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Monday, October 7th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
Saturday morning after we watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the 23rd time, I’ll mention more about that later, Mommy and I decided it was time for you, I mean, our family, to burn off some extra energy at Granny White Park- or as you call it, “The Dinosaur Park.”
(It has like three different plastic dinosaurs you can climb on.)
I thought we were going to the playground to actually play, but once we got there, all your jittery energy strangely transformed you into a sluggish state of wonder.
You decided you wanted to “people watch” instead.
And I have to admit- there was a lot to see. Nearby, there was a birthday party going on in which all the little boys were dressed up in superhero costumes.
“Daddy, there’s two Spidermans?” you asked.
You didn’t want to go down the slide, or crawl through the tunnel, or even try out the cool pirate ship teeter-totter.
However, you were willing to let Mommy and me push you on the swing, which is the most passive activity to do at the park; other than sitting on the plastic dinosaurs and watching the other kids have fun.
Seriously, you looked so sad.
I get it that you may have just been a little bit intimidated by all the other kids you didn’t know.
Or maybe that, like me sometimes, you just felt like being philosophical and introspective.
But after about 12 minutes of you being the swing, I myself was getting antsy.
So with the superheros now playing behind you where you couldn’t see them anymore, I suggested we move around a bit- in the form of a family walk.
After about five steps, you said it:
“Mommy! Hold me!”
You clearly weren’t too tired to walk. The whole point in us being there was for you to burn off all the extra energy you had back at the house.
So I grabbed you and ran far into the vacant soccer field, therefore forcing you to have to run; either because I was chasing you or you were chasing me.
For about a minute.
Then you made your way to Mommy again and it was back to sitting in the swing. And sitting on the dinosaurs.
Oh well, I tried.
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Saturday, October 5th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
Our family time today at the park was probably one of the hottest and most humid October days in Tennessee I can ever remember.
It’s easy to forget that this is October right now, but exactly 7 years ago to this day, on October 5, 2006, I remember it feeling more like a normal October day.
In other words, ther air was slightly chilly and the thought of a Pumpkin Spice Frappucino seemed much more appealing…
I’ll never forget that Thursday night.
As I sat at my laptop after dinner, I saw an email invitation to be part of the audience for a taping of the the CMT show, Crossroads.
Though I wouldn’t really know anyone there, the episode of The Office was a rerun that night.
Plus, I was a single, 25 year-old guy. Who knew? Maybe I’d meet the girl I was supposed to marry…
Needless to say, that’s exactly what happened.
Oh, you want to know more? Okay…
The memory of the first time I saw Mommy is so clear to me.
I walked into The Factory, a mall that used to be an actual factory, where the taping for the episode was taking place, realizing I was part of an ocean of people; so many, that my participation in the episode might not even be needed.
As I looked for the end of the line to get in the door, I saw my friend John sitting on a bench outside of a restaurant.
Next to him was a very beautiful girl he appeared to be friends with. Perhaps on a normal night, there was a chance I would be too intimidated to strike up a conversation with a girl like that.
But this was no ordinary night. Not to mention, I knew it would help that apparently she and I had a mutual friend, who could serve as the perfect conversation starter.
I can’t remember many details of our first conversation, but I do remember this: We talked for nearly 3 hours as we waited in line and during the taping of the episode. (The music from the concert was so loud it’s not like we were disturbing anything.)
Oh, actually, we talked about Pumpkin Spice Frappucinos… that’s one detail I do remember.
Exactly 4 months after the night we first met, we had our first date at a John Mayer concert. Exactly a week later was Valentine’s Day, which made it easy for me to ask for a 2nd date.
We fell in love. The rest is history.
Actually, the rest is the future- and you’re part of that future of ours.
Mommy and I met exactly 7 years ago tonight… and 7 years later we have a nearly 3 year-old.
Great story, huh, kid?
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Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
I haven’t been brave enough to take you to the mall since the first time Mommy and I tried well over a year ago.
It was such a test of my patience then, that I remember making some sort of declaration to Mommy afterwards, like, “We are never doing this again!”
But hey, you’re nearly 3 years old now, I was up for the challenge again last weekend.
I just wanted to make sure that none of us would become physically exhausted from the trek through the huge Opry Mills mall in Nashville.
You’re definitely too tall and heavy now for Mommy or me to carry you around that far and for that long.
And the thought of you holding our hands in the midst of all those people, while we tried to shop for clothes, just sounded impossible.
So I had to ask myself, is it okay to take our jogging stroller to the mall? It’s the only stroller we have now and it made more sense than the Radio Flyer wagon.
The answer: most definitely.
It was so practical, like my Honda Element. I was able to stuff our purchased items under your seat as we rolled from store to store.
The tires made for a nice smooth ride as we politely swerved our way through the slow moving traffic and outspoken salespeople in the middle aisles, saying to us, “Excuse me, sir. May I ask you just one question?”
So let me explain why you’re wearing a bear hat in these pictures, by the way.
As you watched Mommy and me update our wardrobes at the Gap Outlet, you found a bear hat that you felt would be a great asset for your wardrobe as well.
And because you behaved so well during our mall trip, and allowed us to get our shopping done without any major issues, letting you have a random bear hat was no problem.
You got it.
In fact, you loved your new bear hat so much, that you insisted on wearing it not only to Target the next day, but to church as well.
I loved seeing the looks on the faces of other parents who instantly laughed to themselves once they saw you in your bear hat. It was as if to say, “A young boy in a bear hat, for no apparent reason. I get it… I like it.”
Our family mall trip was a success. The jogging stroller was a good idea.
And out of the deal, you got a random bear hat, that you love to wear out in public but privately treat as a pet bear.
