Posts Tagged ‘ uncle ’

Why I Like To Scare Kids, Especially My Own

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

19 months.

This past weekend my uncle Al bought Jack a toy Spiderman (hockey?) mask. While it was a bit too big for my son, it was still large enough to fit me.

So needless to say, I became Spiderman. But not the friendly neighborhood Spiderman who we all know and love.

No, instead, I was a creepy, henchman-style Spiderman who liked to slowly sneak up on my son from the other side of the room while he watched me lurk toward him the whole time.

Imagine being a 19 month-old toddler and seeing your dad wearing a Spiderman mask while saying your name through his teeth as he eventually grabs your leg and pretends to eat it.

Just for the record, Jack wasn’t terrified. He won’t need counseling for this. (At least, I don’t think so… yet.)

I could tell it was a thrill for him. He did like it, though he definitely had to remind himself that it wasn’t actually a crossbreed between Jason Voorhees and Spiderman.

Jack has always been a very mellow kid and sometimes I enjoy the challenge of finding new ways to get him to laugh through my idiotic behavior.

In case I’m managing to make myself seem psychologically unstable, allow me to make it worse by elaborating.

It’s not just my own kid I like to scare, it’s all kids.

When I walk into Jack’s daycare, I become “Mr. Teeth” to Jack’s friends. It’s the character who has no lips but who just chatters his teeth and waves.

After a couple of months of meeting Mr. Teeth, some of Jack’s friends have finally started doing it back when I walk in now.

To my one year-old niece, Calla, I am known as Uncle Possum. I make the most hideous face I can, and trust me, it’s unsightly, and I get right in her face to see if I can get a reaction.

What I love is she just stares right back at me as if to say, “You’re no big deal. I’m not afraid of you.”

To toddlers and babies, I am the equivalent to those monsters in the book Where The Wild Things Are. Friendly and harmless, yet still technically a monster.

Kids like to be surprised. So with my mildly scaring them, I help them test their limits and at the same time entertain them in a fresh new way.

So far, I have only made one kid cry because of my antics. And he cried for like 20 minutes… after I left the room and got out of sight.

It was bad.

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Cooler As An Uncle Than As A Dad

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

One year.

My sister and her husband drove in from Alabama for Jack’s first birthday, bringing their now 4 month-old daughter, who is Jack’s only cousin on my side of the family. I had barely seen her in person since she was born; right before we moved back to Nashville during the summer.

As far as how she and Jack would get along, I had no doubts in their inevitable mutual curiosity of each other, like Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby. But I really wasn’t so sure how she would react to me, her uncle.

All I have is a son, so my only fatherly instincts for interacting with a little girl are to treat her like I treat Jack- like a boy.

Right off the bat, I gave her my best Freddy Krueger/evil possum face. You can see from the picture (above) how she reacted. In other words, she… liked it?

Evidently so. Next I put her on one of Jack’s new toys (featured below) which happens to be completely age inappropriate for a 4 month-old little girl. She started riding it. Jack helped push her.

Once she finally wanted off the V-Teach Zebra Scooter, I picked her up and held her (to the right), the same awkward man-handling way I do Jack.

My mom, in amazement, told me it was extremely rare for a person other than my sister or her husband to hold her… not even my mom or dad.

So I’m the cool uncle? Hey! I’m the cool uncle!

Instantly I had a flashback from when Jack was just a few months old, how my brother-in-law could do the slightest little things to make him laugh. Now, I get to be the magic trick-doer of an uncle.

As Jack’s dad, he is simply used to me. Sure, I make him laugh everyday. I also make him cry when he doesn’t want to get in his car seat in the morning.

But as an uncle, my main job is to be the comic relief. I am the weird mutant dinosaur that pretends to eat babies one minute, then holds them tightly the next.

Being an uncle is easy. If only being a dad was like that.

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The Future of Father and Son Bonding

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Nine months.

Due to Jack’s increasing mobility and creativity, he’s never been more fun to play with. Our newest playtime activity is for us to crawl around the coffee table, taking turns chasing each other. Ultimately, when one of us catches the other, we have a bear hug while growling in each other’s ears. Our chase game is a great way for the two of us to bond both physically and socially.

As the dad of a nine month-old son, it can be easy to feel like a third wheel sometimes; Jack obviously has a much stronger bond with my wife. But now, I am getting to a stage where I am able to feel more connected to him- as my son, not just my biological baby. I am so anxious to be able to experience more of this social bonding with him, as he continues to mature in communication.

