Posts Tagged ‘ random ’

Boys Can Make Toys Out Of Anything, Like A Plastic Potato

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

Almost exactly 3 years ago on June 21st, 2011, back when you were just 7 months old, I wrote a Dadabase entry called “The Magically Entertaining Wooden Spoon.”

It talked about your ability to make a toy out of anything.

You still have that skill, by the way.

But these days, you also find a way to make a chore out of the new toy you discover.

Two weekends ago while at your cousin Calla’s 3rd birthday party, you somehow found a plastic potato container.

Apparently, Nonna (my mom) got it kind of as a joke for your Auntie Dana (my sister) to pack snacks for her lunch, back when she was in high school.

One of the things I didn’t mention in my most recent letter to you about the birthday party is that for the first hour or so, you were carrying around that plastic potato with his googly eyes.

You used the potato as a place to store the rocks you found in the backyard.

I think it would be safe to use the words “proud” and “protective” to describe the way you carried that thing around.

Of course, you did share it without whoever wanted to see it for a minute. But you kept a close eye on it, as you can see in this picture.

So in closing, you have knack for finding a way to make a toy out of just about any random thing you find. Then, your version of playing with that new toy comes across more like work; or at least a game.

Honestly, you’re a pretty low maintenance kind of kid.

Maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll upgrade you: I could just give you a real potato and say, “Here ya go, Son. Have fun.”

The thing is, I’m sure you would.




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My Son Talks To Strangers, Part 2: The Talking Dog

Monday, March 24th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Continued from Part 1: The Dishwasher Man.

Dear Jack,

We were at the toy store this past Saturday, just looking, while Mommy was at the Lifeway Christian store. As we were browsing through the Disney’s Cars aisle, we saw a grandmother, mother, and young son; I could tell they were on a mission.

“Is there a certain one you’re looking for?” I asked them, out of nowhere.

I ended up sending them across the street to Target, where I explained they were more likely to find the “Sally” car for a lower price; based on my experience of Christmas present shopping for you.

Then Saturday afternoon as we were on a family walk in the neighborhood and a lady with a dog  was coming towards us, I announced to you that the nice lady had a talking dog.

I spoke with a deep, New York accent and pretended to be the dog, saying, “Hey Jack, do you like dogs?”

Yep, I carried on a 30 second conversation with you, as a dog; while both Mommy and the dog’s owner just smiled at each other at first.

Fun for us, slightly awkward for them. But it did lead to a real, actual conversation betwen Mommy and the dog’s owner.

Even just now as I’m writing this, Mommy proclaimed to me, “You definitely talk to random strangers more than anyone else I’ve ever met in my life.”

Thinking back, I would say the same thing about my Italian grandfather, “Paw Paw Metallo.”

So yeah, I learned it from him and I’m teaching that skill to you.

Granted, I only want you talking to strangers when I’m there too, for now. But I think that talking to strangers is a really good and important thing.

You never know when you can really make someone’s day. My suggestion is to stay away from generic conversation topics like the weather and “how are you?” as they tend to be pretty impersonal.

I think you did a great job this past weekend when you talked to the dishwasher man. I also liked how you also recently told your new gymnastics teacher, in the middle of the class, that you have a blue Cheetah named Cheety.

Yes, personality is part of it, but the main thing is, you find a way to get the conversation going. My experience is that people like that.

Even though you may be a complete stranger to them, I’ve learned most people appreciate the engagement, in what might otherwise be an ordinary day.

It’s important for fathers to teach and pass on skills to their sons. Since installing a new dishwasher or doing auto repairs will never be things I am knowledgeable enough to teach you about, I can teach you to talk to strangers.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.





P.S. Read the entire Talking To Strangers series:

 Part 1: The Dishwasher Man

Part 2: The Talking Dog

Part 3: The Kohl’s Incident

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Little Boys Live in Their Own Little World

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Nine months.

Have you found me yet? Yes, this really is my 4th grade class picture from the 1990-1991 school year, which was truly one of my favorite years of childhood. Why? I’ll tell you why.

First of all, I was in the same class as my “special friend”/crush since Kindergarden, Sara Shaw, in the plaid red dress on the front row. Secondly, that was the year that slap bracelets were the rage.

Thirdly, I was the perfect age to truly appreciate the Ninja Turtles in their prime; on the playground I always pretended to be “Nickelangelo.” Fourthly, though a lot of my friends’ parents banned The Simpsons in their households, my parents were cool with it.  In fact, I think I acquired literally a dozen Simpsons t-shirts that year.

And lastly, one of my favorite sitcoms was Family Matters- mainly because of Steve Urkel. You would think that Steve Urkel, America’s favorite nerd of the ’90′s, would not be someone I would aspire to look like in any way. But sure enough, I begged my mom for a pair of suspenders. And because this was a time when neon colors were quite fashionable, I was able to obtain a pair of neon green suspenders.

I wore them at least once a week to school. Unsurprisingly, I deliberately wore my green suspenders for Picture Day.

As it’s plain to see in that picture, I was 100% comfortable with my goofiness; mostly unaware and apathetic when it came to whether other kids thought I looked cool or not.

I was in my own little world, where daydreams and reality collided and I barely knew the difference.  (I guess not much has changed there for me…).

Based on my experience working with boys at summer camp for two summers in 2000 and 2001, then two summers teaching in Thailand in 2003 and 2004, something I learned was that pretty much all little boys are goofy in their own creative ways.

They are confident in being ridiculously weird, random, and off the wall.  If their clothes don’t match or they get a funny haircut like a mohawk, it’s considered “cute.”

This concept easily shows up in my nine month old son. Pretty much everything he does is hilarious. I’m so thankful for ” the necktie picture” we have of him. Because even though he sort of has a serious look on his face, he’s wearing only a pastel colored necktie and a diaper. It’s like he’s trying to be as sophisticated as he can, but ultimately, he’s like, “Joke’s on you, people”.

He may live in his own little world, but I like to visit that weird planet of his any chance I get.

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