This is my son, Jack. As you can see, he is a very happy little boy.
Especially with Mimi by his side. That’s his blanket/girlfriend.
We have no idea how she got that name.
Yes, I do recognize the absurdity in the fact that my wife and I daily refer to this thin little blanket A) as a female and B) by an actual human name.
One day a few months ago he just starting calling it Mimi. None of his friends at daycare have a Mimi and his teachers didn’t know anything about it either.
And even despite knowing that Jack is fairly limited in what consonant sounds he can make so far, I just can’t figure out how “Mimi” could translate into “blanket.”
Therefore, Mimi is a proper noun. I base her gender on the way he acts like he’s in love with her… or it.
Mimi is on every car ride. She’s always there during playtime. During dinner too.
We do draw some lines, like bath time.
Interestingly, right after he gets out of the bath, his devotion briefly changes to Tara, the bath towel we dry our son off with.
Basically though, he’s just imaging that Tara as Mimi since Mimi doesn’t really like the water.
What’s really funny though, in the likeness of Michelle Tanner on Full House, what Jack somehow doesn’t realize is that there are actually two Mimi’s!
The other one is actually blue and has little dogs all over it. (It’s true when they say that love is blind.)
We just alternate the two blankets every couple of days so that Mimi is always clean.
Since turning Jack’s car seat around, facing the front now, Mimi has found herself a hostage victim on a near daily basis.
About halfway home from daycare most days, Jack will “drop” his water cup or some random toy from his back seat collection. (Basically he gets bored and wants my attention.)
He then says “uh oh” as if it were an accident, though it never is. Five seconds later, it’s a constant stream of him annoyingly whining.
I explain to him every time:
“Jack, I’m driving right now and it’s my job to keep both of us safe. I can’t reach what you’ve dropped because the car is moving. Once we get to the next stop light, I might be able to reach it for you.”
Usually the whining persists after my clear and logical explanation. So I give him a 2nd and final warning:
“Jack, just chill out and have fun back there. Otherwise, I’m going to have to take Mimi.”
If he’s feeling adventurous, which he usually his, then he continues his distracting moaning to see if I will live up to my word.
I always do.
Then I reach back and grab Mimi as my hostage in the front passenger seat. I wait about 2 minutes, during which time Jack responds:
“Mimi! Mi-mi! Mimi! My Mimi!…”.
Once I return Mimi, all is good in the world and Jack completely forgets about whatever stupid plastic cow that “fell” out of his cup holder in the first place.
There’s this classic look my son now gives me at least once a day. It’s the “Am I in trouble for this?” look.
Like when he decided to color the dog in one of my wife’s magazines, as opposed to one of his coloring books. Or whenever he squeezes a toy too hard and hears it creek, thinking it’s about to break.
What’s funny is that this look of his always catches me off guard. He never makes the face when he should.
He will stand on his Leaptop (toy laptop) or chew the rubber tire off an old Hot Wheels car of mine or throw a piece of food in the middle of dinner without any fear.
Despite the fact I have regularly scolded him for all of these things.
If you’re a regular reader of The Dadabase, then you know that one of my biggest “parent peeves” is when a parent warns and threatens their child but then doesn’t follow through with the discipline.
Well, I definitely follow through. My son knows to expect time-out or having a toy taken away from him; according to the crime.
He’s at a stage right now where he’s learning the patterns of what I will and will not accept as proper behavior. So some of these “things Dada won’t let me do” haven’t been firmly enough established.
Jack learns through trial and error. And so do I, in regards to what I’m okay with.
But what’s interesting is that the only things I will discipline him for are the things I’ve already instructed him against at least once.
My son knows that coloring the the coffee table with his crayons is not okay. He knows to get his Sesame Street coloring book to use as his canvas. So even when I gave him my wife’s magazine to color a dog in an ad and said, “Jack, let’s color this dog blue,” it still seemed too much like something he wasn’t allowed to do.
So he gave me the ”Am I in trouble for this?” look.
He and I will always be figuring these things out as we go.
I feel like it’s pretty difficult to be in a conversation with any other parent without one of us making some kind of self-deprecating remark regarding the way we raise our kids.
