Posts Tagged ‘ parenting ’

Boys Grow Up To Become Men Who Move Away

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

When I was growing up, I never minded the small town I grew up in. It was all I knew.

Life was good, easy, and comfortable. My parents did everything right.

But around the time I starting driving, I became more curious about life outside of the shared corner of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.

The summer before my senior year, I travelled to Ecuador. Then after I graduated high school, I went to college in Florida and Virginia; both of which took way more than 8 hours to travel to and from the house I grew up in.

I spent two of the summers in college overseas in Bangkok, Thailand; teaching English. I briefly did the same in South Korea, as well.

For a guy who sure was comfortable being raised in a small town, it was my instinct to want to go explore the world outside of safety and comfort.

I think you will be the same way. I think you will end up being an explorer of the world; at least the world outside the town you are growing up in.

Aside from that, though- after Mommy and I have “raised you,” you will leave us and start your own life. You will have the desire to become who you were to intended to be, apart from us.

I am preparing myself now for the day you will move away and figure things out on your own, like I had to do.

The way I see it, when a father does a good job of raising his son, he is rewarded by seeing his son move on to start his own life, and eventually start his own family. It seems that’s one of the ultimate rewards of being a father… as much of a paradox as that may sound.

Mommy is the nurturer, I am the mentor, and you’re the kid. Together, I know that the three of us will always have a close love for each other; but I get it that you will, in essence, need to “start over” and do this thing yourself.

Right now, these are the years when the rewards of fatherhood include cuddling with you, wrestling you, having you ask me to sing you bedtime songs, taking you to the zoo and the monster truck show… so many things each day that mean the world to me.

The undeniable irony here is that for the next 15 years or so, I will ultimately be revolving my life around you so that you can become independent enough to live your life without me being right there. I guess that’s sort of an obvious element of being a dad, but I’m thinking about it more here lately.

I don’t take for granted you are growing up so fast. After all, one day, that might actually be a real mustache on your face!

 

Love,

Daddy

 

P.S. The top picture is an entry we submitted for a “selfie photo contest” for Joe Hendricks Photography!

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My Kid Is The Best At Everything In The Entire World!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

I’m guessing it’s normal and natural for every parent to secretly assume that their own kid is just automatically the best at pretty much everything in the entire world.

Yep, I can relate.

This past weekend over Easter I was just thoroughly impressed by your watercolor painting skills. I mean, you’re only 3 years old.

All you needed from me was a cup of water to dip your paintbrush into. You did the rest while I did the dishes.

I mean seriously, you did better than I could have.

And then today I saw another painting you did at school.

When I saw your name next to it, I thought it was a mistake. I though surely a 4 or 5 year-old must have down a work of art as complex as that.

Or even Eric Carle himself.

Nope. It was all you.

So of course, that only reinforced my preconceived idea that you are such a talented artist.

I am your dad- I am wired to believe you are an exceptional kid… because you are!

It’s not just your artistic skills, though. Even just the way you think amazes me, for a 3 year-old.

When you play with your Hot Wheels these days, you’re always putting on a show.

You have me help you hand-select the classic cars, the hot rods, the race cars, and the trucks to place in the race. Then all the other Hot Wheels have to form a huge, long line to go see the show.

It’s something you are very strategic about. You even make sure the police car and ambulance are placed right next to where the race is, to prepare for accidents… which are guaranteed to happen with you in charge!

Do other 3 year-old little boys paint like you and create big shows with your Hot Wheels? Is that typical?

Probably.

But hey, I am your dad- I am wired to believe you are an exceptional kid… because you are!

 

Love,

Daddy

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I Just Came Here To Read Comments

Monday, April 21st, 2014

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

In several of my letters to you, I’ve made mention to you that simply by being a parent, I have become a more mature person.

It’s true. I’m now embarrassed by some of the things I’ve written to you over the years- and I wish I could say I’ll never say something stupid again.

But if I said that, I would be conceited, which would contradict the part about maturing as a parent.

One of the most relevant lessons I’ve been teaching myself  is “how not to say things that will end up making me sound judgmental of other parents or to be offensive to them.”

And I tell you- that’s a very tricky lesson to learn.

Ultimately, it’s dang near impossible not to step on someone’s toes.

I’ve discovered that even by talking about the possibility of you being an only child can offend other parents who are unable to have another child.

If I talk about our family’s plant-based lifestyle, it can be perceived that I am trying to convert other people to “unhealthy eating habits which keeps your family from getting the nutrients they need.”

If I speak neutrally about having guns in the house, or bronies, or why I believe spanking is not more effective than time-out, I’m going to either offend, upset, or at least get someone emotionally worked up.

You know what, though? I’m okay with that.

