Posts Tagged ‘ parenthood ’

Even If We’re Just Dancing In The Dark

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week as I was putting you to bed one night, in the pitch dark, I heard you say, “Here, Daddy…”.

Expecting for you to give me one of your half a dozen Hot Wheels cars as a parting gift before I made my way downstairs, I reached out my hand.

My instant response: “Ewwwww! GROSS!”

Yes, it was a big, long, slimy booger you had just picked fresh for me. It felt like the size of a caterpillar.

That sort of ruined the whole ambiance of the “settle down” part of the night.

Another strange surprise I experienced, also while putting you down for the night, was when I asked you which song you wanted me to sing for your bedtime song.

Your request: “Nooning.”

Having no clue what that was supposed to mean, I started singing the word “nooning” to a made-up tune I hoped would sound like some famous traditional Chinese folk song.

You interrupted my glorious musical number: “No! Talk about it!”

Talking about “nooning” was definitely more difficult than singing it; I must admit.

At that moment, I imagined you as a toddler talk show host, introducing the topic for the episode that day.

During those final minutes before I officially put you to bed before leaving the room each night, you basically just see what kind of random stuff you can say and get away with… and so do I.

To celebrate our mutual randomness in the pitch black darkness of your bedroom at 7:43 PM each night, I have now added Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit “Dancing In The Dark” to my list of bedtime songs to sing as I’m holding you.

When it comes to intercepting caterpillar-like boogers and trying to figure out what “nooning” really is, this gun’s for hire.

Even if we’re just dancing in the dark.





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My Son Put Himself In Time-Out… Then Tried To Escape!

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Sometimes you are just hilarious. What makes it even funnier is when you don’t even know how funny you are being.

Last month in “Getting Dressed? Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!” I explained how leaving the house in the morning isn’t always so easy, especially when you’re in the mood to just go to daycare in pajamas.

Well, you and I were recently having one of those kind of mornings…

You were physically struggling so hard with me as I tried to put on your pants, it reminded me of a WWE wrestling match. You were so upset with me you were crying and throwing a classic tantrum.

I’ve learned by now not to let myself get emotionally caught up in something like this: I realized you and I were not having a rational discussion or disagreement. Instead, it was very irrational.

You had to get dressed, so I continued to calmly communicate that to you as I pulled you shirt over your head.

Then, in your angst, you accidentally hit my shin pretty hard.

I didn’t react at all, because again, I wasn’t emotionally invested in our struggle- I just knew it almost time for us to leave the house and you still were not fully dressed.

The look on my face surely portrayed one confused dad as you tromped on over to the corner of the living room, putting yourself in time-out. You continued crying loud enough to wake our neighbors, stomping your feet and waving your arms in protest.

Yet… you were the one to place yourself in the time-out corner. I never said a word or even gave you my “mad dad” look.

I was too confused to laugh at that moment, so I used that opportunity to pack my lunch.

Then, as I turned my back to make my way to the refrigerator, I saw you strangely moving sideways like Boom Boom from Super Mario Bros. 3, still crying and flailing around, trying to escape from your self-imposed time-out session.

So I let you.

It was a peaceful and sophisticated car ride that morning. We talked about monster trucks and Cheerios, like nothing ever happened.





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“All I Ever Wanted Was To Be A Dad,” Said Few Men Ever

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week when I wrote “Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science,” I received an intuitive comment that really helped me understand myself better:

“I am a mom who, much like you, just knew I’d be a [parent] but never dreamed of it my whole life, or knew what to expect at all. I assumed that when I had my child I’d keep working and be happy with him in daycare, because that’s what my parents did with me. I couldn’t have been more wrong — about my happiness/satisfaction with this scenario.

We can’t afford for me to stop working, but all I want to do is be with my son. It is the most horrible feeling in the world. Guilt, feeling like I’m missing out, and most of all: the inherent instinct, dare I say biological need, to be with my infant child, makes me INCREDIBLY sad to have to sit at my desk all day. I know not all mothers feel this way, but this is why I am less happy than my husband — who has no problem at all working full time.”

The main takeaway from this comment for me personally is that, as a mom, she feels guilty about having to work full time and be away from her child; meanwhile, her husband has no problem with that issue.

Good point. Not only does it appear to be the norm for most women to yearn to become mothers, therefore causing my familiarity with the phrase, “All I ever wanted was to be a mother,” but it seems just as predictable that men experience much less guilt about working all day, away from their child.

I’ll speak for myself here, as a dad. Do I feel guilty about you being in daycare all day while I’m literally a quarter of a mile down the road, working in the office?

To be vulnerably honest… never.

If the question is whether or not I miss you everyday while I’m away from you, the answer is absolutely yes!

Inconveniently, your 2 hour nap occurs during the middle of my lunch break; otherwise, I’d spend that extra hour with you.

Like most dads, I am wired with the subconscious yet undeniable desire (and biological need?) to provide for you and Mommy. So to be honest, the thought of feeling guilty about you being in daycare while I’m at work… well, it’s pretty much the opposite of how my mind works.

Instead, I would feel guilty if I couldn’t be working all day while you’re in daycare. In an ideal world, Mommy could stay home with you, at least.

