlling me.

I’ve written before here on The Dadabase about my fear of not being able to financially provide for my family, as well as my fear of being responsible for my son being seriously injured or killed. But today, instead of focusing on a financial or physical issue, my featured fear is a psychological one: It’s my fear that I will somehow “mess up” my son.

I get it. No parent is perfect or has this whole parenting thing all figured out, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I know; part of what helps us mature and have realistic expectations in life is when we are forced to be strong.  And of course, any parent who would be sensitive enough to worry about somehow messing up their kid is the exact kind of parent who probably won’t mess up their kid. I am aware of all those things.

Still, the longer I am a parent, the more I realize my potential to really prohibit or injure my son’s full potential in life. Sometimes it just starts to really sink in that I’ve brought a human life into existence and that my decisions greatly effect how he turns out.  And he has a soul, too. So it’s not just an earthly issue, but an eternal one, as well.

God evidently believes in my capabilities more than I do.

It was one thing when I was a single guy with no peripherals. But now, every tiny and humongous choice I make can ultimately mold my son into the person he will become.

How did I become qualified to be so powerful and influential in both my son and my wife’s life? Like Jack Shephard on Lost, I often feel like I am a reluctant leader who realizes the seriousness of the role I must play, as others depend on me to do so.  I am so not qualified for this job.  So undeserving.

Instead of falling through the chaotic vacuum of life unconnected to anyone who needs my care, my love, my guidance, and my providence, in reality, I hold the hand of a beautiful woman and a magical son who depend on me.

They don’t care about my imperfections. They don’t care about how little money I make. They don’t care about the fact that I am lucky to just be one step ahead of the game of life each day, if that.

As a man, I understand the importance of not dwelling on these fears. I was wired to be strong. I was wired to say, “Here’s what we’re going to do…” when a new problem arises, then I make sure that the plan gets carried out. I can’t worry about the very real fact that I opened up the most cosmic can of worms when I became a husband and father.

My job is to create an atmosphere of confidence, strength, hope, and faith, despite the clusterfog that often surrounds my family of three. And regardless how I may feel about my lack of qualifications or merit, the fact that I stay intact and refuse to ever think about giving up on them is perhaps one of the greatest signs that I do indeed have what it takes.

Wow. I do feel better now.

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The Papa Bear in Me: Yes, I’m Overprotective

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Seven months.

It’s a big, dangerous world out there and it’s my job to keep this little bambino safe.  But I must channel my fears into positive, rational energy.

There is plenty of truth in the stereotype that parents are over-protective with their first child. I know, because I’m living it right now. Subconsciously, I preview every potentially dangerous situation for Jack; no matter how improbable.

I am Jack’s protector- I can not let anything bad happen to him. Like Bruce Banner (the Incredible Hulk), I can instantly turn into the biggest beast of a monster in an effort to protect him. So while I am an average-looking, mild-mannered man, all it takes is Jack being in potential danger for me to transform into a potential killing machine.

But what is most relevant is that I prepare for Jack’s safety in every situation. So that I never have to rescue or save him. Being over-protective means preventing dangerous situations; not just worrying about them happening all the time.

For my 10th birthday on April 20th, 1991, my parents bought me exactly what I wanted the most: Bible Adventures, the Nintendo game. (Yes, it actually existed!) The game was modeled after my favorite video game ever, Super Mario Bros. 2, in that you could carry items above your head and throw them at enemies.

The most interesting (and disturbing!) thing in Bible Adventures was that if you played as Moses’ sister Miriam, you held baby Moses over your head and for some unexplainable reason, if you pressed the B button, you would throw the infant Moses onto the ground…

Miraculously, he would never be injured; whether you tossed him onto the hard concrete sidewalk, on top of a giant mutant spider, directly into a guard throwing spears, or into the river. But I was a 10 year-old boy, so I didn’t let the physical practicality or the Biblical incorrectness of the game bother me too much. But I did have a lot of fun repeatedly throwing baby Moses onto the sidewalk and watching him bounce, cry for a second, then instantly start smiling again. Needless to say, Bible Adventures did not receive the Nintendo Seal of Approval.

Since the day Jack was born, I have always been fearful that I will drop him; knowing that unlike the invincible Nintendo version of baby Moses, my son would not simply bounce and smile afterwards. So now that he is beginning to crawl, it means I carry him around less. Which means I worry less about dropping him, and more about him getting into all kinds of other troubles.

With good reason, I worry about him drowning, being run over by a car, getting electrocuted, choking, falling, getting attacked by a dog, or maybe even getting swooped up by a long-lost pterodactyl. It even scares me to type my fears aloud, even if the last one was a joke.

I am the Papa Bear. I will do whatever it takes to protect Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

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