Posts Tagged ‘ Sacramento ’

Risk Management: Being My Kid’s Bodyguard

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

20 months.

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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Hostage Negotiation With My Son’s Blanket/Girlfriend, Mimi

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

20 months.

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.

 

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What Is A “Dad Sabbatical” And Why Does It Just Feel Wrong?

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

20 months.

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.

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Will My Kid Have A Southern Accent?

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

19 months.

Today my son Jack asked me to turn on the TV so he could watch Elmo on Netlflix.

By “watch” I mean “point to Elmo when he appears on the screen then let Sesame Street serve as background noise as Jack plays with his toys.”

And by “asked me” I mean he simply pointed at the TV and said “On?”

But his version of “on” was pronounced “own.” Whereas when I say the word to him to teach the difference between off and on, I pronounce it as “ahn.”

We live in Nashville, Tennessee. It assumed that people here speak with a thick Southern accent, if for no other reason, because this is where all the Country music stars live.

But the thing is, most of those Country artists moved here from Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, or some other state in the South. And if they are actually from Tennessee, they’re from a good hour outside of Nashville.

Visit Nashville and you will find that most people here don’t actually have a thick accent. Instead, you may here some Indiana or Maryland or Colorado in there instead.

Like my wife, for example, who is from Sacramento, California. And even though I was raised in the South, I don’t have the accent to prove it because my mom was raised in Buffalo, New York.

So Jack is being raised in a major Southern city consisting of a very high concentration of transplants and internationals, by two parents who don’t sound like they are part of the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard or The Beverly Hillbillies.

I predict that though he may have some Southern tendencies regarding his accent right now, when it’s all said and done he will talk the way I do. Like he’s from Louisville, Kentucky or Cincinnati, Ohio.

In other words, a virtually untraceable American accent.

On top of all this, have you ever noticed how Southern accents are extremely rare and underrepresented on TV?

When a character on a TV show or movie is from the South, they often embody a negative or theatrical stereotype, like Sawyer on Lost.

Or even if the actual actor is from the South, they neutralize their accent to be taken more seriously in the world of entertainment.

NBC’s The Office is a prime example of this. The actors who play Andy, Kevin, and Angela are real-life Southerners who don’t show it in the way they speak.

Based on my own unprofessional (!) Wikipedia research, about 35% of Americans are Southerners speaking with a Southern accent. Population-wise, if my assumptions are correct, more Americans speak in Southern dialect than do Midwestern, Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic, Western, or any other American accent that exists.

So when we watch TV and movies, we are more likely to hear neutralized accents than we are to hear the same accent that the actual slight majority of America actually speaks.

I believe my son’s “own” will eventually become “ahn” when he tries to say “on.” But I guarantee you that, like his parents, he will still use the word “ya’ll.”

He may pronounce it “yahl” as opposed to the true Southern way, which is “yawh,” in which no actual “L” sound is heard, but at least there will be a little proof he is a Southerner based on how he speaks.

Not to mention the whole “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” thing; which, as his dad, I will make sure he says, ensuring his status as a true Southern gentleman.

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Extreme Makeover: House Painting Edition

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Ten months.

I think the best way to begin is to share a few things that I would rather do than paint two bedrooms with vaulted ceilings:

1) For the next three months, I would have to replace my bio picture here on The Dadabase (featured right) with one where I have an un-ironic mustache.

2) For three nights in a row, I would have to sleep on one of those inflatable alligator pool toys in the middle of a swimming pool in Wisconsin, where it’s colder. Also, I would have to sleep fully dressed so that when I regularly fell into the cold water, I would remain that much colder.

3) Fly to Sacramento and back with my infant son, again.

Some of our very good friends have been kind to take us in as we have waited for the renters in our townhouse to move out. This weekend, we will finally move back into it and make it our own.

For me, making our townhouse our own means the three of us moving ourselves and our stuff back into it. And the guest room officially becomes Jack’s bedroom. I would say that pretty much makes it our own.

But my wife helped me realized that in order to truly make our townhouse our own, we would need to paint the two bedrooms.

It didn’t matter that neither of us had ever actually painted the interior of a house before, nor did we have any painting supplies or equipment, or even someone to watch Jack on short notice. Painting had to be done to make this townhouse of ours our own.

On Saturday, I was able to recruit my highly experienced friend Jason to teach me how to tape off the walls and how to, basically, paint a room. He also had a ladder for me to get the job done with. Then the next day, our friends who we have been staying with watched Jack as Jill and I tackled his bedroom.

Ultimately, something I have realized about my wife and I is this: When we really want to get a job done, no matter how outlandish and impractical it may seem, we find a way to get it done.

We did it; painted both bedrooms (with vaulted ceilings) within a weekend. My preconceived ideas about painting were accurate: painting is a miserable experience. But we survived it!

I want to brag on my wife’s ability to pick out colors. For our bedroom, she chose a very light green named “River Reed,” which has a breezy Caribbean feel  to it. Jack’s bedroom is Ranch Mink; a chocolate brown. We’re calling Jack’s bedroom his “boy cave.”

Want to see finished pictures of our fine work? Wait until we move in this weekend and I will surely deliver.

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