Posts Tagged ‘ toys ’

My “Only Child” And His “Pretend Friends”

Monday, April 14th, 2014

3 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Something I’ve heard grown “only children” tell me about their own childhood is that they always had “pretend friends”. I am seeing that concept in action every day with you.

At the grocery store, in the car, at school, at church..

You have three favorites: “Ellie” the purple elephant, featured in The Nose Book, from the $5 section at Kohl’s; “Cheetie” the blue cheetah from the discount rack at Kroger; and “Panda” the red panda you created at Build-A-Bear for your 3rd birthday.

This past week the three of them were anointed as VIPs when you provided them their own t-shirts, to make them more like real friends.

I should point out that two of those shirts are actually mine from circa 1983, but hey, I don’t mind.

One of my favorite parts about your pretend friends is how you call out to them throughout the day, not speaking to them further until they answer you.

And by “they,” I mean Mommy or myself.

By default, I have learned that I provide the voice for Panda and Cheetie, because apparently they’re boys, while Mommy is the voice for Ellie because she’s a girl.

However, you call out to Ellie (the girl) far more than you do Panda and Cheetie (the boys).

What’s funny is that the voices Mommy provides for the female friends are in falsetto, so you have difficulty figuring out whether it’s really Mommy responding… because at least half the time it’s actually me, trying to trick you.

“Hey Ellie?” you call out to the next room.

Yes?” I reply, in a falsetto that sounds pretty much identical to Mommy’s.

“No, Daddy! You’re not a girl!” you always explain.

Yet, sometimes, even when Mommy answers you in her “Ellie” voice, you still wait for me to try to “trick” you just so you can reprimand me.

Your three friends have been so good to you, that Mommy recently had to run them through the washing machine, then set them out in the sun to dry.

(Mommy and I explained that your friends have to take baths just like you do.)

I think it’s fun that you have three pretend friends that wear my old t-shirts from when I was your age.

At least I can see your friends… so much better than imaginary friends.

We keep asking you if you want a brother or sister, but you insist on a  real dog instead.

Eh… I think we’re better off with a purple elephant, a blue cheetah, and a red panda… all of which wear t-shirts. Plus, I don’t have to feed these animals like I would a real dog.





Add a Comment

Just The Mention Of A New Sibling Makes My Son “Remember”

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

It’s interesting how sometimes you magically forget how to do such daily tasks:

“Mommy, help me eat my applesauce. I forgot how…”.

Of course, you especially love to forget how to clean up after yourself after playtime. I contrast this against the fact you always do such a great job of putting away your toys and puzzles when I pick you up from school each day.

You never need your teacher or me to tell you to do so.

Meanwhile, back at our house, not only do Mommy and I have to tell you, but we have to tell you a lot.

This past weekend as I was doing the dishes, Mommy asked you to put away your toys before getting ready for bed.

“Mommy, I don’t know how to. I forgot how to pick up my toys,” you announced.

Mommy responded, “Jack, do you want a brother or sister? That way they can help you pick up your toys?”

Immediately, you began cleaning up your toys. You didn’t even bother answering Mommy. It was one of the quickest clean-ups you’ve ever performed.

How did you so instantly remember how?

It seems as if the thought of a baby brother or sister getting to play with your toys is a bit troubling for you. As Mommy and I regularly (half-jokingly?) ask you if you want to have a brother or sister, your reply is typically the same:

“I want a poodle. A pink one. Or a brown one. Or maybe a hedgehog.”

So lesson learned. The next time you “forget” how to do something, I guess we’ll have to “remind” you, now that we know how.

There’s no guarantee you’re going to be an only child, you know. I’m just as curious as you are about what will happen over the next few years.

There’s also no guarantee we could definitely have another child if we decided we want to, so I don’t take that for granted. However, it’s interesting to see how you’re already reacting at just the mention of another sibling.

The “only child” in you is showing.





Add a Comment

My Son Wore A “Dad Is My Hero” Shirt With A Pink Poodle Costume

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Yesterday Mommy and I took you to Shipwrecked, your favorite indoor playground, to hang out with your best friend Sophie on such a snowy Saturday morning.

As usual, you drove around the Lightning McQueen pedal car like a grumpy old man; cutting through the paths of other happy kids.

I stood in the middle of the place, keeping an eye on you from afar.

There you were, collecting random toy “relics” in the back of your car. (Reference to The Lego Movie we saw yesterday.)

It was hilarious to me: You didn’t speak to, or even smile at, any of the other kids as you drove through their neighborhood of the playground to pick up a few random toys… like a pink toaster.

One older girl handed you a plastic banana; which you promptly accepted as if it were simply understood as business as usual.

You even swooped by the giant dollhouse to snatch the tiny potty.

And then, you visited the costume room, to pick up your rarest find: a pink poodle costume, the one Sophie wore when you were Barney the dinosaur.