I do try to be as respectful as I can in my interactions with people in real life and social media; the latter of which is much more difficult.

In fact, trying to regularly participate in social media while talking about parenting topics especially can be harder than attempting to get through a Chips Ahoy cookie without eating a chocolate chip.

Therefore, there is now a very relevant Internet meme which features Michael Jackson eating popcorn, stating: “I Just Came Here To Read The Comments.”

It tends to show up in the comments section of controversial blog posts.

Actually, I just saw it featured this weekend on Facebook in the comments section of a Parents.com article, written by a parent who admits her family only goes to church on Easter.

Navigating the comments on social media has become almost ridiculous by now. I noticed last week at the bottom of a parenting article on MSN, they now have to offer up a list of “reportable” tags for comments:

There’s now a category for spam, exploitation, profanity/vulgarity/obscenity, copyright infringement, harassment or threat, and even threats of suicide.

Wow.

With that being said, I try not to offend those in the world of parenting… but these days, it’s not always easy to know who the actual Internet trolls really are.

I just have to tiptoe and tap-dance while being ready to duck and dodge potential tomatoes being hurled my way.

 

Love,

Daddy

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What Happens While Mommy’s Getting Her Haircut…

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

One of my jobs as “the dad” has always been to distract you from getting into trouble, or getting bored, while in public.

Over the weekend, Mommy had a haircut appointment at a salon, thanks to a Groupon.

I was able to distract you for about 8 minutes with the one magazine that wasn’t intended for actual desperate housewives… a hunting magazine, in which we only looked at the animals that had not been shot yet.

Hey, that’s just me being creative.

So I suggested we take a walk outside to see the other places in the shopping center.

We started out by watching the people exit the drive-through at Starbucks. But after only three cars, you were ready to run.

The shop right next to where Mommy was getting her haircut was a nails salon. The front door happened to be open, since it was nice outside.

You peaked in and saw the workers wearing masks over their noses and mouths to protect them from the fumes.

Your instant (and loud) response: “Hey, it’s the dentist!”

Then you ran down the sidewalk to check out the other stores. However, none of the others were open.

So we headed back by the nails salon. By that point, the owner was standing in the doorway, smiling.

I explained to him that you thought he was a dentist.

He went along with it. He then asked you if you have been brushing your teeth.

You assured him you have been. He offered to show you around the “dentist’s office” but you politely declined.

Once his wife caught a glimpse of you, she came over to ask you if you wanted to stay there at the “dentist’s” with them.

After you laughed and told her no, she surprised us both by making a face like a monkey (?) and flopped her arms around in the air, then started cheerfully grunting (?) to us, “Ooga-booga, booga-ooga!”

It was about that time that Mommy was all finished with her haircut and walked out of the salon. So we walked away with Mommy, backwards, smiling and nodding at the “dentist’s” wife; as she made you laugh all the way back to the car.

Yep, I guess we got what we were looking for:

Entertainment while Mommy got her haircut.

Uh… you’re welcome!

 

Love,

Daddy

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Tags: , , , , , | Categories: The Dadabase

You Don’t Have To Teach A Boy To Make A Mess… Or To Find Trouble!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Saturday morning as we were getting ready to go to the Vanderbilt scrimmage game, which we actually missed because we were hanging way too long at a new vegan café we discovered thanks to a Groupon… you were being quiet and happy over at the window sill.

Finally, you announced to Mommy and me:

“Look, I’m killing this bug!”

Turns out, the thing was already dead. So I guess what you meant to say was that you were dissecting the bug… by smashing it with a vanilla-scented candle.

(All while wearing your “Just Like Daddy” t-shirt.)

Little black legs were everywhere.

I let you have your fun- after all, you’re a boy. You’re supposed to scrape up your elbows and knees… and make messes.

Granted, I don’t have to teach you to do this. You just naturally know where to find the right environment.

Again, I support it. You need to be a boy.

But it goes without saying that I provided you with the handheld vacuum cleaner and made you suck up all the loose bug body parts.

Then Sunday night while Mommy and I were preparing dinner, again you were being quiet and happy… the perfect combination for you to find trouble.

You had discovered some candy that you were supposed to save until Easter. Yeah, Mommy and I caught you “brown handed,” underneath your chair.

But we were laughing way too hard to be the least bit upset with you.

Besides, whether you had that non-approved candy then or on Easter, I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway. Delaying the sugar rush only to add it to the jackpot on Easter doesn’t make much sense, I guess.

Being a boy is fun. Discover your world. I will be there to laugh with you. And sometimes, at you.

Can you blame me?

Love, Daddy

Find fun crafts your kids can make with stuff you already have at home (except dead bugs).

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Mom Confessions: The Strangest Thing I've Found in My Purse Was...

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