Posts Tagged ‘
Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
It seems like only yesterday, though it was actually 4 months ago, that you were obsessed with a security blanket you named Mimi.
Well, I haven’t heard you say “her” name in a while, but Mimi is still just as important in your life:
You are now entering the initial stages of building forts in the living room.
Today on the drive to daycare, I heard sneaky giggling in the backseat. You had convinced Mommy to let you take your blanket with you, even though it was strangely in the upper 70′s on this rainy December day.
I turned around to see the real-life equivalent of a ghost from Pac-Man. You had pulled the blanket completely over you, hoping I would notice you myself before your own laughing found you out.
“Jack’s house!” I proclaimed.
That’s right, it’s all about the house that Jack built.
Whether you’re hiding underneath your high chair, covering yourself under couch pillows, or your personal favorite, hiding beneath a blanket, your newest current hobby is making “Jack’s house.”
You’re in luck right now because we still have the blow-up mattress in the middle of the living room floor from your Auntie Erin’s visit, which provides the perfect bouncy floor for an appropriate house for a 2-year-old, as you randomly snack on a piece of wheat bread and roll around your toy monster truck.
Before long, you will realize you can prop up your blanket on your toy basketball goal or chairs, making for the perfect fort in the living room.
But I don’t want to rush you. For now, it’s fun to watch you prop up your blanket tent like it’s a toy; which it apparently is right now.
As your dad, it’s cool to be able to see you develop your adventure-making skills.
It’s almost ironic that carrying around a security blanket would be a gateway activity to building a fort in the living room.
You’re progressing from insecurity to security and the way you use a blanket is the evidence.
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
Had you been born a girl, I know I would have loved you just as much. But instead, you’re a rough-housing, toy train-holding, spiky-haired little boy.
And I really like all that about you.
I daydream a lot about our future together and what all adventures we can tear into.
There’s a monster truck rally coming to town in a couple of weeks that I’d love to take you to…
Unfortunately, it doesn’t start until after your bedtime and I already know there’s no way that would go well.
But as soon as you’re old enough, I can’t wait to see your eyes light up in excitement as an unnecessarily large truck runs over 1980s Buicks. As for now, you like to watch clips of monster trucks on YouTube with me.
You also love to watch donkeys, buses, and “French trains.” I’m not sure why it’s important to you that the trains are French, but I type it in and clips pop up, so we watch them together.
On the day this picture was taken, I taught you to throw sticks in the water. You were obsessed with the new skill. The truth is, you were actually really good at it.
Just wait a few years and then I’ll teach you the impressive ability to skip rocks across the water.
See, I’m not sure those are the kinds of things girls really care about. But you, you get me.
At only 2 years old, you understand where I’m coming from. I really appreciate the fact that you’re okay with listening to Weezer on the 45 minute drive home from daycare as the two of us silently contemplate life.
We can be in our own little weird worlds, together. It’s like we’re trapped in some parallel universe, you and I, for the rest of our lives. Though we live among the rest of the world, even Mommy, we still speak a strange exclusive language between the two of us..
If only you knew how much I look forward to the two of us building f0rts, having snowball fights, practicing sports, having afternoon-long video game battles, and just simply going on long walks in different neighborhoods as we explore a new mediocre environment. Man, all those things are so important and crucial in understanding what life is really about.
The way you get me, I have a feeling I’ll get you too. I’m going to instantly understand you when others don’t even come close.
I’ve been where you are now. Granted, it was 1983. But hey, Smurfs are still cool, right?
Just know this: The way you think, the way you feel, the things you think are fun, chances are that I did and still do feel the same.
Maybe even now, I’m standing with one foot in 1983 and the other in present day. I’m transcending time and universes just to be close to you.
Pretty cosmic bond we have, huh?
Friday, November 16th, 2012
I know you still won’t be able to read this for a couple of more years, but I wanted to write you a Happy Birthday message on your 2nd birthday anyway.
Since your Mommy and I found out we were having you, back in April 2010, I have been writing a blog entry at least once a week, and often once a day.
The rest of the world has had access to virtually every moment of your process of growing up, but the words were mainly written for the rest of the world.
However, this is just for you. I’ve never written directly to you, until now, on your 2nd birthday.
This day is especially monumental for me. It signifies you officially leaving the days of being a baby and entering the days of being a little boy.
I noticed recently you started calling me “Daddy” now, instead of “Dada.”
Right now as I look at your picture of you holding your birthday balloons and wearing your necktie, which you very willingly wore to be like me, I am so proud of you and love you so much that… it comes out in the form of sadness, somehow.
Everybody told me not to rush any stage of your life. I tried not to.
Of course, the younger you were, the more difficult being a dad was. I was so clueless, even a year ago.
I’ll never forget when you turned 15 months old. That was the first time you really asked for me. That was the first time you wouldn’t cry if Mommy left the room.
Since then, I could tell so obviously that you wanted me and that you loved me.
So while I’ll try not to rush your life along too quickly, I have to admit, I love seeing you grow up.
The older you get and the more you come to life, the stronger of a connection I feel with you. I’m pretty sure it’s a father/son thing.
I love taking way too many pictures of you. I love writing about all the funny things you do and say.
I love you, son. So much.
Though you probably never see me cry, if you could be here right now as I write this, you would see a 31-year-old man who can barely keep himself together.
It’s funny- I didn’t cry a single tear the night you were born. You were just a strange baby who couldn’t talk. My job at that point was basically just to keep you alive.
But today, I can’t hold back the tears for anything. This is the first time I’ve simply been overwhelmed by my love for you.
