Posts Tagged ‘ kids ’

And Now Your Best Friend Is Moving Away…

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

For the past two weekends, we have spent time with Sophie and her parents…

Because, you see, well… Sophie’s moving from Nashville to Alabama in a couple of weeks.

I haven’t necessarily broke the news to you yet.

At least the good part is that where Sophie is moving is only about 2 and a half hours from where Nana and Papa’s house is, which is the halfway point between where we live and where Sophie is moving.

So this is not goodbye…

However, it is definitely a major milestone in your life so far. You and Sophie have known each other since July 2011, when Mommy and I enrolled you at the daycare that you both have remained for the past 2 and a half years.

For the majority of your life, Sophie has been a major part of it. Actually, if I cared enough to do the math, you might even spend more waking hours with her than you do Mommy and I each week.

Yesterday as you and Sophie had an ongoing 1970′s car chase/demolition derby at the indoor playground, her mommy and I talked about the move.

We mutually acknowledged the fact that there’s a good chance you and Sophie won’t actually remember all these fun times you’ve had together.

For the majority of your life, you’ve spent countless hours with someone who has been like a twin sister to you.

But will all this time simply be memories for the parents, more so than the kids?

Here’s how I look at it- this is what I told Sophie’s mommy:

Based on what I learned in Child Psychology in college, the first couple of years of a child’s life are arguably the most important for his or her development and future decisions for the rest of his or her life.

So even if these stories I have written about you and Sophie are, at best, foggy memories to you when I go back a year from now and show you these pictures, I’ll still know that Sophie Culpepper had a lot to do with your understanding of what a true friend really is.

It will be her picture in the dictionary, next to the definition of friend.

I will close by providing links for a dozen of the stories I have written about you two over these past couple of years…

Jack And Sophie: Baby Buddies In Crime (November 17, 2011)

The Toddlers’ Beat Poet Society Of Nashville (June 4th, 2012)

Mall Toddlers: My Idea For A Straight-To-DVD Kids Movie (September 17, 2012)

My Toddler Son, The Pony Whisperer/Natural Laxative (October 11, 2012)

Free Craft Activity For Kids: Home Depot’s Little Helper Headquarters (December 5, 2012)

Forcing Your Kid To Apologize And Hug The Other Kid (February 1, 2013)

My Son’s Alter Ego Is A Schlubby Dinosaur (April 29, 2013)

Still, Though, I Think I’d Be Happy With Just One Kid… (July 4, 2013)

A Southern Fried, Sunday Afternoon Play Date (August 6, 2013)

Finding Non-Petroleum, “Bug Juice” Free Cupcakes (November 15, 2013)

A Purposely Low Key 3rd Birthday Party (November 17, 2013)

It’s A Boy’s Boy’s Boy’s World (December 17, 2013)





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The Rules Of A Game Sometimes Change With A 3 Year-Old

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Last month for your birthday, one of the gifts Mommy and I got for you was Dinosaur Train: Make A Match.

It’s the classic memory matching card game, but with a few twists… like the “Take Buddy” card.

The game comes with a little plastic action figure of Buddy, one of the characters from the TV show.

Whoever has Buddy at the end of the game gets a lot of extra bonus points, which in itself could lead to winning the game.

Of course, you don’t care about the points. For you, winning the game means not losing Buddy.

As Mommy and I learned, the game actually ends the moment that she or I draw the “Take Buddy” card and try to, as the card implies, take Buddy from you.

The youngest player starts with Buddy, so if we actually played by the rules, it would mean about 90 seconds into each game, the game would end… because you would get Buddy taken away from you.

So, our rules for the game mean that no matter what, Buddy is yours for the entire game. It’s just about matching the cards, and sometimes, you even use the kitchen tongs to pick up the cards and place them in your Tonka dump truck.

There will come a day when the rules will actually matter when we play family board games. But for now, just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no crying in Dinosaur Train: Make A Match.

And the reason there is no crying in this game is because we don’t play by the rules.

I think it’s safe to say we need to very slowly (!) work our way up to other classics such as Monopoly, which is all about taking away from the other players until they gradually wither away to nothing.

Yeah, we’ve still got a few years before we try that one out as a family.



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My Age, Now That I’m A Parent, Seems Less Relevant

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

I keep having to remind myself of my age. It’s not something I really think about, but when I am about to say my age out loud, I naturally want to say that I am 28 or 29.

And it’s not because of the cliche where I miss being in my 20s and therefore jokingly pretend I’m still 29.

What it probably comes down to for me is that I was 28 when I found out Mommy and I were going to become parents and 29 when you were actually born.