I gain a lot of confidence and self-worth by going out and working to provide for you and Mommy five days a week. It’s like, for me to feel successful, I have to have this “other life” away from you to earn the right to the version of life I share with you and Mommy.

So, no; like most men I know, I never thought or said out loud, “All I ever wanted was to be a dad.”

Instead, this was my version:

“All I ever wanted was to make a good and respectable living for the family that I always knew I would have one day.”





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Dads Are Happier Than Moms and Singles, Says Psychological Science

Friday, January 18th, 2013

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

As I sat across from you and Mommy last Sunday morning for breakfast at The Perch in Nashville, I had an epiphany for the first time since you were born:

“I am happy about my life.”

Since you arrived, Mommy and I have overcome dual unemployment; two moves; one of our cars breaking down in the middle of the 2nd move; buying a new car; the ceiling of our living room caving in; you having a febrile seizure; me almost losing my job last summer; to finally where we are today:


A state of normalcy where I can finally exhale.

I don’t think most dads’ lives were as chaotic as mine when their first child was born, so perhaps I had a late start in getting to the point of coming to the realization of how happy I am about my life … as a parent.

Today as I was listening to my favorite radio station, WAY-FM, I learned about an article in USA Today called, “Are Parents Happier? Dads May Be, But Not Mom, Singles.

I read the article which refers to new research in the journal Psychological Science and I get it; at least in my own head. No one needs to explain to me why research would show that dads are happier than single men, single women, and moms.

Here’s my explanation, as spot-on or dead-wrong as it may be:

I’ve never heard a man say, “All I’ve ever wanted was to be a dad.” Yet, I’ve definitely heard many (if not most?) women say that, in regards to becoming a parent.

While I obviously don’t speak for all or most men, I myself never longed to be a father; I just always knew I would be one.

For me, becoming a dad was something as predictable as getting a job, getting married, and getting old.

I only had generic expectations in regards to being a dad. What I didn’t have were dreamed-about expectations about how complete and meaningful my life would seem once you got here.

But that’s the thing. Honestly, I was surprised by the amount of meaning my life gained once I became a dad two years ago.

It’s like I finally mattered to the universe. Because now I matter to you.





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Mall Toddlers: My Idea For A Straight-To-DVD Kids Movie

Monday, September 17th, 2012

22 months.

So maybe the “In Theaters March 2013″ part is just wishful thinking. Hey, I’ll settle for straight-to-DVD.

It’s not easy reuniting your toddler with his two best friends from daycare for weekend plans. You’re dealing with three different napping schedules… enough said.

The plan was for Jack, Henry, and Sophie to hang out at a park playground, but then a random thunderstorm showed up.

By 3:45 on a Sunday afternoon, it was difficult to justify paying to get into one of those indoor playgrounds, knowing we would all just need to get our kids home for dinner after about an hour and a half anyway.

So by default, the mall became our play date destination.

I admit, I really had no expectations on how things would go. I mean, normally, I would have low expectations in regards to meeting fellow parents and their kids at a place I haven’t really tried out myself.

Turns out, it was a good gamble. Our German-looking kids found plenty of activities to keep themselves entertained.

All we had to do was follow them around and keep up with them like a camera crew on any given TLC reality show.

The more we chased them, though, the less necessary I felt. I don’t mean that in a sad way, though.

Instead, I could easily imagine it like some straight-to-DVD movie about three toddlers who take over the mall after hours.

Like all those goofy Air Bud movies, the toddlers would have computer-animated mouths and they would talk like adults.

So it would sort of be like Look Who’s Talking meets Air Bud if Air Bud revolved around toddlers instead of athletic dogs.

I suppose the plot line would involve a kooky Croatian villain named Mr. Stincovic who coincidentally happens to sneak into the mall at the same time in order to sabotage Santa’s upcoming visit the next day, by bringing in potato sacks full of skunks.

Does that sound lame enough for a straight-to-DVD kids movie? It doesn’t take much.

In the likeness of Home Alone, the three toddlers would use the mall itself to torture Mr. Stincovic with booby trapped obstacles:

They would pour out Dippin’ Dots in a trail leading from the food court to the carousel, which happens to be running at all times, unmanned.

Once Mr. Stincovic, who goes by “Mr. Stinky” for short, as if the pun wasn’t obvious enough for 4 year-old viewers, lands conveniently on the carousel horse, Henry would pull the lever from “slow” to “turbo power,” causing Mr. Stinky to fly up into the rafters.

There, Mr. Stinky is pestered by a dozen remote controlled mini-helicopters until either A) the police arrive or B) he decides not to sabotage Santa’s visit, but instead becomes an elf, as Mr. Stinky learns the true meaning of Christmas.

So yeah, that’s pretty much what Mall Toddlers would consist of. You would be able to find it the very bottom selection of DVD’s on the Redbox panel screen.

Or instead of waiting for the anticipated world-wide release of Mall Toddlers, you could just check out some more pictures of when Jack, Henry, and Sophie took over the mall. Click here to check them out on The Dadabase‘s Facebook wall.


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