What most fathers seem to experience the day their son is born, I guess I’m experiencing right now. To me, this is you being born.
That’s because you and I have gotten to the point now where I can actually see my influence over you. Like with wanting to wear the necktie, you want to be like me.
Man. That humbles me and breaks me. Thank you.
Thank you for being my son. I can’t thank God enough for you.
Today you will receive gifts from Mommy and me: some metal trains and tracks to ride them on.
I know you’ll really like them. You’ll carry around your trains with you everywhere you go. But eventually, they’ll be at the bottom of some drawer.
What I will remember most about your 2nd birthday is the way I feel about you right now. And that’s why I’m writing you this letter. I want to be able to capture what I’m feeling right now. That’s what I think is the best gift I can give you today.
Maybe it’s a dad thing, or maybe it’s just me, but in the likeness of a learning curve, I’ve had a “loving curve” with you.
Two years into this, I am experiencing love for you that I have never felt for anyone in my life. So different than the way I love your Mommy.
The love I have for you is wrapped up in some unspoken bond I can’t quite express in words right now. But I promise you I will spend the rest of my life trying to.
Happy Birthday, Son. I love you with all I have.
Sunday, November 4th, 2012
We left first thing this morning to fly back home to Nashville, after 8 days of visiting my wife’s family in California.
That means that now my family will be undergoing a reverse culture shock.
For the past week, my wife and I haven’t worked and our son hasn’t gone to daycare.
While we made it out of the house most days for some kind of adventure, like seeing the California State Railroad Museum, for the most part, there was definitely a major lack of structure.
And that’s basically the whole point of taking a week-long family vacation: to chill out and enjoy spending time together as a family.
However, when you do that as a family, it sort of messes with your head.
The thing I’m tempted to compare it to is an article I read this week in Details magazine called “Death on the Path to Enlightenment: Inside the Rise of India Syndrome,” by Scott Carney.
It explains how when Westerners, especially Americans, visit the mysterious and ancient country of India, they are prone to… classicly freaking out:
“This quest to become superhuman—along with culture shock, emotional isolation, illicit drugs, and the physical toll of hard-core meditation—can cause Western seekers to lose their bearings. Seemingly sane people get out of bed one day claiming they’ve discovered the lost continent of Lemuria, or that the end of the world is nigh, or that they’ve awakened their third eye.”
In essence, short-term delirium can set in when we find ourselves in unfamiliar environments, especially when the new locale is perceived as exotic or at least completely the opposite of the culture we live in every day.
So let me just say that after a week of not working, staying with family with free room and board and no real schedule, it took me about 4 days to overcome my India syndrome.
Therefore, it should be no surprise that my son absolutely had to battle through his own version of of short-term delirium.
That’s something my son and I definitely have in common: We don’t do well when there is no plan or boundaries.
So it did take the two of us about half the week to get into the new groove.
I made it part of our morning routine to push him around the neighborhood in his stroller while we looked for dogs and owls, while my son clenched tightly his toy rubber eyeball and Jeep.
He also learned better the concept of watching TV, which is something we pretty much deprive him of back home.
Of all things, he particularly liked an old black-and-white western show called Lawman. He even learned to sing the theme song, which basically consists of saying, “Law-man…”
As for my wife, well, we were staying with her family who she only gets to see about once a year, so she was fine in what, to her, was a familiar environment.
We had a wonderful time in California, no doubt about it. But I think my son and I learned a valuable lesson for next summer when we go back:
The two of us will need to mentally prepare for the cultural shock by mapping out a schedule and creating a routine for a vacation where the lack of boundaries and routine is basically the reason you go in the first place.
Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Very seldom do I credit the word “genius” to artists of my lifetime, because it can be a pretty cliche thing to say. People say Quentin Tarantino and Lady Gaga are geniuses. To that, I submit a circa-2010 “Meh…”.
But there is no doubt about it: Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991, when I was only 10, was definitely a genius artist.
There’s a quote which is often credit to him, though it was actually comes from p.115 of True Love: Stories Told to and by Robert Fulgham:
“We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
That, my friends, is also genius. That is the kind of quote I am jealous of because I didn’t think of it first.
It doesn’t just apply to the person you marry. For me, it also obviously applies to the relationship between my son and me.
He’s only 23 months-old. So for anything weird he does, like his impression of a snake that involves flapping his arms like a chicken, barking like a dog, and covering his nipples, all while he tries to go potty as his Mommy and Dada watch, he has a solid excuse.
I’m 31 years old. Somehow that gives me less of an excuse to be weird.
Since he’s my son and is exposed to my weirdness on a daily basis, he gets an extra dose; on top of the God-given weirdness he already has.
Needless to say, the two of us have joined up in our mutual weirdness and call it love.
In his ever-renewing resistance to falling asleep for naps and bedtime, I have to step up my game as needed.
Recently he’s been going down less easily, so as of 3 weeks ago, I invented a technique that I, for some unknown reason, named “droning.”
Imagine what it would sound like combining the African back-up singers on Paul Simon’s acclaimed Graceland album with your token chanting monk:
On repeat for like 4 minutes.
It’s basically the human equivalent to the white noise a humidifier makes if you could turn up the volume on one.
I hum this into the side of his cheek as I hold him, then lay him down in his bed once he gets in the trance, and then I do it again for a couple more minutes to let it all really soak in.
If he isn’t deep enough in his sleep mode when I start backing out of the room while still droning, he politely calls out in the dark room:
It’s his way of saying, “Will you keep doing that weird thing that helps me fall asleep?”
I appreciate when he does that. It shows me he likes my weirdness. He asks for my weirdness.