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Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
2 years, 4 months.
There are several token father-son images that I bet most people are familiar with. One that comes to my mind is of a dad throwing his child high into the air and catching them, as the giggling child delights in the thrill.
Can you believe that’s something I’ve never done to you? I need to consider that.
But there is another stock image of fatherhood that is a reality for the two of us: you riding my back like I’m your horsie.
I authentically enjoy it. I actually like neighing. I like the uncertainty of not knowing whether you are going to be able to hold on tightly enough to hang on or not.
Sometimes you fall off onto the carpet, then laugh because you didn’t get hurt. I like being your unpredictable beast.
Something else potentially dangerous I do with you is to let you sit in an empty diaper box and pretend you’re driving a Jeep Wrangler up the stairs.
Of course, I’m holding the box myself and pushing you the whole way up.
You scream with excitement once we get to the top, knowing that I’m about to slowly guide you back downstairs on a bumpy ride while acting like I’ve lost control of you and the box. (It looks even more dangerous than it sounds; which is why I’m not showing you a picture of that now.)
But before I do that, I push your “Jeep” down the dark hallway, into your even darker bedroom, making lion noises. You act like there’s a lion in your bedroom as I drive you next to your play tent. At that point, I grab the giant bolster pillow inside of it and pretend you’re being eaten by the lion… all the dark!
This is what you crave from me. Quality time with Daddy typically means I put you in a position where you’re not necessarily sure whether you should legitimately be scared as we play together.
When Mommy’s out buying groceries on Saturday mornings and you and I are playing together in the living room, I pretend to be a giant hissing possum as I slowly creep up on you across the floor. Then you claim safe haven on the couch.
You squeal with joy; yet once I get right up to you, this is what say:
“Daddy, you hold me?”
Then I instantly transform back into your Daddy, from a giant hissing possum.
You and I play scary and rough together. If you’re riding a horse with me, then I am the horse.
If you’re riding a horse with Mommy, it means she’s safely guiding you on a trained horse walking in circles.
You get the best of both worlds.
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Thursday, December 6th, 2012
You have no desire for tea parties.
The thought of you pretending to drink tea and eat delicate crumpets with me while we sit at your Thomas the Train folding table… well, you would just try to wreck the party by plowing through the tea cups with your 4×4 monster school bus or your army of trains.
“Daddy, sit.” That’s what you tell me when you want me to play cars with you at your play table.
You are wired to choose action involving crashes and messes, not role-playing a sophisticated brunch.
Right now our version of having a tea party is pretending to be worried after a train falls off the table, serving as a cliff, because one of us deliberately pushed the thing off the edge. (That plot line is then repeated about 23 times.)
I have great plans for us, Son.
Eventually our “tea parties” will turn into us playing gentlemen’s games like chess, where sitting across the table from each other, we shall sharpen our strategic skills.
From there, we will move up to me teaching you to solve the Rubik’s Cube. We’ll see if you can find a way to beat my own average solve time of 3 minutes, 20 seconds.
Yes, you and I are usually pretty physically rough when we play.
Sometimes you ride on my back as I crawl across the carpet, pretending to be a hungry and angry lion, attempting to shrug you off and eat you for dinner.
Other times you want me to scare you as I hide in the corner, pretend to sleep, then suddenly jump up and act like I am smothering you as I gently lay on top of you, putting all my body weight on the floor, and none of it on you.
But for the times you feel like playing like a gentleman, we take out all that aggressive action on your toys.
Either way, we don’t do tea parties, we do demolition parties.
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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Jack has recently acquired a farm/zoo. And boy is he proud to take care of his Made in China plastic toys. I mean, his furry little friends.
This past weekend at his cousin Calla’s house, Jack discovered a “Farm Animal Play Set” my sister and her husband had bought on clearance for 3 bucks at Target. The set consists of a clear backpack filled with many familiar animals.
Why exactly the “farm” set included a mother and baby ostrich as well as a wolf, I don’t know.
Nor could I tell you why there is a random African-looking tree along with two logs. How certain things made the cut remains a mystery.
Not to mention that the “baby” animals are simply miniatures blended in from some leftover batch from Taiwan; clearly not originally intended to be in relation to the “mother” animals, which for some reason all have red eyes.
Needless to say, I named the dog with red eyes, Cujo.
And I couldn’t help but notice the adult duck is nearly the size of the adult ostrich.
One more thing, the larger sized animals were glued together; you can clearly see where the cow’s head was glued on to the rest of its body. (I have seen these exact ones sold separately at Michael’s for like 2 bucks a piece.)
Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Jack is completely unaware of just how “Frankensteined” his mismatched farm set is. All he knows is, he loves his animals.
Don’t all kids?
Jack has to be holding 3 of his animals at all times: in the car, in bed, during meals, even while running from me as I chase him across the house during playtime.
