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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Have you found me yet? Yes, this really is my 4th grade class picture from the 1990-1991 school year, which was truly one of my favorite years of childhood. Why? I’ll tell you why.
First of all, I was in the same class as my “special friend”/crush since Kindergarden, Sara Shaw, in the plaid red dress on the front row. Secondly, that was the year that slap bracelets were the rage.
Thirdly, I was the perfect age to truly appreciate the Ninja Turtles in their prime; on the playground I always pretended to be “Nickelangelo.” Fourthly, though a lot of my friends’ parents banned The Simpsons in their households, my parents were cool with it. In fact, I think I acquired literally a dozen Simpsons t-shirts that year.
And lastly, one of my favorite sitcoms was Family Matters- mainly because of Steve Urkel. You would think that Steve Urkel, America’s favorite nerd of the ’90′s, would not be someone I would aspire to look like in any way. But sure enough, I begged my mom for a pair of suspenders. And because this was a time when neon colors were quite fashionable, I was able to obtain a pair of neon green suspenders.
I wore them at least once a week to school. Unsurprisingly, I deliberately wore my green suspenders for Picture Day.
As it’s plain to see in that picture, I was 100% comfortable with my goofiness; mostly unaware and apathetic when it came to whether other kids thought I looked cool or not.
I was in my own little world, where daydreams and reality collided and I barely knew the difference. (I guess not much has changed there for me…).
Based on my experience working with boys at summer camp for two summers in 2000 and 2001, then two summers teaching in Thailand in 2003 and 2004, something I learned was that pretty much all little boys are goofy in their own creative ways.
They are confident in being ridiculously weird, random, and off the wall. If their clothes don’t match or they get a funny haircut like a mohawk, it’s considered “cute.”
This concept easily shows up in my nine month old son. Pretty much everything he does is hilarious. I’m so thankful for ” the necktie picture” we have of him. Because even though he sort of has a serious look on his face, he’s wearing only a pastel colored necktie and a diaper. It’s like he’s trying to be as sophisticated as he can, but ultimately, he’s like, “Joke’s on you, people”.
He may live in his own little world, but I like to visit that weird planet of his any chance I get.
Categories: Deep Thoughts, Growing Up, Nostalgia, Storytelling | Tags: 1990, 1991, 4th grade, daddy blog, daydreaming, fatherhood, funny, funny pictures, Nostalgia, picture day, random, The Simpsons, weird
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
It’s like Jack is constantly an audience member of a really funny stand-up comedy show when he is around people. No matter who he encounters, he assumes that because they are standing there in front of him, or even 15 feet across from him while looking in his general direction, that they are evidently doing something hilarious and therefore worth cracking up over.
Sunday afternoon as I was holding all our luggage and Jill was holding Jack, waiting in line to check into our flight to leave Sacramento, I noticed a married couple laughing at Jack, who evidently, had been laughing at them. It’s nearly impossible not to laugh at Jack when he smiles real big and chuckles at you when you’re not even trying.
Later, a woman who saw the three of us waiting near her at the departure gate asked Jack, “Are you flirting with me? You’re just too easy to make laugh, aren’t you?”
Fortunately, Jack really enjoyed the short, hour-long flight from Sacramento to Phoenix, unlike the flight from Nashville to Denver, then from Denver to Sacramento. I’d have to say that he took advantage of all the entertaining people sitting behind and beside us.
Jack just loves a good laugh. His sense of humor is enormous; for the simple fact that the only thing that’s not funny to him is going to sleep.
So yes, our flight back home to Nashville was obviously much better and less eventful than the flight to Sacramento. Unless you consider being frisked in the name of security uneventful. It just so happened to be that as we passed through the TSA checkpoint in Sacramento, Jill was randomly selected for a pat-down search. I’m sure that was awkward for her; I know it was for me.
On our final flight from Phoenix to Nashville, we ended up sitting in a row in front of two young boys and their grandmother. There were essentially no rules for these youngsters regarding how to behave in public, much less, on a plane.
As Jill and I desperately tried all the tricks we could muster to help Jack go to sleep during take off and ascension (or at least not scream at the top of his lungs), the boys behind us repeatedly kicked our seats and had screaming contests to see who could make the highest pitch squealing noise. Sure, they were sporadically threatened by their parental figure with “you’re gonna get a spanking if you don’t stop,” but needless to say, they’ve heard that one a thousand times and have never seen it followed through.
I’m not officially endorsing spanking in this post; but I am officially endorsing the respecting of the couple sitting in front of you who finally got their infant to sleep after an hour of trying with all their might, who are sitting on eggshells hoping that nothing wakes him up. Fortunately, Jack was so tired that he never flinched. Even if I was cringing the entire flight.
