Posts Tagged ‘
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
This morning before I dropped you off at school, I told you I wanted to take a picture of you wearing your cool sunglasses for Nonna and Papa.
Without hesitation, this is how you posed:
You instantly crossed your arms like a classic tough guy!
How did you know to do that? It’s not something I’ve ever specifically taught you.
Yet somehow, you knew that because you were getting your picture taken with your black skull-and-crossbones sunglasses (which you identify as “robots”) you instinctively knew that meant to look as masculine as possible.
So you did.
After laughing about this picture all day, a deep thought finally crossed my mind:
I am your main model of masculinity. You get free testosterone lessons from me everyday.
Sure, I know the importance of you getting regular exposure to a positive male role model.
But this goes beyond that. In fact, it’s more subtle than that. The way I walk, talk, play, react… you’re catching clues from my daily performance.
You are learning to be a boy (and ultimately, a man) according to my free lessons.
I take it as a compliment that you are a strong-willed yet polite little boy. That’s pretty much what I’m aiming for.
It’s important to me that you are a true Southern gentleman when it’s all said and done.
I want to know you’ll always stand up for yourself and protect others, yet not be an instigator.
It’s no secret: I am raising and training you to be a leader among others.
Sure, I may err on the side of bravado here, but I love to see that at just 2 and a half, you already sort of remind me of the toddler version of Bruce Willis.
I can easily imagine you driving a motorcycle away from a fiery explosion; like in every cliche action movie trailer I’ve ever seen.
You’re the man.
Add a Comment
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
2 years, 1 month.
While I am quick to tell you all the things you’re good at, I have to be honest with you today: You’re officially not good at playing like a girl.
The picture to the right might imply that you are a 2 year-old boy who enjoys a good old-fashioned tea party. However, let me remind you what I said in The Masculine Version Of A Tea Party, Part 1:
“You are wired to choose action involving crashes and messes, not role-playing a sophisticated brunch.”
Turns out, I was right.
As you played with your cousin Calla’s new tea set on Christmas, you quickly pretended to eat all the icing off the plastic cupcakes and see how fast you could gulp down the invisible tea.
It was a cupcake cake eating contest, with tea to wash it all down… and you won, fair and square!
Immediately after, you moved on to Calla’s new dollhouse. It didn’t take you long to discover that there was a handle on the toilet in the bathroom you could press down to hear it flush.
Needless to say, the dollhouse quickly became more like a truck stop.
Later you decided to check out your cousin’s new Disney princess tent with her and Mommy.
As you can see in the picture here, you helped transform the event into Jack’s Jump House. It only took about 7 minutes before you bumped heads with Calla and ended the rockin’ party before its prime.
So while certain dads might raise an eyebrow to see their son so easily playing with pink foo foo girls’ toys, not me.
Because I know you simply make a joke out of anything a princess would find enticing.
Instead, you’re the king of the playground and all the world is your stage.
Add a Comment
Sunday, October 21st, 2012
In this economy, it’s no secret that you should make yourself more valuable by learning new skills. The idea is to make yourself the go-to person for certain exclusive things.
I translate this same concept to the home life.
As the dad, one of my main exclusive roles is putting our son to sleep for all his naps and bedtimes. Without me, bedtime is not a simple event. It’s a long, drawn-out, nerve-racking experience.
Another thing I’m exclusively good at is transporting our son to and from daycare, being the mediator between his daycare teachers and my wife, and challenging our son both physically and kinetically during playtime.
While my wife and I share many duties, it’s really important to me that I do certain exclusive things.
This Christmas, I am planning on buying a foldable extendable ladder and a drill set. I want to increase my handyman skill set ASAP.
But wait, there’s more…
As the title infers, I also want an iron and an ironing board. Here’s my masculine reason why:
For my day job, where I am basically the Employee Relations Specialist, I assume the role of HR in the office. In other words, it’s very important that I present myself as very professional… above reproach.
I’ve always been the guy to wear ties and jackets to work anyway, even though I’m pretty much the only one who does. But now I feel that’s not good enough, in my own mind.
That’s because my clothes are a little on the wrinkled side.
I could easily convert a few of my “Sloppy Saturday” shirts, like the one I’m wearing in these pictures where I was made into a “Mummy” at my son’s daycare Open House over the weekend, into “Tidy Tuesday” shirts if they were simply ironed.
That’s not to put down by wife in any way. I can vouch for the fact that with all she does for our family, she definitely doesn’t have the time to iron, too.
Regardless, we don’t own an iron and an ironing board.
Even if we did, I want this job. I want ironing to be my thing in our household.
Call me a classic 1950′s American man, but I think men ought to care enough about their appearance not to represent themselves as slobs. There should be no shame in taking extra time to look handsome.
I’m thinking right now of those Men’s Wearhouse commercials: “You’re gonna like the way you look.”
As a non-metrosexual, I want to be like a former military guy who takes pride in his appearance enough to still iron his clothes like he had to when he was in the service.
Yes, I think it will be pretty cool to not only iron my own clothes for work, but to iron my wife’s clothes, and eventually, our son’s.
It’s pretty masculine if you ask me. I’m not turning into a “Mummy.” Instead, I’m manning up… once I get my iron and ironing board, that is.
Add a Comment
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
A year and a half.
After seeing my son wear this romper, I finally understand the meaning of the 1991 hit song, “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred.
Just like I personally know how it is being too sexy for my hat, my shirt, and my cat, so my son is too masculine for this plaid romper.
It just doesn’t work for him. Sorry Son, but this is one outfit you can’t pull off. And I think it’s safe to say that’s a compliment.
This past Saturday my wife skeptically dressed Jack in his new romper as we met some friends at The Pfunky Griddle for breakfast.
As he played in the foyer, I couldn’t help but notice: He doesn’t look right in this thing.