While parenting is one of the most important jobs on the planet, there is no standard rating system to know how well we are doing; nor is there an official playbook for raising a kid.
To go around regularly giving unsolicited advice to other parents is often not appreciated because it can easily give the impression of being an arrogant know-it-all.
And since overall, not knowing what we’re doing as parents is the norm, it’s best to recognize and work with this.
So to play it cool and make each other feel comfortable, and not competed against, we splice in quick insults towards ourselves like, “well if I wasn’t such a horrible parent, I would…” or “guess I won’t be winning Mom of the Year for that…”.
Interestingly, we hold ourselves up against the impossible standards of “Supermom” or “Superdad” in which we inspire to be like. On the extreme, however, are “that mom” and “that dad” who dramatically overdo it, perhaps hoping to appear as the real life “Supermoms” and “Superdads” that don’t actually exist outside of black-and-white 1960′s sitcoms and modern day urban legends.
To be so openly judgmental of ourselves makes it unnatural for anyone else to be subconsciously critical of us first. The tension is eased and we allow ourselves to feel normal.
As a fun little game, start noticing this in conversations you have with other parents over the next several days. See how long it takes before the other person says something like, “Half the time I’m lucky to even get the [insert household chore here] done, much less make sure I’m wearing socks that match. But hey, that’s what it’s like when you have these rugrats keeping you busy all the time.”
If you get bored with that game, you could make things more interesting by seeing how quickly you can be the one to insult yourself first by starting the conversation like so:
“I haven’t brushed my teeth today, I gave my kid chocolate syrup and Twizzlers this morning for breakfast, and not to mention, I’m so lame I have the song ‘Don’t Bite Your Friends’ from Yo Gabba Gabba as my cell phone’s ring tone. Seriously, what happen to the cool version of me?”
Note to self:This is just a private journal entry you wrote to help you serve as your own psychiatrist. Be careful not to press the “publish” button on this one. If you accidently do somehow, delete the post immediately!
No, my cell phone ringtone isn’t “California Gurls” by Katy Perry. It’s actually the theme song to the 1980′s show, Knight Rider.
And no, I don’t secretly have an obsession with Glee. (I’d almost rather watch 16 and Pregnant, which I loathe with a passion!)
However, there are certain habits concerning my actions as a father that I will never publicly admit to; especially not here on The Dadabase. After all, I don’t want to paint myself as a lazy, dimwitted dad who doesn’t do things by the book.(I’m not sure what all-compassing book I’m referring to there, by the way.)
So without any further ado, here are five things this dad won’t publicly admit:
1. I am sometimes that stereotypical unshaven dad you see on commercials; wearing a baseball cap and a goofy t-shirt, who was sent to the grocery store by his wife, cluelessly searching for an item that apparently doesn’t exist. When he does find the item, then he becomes even more dazed and confused as he has to figure out which exact variety he’s supposed to get. (This happened to me last Sunday as it became my mission to retrieve “oven surface cleaner.”)
2. My son’s diaper bag has become my newest official fashion accessory whenever I’m out anywhere with him and my wife. As I throw the strap around my neck and over my shoulder, I actually imagine it as an electric guitar I am strapping on instead; as I am preparing to play a rockin’ performance at the cafe of Whole Foods Market.
3. I often drive the scenic route if I know my son is asleep in his car seat. There was a day last week where my wife had to work late at work. It’s amazing how it took me an hour to drive home that day when it would normally only take 35 minutes. Not any bad traffic, no rain… just a coincidence, I guess. Turns out, I got home around the same time as my wife; despite her getting home so late.
4. I keep my son in wet diapers; for like, a really long time. I learned from the movie Meet the Fockers, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” If my son isn’t going to say anything, neither am I. Diapers can get expensive, man.
5. When one of his toys falls on the floor, I don’t wipe it off before it inevitably ends up back in his mouth. On the same token, I may have pretended not to watch as he has eaten morsels of bread off the floor that he lost from when he was eating in his high chair a few minutes before.
It’s safe to say I won’t be winning “Dad of the Year.” That is, as long as no one finds this stuff out about me.
Good thing I made my very own “Dad of the Year” award anyway!