The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Monday, April 24, 2006

Chocking Hazard! Not Suitable for Anyone!

Spring is here, at least the last few days have felt like it. The sun is out, flowers are blooming, and The Boy is festooned with a jaunty new cap, which he keeps pulling off his head (you think the hat's uncomfortable kid, try a sunburn).

Spring also marks the start of playing-at-the-park season. We'd taken him a few times over the winter, but the sand is finally warm and dry enough for him to really get in there and muck around. Last weekend P, The Boy and I head off to the park, but not before stopping at a toy store to pick-up a plastic bucket and shovel, the de facto items needed for sandbox fun. We had a great time, once The Boy discovered that sand isn't as tasty as it looks. The bucket and shovel were a hit. He was picking up sand, flinging it around and dumping it inside his shirt. Other kids, also clutching buckets and shovels soon joined us - great afternoon.

Once we got home P promptly got him into the bath while I packed everything away. That's when I noticed the warning sticker on the bucket.
WARNING! Choking Hazard! Not Suitable For Children Under Three Years of Age.
Choking hazard!?! What the hell were they talking about? The bucket was about the size of The Boy's head, and the shovel even a seasoned porn actor would have trouble swallowing. I'm all for warning labels about true hazards, but for a company to stick a warning on everything just to cover their ass in a way makes all their warning labels useless.

If toy companies are going to do this, there should be a second label as well:
WARNING! Affixed Warning Label May Not be Relevant to This Toy. We're Useless. Please Use Your Own Judgement And Decide For Yourself.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What Would An Alpha Male Say?

We're starting to turn The Boy on to self-feeding, I mean he sticks everything else in his mouth (sand, toys, dirt, grass or worse) so why not food? He's getting pretty good at it, sometimes he prefers to just squish the food in his hands, but most of the time it makes it into his mouth. Bananas, cheese, carrot bits, Cheerios, he eats them all. A particular favourite of his are these rice cracker sticks called "Baby Mum Mum". Whether it's a whole piece or bits and bites, he picks up them up and chews away merrily.

It's great to see that he's starting to understand the concept of feeding himself. My problem is, no matter how I try, it's impossible to utter the phrase "Baby Mum Mum" in any way that sounds even remotely masculine.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Eighth Month Round-Up

The Boy celebrated his eight month birthday out of town. P and The Boy spend the better part of the last week visiting P's parents up in Prince George. Thursday I picked them up from the airport. The Boy greeted me with howls and tears. Apparently the descent towards the airport was quick, which made everyone's ears pop; he cried all the way home.

Between the tearful howls P and I had a chance to catch up. Eventually she asked me the question I'd been waiting for, "Did you go out every night and get super-drunk like you always do when I'm away." It's true I'd been 'single' for the past week. Man about town, On the prowl. But with the exception of one night of indiscretion, truth be told I spent the entire time like some sort of creepy shut-in bachelor.

Each night and all weekend long I never left my house unless I had to. I slept, and slept, and slept. Between bouts of blissful, uninterrupted unconsciousness I read, rented movies, watched TV, wrote, listened to music; it was all I had the energy for and the only thing I wanted to do - nothing. One of the best weeks I'd had in a long time.

It's not to say I didn't miss my family though, even a shut-in bachelor gets lonely after a while. So despite being greeted at the airport with wails of anguish, I was happy to see them back.

When we finally got home (an immaculately clean and tidy home I might add) we discovered the reason for the tears, he had unleashed a puck-sized coiler in his diaper. One unfortunate development over the past month is a diaper rash around his anus. Red, angry and sore, it gives The Boy fits whenever he soils himself. And on the other end the teeth just keep coming in, he now has another four poking through. This is on top of the six he already has. It's also giving him fits. Poor little guy, it hurts at both the intake and the exhaust, and there's not much we can do except ride it out.

Cognitively The Boy is starting to master a pincher grip, and consider the toys he's picking up. A cool development and fun to watch. He picks up some blocks and, instead of hurling them across the room like he used to, he's stopping to consider them and put them 'together", then he hurls them across the room.

So far he has shown no interest in going mobile, he's content to sit and play. Our friend Dwight calls this the golden age, when you can plop your babe down and come back a few minutes later to find them in the same spot, I guess I really should be treasuring these moments, because The Boy is bound to start moving one of these days.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Guitar Update

"Daddy L, why do you want to learn guitar?", my friends ask me. (Yes my friends call me Daddy L too, because I'm narcissistic like that). Let me explain.