What would it take for him to be able to pull it off? A chili bowl haircut, for starters.
But I don’t think Jack is the chili bowl haircut kind of boy. His military cut seems to suit him well; as does his deep and raspy Croatian voice.
Jack hits his head hard every day as he plays and never flinches or cries about it; most of the time he doesn’t even realize that, technically, he’s injured.
He might as well have a barbed wire tattoo around his bicep.
Jack can pull off “cute,” but not this kind of cute.
I’m not knocking little boys’ rompers, because obviously as many other boy toddlers I see wearing them, and as many are being sold in stores, they must be good for somebody.
As I’ve fished for input on The Dadabase Facebook wall, I’m hearing a consensus that rompers like this are best designed A) for babies, not toddlers and B) for girls. Is that accurate?
Though I personally prefer to dress nice and classy every chance I get, my wife says that she prefers me as a “t-shirt and jeans guy.”
Similarly, I think my son is a t-shirt and jeans toddler.
And he can rock a retro yellow suit from 1981.
Or a wool cap in 85 degree weather.
But to see him grunt his way around in between bar stools and benches wearing this, he just seems like a walking contradiction.
Am I a macho chauvinist dad or am I right to assume that these kinds of rompers just aren’t appropriate for 18 month-old little boys?
Only Right Said Fred can judge me.
Add a Comment
1991, children's clothing, dad, fatherhood, macho, masculine, romper, toddler. boys will be boys | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Home Life, Must Read, Nostalgia, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Friday, July 22nd, 2011
It’s one of the most masculine yet sensitive songs I can think of.
One of my hopes as a dad blogger is that parents will be able to identify with what is going through my head when they read my Dadabase posts; to make readers say, “That’s exactly how I feel! It’s like you’re reading my mind!” I am a guy who loves to inspire others as much as I love to be inspired; I am always ready for that next awesome quote or motivational true story.
As a guy who loves music (I own over 700 CD’s,) I am regularly a-ha’d (to be made to say “a-ha!”) by song lyrics. In fact, I think songwriting is one of the most vulnerable forms of communication and/or art that exists. I can easily write a new 400+ word entry for the Dadabase every day and never feel as exposed as I would compared to if I was writing and performing a song instead.
It was the 1995 movie Mr. Holland’s Opus that truly first exposed me to John Lennon. At the end of the movie, Mr. Holland (played by Richard Dreyfus) sings and signs the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” by John Lennon. I am not the kind of guy that will cry when I see a sad movie. But… I will confidently admit to letting my eyes get a little bit watery when I see something truly moving- like the last five minutes of the final episode of Lost or the ending of half of the Rocky movies or heck… even Marley and Me.
Needless to say, since the first time I saw it, that scene in Mr. Holland’s Opus has always found a way to connect to the “truly moved” part of my brain. It’s not just the imperfectness and realness of how Richard Dreyfus sings the song but also because the genius of the way John Lennon’s lyrics are so cleverly played out as a disconnected father reaches out to his son.
And I know that the word “genius” is thrown around pretty loosely in the entertainment world, especially when it comes to legendary Italian-American movie directors like Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorcese whose films are known for being “groundbreaking” as well as extremely violent. But sometimes, an artist actually is genius, despite the cliché factor of the word. And since John Lennon pulled it off perfectly in “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” I feel compelled to expose the magic behind his wonderful creation.
As a father, John Lennon touched on several major elements of the father-son connection in the 114 words of the song. The first verse addresses his fatherly role of protector:
“Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He’s on the run and your daddy’s here.”
I think there’s something immeasurably powerful in the phrase, “your daddy’s here.” Because no matter what our own relationship with our father was like growing up, every kid wants to know the presence of a positive, protective father. “Daddy” does have the power to scare the monster away.
Next, John Lennon touched on the importance of encouragement:
“Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Everyday in every way,
It’s getting better and better.”
This verse is a reminder for me to pray for my son when I am inclined to worry for him instead. Additionally, John Lennon paints a positive future for his son as he focuses on things getting better as they move forward, not dwelling on past mistakes and decisions.
My favorite part of the song is the bridge, which paints not only the masculine element of adventure but also the excitement of the father looking forward to his son growing up and becoming a man with him:
“Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we’ll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it’s a long way to go,
But in the meantime.”
The lyrics of the song come to a close with the final chorus refrain of “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful… beautiful boy.” And then finally John Lennon calls his son by name: “Darling Sean.” I think for the past several decades, the idea of a father kissing his son on the cheek or forehead or calling his son “beautiful” has become pretty foreign. In fact, those outward expressions of a father’s love do indeed make me think of old Italian culture I’ve seen in movies throughout my life. Blame it on the ¼ Italian blood running through my veins, but I admire those ideas enough to want to replicate them in my relationship with my own son.
The last verse contains one of John Lennon’s most famous quotes:
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
“Life is what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans.”
I of all people know what’s like to carefully plan every year of my life, only to see a completely different reality come to fruition. (Are you like so tempted right now to copy and paste “Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans” as your Facebook status update and/or Twitter?)
“Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” which was released as a single on November 17, 1980, just a few weeks before John Lennon was killed and a few months before I was born, obviously speaks to me as a father. Looking back on past Dadabase entries, I have specifically written about the same exact aspects of the father-son relationship as John Lennon wrote about in the song:
Strength, guidance, courage, adventure, direction, and the appreciation of beauty.
The song’s subtle magic exists in these properties of manhood that we men already identify with, even if we don’t realize it. And that’s why it’s dang near impossible for a father not to relate to and love this song.
Add a Comment
1995, baby boy, Beautiful Boy, daddy blog, fatherhood, Italian, John Lennon, masculine, music, son, song lyrics | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Home Life, Spirituality