Posts Tagged ‘ Naples ’

My Son and I Are Like E.T. and Elliott

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

13 months.

I don’t think it’s just in my head. My son Jack and I really are on the same wavelength.
If I’m not relaxed, neither is he. If I’m too hot or too cold, so is he. We have always enjoyed the same types of music and the same kinds of food. We are amused by the same random things in life.

Today both he and I, but not my wife, fought off a “24 hour stomach bug.” We both started out the day by vomiting, then felt kind of funky for most of the day, but by evening, were pretty much back at 100%.

Our father-son connection actually reminds me most of E.T. and Elliot’s relationship. In case I needed to point it out, Jack is E.T. and I’m Elliott. (This June will mark the 30th anniversary of the classic movie, E.T.)

While I’m the human, Jack is the waddling alien who mimics my everyday behaviors. Recently during playtime with him I was pretending to fall asleep on his blanket on the floor. I acted like I was snoring, making the classic cartoon sound as it is universally recognized: “Hah, shuuu… hah, shuuu…”.

Tonight he was showing off all his cool tricks for my parents who were briefly in town from Alabama. Sure enough, he dragged his blanket into the middle of the living room floor, laid down on top of it, and made his impression of the sound: “Eh, sssssshhh… eh, sssssshhh…”.

Jack wants to be human. It’s largely up to me to show him how. So much for him actually learning to be normal!

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Feeling Unworthy and Unqualified to Be a Dad

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

13 months.

For the past five months, while driving my son home each day, he has always dozed off to the sounds of Weezer or The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have depended on him getting that nap every day. But over the last week, that has changed.

I think it’s because of a number of things. It’s now dark when I pick him up from KinderCare, so I imagine it makes it more difficult for him to fall asleep. Plus he’s transitioning into the toddler class now. He doesn’t want to drink formula anymore, just solid foods and water.

All these changes at once are surely effecting his psyche.

So now, on the drive home each day, he cries and screams as loud as he can. There is only one remedy.

In an act which is the equivalent to me standing on the tips of my toes, I reach back to his rear-facing car seat and use my pointer and middle fingers to lightly tap the top of his head and forehead. He instantly stops wailing; becoming silent.

After my entire arm begins falling asleep, I take my hand away to let the blood start flowing again. It typically takes about 8 seconds for him to realize what has happened and then he’s back to screaming.

I can’t help but laugh. I mean, it’s pretty hilarious that my son cries as hard as he can until I start tapping the top of his head again. It’s funny how something that stupid can solve the problem; and that it’s the only way to solve the problem.

Yes, it’s ridiculous. But it’s also pretty humbling.

Though I continually am aware of how unworthy and unqualified I am to give life to another human being and soul, and to raise him on top of that, it’s little things like this that begin to convince me otherwise.

Maybe in some capacity I actually am chosen to do this job. Even if I don’t believe in myself as a dad, God evidently does.

After all, just the presence of the tips of two of my fingers dancing along to the drum beat of whatever rock song is playing through the stereo speakers is all he needs.

Literally, that’s all he needs. Every once in a while he’ll reach up and grab onto my pinky, as to hold my hand, but only for a few seconds. Then he lets go.

I know him. That’s just our shared style of father and son bonding. If he’s going to hold someone’s hand, it’s going to be Mommy’s.

Apparently, I am helping him cope with being afraid of the dark by him feeling my constant movement, as to scare the ghosts and monsters away.

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Paying 5 Bucks for Kids’ Mac-and-Cheese at Restaurants

Monday, December 12th, 2011

One year.

Though I’m still pretty new to this parenting thing, I have been noticing for the past several years the hilariousness of kids’ menus in non-fast-food restaurants.

Evidently, the food pyramid for children consists of peanut butter of jelly sandwiches, chicken fingers, pizza, and of course, macaroni and cheese.

Yes, I know the stress of eating out at restaurants with a kid. I’ve written about it before. Still though, it’s almost insulting that the popular food staples found on kids’ menus do not contain any unprocessed vegetables or fruit.