I didn’t think much of it; I just figured it was part of your collection.

So it caught me off guard when you pulled up to me, stopped the car, and started putting on the pink poodle costume backwards.

All with a stoic look on your face and speaking no words.

Naturally, I didn’t want you to feel embarassed, so I helped you put on the pink poodle costume the right way.

But then I realized you were a bit too tall for it.

So you ended up wearing it like a hoodie for about 20 seconds; before you decided to take it off and start chasing down Sophie in a vintage 1970′s car chase.

(More on that in an upcoming letter.)

So, I will close by pointing out an observation that I find… pretty interesting.

You wore a pink poodle costume while also wearing a “Dad is my hero” shirt.

I would like an explanation here.

I’m sure there’s an interesting psychological explanation in there somewhere. Hmm.

How is your relationship with your father?…








Add a Comment

My 3 Year-Old Son’s R-Rated Version Of A Lego Set

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

3 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

This weekend Mommy and I let you spend some of your Christmas money, given that it was during “the best time of the month to buy stuff cheap.”

You bought an orange Corvette for 50% off, as well as a new Lego set called Police Pursuit; featuring a classic thief driving a circa 1975 Ford Bronco and a mustachioed policeman chasing him in… of all things… an ATV.

As I read the instructions to build the set, you were eager for me to make the Bronco.

So even though I was supposed to build the policeman and his ATV first, you easily talked me into building the robber and his Bronco instead.

The first thing you noticed once I built it was that the Bronco featured a trunk that lifts up.

Therefore, you immediately began deciding which items the bad guy should keep locked in his trunk; along with the $100 bill and gold bar that came with the set.

You found a big Lego wrench from the farm set Mommy and I got you for Christmas.

Perfect. As well as appropriate.

But there was still more room in the trunk… So as I opened the small plastic baggie containing the parts for the ATV and the cop, you nonchalantly snatched the cop’s head and placed it in the truck of the Bronco.

[Insert sound of a record scratching here to imply ironic, comedic confusion like they do in movie trailers.]

The thing I love most about this story is that by no means were you trying to be funny or weird.

Somehow, you thought it was completely normal to place a human head in the trunk of an SUV.

(I’ve been catching up on Dexter now that it’s back on Netflix, so this seemed a little too familiar to me.)

After you drove the Bronco around for a little while, you decided to throw the human Lego head out onto the ground.

I don’t know if that made the situation better or worse…

Fortunately, within just a few minutes, I had the policeman’s ATV ready.

I made a father and son moment out of letting you place the policeman’s head on his body, like how just a few minutes before, I let you fasten the tires onto the wheels, and the wheels onto the axles.

The more I watched you play with your new Lego set, the more civilized the storyline got: The policeman helped the man in the Bronco and this time around he wasn’t a bad guy at all; just a man who was stuck in the mud.

By the way, you don’t yet fully understand the concept of policemen doing anything other than helping people.

They don’t pull people over for speeding or even chase down criminals…

Instead, they mainly just help people whose cars have a flat tire or are stuck in the mud.

What a sweet, innocent little boy you are, after all!




Add a Comment

Freak Gasoline Fight Accident… The Play Set

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

I have opened and assembled some interesting toys for you in the past year or so, but one of your 3rd birthday gifts just really takes the birthday cake.

It wins the prize for not only “Just Plain Bizzare,” but also…

“Clearly Not An American Product!”

This Tomica car playset, which I hinted to Nonna to buy for you as a birthday gift when we were at TJ Maxx with her and Papa a few months ago, is labled as “Hypercity Rescue Gas Station Fire.”

As I was unboxing it for you, I took a picture so you could see how weird it was.

It reminds me of the very memorable and always hilarious “freak gasoline fight accident” scene on the movie, Zoolander:

I like how on the cover of the box there is a nerdy guy having to run away from his extremely cool sports car convertible, and how the fireman is instantly on the scene, putting out the fire.

Clearly, there are no injuries. The fireman saves the day and the man who drives the red convertible runs out of the way just in time. It is assumed the insurance company covers the expenses lost in the explosion of the building. Happy ending every time.

Again though, clearly not an American product.

I think it’s safe to say Hot Wheels would never create something this weird.

Granted, they make a car playset where cars drive up a ramp in order to jump into a live T-Rex’s mouth, which Mommy and I bought for your birthday… but that’s nothing compared to “Hypercity Rescue Gas Station Fire.”

Not to mention, this set comes with a lot (!) of stickers to apply and no instructions.

Just the good ole fashioned, “Figure it out yourself!” deal.

From what I could understand, the set is designed to be easily wrecked, so the “on fire” stickers can be revealed when the assumed 3 year-old boy who is playing with the set decides to blow it up every 45 seconds.

You wanted a gas station playset for all your cars. Well, you got it.

I think.



Add a Comment