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Tuesday, December 25th, 2012
2 years, 1 month.
Christmas is over. You are currently undergoing the culture shock of entering back into a world with no anticipation of an avalanche of gifts anytime soon.
That’s what happens when your birthday is so close to Christmas: You are bombarded with gifts for about a 30 day period, then suddenly… it’s back to reality.
I noticed how after you opened about 4 or 5 presents today, you started losing your ability to comprehend what the next gift even was.
Instead, you turned to me and said, “More gifts?”
And that’s what you said after every gift you opened from that point on.
I think in a few days, you’ll be able to comprehend that your Nonna and Papa (your grandparents on my side) got you the biggest Tonka firetruck I’ve ever seen- big enough to haul all your Thomas trains in.
Speaking of trains, you’ll also realize that your collection nearly doubled in a matter of a couple of days.
It’s like you just won a pie-eating contest. Sure, you won, but now you need to let everything settle and digest as properly as possible.
You need some time to settle back in to a world where instead of getting to hang out with family all day and open gifts, you are at daycare for the majority of the day with your friends and you barely get to see Mommy and Daddy.
I’m sure by the car ride to school tomorrow it will all start setting in.
It’s strange having a period of several days with virtually no stress, and then on top of that, receiving every toy you’ve been asking for.
Don’t worry, Son. I will be your guide back to the real world.
I don’t like it anymore than you do.
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Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Very seldom do I credit the word “genius” to artists of my lifetime, because it can be a pretty cliche thing to say. People say Quentin Tarantino and Lady Gaga are geniuses. To that, I submit a circa-2010 “Meh…”.
But there is no doubt about it: Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991, when I was only 10, was definitely a genius artist.
There’s a quote which is often credit to him, though it was actually comes from p.115 of True Love: Stories Told to and by Robert Fulgham:
“We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
That, my friends, is also genius. That is the kind of quote I am jealous of because I didn’t think of it first.
It doesn’t just apply to the person you marry. For me, it also obviously applies to the relationship between my son and me.
He’s only 23 months-old. So for anything weird he does, like his impression of a snake that involves flapping his arms like a chicken, barking like a dog, and covering his nipples, all while he tries to go potty as his Mommy and Dada watch, he has a solid excuse.
I’m 31 years old. Somehow that gives me less of an excuse to be weird.
Since he’s my son and is exposed to my weirdness on a daily basis, he gets an extra dose; on top of the God-given weirdness he already has.
Needless to say, the two of us have joined up in our mutual weirdness and call it love.
In his ever-renewing resistance to falling asleep for naps and bedtime, I have to step up my game as needed.
Recently he’s been going down less easily, so as of 3 weeks ago, I invented a technique that I, for some unknown reason, named “droning.”
Imagine what it would sound like combining the African back-up singers on Paul Simon’s acclaimed Graceland album with your token chanting monk:
On repeat for like 4 minutes.
It’s basically the human equivalent to the white noise a humidifier makes if you could turn up the volume on one.
I hum this into the side of his cheek as I hold him, then lay him down in his bed once he gets in the trance, and then I do it again for a couple more minutes to let it all really soak in.
If he isn’t deep enough in his sleep mode when I start backing out of the room while still droning, he politely calls out in the dark room:
It’s his way of saying, “Will you keep doing that weird thing that helps me fall asleep?”
I appreciate when he does that. It shows me he likes my weirdness. He asks for my weirdness.
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Saturday, October 20th, 2012
Several times now, Jack has played with his new friend, Jake. Each time in the days that follow, Jack will randomly whine, “I want Jake…”.
I always instantly respond: “Really?!”
And when I say “Really?!” it has the tone of someone who is surprised in a peculiar way.
Jack’s friend Jake is a very kind, intelligent, and wonderful boy. It’s not that Jake isn’t cool, because he totally is.
The thing that’s weird about this is that when Jack and Jake play together, they don’t really play with each other.
Instead, they play somewhat away from each other, despite each other and around each other.
So really, it’s nearly a stretch to even say they actually play together.
After bringing this up to Jake’s mom today while our boys were painting pumpkins, she explained to me that this behavioral phase is called “Parallel Play.”
Cool, so it’s normal after all.
It’s just that with every other friend Jack plays with, it’s more of a thing where they spend half their time basically fighting over a toy and the other half laughing while chasing each other around.
With Jack and Jake, it’s like they have this mutual agreement:
“So listen, just let me attempt to have some ‘me time’ today even though you’re like 4 feet away from me. I’d really appreciate it. Nothing personal.
I’ll do my thing. You’ll do yours. Everybody’s happy. Thanks, man.”
After 3 play dates now, these two bosom buddies/perfect strangers have yet to look at each other in the eyes or communicate with each other in any way.
