One of my jobs as “the dad” has always been to distract you from getting into trouble, or getting bored, while in public.
Over the weekend, Mommy had a haircut appointment at a salon, thanks to a Groupon.
I was able to distract you for about 8 minutes with the one magazine that wasn’t intended for actual desperate housewives… a hunting magazine, in which we only looked at the animals that had not been shot yet.
Hey, that’s just me being creative.
So I suggested we take a walk outside to see the other places in the shopping center.
We started out by watching the people exit the drive-through at Starbucks. But after only three cars, you were ready to run.
The shop right next to where Mommy was getting her haircut was a nails salon. The front door happened to be open, since it was nice outside.
You peaked in and saw the workers wearing masks over their noses and mouths to protect them from the fumes.
Your instant (and loud) response: “Hey, it’s the dentist!”
Then you ran down the sidewalk to check out the other stores. However, none of the others were open.
So we headed back by the nails salon. By that point, the owner was standing in the doorway, smiling.
I explained to him that you thought he was a dentist.
He went along with it. He then asked you if you have been brushing your teeth.
You assured him you have been. He offered to show you around the “dentist’s office” but you politely declined.
Once his wife caught a glimpse of you, she came over to ask you if you wanted to stay there at the “dentist’s” with them.
After you laughed and told her no, she surprised us both by making a face like a monkey (?) and flopped her arms around in the air, then started cheerfully grunting (?) to us, “Ooga-booga, booga-ooga!”
It was about that time that Mommy was all finished with her haircut and walked out of the salon. So we walked away with Mommy, backwards, smiling and nodding at the “dentist’s” wife; as she made you laugh all the way back to the car.
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 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.
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.
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.