Yesterday when he saw that the dishwasher was empty, he grabbed the utensil caddy and carried it over to the coffee table. Then he carefully placed the mutant duck and Cujo in their own separate compartments.
He waited a few seconds and stared at the wall, as to symbolize the passing of several hours. Finally, he woke up the animals and removed them from the utensil caddy, I mean, their stalls: The plastic rooster had apparently crowed.
Kids love animals. Heck, they’re obsessed with them.
Take a look through your child’s favorite books or check out the covers of their favorite DVD’s. Humans are rare. Instead, talking animals have replaced us.
To a toddler, animals are something to be enthralled by.
Animals look funny, they have their own strange movements, they make weird distinct noises, and they’re lovable; except for the ones that are vicious and deadly; but in a child’s world, they by default are all enchanted.
(Have you noticed how many friendly lions and alligators are featured on your little boy’s shirts? I have. It’s pretty funny.)
I’m not the kind of guy to use the word “sweet” in the emotional sense, but I have to admit, it makes my heart smile to see him so earnestly trying to care for the needs of his animals.
You’ve already heard about Jack hosing down Cujo and Mutant Duck. (They must be his favorites.)
Well, now you know that his animals are a full-time responsibility.
They must not only be cleaned, but also fed and given a good night’s rest in their stalls. As long as the dishwasher isn’t full.
For more pictures of Jack with his animals, visit The Dadabase’s Facebook and click on the photo album, Jack’s Farm/Zoo.
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Sunday, May 6th, 2012
Jack is finally learning how to actually play with his Lego-like blocks. He likes to see how tall he can build his tower or sword or lightsaber or whatever it’s supposed to be.
But for Jack, it’s just as much fun to tear down and break apart as it is to create.
For the past couple of weeks now, I have noticed that during his playtime, he likes to make messes… for fun.
It’s been nearly a decade since I took a Child Psychology class back when I was in college, but I have to assume that right now my son is working out the engineering part of his brain.
He is teaching himself how to deconstruct things so that he can rebuild them.
My wife told me that Jack likes to abruptly swipe all his bath toys off the tub’s ledge into the water, only to carefully place them back in order.
I’ve said it before, but I truly think Jack is going to be the opposite of me when it comes to his motor skills. He will be a clear-thinking, math and science guy; whereas I’m a deep-thinking, abstract, communications kind of guy.
That’s a good thing. We’ll have plenty to learn from each other.
Of course, that’s not to say that Jack won’t end up being a very sociable little boy, because it’s seems to me he already is.
Yes, I could have allowed myself to become annoyed when Jack started his new daily game of emptying his six different toy caddies in our living room.
But I just remind myself that my son that is becoming his own mechanics teacher.
I can’t believe I just now thought of this, but why am I cleaning up his toys when playtime ends? After all, I shouldn’t deprive him of the very valuable reconstructive lesson of placing his toys back where they belong.
He’s not a baby anymore. He’s a lightsaber swinging toddler who is sure to get better math and science grades than I ever did.
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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
We painted our son’s bedroom brown. Yeah, it was a risky move. What if it ended up being dark and creepy?
Some risks are worth taking; this was one of them. We had this idea in mind to create a “boy cave” for our son, as opposed to a “man cave.”
And what better color for a cave than brown? (Actually, I bet dark gray is probably the correct answer.)
We did originally plan for his room to be a “robot cave.” My wife found this really cool 3 foot tall decal on Etsy, designed by Tweet Heart. Unfortunately, the raised texture of our walls prevented it from sticking. It was sad that Ralph the Robot couldn’t hang around. We’ll try again when we live in house with walls with normal texture.
So what makes his bedroom a true boy cave?
Action and adventure!
First, there’s his Rockasan chair; which is a rocking papasan. It was originally intended as a rocking chair to rock him to sleep when he was an infant. But by now, he loves to pull himself up on it and let his own body weight cause him to swing back and forth like he’s in one of those pirate ship rides at an amusement park.
Second, my wife’s inflatable exercise ball serves as that giant rock that chases Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. My son Jack loves for me to roll the giant inflatable ball towards him from across the room. He tries to dart past me without getting hit.
It’s kind of like a very unfair version of dodgeball. I always am amazed at the level of intensity the ball can clobber him and he not only still remains standing but continues to keep running: all while hysterically laughing.
Third, he likes to play “full contact” hide-and-seek. The game consists of me running into the closet or the bathroom attached to his bedroom. Then he’ll sneak up and peak around the corner at me. The second he sees my face…
He gets attacked by the Yeti. Or whatever kind of monster I am assumed to be as a 5′ 9″ yelling adult man with a deranged look on my face. (To him, I’m still a giant; it helps that he’s only 29 inches tall.)
In a sort of slow motion move, I jump up in the air like Batman landing on the ground with my arms spread out and I pretend to lay on top of him. He just loves being playfully “attacked.”
And that’s my definition of “boy cave.”
We’ll try again in a few years, Ralph the Robot…
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