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Monday, November 12th, 2012
I am a self-proclaimed “people watcher.” To be honest, I’m never not people watching.
It’s like every person is a character and every conversation is a plot line. Basically, life is a non-stop sitcom.
This afternoon while at the neighborhood playground with my son, a young playmate approached a fellow parent nearby:
“Hi, my name is [let's just call him Michael] and I am 4 years old.”
The kid sounded like he was trying out for a Welch’s grape juice commercial in 1995.
A few minutes later, the kid introduces himself to me too. I smiled and said, “Nice to meet you.” Then I turned away to help my own son down the slide.
“Two more minutes and then we’re going home,” I heard the boy’s mother say to him.
Exactly two minutes later, she followed up on her promise: “Okay, time to go now. I told you two minutes ago.”
He pretended not to hear her, so she pretended to leave the playground without him.
And his response?
“NO! No, no, no! NO! I DO NOT like you anymore, Mommy!”
So the irony in this people watching scene was that the little boy who appeared to be a well-mannered child ended up morphing minutes later into “that kid.”
But hey, who’s not to say that my son seemed weird to other parents there at the playground?
After all, he was the kid who illegally went down the slide backwards, about 27 times in a row. (I was so proud of that little goober!)
Not to mention, what about me? I’m the dad who stands at the top of the slide to assist my son once he climbs up there, making sure he doesn’t fall off the 6 foot drop.
Perhaps to other people watchers, being my son’s personal stunt coach seems odd in what is considered normal and appropriate for parents at the playground.
That’s why it’s fun to people watch. You get to see a lot of interesting people do a lot of curious things. Likewise, you get to entertain others who think you are an interesting person doing curious things.
On second thought, maybe that’s not a good thing.
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
There is a buzz on the Internet I intend to start right now about the idea of handcuffing your toddler during their time-out sessions for bad behavior.
I am one of those parents who is attempting not to spank my child; instead focusing heavily on setting concrete expectations and follow-through for age-appropriate discipline, which does not include any form of hitting.
So by going the time-out route, I am ultimately saying this to my child:
“Instead of me physically punishing you by smacking you on the butt with my hand or a fly swatter or a paddle, I am going to socially separately you from the society of this house.
Sure, it will only be for about 2 minutes since you are about 2 years old, but you will despise it.
You will be separated from the people you love the most and who love you the most. You will be contained in your crib, which has bars like a prison. Your freedom will be temporarily be taken away.
I intend to punish you psychologically, which will in turn hopefully help to discipline you.”
Granted, I always explain to my son why he is being sent to what I call “Baby Alcatraz.” He has to say he is sorry to the person he hurt and/or offended.
I hug him afterwards and remind him that I love him. Then I say something like, “Okay, now let’s have a fun rest of the day.”
This past weekend, my sister, her husband, and their 13 month-old daughter came to visit us here in Nashville from two and a half hours away.
Though my son doesn’t have trouble sharing his toys in daycare, he evidently does here at the house. Because as he kept reminding his younger little cousin, the toys she was playing with were “MINE!”
He ended up pushing her down on the floor and hitting my sister really hard on the shin with a TV remote.
Needless to say, I escorted him upstairs to Baby Alcatraz. Twice within 20 minutes.
During that dramatic escapade, I thought to myself, “Why aren’t I arresting him with plastic toy handcuffs when I do this?”
Maybe it would help drive home the point that he is not permitted to use his hands to hurt other people.
Is “arresting” your toddler with play handcuffs really so horrible of an idea? Whether you spank them or put them in time-out, you’re still punishing them in the process of discipline.
I want to avoid physically striking my child, though I’m obviously okay with physically restraining him. What would be so bad about putting him behind bars and handcuffing him on the way there? Seems consistent to me.
Having to discipline your kid is weird and annoying anyway; are toy plastic handcuffs during time-out really so awful?
Stop me from buying plastic toy handcuffs to arrest to my son for time-out. Or support the absurd idea.
Top image: Plastic toy handcuffs, via Shutterstock.
Bottom image: Adorable funny baby boy, via Shutterstock.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
It’s interesting how a human being who can not yet speak a complete phrase can have a personality. My son Jack demonstrates his to me everyday. I’m so used to being around him, that it can be difficult sometimes to even pinpoint what exactly makes him so darn funny, in my eyes.
1. He has the hairstyle of a German beat poet from the 1950′s. I’m not sure if that even makes sense, but I think it has something to do with a rerun of Happy Days I saw in high school. After blowing $12 on a hair cut for him a few months ago, my wife and I recently attempted to touch it up ourselves. The result: a boy who, if he could speak intelligible phrases, would definitely speak with a thick German accent and wear a black turtleneck. Or if nothing else, his hairstyle reminds me of classic Paul Simon, as part of the Jewish folk duo, Simon and Garfunkel.
2. He gets delirious right before bed time. It’s a perfect mix of unbridled excitement and insanity. Jack gets this really crazed look in his eyes that almost freaks me out. There was this one time recently when I was lying down watching him play with his wooden toy hammer, and all of the sudden he appeared over me, raising the weapon above his head, as if to say, “Hello Father, I will murder you now!”
