Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The N-word

"No," that is.

For most kids it's the first word they say, and they're quick to wear it into the ground. My child, on the other hand, learned how to say "yeah" pretty quickly. It's pretty darn cute but not as nice as you might think. Instead of saying "no" to doing something he doesn't want to do, he instead says "yeah" just before enthusiastically throwing a plate of food on the floor or charging into traffic. It also doesn't help in communication, either, since a typical conversation will go like this:

The Boy: Owe!
Me: What's owe? Your tummy?
The Boy: Yeah
Me: Your head?
The Boy: Yeah
Me: Your butt?
The Boy: Yeah
Me: Your spleen?
The Boy: Yeah
Me: Liar!

It's a dog's life

A good way to annoy a parent is to listen to their amusing story about what their adorable child did yesterday and then reply, "Yeah, my dog does that too. It's pretty cute."

I thought once I joined the ranks of the spawning I too would become offended when someone compared my progeny to creatures that drool and roll around in dirt, but... there really is very little difference. In fact, probably the biggest difference is that dogs are much easier to train.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

gift of gab

When The Wife was pregnant she joined an online forum for mothers-to-be who were expecting around the same time. Two years later these women are still typing away a storm, despite the pressures of parenting as well as losing their original forum.

It occurred to me that men couldn't do that. Parenting is too loose and subjective. For men to communicate the little they do requires an understanding of the rules and how to follow/exploit them. All the topics men like to talk about, like sports, engine repair, or grilling a steak, can be reduced to a few simple rules and allow discussion of a subset of the universe. My own less-than-macho man hobbies, like computer and roleplaying games, are perfect examples of this. And these kinds of forums are filled with guys who will never shut up.

So to make a dad forum work, somebody needs to break down a baby into it's basic components (I mean metaphorically, you sick monkeys). A typical conversation could go something like this:

RoboDad: So, how's the new baby?

BroodFather: Eh, not bad. He's got a banana chassis and good cuteness rankings, but his colic rating is 3.7. My sleep quotient is pretty low.

RoboDad: Bummer, man. I hear dancing to the Bee Gees can lower the cry volume by 4.

BroodFather: ROFL

Saturday, September 20, 2008

To the moon, Alice!

With The Boy hitting the terrible twos it's pretty obvious where that phrase comes from. He's old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, and will choose the dark side every time.

As an enlightened hippie dad I'm doing my best to do that "gentle discipline" crap, but it's hard. It's especially hard when the little punk looks at me and grins just before he does something that he knows will bug the heck out of me.

But so far I've been good. I figure the more physical I get with him, even if it's just grabbing and restraining him, will make him feel bullied and powerless and make him act out more. So I usually:

a) Talk to him calmly and explain as best I can why he shouldn't do something. "Don't touch the stove. It's hot and you'll get an ow."

b) Suggest an alternative activity. "Can you play with your blocks instead?"

c) Let him participate in a chore. He loves helping out, even if he's not that effective. "Can you carry this leaf over to the trash?"

d) Blatantly lie. "I think Momma has cookies."

So far it's worked pretty well. I still yell at him from time to time, or pull him away and prepare for a tantrum, but those are rare.

Usually I stay calm and mentally calculate at what age we'll be evenly matched physically and I can legitimately beat on him in a fair fight. I'm a big guy but it looks like he's going to be burly as well, so I'm thinking when I'm 54 and he's 18 I'll make him put on boxing gloves and we'll go toe-to-toe. If he's freakishly large or I feel past my prime I may jump him a year or two early.

Regardless of when, all the while I'll be shouting things like, "Stay away from the stove!" and "Why did you eat so many pebbles?! Why?!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

Birthday Bash

Well, The Boy just turned two last week so we had an extravaganza. He's big into Sesame Street lately so we had a Cookie Monster theme for the party, which seemed a good idea until it was 9:00 at night and he was rolling around with an upset stomach shouting, "Cookah! Cookah!"

Speaking of Sesame Street, those guys can sure make some music. Simon doesn't watch a heck of a lot of TV, and probably doesn't really know the characters that well, but we put on their CD in the car and he's happy as a clam. I'd love to know why. Is it the simplicity? The clear vocals? I mean, a lot of my favorite music sounds like it was written by grade school kids as well (not that there's anything wrong with They Might Be Giants, but you gotta admit...) but for some reason he's only happy with those darn muppets.

I guess there's added value for him watching his parents rock out to "C is for Cookie" and "Rubber Ducky," but there's a limit to how entertained he can be by our goofiness.