So I guess somehow, psychologically, my age as an individual stopped mattering to me on November 16, 2010.

For all practical purproses, my age became irrelevant that day.

Instead, what I identify with more, is that I am the parent of a young child.

That, is my age. Or at least that’s what I place in that category instead.

This is something I found out officially just a few weeks ago. Mommy and I had been looking for a Sunday School class to join at our church.

We hadn’t been in a steady one since before you were born.

It was either too much trouble or too much of a sacrifice not to be near you for that extra hour or so of the week.

But now that you’re nearly 3, you make it clear that you like to go to church. You ask us to go to church. When we can’t go for whatever reason sometimes, you are disappointed.

It may just be because you get to eat snacks and play with their trucks in the playroom. Oh, and getting to ride on the giant buggy that seats like 8 kids…

The third try was a charm for us, in regards to finding the “right” class. What we realized was that the people in the class are mostly were parents of young children like us.

Mommy and I are both 32 years old. Other parents in the class were 5 years younger or 5 years older, but that didn’t mean anything.

What we didn’t realize is that we were looking for was a group of friends we could relate to in the facets of life that are most important to us- being parents of small children was was of those main things.

Having a young child defines me, not my age.

I already forgot how old I am just now; that’s how much it doesn’t matter to me anymore.






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How Great Thou Artwork From School

Monday, September 9th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

Our fridge never ceases to be covered in at least a few of your artwork pieces from school.

I especially love this “frame in frame” piece which features a picture of you (not smiling) fingerpainting for the first time, superimposed over your actual finished product.

It’s modern, yet sophisticated.

Even if it’s by accident, I like the little smiley face you did in the upper right hand corner.

And the look on your face… you seem like a confused artist who was just interrupted in the middle of his work- which I guess that’s probably exactly what happened.

While I do totally appreciate your artistic skills, what I might love even more are the titles you give your work.

I know that throughout history, art has captured what people and their cultures find value in. So I assume the same is for you.

That would explain why this picture you entitled Bulldozer recently showed up.

Because you’re forced to be exposed to hundreds of cars on the way to school every morning during our hour drive, you’ve become very familiar with all the types of vehicles you see.

Your newest learned vehicle: the FJ Cruiser.

Another one of my favorites of your recent artwork pieces is one you named Monster Trucks and Baby Trucks.

Granted, it very much resembled Bulldozer.

But to you, it was clear that those scribbles and dots represented different sized pick-up trucks.

One that’s currently being featured on our fridge is one you called Diamonds.

It has a bunch of black dots all over it. I’m pretty sure you think stars are called diamonds, because of the song, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

“Like that diamond in the sky,” as you sing it.

I love this stuff. You’re not too young to be an artist. This is where it begins.

You already are an artist.





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When I Was 2 Years, 9 Months Old, I Became A Brother

Friday, August 16th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

My mom (known to you as Nonna) texted me this morning to point out the interesting fact that when I was 2 years, 9 months old, it was January 1984.

That’s when my sister (your Auntie Dana) was born. In other words, when I was your age, I became an older brother.

Just so I can put this into perspective for myself, that means that even if during the next couple of years, you end up getting a baby brother or sister, the age difference between you and him or her will definitely be greater than the age difference between my sister and me.

Each month and each year that passes in which you remain an only child, it makes me wonder if you will always be one.

Will you become that “little adult” than only children are often referred to as?

When we go on family vacations, will it just be you in goofy touristy photos like these from the Sacramento Zoo?

I mean… I’m curious, but not that curious.

There’s no sense of urgency, but I when consider I was already a big brother by your age, it does make me think about your fate of whether or not you will have a sibling.

Perhaps I write to you about the subject of “will you or will you not remain an only child?” quite often.

No, not perhaps- I totally do.

But for me, it’s not a subject to be dealt with lightly. For our family, there is a lot of careful planning and consideration involved.

By now, I’m way past caring about anyone else’s expectations of our family growing.

I’m even way past what I perceive in my own mind of what the normal American family is supposed to be; which I suppose the image I have in my head includes at least two kids and a dog.

But we’re not even a “dog family.” Or cat lovers.

We’re not animal people at all! Except for the fact we enjoy going to zoos as a type of a default hobby because our Nashville Zoo Pass is transferable to other major zoos.

Life is unfolding slightly different than I planned it. I always wanted four kids.

Then you were born. And I realized, I feel plenty enough of a dad now.

I feel like I can live my entire life satisfied in knowing I get to raise you and have a lifelong relationship with you.

You may never know what it’s like to be a big brother. Are you okay with that?




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