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Friday, February 17th, 2012
Now at 15 months, my son Jack actually asks for me to hold him; even when my wife is in the room too.
Actually, he grunts for me to hold him, but same difference. For me, the dad, that’s a honkin’ big deal.
A few weeks ago my wife had to stay home from work with him because he had a fever. When I came home that day, as soon as he saw me, he started crying, “Dada-dada-dada-dada…”.
“He’s been doing that all afternoon,” my wife told me.
Without hesitation, I responded with a big smile, “Really?!”
It’s just that for the prior 14 months, I was a bologna sandwich compared to my wife, when it came to comforting him.
Now, all of the sudden, he whines for me to hold him… on a daily basis!
Sorry, but this feels really good. Maybe I’m just overly eager for some validation as the dad who has spent most of his son’s life trying to figure out how I can actually help take care of him.
I’m no longer ghost dad.
Maybe it’s just taken this long for him to learn to appreciate the smell of my natural manly musk; I don’t know. But somehow, I comfort him now.
He’s my koala bear. I’m the Eucalyptus tree.
As I look at this collage my wife made for his 1st birthday and compare it to a more modern picture of him, I can’t help but think, “Yeah, 15 months old is my favorite age for him so far.”
These pictures of him going all the way back to his infancy show me, like my sister recently told me on the phone: “Jack looks like a little boy now.”
He is a little boy, barely. But I really appreciate the “boy version” of him over the “baby version.”
Because the boy version makes me feel validated as a parent. And I’ve been waiting for a long time to feel this way.
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Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
Yeah, I know; that’s a pretty weird title…
My eleven month old son, Jack, is learning to walk. Up until now, he has simply been a “baby on wheels,” trampling over anything and everyone in his way. I think of how cartoons, like the Road Runner, had legs that essentially transformed into wheels once they got moving.
Jack also reminds me of a toy I had back when I was 5 (in 1986) called The Animal, a toy SUV that had tiger claws than came out of the tires when it needed to climb over a surface.
But over the past couple of weeks, Jack has been experimenting with standing and walking. He can stand on his own for close to ten seconds and can take up to six steps before he falls; not that I’m necessarily in a rush for him to gain more independence.
Of course, his further independence means my further responsibility. When I think of all the milestones of a baby’s progress, the first steps are definitely pretty high on the list. I feel like so many camera commercials capitalize on this event.
I am fascinated by the way he falls- in safe, slow-motion. It’s just funny because I know if I were falling down after walking a few steps, it would be fast and furious, possibly with a Tokyo drift. As for Jack, each time he breaks his walking stride with a fall, he’s as graceful as a cat landing on its feet.
Seeing Jack walk is almost as weird as if an animal were to start talking to me all of the sudden- it’s just that enchanting and seemingly unnatural. My “baby on wheels” can crawl and use toys to skate around the floor with, but… walk?
Baby steps, baby steps; that is what it will take- for me to finally get used to see my infant walking instead of crawling.
Passing the Mic:
How old was your child when they finally started learning to walk? What new tricks did they start doing that sort of freaked you out?
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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
In every situation, before every action, I must ask myself, “W.W.J.D?” No, I don’t need a bracelet to remind myself to consider what Jack would do. Now that he is crawling, and therefore exploring the new world, I am overly aware of all the trouble that Jack can get himself into. Because granted, by law of babyhood, a baby boy will without exception gravitate towards the item of the most potential danger.
Why would Jack want to be entertained by an age-appropriate singing toy when he can get his hands into my laptop cords? Why would he choose to simply play with a paper towel roll when he could eat it (!) instead? Yeah, needless to say, after one solid week of enjoyment, Jack’s beloved paper towel roll as made its way into that glorious toy box in the sky. He only ate part of it, but still, he ate part of it!
Jack with his Pappy and Nonna (my parents) on Memorial Day 2011.
By default, Jack chooses the most dangerous option over any safe one every time. Therefore, I must do his decision making for him. Not only must I intervene on a moment-to-moment basis, but I must also put my future-predicting skills to good use. I must prevent the accident before it happens. And I must do this constantly.
We recently had to officially lower his crib because not only did he begin bumping his head on the rail by pulling himself up, but also because we wouldn’t put it past him to be able to climb up his crib and fall out on the ground.
One morning last week, Jack and I were awake before Jill. As a joke, I lifted him out of the crib and let him start crawling. He crawled out of his bedroom and past the doorway of our bedroom. Jill’s instincts kicked in: She instantly woke up when she heard him crawl up to the doorway.
My plan worked: She thought Jack actually escaped the crib on his own! The prank was successful and boy was I cool.
But while it was a tad far-fetched that Jack would escape his crib unharmed, it’s not that impossible knowing Jack. He’s sort of an escape artist.
I know every parent believes their kid is the smartest ever; and I’m no different. But the boy seriously impresses me in his ability to figure stuff out without assistance from his parents. He’s large for his age, he’s strong, and he loves to explore.
