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Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
2 years, 10 months.
You can now correctly identify Ford Mustangs from across any intersection.
I didn’t teach you that- how did you learn that?
As we pulled into the school parking lot today, I remembered that one of your teachers, Ms. Debbie, owns a Mustang- so I parked next to it so you could see one up close.
You proudly posed for your picture next to it.
“She drives a Mustang racecar? We go to the race? I want to see Ms. Debbie race,” you told me.
When we got inside, I explained to Ms. Debbie that you believe she is a racecar driver.
It was a classic moment for me, getting to relate that hilarious information to her.
She was flattered… I think.
Then when I came to pick you up at the end of the day, I saw another Mustang convertible in the parking lot.
I had totally forgotten that another one of your teachers, Ms. Chastity, also drivers one too!
You didn’t know what to think after learning that…
Two of your teachers are racecar drivers, because, after all:
All Mustangs are racecars, therefore the people who drive them are automatically racecar drivers who compete in races.
Even now, I’m afraid to disappoint you by making the truth clear about your teachers and their Mustangs.
I’d rather you just believe that two of your teachers race each other each weekend at the Nashville Speedway.
As I parked the car at our house this afternoon, I reminded you that you have a blue toy Mustang with all your other cars in our living room.
“I do?!” you answered, very surprised.
Needless to say, you had a very exciting and pleasant dinner tonight, with your Mustang accompanying you.
I am going to be amazed if you don’t end up becoming a major car enthusiast.
It really makes me curious what you’ll have for your first car.
Well, we still have another 13 years to figure that out.
Until then, you keep doing your research. Who knows?
Maybe you’ll end up driving (and therefore, racing) a Mustang!
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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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Monday, August 19th, 2013
2 years, 9 months.
I’m finally just now realizing why you insist on asking me, as well as Mommy, to play with you on the living room floor, only to have you get upset once we actually try to play with you.
And, no, we can’t do other things like read a magazine or check our email since you’re not actually interacting with us.
We have to be playing too, but there are rules…
It’s because you’re used to “parallel play,” like at school with your friends.
You’re used to playing near other people, but not actually with them, the way I would define the word “with.”
So I’m learning to respect that.
Now I know not to grab a monster truck near you and say in a falsetto voice, like you use when you narrate your own playtime, “Hey, you want to race?”
Because you instantly tell me that’s your monster truck.
Then you assign me another truck you don’t care about for that particular moment.
Well, I figured out how to do this thing right.
I find a toy that I assume you will think is undesirable; one that is out of your view. I sort of turn to the side where I’m not facing you, but where you can still see what I’m doing.
Then I make it seem like whatever I’m doing with that toy is the coolest thing ever. Turns out, whatever it is, you always immediately end up trying to copy me with whatever “cooler” toy you have.
Suddenly, your monster truck will be driving to Whole Foods because my yellow race car just announced he was going.
It’s almost a competition of stories, of sorts.
I have these ideal images in my head of what it means to be a classic yet modern dad who actively plays cars with his son- a certain way.
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Thursday, July 25th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
This week while on vacation, I’ve been observing your social behavior.
So as I brought up a few days ago, I suspect that, like me, you’re a highly social, highly verbal introvert who needs a designated time and place to just zone out and meditate without someone or something interrupting your thoughts.
You’re a deep thinker, like me. You like to analyze how the world works and teach yourself as much as you can about life.
And as I have been watching you this week, you have been watching your older cousins.
I’ve caught you several times smiling whenever they laugh about something; like here in this picture.
You have no idea what they are talking about, and even though they don’t even see your reaction, you still are reacting.
Whereas you’re nearly 3, the youngest of your cousins on this side of the family is 10 years old. So there’s a major age gap there. It’s interesting to see the dynamics.
I’ll say this- I don’t know that I’ve heard anyone refer to you as “Baby Jack,” as was this case with previous family visits. That means your cousins are seeing you as a little kid now.
Sure, you’re a pet version of Animal from the Muppets, or a baby caveman, to them. But I can see that your cousins are naturally drawn to want to socialize you; as you want them to socialize you.
So I like catching glimpses of you smiling when they laugh, as if you were part of the conversation… because at least in your mind, you are.
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Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
As I look through the pictures from our Louisville Zoo trip on my Facebook page, I realize how challenging it is to find a picture of you with Mommy and/or me where one of us isn’t holding you.
(See the album “Louisville Zoo Road Trip Summer 2013.”)
Son, you’re more than half my height now. You don’t need me to hold you.
However, I recognize that’s the #1 way you show physical affection with people.
So it’s never been easy (or felt natural or right) for Mommy or me to refuse to hold you when you ask us to; which is pretty much anytime we’re in public, as well as when we are putting you to bed.
But now, I think the time has come.
You’re pushing 3 years old now. More importantly, Mommy is the one who holds you most.
She’s definitely strong, but you’re not a light kid, and I know that holding you all the time can’t be good for her back.
It’s a struggle as your parents to deny you the type of physical affection you crave, when we feel like we hardly ever get to see you anyway.
In our version of 2013, Mommy and I both have to work full-time; even though we’re debt-free now.
I’m taking it upon myself to transition you into you holding our hands and walking, and making up for the lack of closer physical contact in other ways.
Yesterday morning, I tried our new way of doing things.
“Jack, this morning when we go into school, you’re going to walk and hold Daddy’s hand.”
Yeah, it didn’t go well.
It was even worse when I came to pick you up at the end of the day.
You were so happy to see me, but then had a breakdown all the way out the building into the car.
And I imagine it will be that way for the rest of this week, at least.
I wonder in what new ways you will begin showing affection to Mommy and me as we transition out of holding you.
As you get used to walking in public and holding my hand everyday going to and from school, my hope is that it becomes more normal for you to let Mommy do the same.
After all, we were at the Louisville Zoo for nearly 6 hours and Mommy was the one carrying you around most of the time.
So here’s to a new transition in our lives. Oh yeah… we still need to work on that whole “potty training” thing too…
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