The three of us safely made it back to Nashville late Sunday night and I went in to a full day of work the next morning, on five hours of sleep. But the trip was definitely worth it, as future posts about our experiences there will show within the next week or so.
Unnecessary and Dreadful Bonus!
I had set out in my mind to go to In-N-Out Burger while I was in Sacramento, so I did. And it was every bit as good as I knew it would be. But something very odd happened while I was there and I was the only one to witness it- therefore I feel compelled to share it with the blogosphere.
Last Friday morning I woke up with a headache. So in an effort to “waterlog” it, I drank about two liters of water before leaving the house. By the time I got to In-N-Out Burger, I had just enough to time to make it to the restroom. It was crowded in there, but there was an available stall right there near the doorway.
By the time I opened the stall door to exit, I heard a man screaming hysterically like he was on fire. Naturally, it freaked me out. He looked like Borat, but my height. And by this point, he and I were the only ones left in the restroom.
Now that I finally got a glimpse at the guy, I saw that his pants were around his ankles as he yelled nonsensical noises while looking at the mirror.
Then he saw me head over to the door to leave. He continued screaming but as he looked at me, he pulled down his boxer shorts too. That was the last image burned in my memory before I was able to make it out into the main restaurant with normal civilization. By the time I ate my delicious burger and fries and was ready to leave, I needed to visit the restroom again.
Needless to say, I didn’t.
Categories: Home Life, People, Recaps, Story Bucket, Storytelling | Tags: airports, baby, daddy blog, Denver, flying with a baby, funny, humor, In-N-Out Burger, Nashville, parenting, Phoenix, Sacramento, TSA, weird
Thursday, August 5th, 2010
It’s not so much that I will relive vicariously through him as it will be that I will raise him according to what I know boyhood to be; therefore, Jack’s youth will in certain ways resemble mine. And not only will I influence him regarding what it means to be a boy, but also by what it means to have a dad, based on how my own dad influenced my life. Looking back, I can see that my dad was extremely patient with me and willing to spend his free time with me doing whatever goofy thing it was that I was into.
Whether it was helping me make the perfect Pine Wood Derby car for Cub Scouts, going exploring out in the woods, playing “Ninja Turtles” with me (I still have an impressive collection of those action figures at my parents’ house), or playing Nintendo for hours at a time.
Being a dad to a son also means confronting potentially dangerous situations and keeping him safe through it; whether because he has to, or for fun. And in the process, the son learns to trust his dad to take care of him, knowing his dad wouldn’t allow him to get hurt.
Like when he was leading our family in a 5 mile hike in Mentone, AL and he encountered a Copperhead snake- he killed it by throwing a huge rock on it. Then when we got back home he skinned it and displayed it for all of us Cub Scouts.
And like when I was really young, my dad would put me in a pillow case, hold on to the open end, and sling me around the living room. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
I also would sit up on his shoulders while he stood under the ceiling fan, in front of the mirror, so I could see that my head was just inches away from the spinning blades. He called the event “The Head Chopper-Offer”. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
And I always liked to wrestle my dad. Obviously, it was impossible to beat him. He was way too strong and way too big for me; not to mention he had a black belt in karate. And because I was a boy, I loved it.
It was about testing those limits of danger with someone whose job it was to keep me safe. Ironic, yet necessary. My dad and I wrestling on the brown shag carpet represents what being a dad to a boy is all about. The typical “play fighting” allows a boy to test his own strength and power against his own protector and guardian. And it’s a very natural way for a father and son to be physically close- without even realizing it.
Dads and sons are close in their own unspoken ways. And as a dad, part of my job will be to initiate some of these weird ancient rituals. Even if it means confronting danger- it’s part of the journey of becoming a man. And these types of adventures are a rite of passage meant to be passed down from father to son.
Baby Jack is the size of an eggplant.
Here’s what The Bump says about Week 26:
Let your spouse put an ear to your belly — he might be able to pick up baby’s heartbeat (no stethoscope required). Inside the womb, the formation of tiny capillaries is giving baby a healthy pink glow. Baby’s also soaking up your antibodies, getting the immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and baby will soon perfect the blink — perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:
Categories: Nostalgia, People, Storytelling, The Dadabase | Tags: adventure, baby, blog, blogs, boyhood, Cub Scouts, dad, dad from day one, danger, eggplant, Mentone, Nintendo, parenting, pregnancy, protect, ritual, safe, snake, sock monkeys, son, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, weird, wrestling