They are not nutritious meals; they are simply better than fast food snacks to keep a kid from whining that they’re hungry.

Even though we avoid eating out as much possible, there are times when we have no other option; like being on vacation.

Last week while we were test driving a Chevy Volt across southern Florida, our dinners mainly took place at the fancy restaurants in the glorious hotels we stayed at. Though we had brought our own fruits and veggies for our son Jack to eat throughout the three day trip, we still wanted to incorporate “big boy food” into his meals as well.

Right now Jack is in his “mac-and-cheese” phase. He’s obsessed, man. So naturally, that’s what I ordered each night for him at dinner. The first night in particular was my favorite.

After waiting a good 12 minutes or so for the cooks to prepare his mac-and-cheese, the waiter brought out a regular sized glass bowl as if it were the most premium version of the meal a person could find. It looked just like normal mac-and-cheese to me.

Jack ended up eating it in our hotel room. It tasted just like the normal stuff. Nothing over-the-top about it. Just plain ole mac-and-cheese.

But it cost 7 bucks! (Thankfully, we weren’t the ones paying for dinner.)

I mean, it’s already a joke when you have to pay 5 bucks for kids’ mac-and-cheese at most places… but 7 dollars?

For that much, the cheese needs to be made from magical goats in Switzerland that spit gold. The noodles should have been freshly hand-crafted by the grandson of Chef Boyardee himself. For seven dollars, when I changed Jack’s dirty after that meal, it should have smelled like Play-Doh.

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My Son the Beach Bum… Not Really!

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

One year.

Last week our son Jack got to experience the beautiful state of Florida for the first time. Thanks to Chevy inviting us to test drive a Volt from Fort Myers to Key West, we stayed our first night at the Hilton in Naples.

The next morning, Jack decided he wanted us all to go watch the sun rise together, because he woke us up with just enough time to take him out to the beach right behind the hotel.

I’m not sure that I have ever watched the sun rise on the beach, but as the dad and husband, I figured it was my duty to make sure my son and wife saw this legendary event. If nothing else, it was pretty Clark Griswald of me.

We had the whole beach to ourselves. Since Jack always loves his bath time every night, we assumed he would love the beach.

Nope.

He didn’t like the sand between his toes. He didn’t like the ocean waves rushing towards him. He is no beach bum; that’s for sure.

Jack preferred to ride on my shoulders the whole time, admiring the ocean from a distance.

He liked when the three of us started walking along the beach, encountering plenty of mysterious crustaceans. We saved the lives of several shelled creatures that had been washed up on shore during the night. Before tossing each one back into the ocean, I would let Jack visually inspect it for approval.

We even found a live sea crab outside of his shell, looking for a new home. Hopefully, I was doing him a favor when I scooped him up and threw him back in the water. I was attempting to save him from being eating by one of the many birds flying above.

As for the most unique seashells that had already been evacuated, they are now serving as decoration at our house back in Nashville. (Because of our last name, it only makes sense we should incorporate shells into the theme of one of our rooms.)

In the meantime, my wife Jill saw dolphins occasionally popping up in the distance (though it may have been the same one?) and would point them out to me just in time to catch a glimpse.

I especially enjoyed finding a live starfish. It made me think of that classic (if not cliche) story about the boy who walked along the beach throwing all the starfish back into the sea. He is approached and questioned by an old man who warns him he will never be able to save all the stranded starfish in time, wanting to know why he should even bother. Then as the boy throws another starfish into the water, he replies, “It mattered to that one.”

Turning the starfish over, I showed Jack and Jill its thousands of tiny moving feet, proving it was indeed still alive. I then explained to them (as if a one year-old had a clue what I was saying…) that a starfish’s stomach leaves its body to digest its food externally.

We had gone out to the beach to see the sunrise and to let our son fall in love with the ocean. Instead, Jack was terrified of the sand and water. At least he got a free lesson in marine biology, thanks to his old man.

To see more pictures from our trip, and a video clip of Jack’s first time experiencing of sand and ocean waves, indulge yourself in The Dadabase Facebook page.

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