I got a taste of this kind of heaven about a month ago while we spent several days out in Sacramento with my wife’s family. My wife is number 9 of 10 kids; that means I have a lot of nieces and nephews. Throughout the three years we have been married, I have gotten to know some of them better than others.

During this past trip, I really got to spend some quality time with her brother Jeff and his wife Joni’s kids- who gave me a glimpse of the social involvement and emotional connection that comes with a child, as opposed to an infant.

Several people took notice of the physical resemblance of their eight year-old son, Neil, and my son Jack. Coincidentally, Neil and I really hit it off this time around. Despite my lack of sports enthusiasm, I found myself tossing the football with Neil out in the backyard. Even stranger, I actually taught him to improve his football-throwing skills: “Just hold the ball a bit past your ear to where the tip of the football is like your nose, then move your hand forward like it’s being jerked by a rope.”

Now, for all I know, that could have been the worst football-throwing advice ever. Regardless, he started throwing the football straight after that.

I also spent some time with Neil’s older sister, Bella, whose artistic interests completely reflect my own when I was her age. She is such a cool girl and I really enjoyed getting to know her, through easy conversation. Bella really made me think of what it will be like if eventually I ended up having a daughter. In fact, Bella makes me want to a have a daughter.

Needless to say, I long to be able to communicate and interact with my own son the way I was able to with his older nieces and nephews.

Will Jack look like his cousin, Neil, several years from now?  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

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Jack’s New Cousin has Arrived!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Seven months.

A new character joined the cast of The Dadabase this week…

I’ve been mentioning that my sister, Dana, and her husband, Andrew, have been expecting their first child: due July 2nd.  Well, July 2nd came early this year… because at 2:07 AM this Tuesday morning (June 21st), my sister gave birth to her baby girl.  She weighs 6.1 pounds and is 19.5 inches long.

Jack has always been a big boy and he’s all I know when it comes to babies.  After seeing and holding my sister’s newborn daughter, it is apparent she will always be a petite little girl.  How appropriate- she will have a strong, protective cousin to watch out for her; even if the two cousins never really look anything alike.

On my side of the family, the only cousins Jack will have are through my sister and her husband, since I don’t have another sibling.  (Of course, this is not the case with my wife’s side of the family, since she is number 9 of 10 kids!) So this is Jack’s first cousin through the Shell side of the family and this means I am officially an uncle, through blood.

For the past seven months, my brother-in-law Andrew has filled the typical uncle role.  He knows how to make Jack laugh better than anyone else. He’s the fun uncle.  Now, I get to be a fun(ny) uncle to his daughter.

Have you noticed yet that I haven’t given the name of Jack’s new cousin?  If not, that means I’m doing a good job of my goal.  Whereas I plaster Jack’s name all over every post I write and have no reservations in making it public, I respect my sister and her husband’s decision to keep their daughter’s name semi-private; meaning I don’t include it on The Dadabase.

It makes me wonder, though, in the likeness of the name “Emma” gaining popularity because of the sitcom Friends, if the name would at all increase in popularity if it was featured in a Parents.com blog.  Because right now the name is virtually unused- the last time it even made an appearance on any kind of popularity chart was the 1880’s.

“Emma” was the 13th most popular girl’s name in 2001.  Then the following year Rachel named her daughter Emma on Friends.  Unsurprisingly, Emma was the 4th most popular girl’s name of 2002.  And every year since then, it has either been the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd most popular girl’s name.

Well I know I can pull this off.  I can feature Jack’s new cousin in my stories without ever saying her name or even using her initials.  It wasn’t until I had seen the movie Fight Club about a dozen times before I realized that you never actually know the narrator and main character’s name.

So this won’t be the first time a story is told without revealing a main character’s name.  What actually matters are the stories.  And for a guy who never suffers from writer’s block, I know I can provide the stories.

Unnecessary Bonus:

To cut down on reader confusion in regards to the resemblance that my brother-in-law Andrew (featured two pictures above this one) and I share,  I shaved my head this week. People are constantly mistaking us for each other.  So I hope the buzz cut helps.

That’s not really why I did it.  I mainly just liked the idea of saving 15 bucks instead of paying for a real haircut.  Plus, I probably subconsciously wanted to be as cool as Bachelorette contestant J.P. Rosenbaum.

JP Rosenbaum Jewish

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