I play the drums. I have for decades, since I was ten-years old. With only a few exceptions (one band as a bass player, the other as a singer*) I have performed, toured and recorded as a drummer. I love beating the tubs, best instrument out there.

I have to say it's a wierd feeling learning to play the guitar. Like cobras and mongooses (or is it mongeese?), guitarists and drummers only manage to tolerate each other. Guitarists think all drummers are 'ecentric'. Drummers think all guitarists are wankers. But I'm willing to sacrifice it all for The Boy. As much as I love my drums, it just doesn't make for a rewarding family sign-along.
Rat-ta-ta-ta-ta, Twinkle twinkle little star
Bomp-boom-tap-tap-tap, How I wonder what you are
Crash, smash, bomp-bomp-bomp, Up above the world so high
You get the picture. If I want to sing to The Boy, I have to learn a melodic instrument.

Last time I updated my guitaring progress I was having issues with bar chords, something I'd had to get over if I wanted to play any song with a F or B. Thanks to my friend Vern, who broke it down for me, I'm starting to get the hang of them. At long last, the elusive "London Bridges" is now mine to sing! "Hey-Diddle-Diddle", mastered. "Pop Goes the Weasel", in my repertoire.

But now that I'm able to actually sing him nursery rhymes, I've discovered they're painfully dull to play. Most of them are really short:
London bridges falling down, falling down falling down
London bridges falling down, my fair lady.
This lasts about eight seconds. So I repeat the same verse over and over again. After a minute or so of this I'm ready to put my foot through the guitar. So I've taken to singing The Boy sad, old country songs instead. They're easy to play, and he seems to like them better, or I'm projecting because I like them better. Either way he bounces and swings along. Some of his favourites:

- You're Still On My Mind - George Jones
- Your Cheatin' Heart - Hank Williams
- I Still Miss Someone - Johnny Cash
- Wheels - Flying Burrito Brothers
- You Don't Miss Your Water - Byrds Version

P wonders if they're appropriate songs to sing to The Boy. "Honey, it's never too early to teach him the genius that is Gram Parsons, or that life is all about heartache, loneliness and despair."

She assigned me some homework, learn happier songs.

* All your drummers out there reading this, if you're still in a band primarily to meet girls (or guys) - biggest reason anyone joins a band - then get out from behind the drumkit and be the singer. Even if you do well as a drummer, when I was the singer - whoa, more ass than a toilet seat.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hello From The Pit of Hell

P and The Boy are off visiting the Grandparents for a week. Last night I hooked up with some old friends for dinner. We get together every few months regardless of whether the family is in town or not, but it's easier if they're not.

Beer. Sake. Beer. Sake. Sake. Beer. Beer. Beer. Sake. We should eat something - Edamame. Beer. Sake. Sake. Sake. Beer. Beer. Beer. Sake.

This morning I feel like I'm about to die. It even hurts to comb my hair. A more coherent post tomorrow. And I promise I'll never do that again!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Secret Life of Adults, Revealed

Nap time at our house sometimes means putting The Boy down for a snooze when he's not completely nappy. We know when he needs a nap, a particular cranky whine accompanied by heavy eyelids, but he still doesn't want to sleep. He looks up at me from his crib with those "Let's Play" eyes, which quickly turn into "What the fuck?" eyes as I back out of the room and close the door.

Sometimes when this happens I peek in on him, and I can see he's fighting the sleep; kicking and fussing and rolling and looking around for someone, anyone to rescue him from the crib.

I remember when I was a toddler. I would be put down for a nap when I clearly didn't one; it was cutting into some serious playtime. Eventually, like all kids I'd fall asleep, only to wake up an hour or so later, alone, trapped in my crib. I could hear my parents, sometimes other adults milling around, but where were they? What were they doing? Why was I relegated to this crib when they were obviously playing?

Eventually someone would come in to get me, and like a dog that's been tied to a tree, I'd be ecstatic. Free at last! Don't do that again! What's for lunch?

So I know what exactly what's going through The Boy's mind while he lies there.
  • I'm not tired and Dad, you're an asshole for abandoning me here.
  • Why do I have to sleep and you get to play?
  • Wish I could be a grown-up so I can stay up whenever I want.
Let me tell you something boy, your Mom and I aren't playing. We're doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, and basically trying to keep this place from blowing apart at the seams. So be careful what you wish for kid-o, it's not so glamourous when you get there.