Monday, August 15th, 2011
For nearly a month now, Jack has been going to day care as my wife and I have returned to our jobs here in Nashville. I work only a block away from where he is all day, so I’m the one to chauffeur him an hour round trip five days a week.
Those “Baby on Board” suction cup signs on cars always crack me up. I’m only pretty sure that a careless driver isn’t going to have the gumption to read one of those signs, then stop and think, “Oh! That car has a baby inside. Man, I need to slow down and focus.” Or maybe there’s some secret society of people playing bumper cars with their cars out on the highway and they only break for vehicles with the “Baby on Board” signs.
Needless to say, there is no little plastic yellow sign stuck on a window of my Honda Element, but I do indeed drive a vehicle containing precious cargo. With my baby on board, I feel like his bodyguard. The Pope has the Popemobile; Jack has his Toaster on Wheels, his Big Green Lunch Box, his Wind-Up Toy Car- your choice.
I know there are cities with crazier drivers in America, but for those 60 minutes a day I drive him around in Nashville, I have to assume that every other person is a maniac who is drinking their fifth 5-Hour Energy drink and Tweeting on their phone while I drive alongside them. I have to assume that at any given moment, a startled deer will jump out in front of the car. I have to assume that Wile E. Coyote poured a bucket of Acme grease on the road in front of me in attempt to catch the Roadrunner.
In the meantime, Jack is asleep half the time as I jam out to any given Weezer album. As for the time he’s awake, I assume he’s like me: in deep thoughts about A) the unfortunate impossibilities of time travel, B) whether or not God likes the music of Dave Matthews Band; if so, what is His favorite song, and C) who would win in a fight- A.C. Slater from Saved By the Bell or Uncle Jesse from Full House?
For now, Jack’s vocabulary doesn’t extend past “dada,” “mehm-mehm-mehm-mehm,” and “ba-ba-ba-ba.”. But eventually, he and I will be able to have some normal conversations during the morning and afternoon car rides. I can ask him what he learned in pre-school that day.
Until then, we’re both just sort of in our shared solitude, looking in opposite directions. Every so often though, I turn around real quick to make sure he hasn’t somehow escaped his car seat and wandered off. Then I see those happy little feet and know that my baby is still on board.
Look how cool Honda Elements are! The back seats can fold up and into the side of the car or all the way back (as seen in the picture of this one).
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Home Life, Nostalgia, People, Story Bucket, Storytelling | Tags: baby on board, baby's first words, chauffeur, dada, daddy blog, Dave Matthews Band, driving, Full House, funny, God, Honda Element, humorous, male bonding, Nashville, Saved by the Bell, taxi, Weezer
Monday, June 27th, 2011
I believe everyone has multiple personalities and different versions of themselves that they reveal based on their environment. But these multiplicities of ourselves ultimately are still built on top of one default personality. My default personality is amazingly similar to the character of Peter Klaven (portrayed by Paul Rudd) in my favorite movie ever, I Love You Man.
The movie focuses on Peter’s lack of ability to make and keep strong male friendships and the difficulty that means for him in trying to find groomsmen and most importantly, a best man, for his upcoming wedding.
Most of my guy friends are scattered across the country; instantly available via text message, but not for hanging out with on a regular basis. And I’m completely okay and comfortable with that. And interestingly enough, whether it was my female-orientated major in college (English), or every work environment I’ve been in since then, I’ve constantly been surrounded by women instead of men. And again, I’m completely okay and comfortable with that fact.
Even here on Parents.com, I’m the only male parent blogger. It is simply my life’s destiny to be a guy who relates to women almost as well as I relate to men. Need I remind you, it’s mainly women reading The Dadabase.
(Granted, my wife edits out anything too masculine or overly male-driven. Recently, she had me delete several paragraphs which went on way too long about the details of a Nintendo game.)
But now I have a son. A baby boy who will eventually grow into a big boy who will eventually grow into a teenage boy and eventually a man. This means that I will ultimately have a buddy.
I will always have a reason to get to do what I want to do with my free time, as long as Jack is with me. Because I will be spending quality time with him while I do what I enjoy anyway (or at least enjoyed in my youth).
Already, I’m mentally working on a list of things I will enjoy doing that also will serve as good male-bonding, quality time with my son over the next 2 to 20 years:
1) Watch the entire series of the following movies and TV series: Rocky, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Band of Brothers, and Lost.
2) Go hiking and exploring in the woods on the weekend.
3) Build awesome Lego sets.
4) Take our bikes for a long ride in a new neighborhood.
5) Have old school Nintendo game marathons.
6) Blow stuff up with fireworks.
7) If ever can ever afford it, take him on a trip to Thailand.
Of course, this is only the beginning of my list. But I really look forward to the underlying male friendship in my father-son relationship with him.
I am adamant on being Jack’s father, not his friend. However, just like how I mentioned in the beginning that we all have different personalities, I know that a father is not simply the paternal figure of his son’s life. Being a good dad means being someone to relate to and it involves a lot of mentoring. It requires good communication and quality time.
Being a father is like being a friend, but it’s so much more than that. Yet it’s paradoxically both more casual and more demanding of respect than simply being a friend. But even though I won’t refer to my son as my friend, I will gladly call him my buddy.
Man, now I’ve got the jingle to the 80’s toy, My Buddy, stuck in my head:
“Wherever I go, he goes… My buddy, my buddy, my buddy and me!”
All pictures taken courtesy of Dave Stanley at Little River Falls in Fort Payne, Alabama.
Categories: Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Story Bucket, Storytelling | Tags: 1980's, Alabama, baby blog, dad, father and son, fatherhood, fireworks, Fort Payne, Fort Payne AL, friend, Harry Potter, I Love You Man, Lego, male bonding, multiple personalities, My Buddy, Nintendo, parenting, Paul Rudd, Peter Klaven, state parks, Thailand