3. He feels the need to instantly and furiously destroy any food he has finished eating. Instead of just pushing away his Cheerios, he waves his arms across the surface of his high chair table, sending bits of cereal flying into the air. His philosophy is evidently, “Utterly annihilate all leftover morsels!” A bit unnecessary if you ask me.
4. He loves to “do Home Alone.” Any time Jack sees someone place their hands on the sides of their face, he recognizes it as “Home Alone,” and does the action himself. Sometimes he even says “ehhh” as to portray Macaulay Culkin, though Jack has no idea why he’s supposed to “do Home Alone.” In his mind, he assumes that’s just what normal people do everyday.
I admit, I don’t know what “normal” 13 month-old toddlers are like. Jack is the only kid I’ve got. But I’m curious to know if anyone else’s toddler does anything like these 4 quirky actions I’ve mentioned today. So yeah, tell me what makes your kid weird, in a good way.
Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
Having a son means that there is always a part of me floating out there in the universe. Whether he’s simply just asleep down the hall or away at day care while I’m at work, part of my brain is constantly thinking about him.
He is in everything I see. He’s in every random thought I have; from Gummy Bears to a Pomeranian with a buzz cut.
A few days ago on Facebook I saw a picture of two Pomeranians posted by one of my former students in Bangkok at Global English School. So inevitably, the following conversation followed:
Nick Shell What kind of dog is the one on the right? It’s look unreal!
October 20 at 12:32am
A-ngoon its look unreal because its smile right ?? they both are pomeranian but the right one have a shorter hair ka nick
October 20 at 2:46pm
Nick Shell The right one reminds me of my son I am probably going to use this picture on my website about him.
October 20 at 7:09pm
October 21 at 11:38am
It turns out that this Pomeranian happens to be famous; his name is Boo and his Facebook page has well over 2 million “likes!”
I can’t look at Boo and not see my son Jack; the way Boo is smiling, the shape of Boo’s face- that is my son as a Pomeranian!
Granted, a Dadabase post like this one will never show up in the Top 5 Most Popular Posts section on the right side of the screen. It’s so out there, I know. But I just couldn’t keep this enchanting and bizarre photo from the world; simply because I love to talk about my son- even in the form of a yappy little dog.
Maybe it’s just me that somehow sees the abstract resemblance. But I’m sure I’m not the only parent out there who thought their child looked like something just as weird. When you look at the world through my eyes, you see Jack-Man in the strangest of places.
Passing the Mic:
Do you think Jack looks like Boo?
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Must Read, Nostalgia, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: Bangkok, bizarre, boo, daddy blog, dogs, Pomeranian, Thailand, trippy, weird, weird dream
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
Is there such a thing as “free time” after becoming a parent? When can a new mom or dad find time in the week to just simply chill out together in peace and quiet; or even more difficult, be able to participate in their beloved hobbies that reflect who they are as individuals?
Other than daddy blogging, I also enjoy playing guitar and writing songs (though that hardly ever happens anymore). But the hobby that is a bit less sporadic in my schedule is simply exploring, whether it’s via hiking or mountain biking.
In his book, Daddy Dates, author Greg Wright perfectly describes why “exploring” is a solid hobby of mine:
“It’s the way guys operate. Exploration amps us up. There is this moment when curiosity rules and you get kind of jazzed and you think, ‘I wonder what’s in there, this is so cool!’ You’re going to figure out how to get around that mysterious place because you’re motivated by some instinct of discovery.”
While in California last month, I found a few 90 minute nuggets where I could slip away virtually unnoticed, amidst all the family. I snagged a mountain bike from my mother-in-law’s garage, then went exploring along the Sacramento River.
I ended up accidently discovering the neighboring 15 acre community of Locke. The Chinatown, settled alongside the river, was built in 1915. These days, it resembles a closed down, but kept up, exhibit at the Epcot Center. I read on Wikipedia that most of the original Chinese population of the town moved out to Sacramento and that today only 10 Chinese-Americans remain residents there.
See, that’s the cool kind of find I’m always looking for when I go exploring. My favorite part of the expedition was finding a Buddhist church. In Thailand, Buddhist temples were everywhere, but never a church. Weird and cool.
As far as finding and/or making time for myself and my hobbies, it takes creativity. There’s that strategic balance of being a good husband, a good dad, and still getting some “free time” anyway I can. Even now, as I write this, it’s 11:08 on a Monday night- my wife and son are sound asleep; I’ll be waking up at 6 AM to get ready for my “real job”.
My free time often translates as “time when I’m the only one awake,” as well as, “time during which most normal parents would be asleep if they had the chance.”
I’m one of those people who functions strangely well on less than six hours of sleep each night. If I wasn’t, The Dadabase would be on life support right now.
Categories: Home Life, Nostalgia, Storytelling, The Dadabase, Writing | Tags: baby blog, blogging, Buddhist, California, Chinatown, dad, daddy blog, Daddy Dates, Epcot Center, exploring, hobby, parenting, Sacramento, Thailand, time management, weird