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 24th, 2010
*Did you hear about this blog from American Baby magazine? If so, click here to get to the main page (table of contents) for “dad from day one”. There’s a whole lot more where this come from…
During the closing credits of my favorite movie of all time, I Love You, Man, Barry (Jon Favreau) finds out his wife Denise (Jamie Pressly) is pregnant after she vomits on him at the wedding reception. With puke on his shirt, he says to her, “Please, try to make it a boy.” Barry is a Type A jerk, inhabiting every memory and idea of a typical beer-guzzling frat boy. So of course, having a boy (instead of a girl) would be very important to him.
Being that I’m nothing like that character in the movie, instead being much more like the main character, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), I had just always assumed I would have all daughters. Here’s the picture I had in my head of my future family: Me, wifey, three daughters, and two Cockapoos (or Labradoodles).
It just makes more sense that a guy who has no interest (or talent whatsoever) in sports or hunting (or anything proving I’m man enough by showing my “game face”), but instead has always been enthralled in everything artistic (drawing, entertaining, acting, singing, songwriting, writing) would somehow automatically make a better father to daughters instead of sons. So that’s part of the reason I was so authentically surprised to learn that our baby is a boy. Like somehow I deserved a son less because I’m not a certain macho stereotype I’ve memorized from three decades of watching sitcoms and movies.
And now, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that can’t help but laugh that without any preconceived hopes or crossed fingers, I get what every man secretly hopes for- a son. There’s an unspoken concept (at least in my mind) that raising a son is a rite of passage for a man. A coveted elective course, a special honorary badge, an engraved trophy so easily received- to be a father to a son. A chance not so much to relive my own life, but to enhance another future man with all the life experience and knowledge I’ve learned the hard way.
The movie I Love You, Man is built around the fact that male friendships and bonds don’t often come so easily. By a man having a son, he is automatically given that opportunity- to nurture a male the way every boy and man craves to be taught and directed. What I lack in knowledge of fixing cars and football statistics and home repairs, I can make up for in teaching healthy communication skills and anything that falls under that categories of “literary”, “artistic”, “psychological”, and “entertainment”.
In other words, I have a feeling I will be raising the likeness of a future Jewish comedic actor, maybe the next Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the next Shia LaBeouf, the next James Franco…
A well-rounded people-person who is confident in who he is, that’s who I predict he will become. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be a quiet, mild-mannered, studious, future accountant. But with a dad as quirky and Hawaiian-shirt-wearing as me, I just don’t think he has a chance of being anything like Clark Kent.
Baby Jack's body is the length of a cantaloupe this week.
Here’s what The Bump says about Week 20:
Baby’s digestive system is busy creating meconium (a tarry black substance made of swallowed amniotic fluid, digestive secretion and dead cells), which will fill the first diaper after birth. And, speaking of the diaper situation… baby’s genitals are now fully formed!
To return to the “dad from day one” main page, click here.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
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