The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Monday, September 22, 2008

Does Mrs. Clause Know?

It's breakfast and The Boy decides it's fun to eat without using his hands by sticking his face into the bowl. Quite a mess, must stop this. "Hey. Where did you learn to eat like that?"


"Who's Judy?"

"She lives there," pointing out the window.

I'm actually concerned because there is a woman sleeping in the alley behind our house. "Exactly where does Judy live?"

"Out there. In Santo."

Santo? Is that the make of car she sleeps in? "What's Santo?"

"Out there. Up in the sky. With red coat and hat and 'Ho Ho Ho'."

"You mean Santa? Judy lives with Santa?"

"Yeah. In the sky. And they're gonna come and they have lots of stuff."

"What kind of stuff?"

"Uh... candy... and balls."

Candy and balls. Well, my Christmas shopping is done.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mad Harry Vane

Yesterday The Boy and I went winter clothes shopping. I'm not usually this proactive, but good luck finding decent warm clothes when the weather actually turns cold.

The Boy wasn't in much of a shopping mood, so I was really pumping it up! "You're going to get some polypro long johns. Cool huh?"

No dice. I kept it up.

"And you can choose a toque for yourself."

"I don't want a toque!"

"What do you mean? Toques are the best."

"I DON'T want a TOQUE!"

(He doesn't actually know what a toque is, so maybe this can still work.) "Okay, no toque. What kind of hat do you want?"

"I want a Pirate Hat."

Pirate hat? Where the hell did that come from? It was International Talk Like a Pirate Day but I was on a toque quest. "Let's uh... see what they have."

As expected no woolen, knitted pirate hats. "Y'know some of the fiercest pirates in the sea wore wool caps with pom-poms." And the next 20 minutes were spent trying to convince him.

"Pirates love stripes. Try on this striped hat."

"No." "Frogs?" "No." "Swirls?" "No." "Solid green?"

I was just about to give up when on the very bottom rack I saw...

He loved it, and thankfully put him in good mood for the rest of the shopping, because pirate winter underwear would have been impossible to find.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's Not What You Think

Despite what it looks like The Boy isn't part of some Toddler Terrorist Camp, unless you call a snotty nose an act of terror. Thankfully we live in Canada, because Homeland Security would have busted our door down by now.

The gun belonged to his friend, but because P and I have so far refused to buy him anything that remotely resembles a gun, he picked it up and wouldn't let go. We hated the stupid thing, but it was the last thing he touched at night and the first thing he looked for next morning.

Sometimes we think we should just cave get him a toy gun. I mean millions of kids play with guns, and only a tiny percentage grow up to be card-carrying NRA crackpots, or Sarah Palin. But actually it's not our dislike of guns that stops us so much, it's The Boy's disturbingly aggressive style of play.

We think it has a lot to do with his previous daycare, where he and his friends got to beat the snot out of each other all day long, but when The Boy plays it's definitely hands-on; hand-on other kids that is. Pushing, shouldering, and tackling are just a part of his playtime repertoire, giving him a toy gun would just make it worse. He gotten a lot better since he started his new daycare (update on that coming soon), but until he plays less touchy we are not buying him any type of gun.

Guns aside, our recent camping trip was a huge success. Now I can see why so many families do it - the woods are like a huge playground, with campfires and liquor. (Now that I think about it, so are most of the playgrounds in East Vancouver, but that's another story.) Plus the kids run themselves stupid in the woods all day and go to bed early at night. Yup, camping is in the plans next summer.

Toasting marshmallows

Boys Discover the Headlamps

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The Boy: You're my friend... best friend.

Me: You're my friend too.

TB: Let's be friends forever.

Me: I'm in! You too?

TB: Yeah.

I am so going to show him this post when he becomes a teen. "You said friends forever little dude, so suck it up and give Dad another foot massage."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Glimpse Into The Future. Brrrrr.

Like most parents, I look to the parents with older kids to get a sense of what to expect in the coming years. One of my co-workers has been particularly helpful. Her son is about three years older than The Boy and watching him has prepared me for things both squishy and cute.

Yesterday, after spending the morning at her son's Summer Camp talent show, she stormed into the office. Her one sentence review, "You shouldn't be in a talent show if you don't have any talent!"

Some highlights:
  • Kids skipping rope to a Hanna Montana song. Not trick skipping, not double dutch, just regular skipping, for four minutes.

  • Three girls doing a step-step-kick routine, to a Hanna Montana song. Step-step-kick, back-back-kick. Very cute until 15 seconds in she realized that's they do for the whole song.

  • Kids, who have obviously never played a piano before, sitting at a piano hitting random keys.
"I'm surprised there wasn't a kid onstage eating a bowl of cereal, to a Hanna Montana song."

Are kids really so fragile nowadays that everyone has to "win a prize"? Doesn't this just set them up for even bigger disappointment later in life - the day someone finally tells them they didn't make the cut. Don't they hold auditions anymore? And where's the teacher/advisor in all of this? If everyone makes it to the show, then the kids should get some direction. Instead of standing in one spot pretending to lip synch, how about singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or London Bridges for real? It's cute, over in 15 seconds, and really lets kids feel like they've accomplished something.

Hopefully The Boy will fair better when the day his school talent show rolls around. But if he's not dancing like a monkey to a organ grinder, I'm pulling the plug.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Chapter 5, I think

I should know these things, major milestones in The Boy's life, but I all I really remember are the significant ones - birthdays, first steps, solid food, potty - the rest just blur together like a lost weekend.

Today is one I'll remember, The Boy's first day at full-time daycare. For the past two years my parents have commuted from Victoria to Vancouver to watch him two days a week. While they never complained, I'm sure it wore on them; it definitely wore on P and me. I love them and all that, but at my age living with my parents again, even two days a week, took some getting used to. And it really put a damper on my hobby of inappropriate nudity, which primarily involves windows and a lot of stretching. But Dad kept drawing the curtains and demanding pants - it was like I was 15 again.

Draconian slacks policy aside, it's a little weird not having them around. The Boy loved their visits, and it was nice to come home to a freshly cut lawn and dinner once in a while. Not having them around also means that The Boy is growing up, which is probably the weirdest feeling of them all.