Lesson learned: Never underestimate the ability of Jack. That includes him eating cardboard.
Jack’s paper towel roll toy
June 16, 2011 – June 24, 2011
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Thursday, June 16th, 2011
In the age of Facebook and Twitter, I never have to tell my son to “like” me or “follow me.”
Since learning to crawl, Jack uses every opportunity to make use of his newly acquired skill. He’s like an SUV in human baby form. If my wife or I are sitting down on the floor with him as he is playing, he will make an effort to go out of his way to purposely crawl over our legs- if nothing else, to prove to himself he can handle it.
He obviously is always up for a new challenge. Tossing the TV remote controller a few feet away from him is no longer an inspiring incentive. Crossing the room is no longer that big of a deal to him anymore. Instead, Jack’s newest self-induced challenge is to crawl from one side of the house to the other. But not for an electronic device or the newest, coolest toy he could imagine.
Instead, I am his motivation.
When I come home from work every day, after greeting him and my wife, I typically go two rooms away to brush my teeth (I’m sort of obsessed with personal hygiene) and change into some more comfortable clothes and a hat. By the time I’m done, I look up, and there he is:
So proud of himself that he journeyed the baby equivalent of the length of a basketball court to get to me. And of course, I’m always so proud of him. The best part is the big toothless smile on his face every time. It’s always a highlight each time he does it.
Sometimes when he follows me across the house, he doesn’t stop crawling until he runs into my ankles. And then he just stays there with his forehead leaning against my leg and his cold, clammy hands on my toes. Other times, he will squeeze through between my ankles, offering up an obligatory grunt as if it’s a tight fit for him.
Honestly, when he follows me around the house, Jack reminds me of a little puppy or a kitten; who can’t talk, but who can show his affection and admiration by his gravitation towards me. And yeah, that makes me feel pretty dang cool.
So while it’s always cool to realize I’ve gained a few more Twitter followers or a handful of “likes” for that day’s Dadabase post, nothing can compare to a little blond haired baby boy who thinks I’m the Shazbot.
He “likes” me the most and is one persistent “follower.” And I just never want to let the little fella down.
As you may have noticed at the very top of the post, it no longer says “Six months.” That’s because today, Jack is officially 7 months old!
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baby, Father's Day, Father's Day 2011, fatherhood, Obama's Strong Fathers Strong Families, parenting, Storytelling, Strong Fathers Strong Families, Twitter, Twitter followers | Categories:
Growing Up, Home Life, Story Bucket, Storytelling
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
A few days before leaving for my 30th birthday weekend getaway in Dahlonega, Georgia, my sister asked if we were going to be anywhere close to the Cabbage Patch nursery called “Babyland.” It turns out, the bed and breakfast we would be staying at was conveniently just about 20 minutes away. Accidently awesome! (That’s one of my new catch phrases that will soon sweep the nation like “just saying” as well as one. word. sentences.).
By the way, my parents kept Jack for us that weekend. That’s why you won’t see him in these pictures.
Babyland is one of those legendary places where if you grew up in the South and in the Eighties like I did, you’ve heard about it- almost wondering if it’s just a fabricated urban legend. Mainly all I knew about it was that you could go visit a nursery of Cabbage Patch dolls- like a real nursery. Well, if it involves a random adventure, my wife and I will be the first in line.
I will just say this right off the from the start: I highly recommend going to Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland. First of all, it’s free admission. Granted, it’s sort of out in the middle of nowhere, but for us, that was part of the allure. The building itself is a new, beautiful mansion. When we walked in, we asked a stranger to take our picture as we sat in a giant head of cabbage.
Then we walked through the nursery with the “crying” (recorded baby noises running through the speakers in the ceiling) Cabbage Patch babies. Next we entered the grand room where the main attraction is the actual cabbage patch itself- where the Cabbage Patch babies heads are “sprouting up.” It made me think of that game at Chuck E. Cheese’s where you try to hit the gopher when it pops out of the hole, but you never know which one it will come out. There where all these baby heads and they would randomly start moving- but you never knew which one would be next. It entertained me, perhaps more than it should have.
The whole place is like a huge nostalgic museum featuring the history of all versions of the Cabbage Patch Dolls, mixed with the ultimate Cabbage Patch Doll store. When Jack gets older, my wife and will look forward to taking him there. The Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland is not just for girls. I would be completely confident in taking my son just because I know how mesmerized he would be by all the magical moving baby heads.
So if you’re planning to be driving through northern Georgia in the near future, consider going a bit out of route and taking your kids to this one-of-a-kind palace. I can assure you that you will be just as entertained as your kids, because with all the retro memorabilia there, it’s a ticket straight back to 1983. And who wouldn’t want to go back to 1983? Seriously.
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1983, cabbage, Cabbage Patch, Cabbage Patch Hospital, Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland, Cleveland Georgia, Dahlonega Georgia, fatherhood, parenting, Southern culture, Storytelling | Categories:
Must Read, Nostalgia, Story Bucket, Storytelling