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Sunday, July 21st, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
All Mommy and I really could do was just embrace ourselves and expect for the worst, as we boarded the plane yesterday morning from Nashville. It was your first time with your own seat on a plane (and that we’ve had to pay for one for you) and we didn’t know if that would be better or worse than you sitting in Mommy’s lap like the other two times we’ve flown to California.
The 90 minute flight to Minneapolis was fine, being that we all had to wake up at 3:30 AM to get to the airport in time. You were in a daze.
And during the one hour layover in Minneapolis, you were fine, because they offered free use of tablets, which you took advantage of by watching clips on YouTube of Jeeps plowing through the mud.
But by the 2nd half of the 3 and a half hour flight to San Francisco, you had plenty of energy to release… in the form of kicking the seats of the people in front of us.
I immediately (!) corrected that- by letting you kicking my legs instead.
It was the best idea I could come up with.
Trying to discipline an overtired, energetic, and restless toddler on a plane is a tricky thing.
After all, everyone was watching. And I just simply wanted to subdue you and most importantly, not make a scene.
Mommy was able to tone you down a little bit by pulling out crayons and coloring books for you.
About that time, the man sitting across the aisle from me, a friendly Wisconsin resident named Tom Potter and his wife let you borrow a couple of their grandson’s books… ones that you’ve never read, like Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop.
Soon after the plane landed, Tom and his wife, as well as the lady sitting next to them, all individually commented on how well-behaved you were.
My reaction was something like this: “Ha ha! Oh? Really?.. Um, thanks!”
I had prepared for a a meltdown, but fortunately, it never happened. This was a situation where less was more.
It was best to not try to discipline you for being an overtired, energetic, and restless little boy. You just needed a distraction.
In reality, you weren’t the token brat on the plane that annoys everybody. What a relief!
Having those people tell me that you were well-behaved made me feel really good.
As for the hour and 50 minute drive from San Francisco to Sacramento, you fell hard asleep about 10 minutes into the ride.
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Monday, May 20th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
On Mother’s Day, Mommy and I took you to your very first baseball game. Coincidentally, the Nashville Sounds (our family’s home team) was playing the Sacramento River Cats (Mommy’s hometown team).
I almost have to use the word “miraculous” here to describe how long you lasted: You watched the game for 30 whole minutes!
Mommy and I were so impressed that as a 2 and a half year-old, you were able to pay attention to the game without wanting to get out of your seat for that long.
Seriously, you watched the game for 30 straight minutes!
Though, I should admit, you were due for a nap. So your drowsiness was countered by the fact that a real baseball game was going on right in front of you.
Not to mention, Ozzy, the mascot for the Nashville Sounds, came by to visit all the kids in the bleachers.
I’m pretty sure I actually convinced you that we had just visited him in the zoo the day before.
You didn’t really question why a giant cat who was creeping along the ground one day at the zoo, would be so friendly, walking upright and in uniform, and so happy to meet you the very next day.
But you rolled with it.
Then, you realized there was a whole stadium to explore. You were mesmerized (!) by the “tractors” (glorified golf carts) you found.
Mommy and I literally had to snap you out of your gaze on them:
“Jack? Jack! Let’s go…”.
And so you did. You discovered that the ramp of the deck served as a great “hill” for your red Hot Wheels car to race down.
Interestingly, that was the first toy car we ever bought you, exactly a year ago.
Now you have like 53 of them; many of which currently serve as the crushable cars for your monster trucks.
Mommy and I secured both ends of the ramp to make sure you didn’t escape us in all your excitement.
As for your “sock giraffe” that I bought Mommy on our honeymoon in New Hampshire nearly five years ago, you felt it was necessary he shared every adventure of the baseball game with you.
Along the way, you caught the attention of a sweet older man who was running the ticket gate:
“Hang on, little guy. I think I have something for you in the back.”
He handed you an official baseball that the Nashville Sounds had used for their practice.
As seen in the picture of you holding the ball, you were a bit confused on why you were getting a free gift that didn’t come wrapped in plastic or that didn’t require a trip to Target.
Or involve you earning it by going potty.
But again, you rolled with it.
I was thinking today about this. Something I really miss, as a 32 year-old man, is experiencing a version of life where everything is new and exciting and mysterious.
As for you, the kid, the boy wonder, you get to wake up to new adventures every day.
Dinosaurs are real.
A big cat lives in the zoo but serves as a baseball team’s mascot on the side.
Your imagination has no limits because the universe is truly magical.
I miss that.
It’s funny how these thoughts can stem from a baseball game.
I suppose that’s part of the reason that baseball games are so intertwined with American tradition and nostalgia.
Watching a baseball game at a stadium is like being taken through a portal where life seems both completely familiar yet completely brand new.
Maybe some would say it’s just a baseball game.
I have a feeling you understand where I’m coming from on this one.
Oh, and needless to say, you slept the whole way home… next to your baseball, of course.
P.S. To see more pictures of your first baseball game, go to The Dadabase Facebook page and click on the picture folder, Zoo and Baseball 2013.
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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.
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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…
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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.)
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appetite for destruction, boys, raising a boy, Sac State, Sacramento, sin nature | Categories:
Deep Thoughts, Health, Home Life, Spirituality, Story Bucket, Storytelling, The Dadabase