Posts Tagged ‘
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
2 years old.
There’s this cliche about dads trying to live their lives vicariously through their sons.
As the dad thinks back on his own life, regarding things he wishes he could have done differently, he attempts to rewrite history by making sure his son does those things he was never able or willing to.
Well, that’s what I’m doing with you.
But not in the token way where I force you to play sports or try to make you become a doctor or lawyer.
The way I am doing it is much more simple, yet epic.
What I am attempting to do is to make you a braver and more daring little boy than I was.
I remember crying a lot as a little boy because I was afraid to try or do anything new.
Back in Halloween 1986, there was this church party where one of the dads put together this 12 foot long tunnel cave out of refrigerator boxes.
I only made it through about four feet of that tunnel before I turned around. That decision symbolized a lot of the remainder of my childhood.
It was probably 4th grade before I began developing a true sense of confidence in who I was, and therefore, my ability to overcome my fears of taking on scary challenges.
However, I don’t think you’ll be the timid little boy I remember being. With just a little prodding, I am able to get you to choose to overcome your anxieties.
Fast forward from Halloween 1986 to Halloween 2012. A few weeks ago, when we were in Sacramento visiting Mommy’s side of the family, your cousin Savannah wanted to play with you in the “jumpy house.”
You had always been afraid of jumpy houses. I basically forced you into the jumpy house, then Savannah took over from there.
The truth is, you barely hesitated once you got inside. Then you you couldn’t get enough.
I was only able to eventually pry you away because it was time to eat cake.
Sure, I sort of forced you to overcome your fear. But ultimately, it was your decision. Had you cried and thrown a tantrum, I would have given up.
Instead, you gave it a shot.
You’re a brave little boy.
I never made it through that refrigerator box tunnel in the church basement. It still bothers me to this day.
Son, I admire your will and your courage at such a young age.
So while I may live vicariously through you sometimes as I try to get you to do things I would have been too afraid to when I was your age, you don’t really need my influence too much.
Sure, my gentle push helps. But you’re brave and curious enough on your own.
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012
We’re not a family of beach bums. We’re the opposite; whatever the opposite of a beach bum is.
In other words, we like to go where the crowds aren’t and where the weather isn’t very hot.
Fortunately, my wife’s family is in Sacramento; which gives us a good and necessary reason to travel out there once a year.
This weekend, that’s where we will be flying. With Jack’s 2nd birthday coming up on November 16th, this is the last time we can take advantage of him getting to fly for free.
No doubt about it, I’m very excited to take a week off from work and travel to one of my favorite spots in America.
But of course, I’m looking at this from a realistic perspective. A “vacation” with a nearly 2-year-old where we’re flying cross-country is not exactly a vacation for me.
I don’t mind being a glorified version of a stage hand while my wife catches up with her family and gets to see Jack, after over a year since last time.
Even the plane ride with Jack doesn’t intimidate me much. After all, I survived it last year when he was much more high maintenance.
The only thing that worries me is where he will sleep. It’s a really big deal to me.
If he doesn’t get good, consistent nights of sleep while we’re out there, I will turn into the Incredible Hulk.
(Not the updated Avengers movie version, but the 1978 Lou Ferrigno TV show.)
I don’t like me when I’m angry. When Jack doesn’t sleep well, neither do I; then I turn into a monster.
Jack still sleeps in his crib and he has outgrown his Pack N Play.
So one option is to put up some safety rails alongside a twin bed once we get there.
Another option is to buy a cheap or used Pack N Play as soon as we arrive, but A) I don’t want to have to worry about that after getting off the plane and B) I don’t want to spend money on something I may not be able to bring back home.
The best case scenario is we find a friend or family member who has a Pack N Play that we can borrow while we’re there, but no luck on that so far.
I guess this dilemma took the back burner in the midst of planning not only the trip out there but also Jack’s birthday party for that side of the family.
But here we are, days away from leaving, and I don’t have closure with this.
To dissect why this causes so much turmoil and unsettledness for me, it is because it’s my job to get Jack to sleep for all his naps and bedtimes. That’s one of the things I do! I’m very proud of that skill.
Without me getting him to sleep, it’s a world suspended in chaos. Bad things, man.
Getting Jack to sleep is something I’m an expert on. But without the appropriate place for him to fall asleep, I can’t work my magic.
The world is coming to an end.
To be continued…
Sunday, August 5th, 2012
Anytime I’ve ever heard another parent say “I just let him out of my sight for one second…” it never turns out to be a delightful story.
So as to prevent myself from ever saying that phrase, it’s simple:
I never let my son out of my sight for one second.
Obviously, he goes to daycare during the day and he sleeps in his own bedroom at night.
But what I mean is that as long as he and I are in the same room or as long as he’s with me out in public, I am the kid’s bodyguard.
I believe that all of us as human beings were born with a nature that causes us to want to, by default, make destructive decisions.
No parent ever has to teach their child to lie or to be disobedient.
While we also have a nature that causes us to want to be good and help others, we still are often driven towards destruction in our thoughts which lead to actions.
Likewise, I know my son will run straight for the cars in the street or into the crowd at the store unless I physically restrain him from doing so.
My verbal warnings aren’t yet enough for my toddler son.
He is all but handcuffed to me because at this point, I can’t trust him to keep himself from hurting himself.
Not to mention that as a father of a son, I’m acutely aware of the fact that a boy’s chance of surviving to adulthood is a lot less than a girl’s.
Mark J. Penn, in his book, Microtrends, explains it this way, in regards to statistics done here in America:
“There are about 90,000 more boys born every year than girls, setting up a favorable dating ratio. But by the time those kids turn 18, the sex ratio has shifted a full point the other way to 51 to 49, because more boys die in puberty than girls. Researchers call it a “testosterone storm,” which causes more deaths among boys from car accidents, homicides, suicides, and drownings.”