But that’s what Jack likes so much about Jake:
Jake gives Jack the piece of mind that he won’t be messed with. It’s mutual chill time for the two toddler dudes.
Needless to say, to the outsider, their friendship status is “It’s complicated.”
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Friday, September 21st, 2012
Last month I saw this Garfield comic that happened to perfectly summarize how I think my toddler son tends to see life. (I now have it cut out and taped up near Jack’s pictures on my cubicle wall at work.)
This concept most applies to our car rides to and from Jack’s day care and my office, 5 days a week.
Jack wants to be entertained, so I keep around a toddler’s survival kit: A book, a toy truck, and a stuffed animal.
After half of the car ride, what does he do? He “accidently” drops any of the above items.
That’s always annoying. Try explaining to your toddler that you can’t sacrifice safely driving to turn around and attempt to pick up his “fallen” stuffed giraffe.
It doesn’t work. Dang logic.
But when he’s not trying to engage me by him losing reach of his toys, he’s instead “hurting” himself with them.
Yesterday Jack kept accidently dropping his two Thomas the Train toys into his knees, making sure I heard his fake whine: “Eh, heh heh…”.
You always instantly know when your kid is faking being hurt, right?
So each time I hear a fake whine, I reply with an equally fake “Ahhhhwwwhhh!”
What’s funny is that it didn’t take him long at all to realize I wasn’t being serious either.
So each time each hears my faux sympathy, now his response is, “No. No. N-n-n-no!”
He wants to be sure I know that he knows.
And then what does he do right after? He repeats the cycle with another “Eh, heh heh.”
Until he has the attention span for a handheld video game, my son is stuck with pretending to drop toys and/or pretending to get hurt by those same toys.
The world exists for his amusement. I wish car rides could be the intermission.
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Monday, September 17th, 2012
So maybe the “In Theaters March 2013″ part is just wishful thinking. Hey, I’ll settle for straight-to-DVD.
It’s not easy reuniting your toddler with his two best friends from daycare for weekend plans. You’re dealing with three different napping schedules… enough said.
The plan was for Jack, Henry, and Sophie to hang out at a park playground, but then a random thunderstorm showed up.
By 3:45 on a Sunday afternoon, it was difficult to justify paying to get into one of those indoor playgrounds, knowing we would all just need to get our kids home for dinner after about an hour and a half anyway.
So by default, the mall became our play date destination.
I admit, I really had no expectations on how things would go. I mean, normally, I would have low expectations in regards to meeting fellow parents and their kids at a place I haven’t really tried out myself.
Turns out, it was a good gamble. Our German-looking kids found plenty of activities to keep themselves entertained.
All we had to do was follow them around and keep up with them like a camera crew on any given TLC reality show.
The more we chased them, though, the less necessary I felt. I don’t mean that in a sad way, though.
Instead, I could easily imagine it like some straight-to-DVD movie about three toddlers who take over the mall after hours.
Like all those goofy Air Bud movies, the toddlers would have computer-animated mouths and they would talk like adults.
So it would sort of be like Look Who’s Talking meets Air Bud if Air Bud revolved around toddlers instead of athletic dogs.
I suppose the plot line would involve a kooky Croatian villain named Mr. Stincovic who coincidentally happens to sneak into the mall at the same time in order to sabotage Santa’s upcoming visit the next day, by bringing in potato sacks full of skunks.
Does that sound lame enough for a straight-to-DVD kids movie? It doesn’t take much.
In the likeness of Home Alone, the three toddlers would use the mall itself to torture Mr. Stincovic with booby trapped obstacles:
They would pour out Dippin’ Dots in a trail leading from the food court to the carousel, which happens to be running at all times, unmanned.
Once Mr. Stincovic, who goes by “Mr. Stinky” for short, as if the pun wasn’t obvious enough for 4 year-old viewers, lands conveniently on the carousel horse, Henry would pull the lever from “slow” to “turbo power,” causing Mr. Stinky to fly up into the rafters.
There, Mr. Stinky is pestered by a dozen remote controlled mini-helicopters until either A) the police arrive or B) he decides not to sabotage Santa’s visit, but instead becomes an elf, as Mr. Stinky learns the true meaning of Christmas.
So yeah, that’s pretty much what Mall Toddlers would consist of. You would be able to find it the very bottom selection of DVD’s on the Redbox panel screen.
Or instead of waiting for the anticipated world-wide release of Mall Toddlers, you could just check out some more pictures of when Jack, Henry, and Sophie took over the mall. Click here to check them out on The Dadabase‘s Facebook wall.
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dad, Home Alone, kids movies, mall, Nostalgia, parenthood, parenting, toddlers | Categories:
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