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Sunday, May 18th, 2014
3 years, 6 months.
Last Thursday when you and I got home from school and work, I found a package on our doormat. This was odd, because aside from holidays, I never receive mail directed to me alone.
I’m okay with that, but it did surprise me. Turns out, it was a copy of the book Lessons For Joey: 100 Things I Can’t Wait To Teach My Son.
A couple of months ago, the author, RJ Licata, had asked me to write a little blurb about it to be featured on the back cover.
After creating the successful daddy blog “100 Things To Teach My Son” a while back, he recently published a book based on it.
Here’s what I said about his book:
“I think one of the most masculine things a father can do for his son is to communicate with him clearly and regularly; from the day to day to the big picture stuff. Therefore, it has been easy for me to be a fan of RJ Licata’s blog–and now his book. A good father is a good mentor. That’s why this book is special. It’s a glimpse of what hands on fatherhood looks like, fleshed out in the form of 100 lessons.”
I easily celebrate any fellow dad who publically and positively portrays fatherhood. Something I’ve learned in the 4 years of writing about you/to you is that I care less now about how the media so obviously makes dads out to be idiots.
These days, my focus is on spotlighting any entity that shares my passion of reinforcing the positive examples of fatherhood.
That’s why I mentioned him a year ago in my letter, Dads Like To Teach Life Lessons To Their Kids.
For example, I was pleasantly surprised to see the healthy relationship between the father and son the movie, About Time, that I recently wrote to you about.
It’s subtle, but it’s a big deal to me.
I read a fantastic article recently, called “Why Fatherhood Matters,” by Stephen Marche, which proclaims that fatherhood has never mattered more, as the definition of masculinity has evolved through generations:
“Only fatherhood is indisputably masculine, which is why when you ask men when they became men, they usually answer when they became a father or lost a father.”
He goes on to declare fatherhood as a marker of class.
The way I feel, this is one of the most important times to be a dad. And let’s face it… it’s also one of the coolest times to be a dad.
Fatherhood is masculine.
I just don’t see how a man can be more manly that being a good father- and by “good father,” a huge part of that is how well he communicates with his child.
To me, that is perhaps the most important aspect of being a father.
So while I could easily go on all day about all the times I’ve missed the mark in life, I can at least feel positive that I’m doing one thing right:
Communicating with you.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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