The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What Exactly?

Even though The Boy's vocabulary is growing on a daily basis, there are times I have no idea what he's saying. Tuesday morning The Boy is feeling peckish. "Ap-po!" "Ap-po!"



I give him a slice of apple. "No. Ap-PO!" "UP!"

"What is it? You have apple. You want up?"

I pick him up. "Ap-Po!", he gestures towards the knife.

"That's a knife, you can't have that."

He screams. I put him down. He turns to stomp off and runs into the wall. The tears started immediately.

I pick him up, calm him down and give him a banana. "Ap-Po."

He stuffs both fruits in him mouth, grabs a fridge magnet and wanders into the living room happy. "Ap-Po."

Eventually he got what he wanted, I just wish I knew what it was.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Paint My Wagon

On Sunday we took The Boy swimming. He loves swimming. This post isn't about swimming though.

When The Boy isn't busy trying to drown himself, P and I get a chance to kick back in the piss-warm water and do a little people watching. The pool is a great place to people watch, those thin pieces of spandex and nylon hide nothing, and it's outright fascinating watching how people with body image issues deal with it. (For the record, I am the Antithesis Adonis. I turn heads at the pool, but for the wrong reasons.)

While The Boy was merrily playing in the shallow end, P spotted a man with four frog tattoos across his shoulders. Frogs are not exactly the sort of thing I would consider good tattoo fodder. Aren't tattoos supposed to send some sort of message about the person? What they believe in, what they're proud of, or how cool they want you think they are? What do four frogs say about this guy, that he likes frogs? He's part of a frog appreciation club? His nickname is Frog? I guess I could have asked him, but those frogs looked menacing, so I chickened out (I should also mention I am the Antithesis Charles Atlas).

While P and I were discussing Frog-man from a safe distance, the subject of The Boy came up, and whether we would stop him from getting a tattoo. I'd probably try to discourage him, but in the end, as long as he discusses it with us, makes the decision with a clear mind and gets it done professionally, I would probably, begrudgingly, let him.

So Boy, if you're reading this, this post does not constitute permission. Before you go running off to the tattoo parlour, there are some basic ground rules:

1) You've got to be old enough. Your mom and I haven't decided what that age is yet, but it's older than right now.

2) Get it done right. Go to a licensed parlour and make sure the person is a great artist. Half-decent artist won't cut it, a tattoo is a long-term commitment. So if your guitar-welding praying mantas ends up looking like Jiminy Cricket with a ukulele, you're stuck with it.

3) Whatever the design, it has to be tasteful. In other words, don't get a hand print across your face, or "Fuck the Establishment" tattooed on your forehead, that will seriously limit your career options beyond being, maybe, a tattoo artist. And even then I'm not sure how many customers you'd have, because a good tattoo artist has, you know, good tattoos.

4) Don't get someone's name tattooed onto your body. Teenage love is fleeting, remember that.

5) A few other things that would make bad tattoos:
  • Duck-billed Platypus
  • Mayor McCheese
  • Stock quotes
  • A Bundt cake
  • Secret formula to end world hunger, because you totally know evil scientists will chase after you if you do this.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

That's Fischer-Price, not Vincent Price

We suspect The Boy has been having nightmares lately. Over the past few weeks he has woken P and I have woken up to cries of "NO!" followed by a blood-curdling, "AAAAAIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Most of the time that's the extent of it, a single scream and then silence as he drifts back to sleep; every once in a while he wakes up sobbing.

As if those nights The Boy wakes up sobbing aren't heartbreaking enough, he also says "I'm Sorry" between sobs. Fortunately this is a case of him using the phrase at the wrong time, unlike the well documented "Oh Shit". He may be using it wrong, but it wrings my heart every time.

So what gives? P and I pretty much keep his world Nightmare-Inducing free. The machete wielding Little Tykes "Horror Movie" playset, and Play-Doh "Mould-A-Entrail" Family Fun Kit have been shelved until he's older. And we avoid watching of anything involving a life-sized puppet like Barney or Keanu Reeves.

Hopefully this is just another one of those toddler phases that will have its day and then fade into oblivion. Like when he used to happily sit at the table and eat his dinner - whew, those days are over.

Update: It looks like tooth number 20, the last of his baby batch, is threatening to appear. Tooth 20 is a fairly recent event, it doesn't really explain the preceding weeks of night time anguish, but I'll take it; I hate mysteries.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Fathers' Day

This morning was like any other Sunday. I take care of The Boy while P runs great laps through the city. I envision him one day bringing me coffee in bed, cleaning the house and making me dinner, but today The Boy was just being extra cute, so I'll take that as my gift from him. P on the other hand, she should know better.

