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Sunday, October 6th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
On the drive to school Friday morning, I heard you turn on your LeapFrog cell phone and start talking to My Pal Scout:
“Hey! Scout, want to come to my house today and play?”
After the call ended, you explained to me, “Daddy, Scout’s coming over for dinner and he’s sleeping in my bed tonight!”
I wanted to make sure it actually happened, even if you forgot about it later on in the day.
As soon as we got home, I reminded you about Scout coming over.
You can see here in this picture, you gave Scout a reminder call about the plans for the evening.
Minutes later, the doorbell rang.
“Jack! Come answer the door! It’s for you!” I yelled out from the other room.
You screamed with amazement.
There he was… Scout was waiting for you near the doorstep!
(And he happened to be sitting on a paper towel, for some reason.)
As I opened the door for you and Scout, I could see how surprised you were that Scout actually showed up after you called him on the phone!
By the time you made your way to the living room to play with him, though, you asked me with a confused look on your face, “I have two Scouts? Daddy, will you go get my other Scout upstairs?”
So I did my best to explain that was the same Scout.
For me, the whole thing was an experiment to see how much of the story you’d go along with.
I wanted to know if you knew the whole thing was pretend, tracing all the way back to when you called Scout that morning.
Even now, I’m not totally sure. I mean, I’m pretty sure you know that I was just perpetuating your story line.
Either way, I was committed to make your make-believe story come true.
You said Scout was eating dinner with us and sleeping in the bed with you. So I had to make sure Scout “followed” you around, from playtime…
You and Scout had a fun sleepover Friday night and it’s all because you called him and invited him over!
Plus, I might have had a thing or two to do with it.
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Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
I mentioned yesterday how logic is beginning to play a more important role in your life. This doesn’t just apply to how you play with your toys.
It also has to do with learning which strategies work to get what you want from me.
Whether it’s a certain snack, or toy, or route home from school, you are learning that shouting and crying no longer work on me.
I have learned that you understand me when I tell you there’s a better (and easier) way to get what you want.
There’s no getting away with pretending you don’t speak the language. You totally understand what I’m saying now. And if you didn’t, you would make it clear to me.
Yesterday on the way home, you screamed, “Bridge! I want to go over the bridge! Turn right! Bridge.”
I spelled it out for you:
“Jack, if you want something from Daddy, you’ll need to ask please first, and not be crying when you ask for it. You’ll need to stop crying right now before it’s too late for me to cross the bridge. Otherwise, I’m going to turn left because it’s the quicker way home.”
You only hesitated for a second, as you realized your way wasn’t going to get you the results you were hoping for.
Like magic, the crying stopped and you asked please. We crossed the bridge, both literally and metaphorically.
(It’s funny how it’s sort of hard to use the word “please” when you’re screaming at someone, anyway.)
You knew from past experiences (and experiments) with me that when I say I’m going to do something, or not do it, I’m holding true to my word.
Had you not stopped crying, and not asked please, I wouldn’t have driven home the way you wanted. Perhaps that would have meant you would have cried and been upset the whole hour drive home.
Lucky for both of us, you learned the importance of how Daddy operates. With Daddy, there’s always a formula.
Get what you want by following the formula.
I’m about as stubborn as a computer, which doesn’t cave based on emotional responses. And I imagine, you will learn to become just as stubborn as I am, like that.
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Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
Over the weekend Mommy and I took you to the pool, just in time for the weather to turn overcast, therefore demotivating us from our desire earlier that morning to want to go swimming in the first place.
Being a guy who drinks a minimum of 3 liters of water a day, I naturally had to disappear for a minute or so, soon after we arrived, as Mommy helped you get your feet acquainted with the cold water in the kiddie pool.
As I made my way to the men’s restroom, I saw a woman standing in the doorway.
Actually, “standing” is not a good word to use. “Anxiously pacing, rocking back and forth, biting her fingernails” would be the way I would like to describe it; because that’s clearly how I remember her.
Turns out I was only steps behind the woman’s 11 year-old son as he walked into the restroom. I’ve been in a similar situation before, so I braced myself for the 90 seconds of awkwardness that was about to unfold.
Right in the middle of the boy trying to do his thing, in the stall next to me, I heard the mom yell (and I mean yell) into the restroom:
“Ethan? Ethan! Are you okay in there? Ethan?”
Of course, in his embarrassment, he delayed answering right away.
