Posts Tagged ‘ roughhousing ’

The Compartmentalization Of A Little Boy’s Brain

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

2 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

I am told on a weekly basis, by family members, by friends, by co-workers, and readers, that I am a very “black-and-white, cut-and-dry” person; that there is no gray with me.

It’s as if I put every situation and event in it’s own compartment in my brain; as if history always repeats itself.

Maybe that’s part of the reason I’m a vegan. All or nothing, right?

Maybe that’s why I make a living by discovering performance formulas for my company to help them become more efficient.

I look at what does work, separate it from what doesn’t work, then check for reoccurring patterns.

Sure, I realize the world isn’t categorized in perfectly organized compartments, but I work to help make it that way as much as possible.

Son, I’m pretty sure you’re going to be a lot like me in those regards. In fact, I’m pretty sure you already are that way.

Sunday afternoon as Mommy was preparing dinner, you got upset because she wasn’t able to play trains with you like I was. After about 90 seconds of a breakdown because you couldn’t stand to be playing without her though she was only 10 feet away, I had to take action.

You and I went upstairs to play. You had to be moved out of the compartment of “Mommy, play with me!” to “Me and Daddy are playing like boys!”

By the time we stepped into your room, you were fine with Mommy being downstairs… in a “different compartment.”

The base of our papasan rocking chair broke, only leaving the dome-shaped seat part intact.

As I spun you around and quickly swayed you, it magically became a yellow submarine, a monster truck, and a horsey.

Together, you and I were loud, rough, and technically violent in our Daddy-son compartment.

You stripped yourself down to your pro-wrestler/superhero attire, which is a diaper and nothing else.

But once Mommy entered the room, you became a different little boy; a little boy who wanted to read and wear clothes, not play.

I’ve also noticed that everyday when I drop you off at school, you get quiet the moment I hand you over to your teacher, not speaking or showing emotion again until after I’m out of sight.

Different compartments.

Who knows? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m drawing too many conclusions; because after all, I’ve already established that I look for patterns and formulas in everything.

Maybe little girls can just as easily be the same way. I wouldn’t know about that; no history to build on since you don’t have a sister.







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Nashville Dad Pleads Guilty To Roughhousing And Horseplay

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

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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Playing “Make Me Laugh” With A 2 Year-Old

Friday, January 11th, 2013

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Somewhere in the realm of roughhousing with you is the game where I try to annoy you to the point you can’t help but laugh.

Well, you pretend to be annoyed, at least; but really, you’re seeing if I, as your Daddy, has what it takes to break you. Just so you know, whenever you challenge me to a game of “Make Me Laugh,” I am always prepared.

One of my favorite times to play this game with you is when I drop you off at daycare in the mornings.

It’s like you shut down your personality as I hand you over to your teacher. She tells me it typically takes about 10 minutes for you to officially come back to life, as you transition from “home mode” to “school mode.”

So as you soon as you pass from my arms to hers, I always try (and am usually successful) to make you crack from your straight face before I say goodbye.

What’s my secret? I put my mouth to your chest and sing the theme song from Dirty Dancing. (Interestingly, neither Mommy nor I have ever seen that movie.)

“I’ve… had… the time of my li-i-ife… and I owe it all to you-oo-oo…”.

I should point out that I am singing that line in my best Robert Goulet singing voice.

You just can’t help but laugh. Sure, it’s a little weird that your teacher now expects me to sing the first line of the chorus of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” before I can kiss you goodbye, but after a solid week, it’s starting to become normal.

And there’s the drive home from daycare, where if you’re suspiciously quiet for 5 straight minutes, I feed you false information about your favorite TV characters.

“Mater is eating Jack’s pasta,” I warn you.

“No! My pasta! Jack eats the pasta,” you reply with fake intensity.

I egg you on about it enough to where you get so “fake upset” about the thought of Disney/Pixar’s star of Cars eating your dinner, that you finally bust out laughing.

Putting you to bed at night is also another opportune time for “Make Me Laugh.” You always want me to lift you up to turn off the light, then carry you to your “big boy bed,” then you say, “Daddy sing? Daddy sing ‘Snowman.”

That means I have to sing “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” to you as an unlikely lullaby, which you inaccurately identify as a song about a snowman.

During my slow-motion, lyric-butchered version of the song, in the complete dark, which might I add should creep you out but instead you choose it as your favorite way to fall asleep, you like to try to grab my nose or my hand as I lean in close to you and sing.

You’ll deliberately swing your leg up into the air in hopes of hitting me; and when you do, I quickly grab your limb and squeeze it, making you laugh.

Again, that doesn’t sound like the best way to coax a 2 year-old to sleep, but for you, it couldn’t be any other way.

You like for me to tease you. Oh, and don’t forget, Mater’s totally eating your pasta right now…





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The Masculine Version Of A Tea Party, Part 1

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

2 years.

Dear Jack,

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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Daddy’s Roughhousing: Good Physically and Psychologically

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

A year and a half.

This morning while driving to work, I heard on the radio about an article on called “Roughhousing With Dad Crucial For Development, Say Researchers.”

My first reaction was “Oh, cool! I can write about that tonight. It proves the importance of dads playing rough with their kids.”

Fifteen seconds later it hit me: “But wait… duh! Doesn’t every dad already know that? Is that really even news?”

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The researchers believe that the most important aspect of this play is that it gives children a sense of achievement when they ‘defeat’ a more powerful adult, building their self-confidence and concentration. However, fathers who resist their children, can also teach them the life lesson that, in life, you don’t always win. The act of a stronger adult holding back that strength also helps to build trust between father and child.”

I’m sorry to sound too 1993 with my use of the word “duh!” but I could have told you that.

In fact, I already did in my October 2011 Dadabase article entitled, “Bullying Prevention Month: Teaching My Infant Self-Defense” where I explained it this way:

“I play the big scary monster who hides behind the couch and charges towards him to give him a big ‘daddy hug.’ It’s a way for him to test his strength against mine, as he knows I’m no real danger to him. I’m simply his training coach.”

It’s always funny to me when we have to pay experts to confirm what the rest of us normal folks have known all along. No one had to tell me that each evening when my son invites me to wrestle with him on the blow-up mattress randomly (and unnecessarily) placed in the middle of our living room floor, he’s not simply wanting to burn off energy.

He is wanting to be re-enforced the truth that he has someone strong enough to protect him.

Sure, I scare him when I chase him down the hall pretending to be a ferocious lion: He laughs as he screams from the thrill.

When he feels my scratchy face against his, he is reminded that I provide power and strength for him.

I think C.S. Lewis shed some light on the subject in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

My wife’s job is to tenderize our meathead of a son. My job is to toughen him up. He likes getting the best of both worlds.



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