Me: "I thought you might have woken me up with, you know, a special treat."

"I got you a card. Lost the envelope, but, well, happy Fathers' Day. Gotta go. He hasn't been changed yet."

The Boy:
"Daddy. Poo-poo?!?"

Happy Fathers' Day. Hope yours was as good as mine.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm Here

Doesn't seem like I've posted anything meaningful here in for weeks, and it's true. Since switching to a four-day workweek, I've found I actually have less free time than more. Tuesdays is non-stop Boy, which is the way it should be. He's go-go-go from the time he gets up until his afternoon nap, if he naps at all. But I'm not complaining, I love my Tuesdays with him.

Otherwise I'm now starting work earlier and finishing work later, spreading the Tuesday out over the remaining four; this also means I have less time at home too. Squeezing five days into four isn’t the same as working five days. While the total hours are the same, I find I'm far busier than before, and with a shortened lunch break, I don't have a chance to blog.

I've got about a dozen or so posts, sitting in draft stage, I hope to get to before they're redundant. My 2000-word manifesto on potty training will be pretty useless if I don't get it posted before he graduates.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Everyone Does It

Thankfully The Boy appears to have stopped saying "Oh Shit" whenever something goes wrong. It's funny how once P and I stopped, he did too. Now taking that logic a step further, if I can stop crapping my pants and use the toilet instead, potty training should be a breeze; I'll test that theory and get back to you.

Anyways, The Boy's vocabulary seems to grow on a daily basis, and he's moved from single words to simple phrases. A recent addition to his vernacular is, "Oh I faated." whenever he farts. He can have an entire conversation by himself on the subject.

"Who faated?"
"I don't know who faated."
"Oh Dad faated."

If he's feeling particularly energetic, he'll walk over to me and point, "Dad faated." Thanks kid, it's one of those things I try to keep to myself.

I tell you, he might live over 4700 KM away, but that Lumpyhead is one bad influence.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

iFace, YouButt, Whatever

In the past two weeks four people have invited me to join Facebook. I like to think of myself as pretty tech-savvy (I rock at 8-bit Nintendo and I have like, a Flickr account), but I have no idea what a Facebook is. So I started asking around. As far as I can surmise, Facebook is a place to:
  • Make new friends
  • Reunite with old friends
  • Find others who have similar tastes
  • Another site where you need to create a profile and devote all your time to in order to accomplish any of the above, when really you should be outside rolling in the grass with your kid.
Over the course of my detailed research (asking two friends over rounds of beer) one reoccurring theme kept coming up - it's a great way to track down high school classmates you've lost touch with. For me, that's reason enough to NOT join Facebook.

I can count on less than one hand the people I'd like to reconnect with from high school. High school, the place where hormones and hierarchy meet head on. Where the "popular" kids ruled, and everyone else just tried to fit in. High school was not a fun time in my life, so why would I want to relive it?

I wasn't on the bottom of the picking pecking order, there were several kids below me that got picked on worse, but I was far enough down the ladder to pretty much guarantee a constant barrage of abuse.

It goes without saying, I was not one of the popular kids.

Despite it all I did go to my 10-year high-school reunion when it rolled around. Morbid curiousity or maybe I actually gave a shit back then, either way when combined with the promise of an open bar it was too much to pass up.

The reunion confirmed a couple things for me, valuable life lessons that I hope somehow to pass onto The Boy:

The meek really will inherit the earth.
The thing that struck me the moment I walked into my reunion was that the less popular kids, the ones that tried but weren't able to break into the popular clique, turned out to be the most interesting and successful ones in the class.

Being popular in high school guarantees you nothing.
If you peak in high school, there's no where else to go but down. Regardless of how anyone treated me in school, I really did try to look past my teenage years and see the person standing in front of me, and most of the time it was unremarkable. There were a few stand outs from the popular crowd that went on to do great things, and in the process became really nice people, but most of that group seemed stuck in time.

So son, two valuable lessons. The bottom line is, don't try too hard to be one of the popular kids when school finally rolls around. While it will make your K-12 days bearable, it's not worth the effort when you look back on it.

Oh one final lesson for you. When in a room full of people you don't really like, keep drinking and eventually they'll become tolerable.