Just another normal story in parenting…
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Sunday, September 15th, 2013
2 years, 9 months.
I should start off this letter to you with what I have as my current status on Facebook:
“In the past 5 years, I have completely and successfully given up pork, shellfish, processed sugars, then meat altogether, then dairy, eggs, and honey; more recently, all alcohol and carbonated drinks (which I only had in moderation anyway)… and all of that, was NOTHING… compared to my newest current challenge: Caffeine (and therefore, coffee). I have officially survived Day #1. I heard the first 5 are the worst. This is misery; suffering both physically and psychologically. Caffeine is a highly addictive, easily accessible, completely legal and unregulated drug that has got me in a powerful state of withdrawal right now. I shall overcome…”.
Yeah, that about covers it.
Our family drove home from buying groceries at Whole Foods today and all I could do was collapse on the floor once I walked in the door. You started to run over to me as if to tackle me. I had to say, “I’m sorry, Son. I can’t wrestle with you tonight. Daddy isn’t feeling well.”
You kept asking me why I wasn’t feeling well. How do I explain to a nearly 3 year-old that, without realizing it, Daddy has been addicted to coffee (in the form of one to two cups a day at work, then at least one Starbucks over the weekend)?
I was familiar with this sort of urban legend that Starbucks’ coffee has more caffeine than “normal coffee” you would make at work or at home. Mommy and I spent some time this week researching that claim. The best evidence was this recent article on The Huffington Post, called “How Much Caffeine Is Actually In Your Coffee, From Dunkin’ to Starbucks?”
The story included this pictogram which pretty much clears it up for me.
Part of the difficulty that comes with removing certain food and drink staples from my life, being that I could now be labelled as a caffeine-free, alcohol-free, soda-free, kosher vegan, is the nostalgia I have to let go of. And that definitely is the case here with caffeine.
After all, the friendship between Mommy and me, that eventually led to us dating, was first nourished in a weekly Sunday night meet at Starbucks; which didn’t simply include coffee, but more importantly, caffeine.
I’m not banning Starbucks as a company or a brand. I admire their cleverness. They have found a way to capitalize on one of the most addictive and unregulated drugs in the world and get people to pay at least 4 dollars a pop for it. I respect that, as a Libertarian capitalist.
But as for me, I plan for that half a cup of coffee I drank at work Friday morning to be my last ounce of caffeine for the rest of my life.
I just hate the thought of being at the mercy of a food, drink, and/or drug. Instead, I’d rather discipline my body and bring it into subjection (Biblical reference); especially knowing that the process of detoxing from caffeine makes me feel like a drug addict.
That is how I feel, by the way. I am a drug addict going through a baptism-by-fire withdrawal period. It is brutal.
I can feel my nervous system under attack right now. I’m a little freaked out by it, to be honest.
While I am so happy to have you and Mommy here with me now, I have to admit it feels like the Smoke Monster from Lost is trying to win this battle with me this weekend. That is how I am portraying my withdrawals from caffeine addiction.
I wish I could be fully present with you this weekend in mind, body, and spirit, but I know I’m not me right now.
From what I learned thanks to the girl in the tea aisle at Whole Foods today, who is now caffeine-free, having been through this herself, it takes a solid 10 days to recover from a caffeine addiction, but the first 5 are the worst.
I can do this. Cold turkey, to be exact.
Top photo: Coffee Addict Concept, via Shutterstock.
Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.
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Monday, September 2nd, 2013
2 years, 9 months.
These “before and after” pictures actually pretty well illustrate the cure for Mommy and I not being able to get home improvement projects finished, in the little amount of time we have together as a family.
By the way, it’s completely unintentional that this letter to you has by default become the 3rd consecutive one to talk about my parents, who you know as Nonna and Papa. (And there might even be a 4th after this.)
But just as our 2 and a half hour trips to their house serve as a sort of “time out” for us, it’s their trips to our house that serve as the perfect time for Mommy and I to complete “major” projects; just the opposite. Instead of relaxing while they are here in town… we are productive!
Exactly 3 months ago, it was a backsplash.
As for Labor Day weekend, we painted our living room and installed brand new curtains; taking down the blinds. And because we made such good time, we decided to paint the downstairs bathroom, too.
During all the labor, there was always one adult to entertain and play with you, while the other three worked on the project.
In case you’re wondering why I’m not featuring any pictures of our home’s new makeover, it’s because I know in the upcoming months, the pictures I daily take of you playing downstairs will be featuring the changes.
There will be more than enough… too many, probably…
So instead, I wanted to point out a notable milestone in your life. As a reward for completing our projects early, we decided to do something we never do as a family.
We went to “the city” and dined out.
It’s funny how the last time I remember being in the heart of Nashville, not just on the outskirts of the city limits where we live, was at last June when we went to that random drum circle.
Our family never goes to the city and we never go out to eat.
But this weekend, we did. And it went well!
I was telling Mommy, how a year ago, if we were to have done this, we wouldn’t have made it through the entire meal without me having to escort you outside and distract you from being restless.
However, at 2 years and 9 months, you are able to handle dining out.
Hashtag, “I didn’t see that one coming.”
Admittedly, the fact that Mommy and I let you have a vegan chocolate cupcake certainly helped the situation.
Seriously, this is epic for me, as your Daddy.
I feel so accomplished after this Labor Day weekend!
We painted the living room and the bathroom, put up a new curtain rod and curtains, and you proved you can handle going to the city and dining at a restaurant… way past your bedtime.
The plan was to officially potty train you this weekend, too. Oh well…
With the grandparents in town, we were able to be very productive in other ways.
Actually though, I think we might need a completely separate trip where they come up and the only project is just to potty train you. Not a bad idea.
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