I don’t mean to be morbid or grandiose, but I think about that. I should.
Whenever I’m with my son, even in a seemingly safe environment, in my head I have to constantly be thinking, “What’s the worst that could happen right now?
Simple risk management.
Because sure enough, the moment I don’t ask myself that would be the day I would find out.
I’m not sure if I really am an overprotective dad or not.
After seeing these pictures of how I let my son play with big wooden stick, I bet some readers out there are actually thinking the opposite about me.
But that’s part of the paradox:
I’m his dad. I’m supposed to encourage his adventurous spirit. And I really like that part of my job as a dad.
Hey, I want to have fun too.
As long as it’s not too much fun.
(Kids, don’t try this at home. Unless your dad is there watching you through the camera as he encourages your adventurous spirit.)
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Health, Home Life, Spirituality, Story Bucket, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: appetite for destruction, boys, raising a boy, Sac State, Sacramento, sin nature
Saturday, August 4th, 2012
This is my son, Jack. As you can see, he is a very happy little boy.
Especially with Mimi by his side. That’s his blanket/girlfriend.
We have no idea how she got that name.
Yes, I do recognize the absurdity in the fact that my wife and I daily refer to this thin little blanket A) as a female and B) by an actual human name.
One day a few months ago he just starting calling it Mimi. None of his friends at daycare have a Mimi and his teachers didn’t know anything about it either.
And even despite knowing that Jack is fairly limited in what consonant sounds he can make so far, I just can’t figure out how “Mimi” could translate into “blanket.”
Therefore, Mimi is a proper noun. I base her gender on the way he acts like he’s in love with her… or it.
Mimi is on every car ride. She’s always there during playtime. During dinner too.
We do draw some lines, like bath time.
Interestingly, right after he gets out of the bath, his devotion briefly changes to Tara, the bath towel we dry our son off with.
Basically though, he’s just imaging that Tara as Mimi since Mimi doesn’t really like the water.
What’s really funny though, in the likeness of Michelle Tanner on Full House, what Jack somehow doesn’t realize is that there are actually two Mimi’s!
The other one is actually blue and has little dogs all over it. (It’s true when they say that love is blind.)
We just alternate the two blankets every couple of days so that Mimi is always clean.
Since turning Jack’s car seat around, facing the front now, Mimi has found herself a hostage victim on a near daily basis.
About halfway home from daycare most days, Jack will “drop” his water cup or some random toy from his back seat collection. (Basically he gets bored and wants my attention.)
He then says “uh oh” as if it were an accident, though it never is. Five seconds later, it’s a constant stream of him annoyingly whining.
I explain to him every time:
“Jack, I’m driving right now and it’s my job to keep both of us safe. I can’t reach what you’ve dropped because the car is moving. Once we get to the next stop light, I might be able to reach it for you.”
Usually the whining persists after my clear and logical explanation. So I give him a 2nd and final warning:
“Jack, just chill out and have fun back there. Otherwise, I’m going to have to take Mimi.”
If he’s feeling adventurous, which he usually his, then he continues his distracting moaning to see if I will live up to my word.
I always do.
Then I reach back and grab Mimi as my hostage in the front passenger seat. I wait about 2 minutes, during which time Jack responds:
“Mimi! Mi-mi! Mimi! My Mimi!…”.
Once I return Mimi, all is good in the world and Jack completely forgets about whatever stupid plastic cow that “fell” out of his cup holder in the first place.
Saturday, July 21st, 2012
Any minute now, my wife Jill and my son Jack will be landing in Philadelphia, then driving about an hour to a place called Downington.
One of my wife’s sisters and her family lives there and is having a surprise birthday party weekend; unless this blog post spoils the surprise. Awkward…
I will pick them up again on Wednesday from the airport. Until then, it’s just me here.
It’s only been a few hours but it already feels like Chernobyl.
Normally if I’m sitting in my living room writing a blog post on a Saturday afternoon, hearing nothing but silence, it means that any second Jack will be waking up from his token 40 minute Saturday afternoon nap.
Well, it’s been more than 40 minutes now.
I thought I heard him cry a minute ago but it was just a poodle in the townhouse next to us.
This is my “dad sabbatical.” It’s pretty weird so far.
Granted, I am happy that my wife will get to enjoy these next several days with her sisters she rarely gets to see; no thanks to scientists who have yet failed to invent a practical teleportation device, despite us all living a dozen years past the year 2000.
(No flying cars or hover-boards yet, either. Back To Future Part II made it very clear what life is going to be like in the year 2015. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do!)
Her side of the family will get to meet Jack the Toddler; as opposed to Jack the Infant, who they met a year ago when we all met up in Sacramento where they are all originally from.
It worked out better for me to stay here in Nashville this time around.
(Especially if the rumor is true that we may both need to use a couple vacation days next month to make an appearance on a morning talk show on NBC. Oh well, I probably just now jinxed that for us. Now it won’t happen. Great.)
You would think I would appreciate this “time to purposely do nothing” more than I do. But I’m still in culture shock right now.
Sure, I miss them both tremendously. Right now I feel emotionally exactly what I’m supposed to.
But also, I feel guilty.
For nearly 2 years I have constantly been a dad. No pause button. And for 4 years, I’ve been a husband. No more than just a few nights apart due to the occasional business trip.
And now for half a week, I will have no real responsibilities as a husband or a dad. Yeah, it just feels wrong.
Okay, time to go see Batman. Because that’s what a 31 year-old dad on sabbatical evidently is supposed to do with his free time.