Posts Tagged ‘ parenthood ’

Daddy, How Do You Grow Up?

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

There are some questions, as your dad, I can just not be prepared for.

On the way home from school last week, you asked a very logical question:

“Daddy, how do you grow up?”

While you’re still fuzzy on my actual age (you think I’m 4 years old), you do understand that eventually, you’ll grow up to be as tall as I am.

So I answered your question the way any dad would in that situation:

“Well, you just have to keep going to sleep every night… and each morning when you wake up, you’ll be just a little bit bigger.”

What’s interesting about the timing of your question is that we just happened to be driving one of the smallest cars on the road:

I was doing a review of the 2014 Fiat 500 at the time.

Maybe that’s what made you think of it; you were feeling so big in such a small car.

The questions have continued since then.

A few days later as I was helping you put on your shoes before we left for school, you asked, “Daddy, will these shoes get bigger when I grow up?”

I wish.

I can see you’re definitely fascinated by the process of physically growing bigger. In hindsight, I really don’t know that I could have answered your original question any better than I did.

Without getting all scientific, I think it really is that simple.

You go to sleep, you wake up, you’re a little bit bigger the next day.

I’m assuming my answer was best suited for a 3 year-old little boy like yourself.

Since then, I’ve heard you proudly explain to Mommy that the more you go to sleep at night, the sooner you’ll grow up.

It may be a coincidence, but I feel like here recently, you’ve put up less of a fight when it’s time for a nap or bedtime.

Hmm… I wonder why.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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What Scientifically Makes Kids Happy, Part 3: Love From Dad

Friday, March 21st, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: Optimism and Part 2: Less TV Time.

Dear Jack,

In the past two letters, I shared with you what makes kids happy, from a scientific viewpoint. I’ve really enjoyed learning about this stuff.

Today’s letter is obviously particularly relevant to you and me.

I will admit, if this information weren’t scientifically backed up, what I am about to say might sound totally biased, but I read all about it an article in LiveScience, as well as seeing it referenced in “The Science Of Raising Happy Kids” infographic at the bottom of this page:

“Feeling loved by dad was even more important for kids’ wellbeing, happiness, and life satisfaction than feeling loved by Mom.

The most effective dads listen to their kids, have a close relationship with them, set appropriate rules, and give freedom when it makes sense.”

Maybe I’m alone here on this, but there are certain days when I feel like I don’t really matter so much; that I’m a chauffer and a dishwasher… like I’m a stage hand.

Your emotional attachment to Mommy is so obvious. As for your emotional attachment to me, the dad… not quite as obvious.

For most of my life I had functioned in a way that I needed confirmation that I was doing things right in order to feel confident.

However, I’m past that point in my life. That started changing about the time I got a real job… but even more so once I became your daddy.

But obviously, it’s still encouraging to learn that you feeling loved by me is an important of your wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction.

It helps me to be more positive of a person, which is something I’m working on, to know that the things I already do (listen to you, have a close relationship with you, set appropriate rules, and give you freedom when it makes sense) are actually paying off.

Hey, I won’t argue with science.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Infographic featured courtesy of Happify:

Read the entire What Makes Kids Scientifically Happy series:

 Part 1: Optimism

 Part 2: Less TV Time

Part 3: Love From Dad

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I Haven’t Said Anything Controversial In A While…

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week at work, I had a conversation with a co-worker named Matt, who has two small kids.

I was telling him how, the longer I’m a parent, the mellower of a person I am becoming. In other words, stuff is just bothering me less compared to the way it used to.

To my surprise, he agreed- he can also personally relate. We acknowledged that whether it’s gaining more patience, or a greater ability to not allow annoying things to bother us, the journey of being parents has broken us in, for the better.

Over three years ago, when I become a parent, I was a much more out-spoken, polarizing person; especially in regards to the world of social media… especially in relation to politics and religion.

Well, that has definitely gradually changed over the past couple of years.

For example, I no longer care to publically share my political affiliation (or disassociation). I feel that public political conversations divide people; causing them to believe that by putting blind faith into a certain political party, that there’s hope that “the other side” will be converted into an opposing belief system; therefore “getting America back on track.”

I’m so over that. I can’t change people’s political beliefs. Plus, I don’t want to be labeled (and limited) to just one side.

All I can do is hope to change the world through my behavior, which (hopefully) proves the validity of my beliefs in the first place.

Having learned that, I’ve realized that same concept applies to parenting issues which I had previously debated with other parents about.

Like the “cry it out” method, attachment parenting, and circumcision…

I used to be so quick to allow myself to get involved in public online debates over those issues. These days, I strive to not take, or present, the bait.