So again, his mother screamed, “Ethan? How is everything? Are you okay in there?”
This time he managed to murmur a “yeah” just loud enough for her to hear.
The boy and I were in perfect syncopation. As we washed our hands side by side at the sinks, I wanted to say, “Hey man, sorry about what’s going on right now. I know you feel embarrassed by what’s going on. Plus, I know you know I’m just a regular guy, not a creep. In fact, I have a wife and a 2 and a half-year old son just down the hall. I want out of this situation just as much as you do.”
But I didn’t say a word or even look at him.
It was a long 90 seconds, but it finally came to an end as both the boy and I left the restroom at the same time, with the boy’s mother waiting for us there at the door with a very worried look on her face.
This story isn’t about the mom who I am making out to be a wee bit overprotective, or the 11 year-old son who I am making out the be the embarrassed victim of that wee overprotective mom.
Instead, this story is about me; the random guy who just happened to walk into the restroom the same exact time as that boy.
The way I see it, there’s nothing I could have done or said differently to the boy or his mom to help the situation; that would have only made it worse.
So I guess what I am saying is, sometimes as a grown-man entering a public restroom without his own son in tow, I just have to be okay with certain assumptions being made about me.
In other words, sometimes I just have to let 90 seconds of awkwardness happen, like they did just a few weeks ago at the city park.
Photo: Men’s Restroom Sign on Black, via Shutterstock.
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Sunday, December 30th, 2012
2 years, 1 month.
I now wrap up the year 2012 with a noteworthy milestone in your life: Mommy and I just tucked you in for the night, for the first time… in your “big boy bed.”
No more crib for you. You have graduated into the day bed version.
Look how proud you are in this picture!
At long last, you are now sleeping like a 2 year-old, not a baby.
Son, tonight was your Bed Mitzvah.
This change in your life also is aligned with your parents’ more deliberate focus on helping your become potty trained.
Yesterday at T. J. Maxx, Mommy and I bought you 3 metal Chuggington trains. We explained to you that for the next 3 times you go pee-pee on the potty, you get to open a new train. (Sure, it’s an unavoidable pun: We’re potty training you.)
As an added bonus, you have recently received a surprisingly relevant gift last week that helps you sleep easier for your naps… a Thor indoor play tent.
It’s random because you have no idea who Thor is yet. You call it your tunnel.
“I can sleep in my tunnel?”
While attempting to get you to go to sleep for your afternoon naps on the weekends has always been a struggle, this new “tunnel” of yours is a pretty cool thing.
It has a side door which I pop my head in to read you a quick story. You never seem to mind when I slip out the door afterwords. Two hours later, you wake up and you’re ready to play again.
I just wish we would have known the wonders of a tunnel sooner!
So between your new “big boy bed” and your “tunnel,” I’d say things are pretty exciting in the world of sleeping, for you.
To this day, whenever Mommy and I ask you if you’re ready to go to sleep, as we can clearly see you are, you’ve never said yes.
Here’s to my wishful thinking that might change now that you’ve had your Bed Mitzvah…
I know, it’s asking too much.
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Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Thank God. We are in the middle of our vacation week and Jack is sleeping all the way through the night.
It’s because of readers who commented on “Losing Sleep Over Where My Son Will Sleep (Part 1)” that we decided on our son’s sleeping arrangements while we’re staying out here in California:
We have pushed two twin beds together. One is against a wall, where Jack sleeps, and it is bordered with big pillows.
From the very first night, this system has worked well. I have no complaints and have experienced no stress in regards to Jack sleeping.
In fact, he almost sleeps better this way. Last night he slept for 12 and a half hours!
The first morning I was so happy that I promised to get him a treat.
We drove by a party store and let him pick out two Made-in-China plastic animals that cost 35 cents each, as well as, a 65 cent mini Rubik’s Cube.
For his animals, Jack chose another horse and sheep that looks like he peed over itself; it has a yellow underbelly. (Pictured right.)
So I haven’t turned into the Incredible Hulk and the three of us are very well rested on our vacation.
Use me as your Guinea Pig. If you are planning a vacation with a toddler who doesn’t sleep well in new environments, try what I did.
Put pillow borders around a bed that is against a wall and stick to your child’s normal bedtime rituals.
I’m not saying that we haven’t had a share of other behavioral issues since we’ve been here, though. Stay tuned for an upcoming post referring to India Syndrome.
But as long as everybody’s getting sleep here, I’ve got no complaints.
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