Posts Tagged ‘ summer 2013 ’

Socially Unplugging While On Vacation Isn’t Easy

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

This morning I witnessed you doing something bizarre, something I’ve never seen you do before.

You and I were playing in the backyard when your cousins walked up. Immediately you put your head down and made your way over to a black pipe connected to the wall. 

It’s not that you were pretending to be stuck. Instead, you just covered your face and didn’t say a word.

Even with your cousins trying to engage you, you remained a statue.

I couldn’t quite figure it out.

When you finally moved, you simply repeated the action at the screen door.

It’s not that you were angry, upset, or unhappy in any way.

You just didn’t want to socialize.

Trust me, I can relate! In order to function, I have to have a couple hours a day with no one around; which is why going on vacation with family can be challenging for me too.

So truly, I know what you were going through, now that I think about it.

What else could you do, as a toddler who claims to never be tired, and refuses to rest other than when he is forced to?

How else could you communicate with me that you just needed some time to yourself, without having to go somewhere to take a nap? You didn’t need physical rest.

What you needed was social rest.

You and I have that in common. We’re highly social, highly verbal people who need designated time to just zone out and mediate without someone or something interrupting our thoughts.

I get it now.

Next time this happens, I’ll try to accommodate somehow; maybe by taking you on a walk.

That’s why I enjoy writing, reading, and biking in my spare time. It’s a means of recharging from human interaction.

Whereas the total of two hours of driving we usually do when we’re not on vacation gives us that “zone out” time, we aren’t getting that regularly this week.

So while your behavior this morning did seem pretty weird, now that I’ve written to you about it, it totally makes sense.

And that only further exemplifies why taking a social break is a good thing sometimes.




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When Others Think Your Kid Behaved Better Than You Thought

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

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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Donkey Stickers And A Spatula… Because That’s Normal

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

At first glance, this picture of you from yesterday morning doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary.

There’s nothing atypical about a little boy holding snacks in a plastic baggie in one hand and his pal Scout in the other.

But when you look closer, you’ll see that you’re also holding a black spatula and have a Band-Aid on your arm.

Actually, you have a Band-Aid on both of your arms, though you have no injuries.

You call them your “donkey stickers.”

Let me explain…

The night before, just as I was about to officially tuck you in and leave your bedroom, you had a special request for me:

“Daddy, I need my donkey stickers!” You pointed to the bathroom.

It’s sort of a blur, but I was miraculously able to figure out that you were asking for Toy Story Band-Aids, featuring Bullseye, who you think is a donkey instead of a horse. You wanted a “donkey sticker” for each of your forearms.

Sure enough, you fell asleep within like three minutes after you got your wish.

So yesterday morning, as I was making sure I was getting you out the door in time, I noticed you were holding a spatula in your hand. (I later asked Mommy how you ended up with it, and she simply responded with a subtle smile, “Jack asked for it.”)

You wanted to take it with you in the car, so I let you. After all, you’ve done much weirder things.

Granted, your daycare director wasn’t so thrilled to see you walk in the door with a spatula, explaining to me that it could be used as a weapon.

“Well, actually, I’m taking the spatula back with me when I leave here in a minute…”.

Yeah, that’s a pretty random thing for one adult to have to say to another.

You were so excited to see your spatula again at the end of the day. You didn’t let go of it for the entire car ride home.

While still wearing your donkey stickers, of course.







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With A Toddler, Everyday Is A Musical!

Friday, July 12th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

I grew up never really “getting” the concept of musicals.

The fact that all the people in each scene just happen to know the lyrics and melody of the same song about the event happening in real time, not questioning where the musical accompaniment is coming from…

Not to mention, the fact they typically never acknowledge, after finishing the song, that they indeed just sang a song.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons that I love The Lorax movie so much: It opens with a hilarious musical number that not only satirizes the stereotypical overindulgent American lifestyle, but it also mocks musicals themselves.

I love how at the end of the song I’m referring to, “Thneedville Song,” that the O’Hare delivery guy sort of gets stuck after finishing the final note of the song and has to be escorted away by two other men.

“What happened to that man?” you recently asked after seeing that part.

So, yes, I’ve always perceived musicals as impractical, unrealistic, and just plain absurd.

Until now…

Because this is what I know as normal: All throughout the day, you’re either A) making up a song about what you see around you or B) singing a pre-existing song that relates to what you see around you.

Here’s a perfect example:

I love the hilarious twist ending of this video when it is revealed that you are serenading a toy lizard in a plastic boat.

For me, it’s equal amounts precious and hilarious.

Tonight as I was tucking you in for bed, you made a special request, “Daddy, sing “Gorillas Are Angry.’”

Knowing that you were asking me to make up a new song on the spot about the first random thought that came to your mind, I just went with it, singing, “Gorillas are angry, gorillas are angry…”.

Your response was perfect:

“I don’t know that song, Daddy.”

Yeah, that makes two of us!





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Fun Summer Activity: Playing With Wet Toilet Paper

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Our family believes in being classy. Therefore, toilet paper is a toy.

Hey, it was your idea, not mine.

Last Sunday, the weather was a bit overcast and you wanted to play outside in the water, but didn’t really want to get wet.

So I just let you figure out for yourself what that even meant once you got outside.

It so happened that your nose started running once you got out there so I grabbed you some toilet paper real quick, leaving the extra sheets in my pocket.

As you dunked your plastic tiger souvenir from the Louisville Zoo into your Little Tikes water table, you saw the extra toilet paper hanging out of my front pocket:

“Daddy, I have that? Toilet paper… please?”

With me being in “whatever works” mode having survived the road trip from [Louisville] the day before, I didn’t hesitate to grant your wish.

I stepped away for a minute to pour a glass of water and returned to your explaining to me what was going on in your world:

“Look Daddy, the tiger has a mane!”

That confirmed that our Louisville Zoo trip was actually educational… sort of.

You then proceeded to use one of Mommy’s measuring cups to wash the tiger’s mane off.

I also learned from you that wet toilet paper serves as great “cement” for your toy trucks.

Admittedly, I was hoping yesterday’s thunderstorm would magically wash away the debris.

Turns out, wet toilet paper that has been dried by the sun does not necessarily turn mushy again by heavy rain… and then just “disappear” after that.

I guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.





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