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Thursday, April 10th, 2014
3 years, 4 months.
Since your first and best friend, Sophie, moved away in February, you have by default been put in situation where you are becoming friends with other boys.
Up until now, the way it’s worked out is that the kids in your class at school who are closest to you in age are girls- so that’s why you have been more prone to hang out with girls, instead of boys, outside of school.
But now that Sophie is no longer attending your school with you, I’m pleasantly surprised to see you talking to and playing alongside boys when I pick you up from school each day.
There’s even a picture at your school of you and a boy named Alex. The two of you posed arm in arm on Western day for your teacher.
That’s not a side of you I’ve seen much of.
I am very excited by the thought of you having a regular “outside of school” friend that is a boy.
This is because I recognize the importance of having friends of the same gender, not just the opposite.
I remember one of my 1st friends like that in preschool- his name is Russell McElhaney. I still remember that he was my first friend that was a boy. I remember “outside of school” activities with him, like going to each other’s houses to play with He-Man action figures.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve never really written a letter to you that tells a story about you and one of your friends who is a boy.
I predict within the next year you’ll have a friend here in Nashville who you are close enough to that they do indeed end up in a story.
As for now, my next letter is about you going to downtown Nashville, arm in arm between two girls from school.
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Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
3 years, 2 months.
I don’t regularly share pictures of you on Facebook, unattached from daily stories I write about you.
But over the weekend, I did. I just shared three pictures of you on Mommy’s Facebook wall, as she is rarely on Facebook anyway:
In one, you’re smiling with Mommy as you “make soup” with water and spices.
In another, you’re proudly displaying your hilarious monster truck collection.
And in the third one, you’re using a pizza crust as a mustache.
Sharing those pictures with Mommy was my way of helping her stay connected with Facebook friends; giving her new material to talk about without her actually having to start the conversation.
As the comments began rolling in, I started seeing a common factor: People were genuinely amazed at how much older you look.
I haven’t noticed it as much because I see you everyday. I’m more aware of changes in your intellectual maturity instead.
So I guess I should take this down as a moment in your life where you magically looked a bit older, all of the sudden.
Your friend Henry’s dad put it this way: “When did Jack turn 7?”
It’s like watching the minute hand of a clock. If you stare at it constantly, you probably won’t really notice it move. But if you turn away for 20 minutes, then return back to it, you see an obvious difference.
As your parent, I see you every day. Since you’ve been alive, there have probably only been 3 or 4 nights where I was out of town and didn’t see you at all for the day.
Something I have noticed here recently is that your hair is obviously more brown now, like your parents’ hair color, than it is blonde.
And I’ve noticed how your nose and lips look just like Mommy’s now, while your chin and brow look a lot like mine.
It’s easy to get distracted in actually raising you everyday that I tend not to see so obviously what everybody else does- those subtle changes are hidden, though they’re right in front of me.
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Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
Until last Saturday, the only birthday parties you had been invited to were for either very close friends or family.
So as weird as this may sound, it was at least somewhat of a milestone as a parent to receive a birthday invitation from one of your classmates from daycare.
“Jack, do you know Joshua from your class?” I asked you.
“Yeah, he likes the trains,” you responded with no hesitation and full confidence.
So we bought 3 die cast Chuggington trains for your friend Joshua.
I didn’t even know who Joshua was, which added to the coolness factor of you being invited to his party.
“Who is this mysterious Joshua kid?” I wondered.
We arrived at The Monkey’s Treehouse, where you instantly made your way to the giant wooden train sets and began inching a train around each corner and up each ramp with careful precision.
A friendly boy with olive complected skin and black curly hair pushed a toy shopping cart by you saying, “Hi Jack.”
“Oh, that must be the Joshua,” I told Mommy. I was right.
It was his 3rd birthday. A cool, older kid wanted you at his fun birthday party at an indoor playground. Epic.
Of course, you were perfectly content hanging out at the train station the entire time, only taking a short break for birthday cake.
Trust me, I tried, but I just couldn’t get a natural shot of you and Joshua in the same picture. That’s okay, though.
Because I have a feeling that part of the reason Joshua invited you to his birthday party was that he liked you and wanted to make sure you guys officially became friends.
Kids’ birthday parties are a good venue for building relationships with not only the kids, but also the parents.
Sure enough, for the first time ever, when I picked you up from daycare today, you explained, “Joshua ate the apple.”
Yes, Joshua has now made it into your after-school conversations with me.
I like your new friend. He’s a cool kid, just like you.
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Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
I don’t know why, but over the past couple of months, my wife and I seem to have been making new friends, in addition to our old ones.