And really, I haven’t said anything controversial in a while…

Granted, I’m still constantly thinking out of the box, and open-minded to concepts that many people might question.

But now, I’m handling these situations differently than I would have six months or even a year ago:

Has anyone else seen the documentary “911: In Plane Site” on Netflix (will be removed on March 15) or on YouTube in its entirety? If so, will you send me a private message including your thoughts on it? I am asking for a private message response (not a comment) because I am attempting to avoid starting a comments war on my wall, in which I appear as a divisive host or commentator, or am labelled as a conspiracy theorist. I am not seeking controversy; only private answers to help sort out some confusion I’m having. Thanks.

I still like to engage people, and learn from others, but not at the risk of being polarizing. So I’m more discreet and more private about my questions and concerns regarding the world and the people who live in it.

It’s my opinion that the chaotic process of parenthood has forced me to focus on what really matters.

I have gotten to the point where I don’t feel the need to have to explain myself to other people if they find out my point of view and disagree with it. What’s the point in defending your beliefs to someone who is not open-minded to hearing them anyway?

Instead of controversy, I’m seeking the collaboration of ideas with other people.

I seek truth, not simply believing I’m right.

Being a parent has peripherally taught me to focus more on how I can become a better person withthe help of other people; not how I can try to make other people better against their will or conviction.

It’s trained me to not let things bother me like they used to. I don’t know if this necessarily makes sense to other parents, but it’s definitely how I feel.

Parenthood is a humbling process.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Photobombed By My Own Kid

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Look at this picture… You totally photobombed me!

“Photobombing is the act of inserting oneself into the field of view of a photograph, often in order to play a practical joke on the photographer or the subjects.” -Wikipedia

I am pretty sure you were being sneaky; totally knowing what you were doing.

Here lately, I have been posting pictures of our “plant-based meals” on Facebook, as my way of showing the outside world what we eat.

Because, hey, I was always curious what vegans ate before I came one.

It’s by no means intended as a way to “convert” anyone to my lifestyle. I do it more as a way for people who are already curious and open-minded to learn more.

I’ve had several Facebook friends tell me that they enjoy and appreciate the insight I give them on this kind of stuff. That’s who it’s intended for.

Granted, I do this also expecting some funny comments from any Facebook friends who might be… how should I put it?…

Skeptics.

Like when I posted a picture which half-jokingly referred to myself as a “lentil and potatoes” kind of guy. (As opposed to a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy.)

I actually consider it bonus points when I can get friends and family to say “GROSS!” or say something like, “That looks good, but sure would be better with some bacon!”

I get it that our family eats from a different menu than the mainsteam, but instead of keeping quiet about it as to not offend those who are not curious, I like to sort of meme the situation.

In a way, my goal is to invite the skeptics to laugh with me (about my seemingly obscure food choices); as I try not to appear like I’m wanting to impose my beliefs on the mainstream.

Because, again, in reality, it’s the curious minority of society who I actually am trying to reach, not the majority.

So somehow the supreme irony in all this is that you, my son, have actually photobombed my Internet meme!

I ended up not even using that picture for my “project” after I realized what you did.

Actually, I can’t look at you smiling so proudly in that picture without laughing quietly to myself.

Good job, Son. Well done.

That’s okay…

I got even with you by making a captioned photo of your chocolate almond milk mustache.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Can We Just Be Open And Honest With Each Other? (Part 2)

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

So back to what I was saying a minute ago in the first part of this letter

There’s stuff that, as great as she is, Mommy just isn’t designed to help me talk through and understand. And vice versa, I want her to hang out with her girlfriends, without you and me around, so she can get the encouragement she needs in a way that I’ll never be able to handle.

In the movie, Big Fish, the whole plot is rooted in the fact that a grown man with a child on the way, is attempting to find out who his own father really is.

His father (subconsciously) refused to meet his son on a deep, emotional level; instead the father seemed to only tell lavished versions of stories of his own life, so the son grew up never really even know who his dad was, in a way. The son therefore couldn’t really relate to his dad.

Yes, the father had always physcially provided for his son; no question there. But the father was, in essence, emotionally absent.

I vow to you: I’m going to be here for you emotionally, not just physically.

And I think a big part of that happening means that right now, I make a proclamation to you:

You can talk to me anytime, about anything.

It’s not enough that you know that. You need to be reminded… so I will do that too.

I realize I will not always be the first fellow guy you want to talk to about certain things, but please know you can talk to me, whether it’s to have someone to listen, or somone to give you season advice, or both.

I’m here. I’m not like the dad on the movie Big Fish.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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