Are we suddenly cooler than we were before?
Maybe it’s because our son is a little bit more independent now, so we can be a little bit more free spirited and outgoing; therefore attracting new people into our lives with a newfound positive energy.
Some of these new friends are like us- married with a kid. That’s natural and it makes sense that we would want to get to know each other better.
But also added to our list of new cell phone contacts are married couples who don’t have kids; or who are even single.
It’s a very interesting process to become friends with someone new at this point in my life; when it doesn’t involve my kid.
I’m sort of rusty on how this “making friends” thing works; especially since now it involves texting and Facebook messages more than it does phone conversations.
There’s like this unintended game of “I’m not stalking you” that you have to play with the person, at first.
They text you first: You get a point.
You send them a Facebook friend request: They get a point.
Basically, you’re trying not to be the one who creeps the other one out.
After a few rounds, if neither of you has weirded the other out, then it’s official: You’re real friends!
I think the most challenging part of making new friends these days is trying to make plans with them via text messages.
The art of discussion is dumbed down to caveman talk to where you can’t really offer up a hang-out plan then decide against it without sounding like a flake.
It’s not like you have the space in the text message to thoroughly explain the cons you instantly realized about the plan you just suggested.
But I’m up for the challenge. If people want to legitimately be my real life friend, whether they have a kid or not, I will do my darndest not to creep them out or be too vague like a hipster.
I would say, “I’ll just be me and if they don’t like it, then they’re not really my friend.”
However, I’ve learned that “be yourself” is the worst advice you can give some people.
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Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
A new character joined the cast of The Dadabase this week…
I’ve been mentioning that my sister, Dana, and her husband, Andrew, have been expecting their first child: due July 2nd. Well, July 2nd came early this year… because at 2:07 AM this Tuesday morning (June 21st), my sister gave birth to her baby girl. She weighs 6.1 pounds and is 19.5 inches long.
Jack has always been a big boy and he’s all I know when it comes to babies. After seeing and holding my sister’s newborn daughter, it is apparent she will always be a petite little girl. How appropriate- she will have a strong, protective cousin to watch out for her; even if the two cousins never really look anything alike.
On my side of the family, the only cousins Jack will have are through my sister and her husband, since I don’t have another sibling. (Of course, this is not the case with my wife’s side of the family, since she is number 9 of 10 kids!) So this is Jack’s first cousin through the Shell side of the family and this means I am officially an uncle, through blood.
For the past seven months, my brother-in-law Andrew has filled the typical uncle role. He knows how to make Jack laugh better than anyone else. He’s the fun uncle. Now, I get to be a fun(ny) uncle to his daughter.
Have you noticed yet that I haven’t given the name of Jack’s new cousin? If not, that means I’m doing a good job of my goal. Whereas I plaster Jack’s name all over every post I write and have no reservations in making it public, I respect my sister and her husband’s decision to keep their daughter’s name semi-private; meaning I don’t include it on The Dadabase.
It makes me wonder, though, in the likeness of the name “Emma” gaining popularity because of the sitcom Friends, if the name would at all increase in popularity if it was featured in a Parents.com blog. Because right now the name is virtually unused- the last time it even made an appearance on any kind of popularity chart was the 1880’s.
“Emma” was the 13th most popular girl’s name in 2001. Then the following year Rachel named her daughter Emma on Friends. Unsurprisingly, Emma was the 4th most popular girl’s name of 2002. And every year since then, it has either been the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd most popular girl’s name.
Well I know I can pull this off. I can feature Jack’s new cousin in my stories without ever saying her name or even using her initials. It wasn’t until I had seen the movie Fight Club about a dozen times before I realized that you never actually know the narrator and main character’s name.
So this won’t be the first time a story is told without revealing a main character’s name. What actually matters are the stories. And for a guy who never suffers from writer’s block, I know I can provide the stories.
To cut down on reader confusion in regards to the resemblance that my brother-in-law Andrew (featured two pictures above this one) and I share, I shaved my head this week. People are constantly mistaking us for each other. So I hope the buzz cut helps.
That’s not really why I did it. I mainly just liked the idea of saving 15 bucks instead of paying for a real haircut. Plus, I probably subconsciously wanted to be as cool as Bachelorette contestant J.P. Rosenbaum.
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baby blog, baby names, buzz cut, cousins, dad blog, Emma, fatherhood, Fight Club, friends, J.P. Rosenbaum, JP Rosenbaum, narrator, parenting, The Bachelorette, uncle, writer's block | Categories:
Growing Up, Must Read, People, Storytelling