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2009 October | Who's Your Daddy? | giggle Blogs

Archive: October 2009

October 29, 2009

Old School Halloween

Be warned – here it comes, the “old guy” bit about how it was so different when we were kids, blah, blah, blah.  Walking to school uphill in the snow (both ways) and all that.  But it was different back then, right? 

My nostalgic memory of Halloween is combing the local (and not so local) neighborhoods in a very methodical manner (mixed in with some minor mischief) to secure as much candy until we had to get home, otherwise known as curfew (do kids still have those?).  We carried pillow cases because any other bags were just too small and flimsy to carry the immense load of candy we intended on hauling back home.  We walked miles and miles so you’d better figure out how to have sneakers as part of your costume.  Kids dressed as ghosts, Dracula, generic sports stars and other homemade heroes.  Lots of fake blood and almost no store bought costumes.  Perhaps even a roll of Charmin or two stuffed into that pillowcase.  Am I remembering that correctly?

Now admittedly, when I was younger we were in a bit of the suburbs (the Oakland Hills to be exact) and so it was probably different even then for “city kids” as my son now is living in the concrete jungle of Manhattan.  But still, I feel a bit old as I read the swine flu fears of parents surrounding Halloween on Twitter and Facebook.  You can’t exactly TP a high-rise (or can you?) but maybe my old bones are just longing for some old suburban Halloween-ism.  Maybe some faithful readers will post some photos of some good old fashioned Halloween fun in 2009.

How will your kids carry their Halloween loot?  Got to be the pillowcase, right?

October 26, 2009

Oh Crap, the Kidcatcher!

We’re always on the lookout for new movies to watch.  The Little Man doesn’t get a lot of leeway in the TV department given the dearth of decent choices out there.  What happened to Looney Tunes, Superfriends and Fraggle Rock?  Plus, TV turns your brain to mush.  Even Alec Baldwin knows that.  Anything beyond Discovery Channel, Animal Planet or sports (if yours truly is deciding) generally gets a swift veto.

 That said, we don’t want to raise a child devoid of all pop culture knowledge.  How would he ever play Trivial Pursuit?  A delicate system of checks and balances to say the least. 

 We discovered a while back that old movies could be a great supplement to the Disney and Pixar offering of the modern era.  Classics such as Mary Poppins, Herbie the Love Bug and even Pippy Longstockings (I never really realized how very strange that movie is until I watched it as an adult). 

 There have been some mistakes to say the least.  One day, when the Little Man was about 5 ¼ (as he likes to say) we popped in another classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  We thought we were in for a trip down memory lane with Dick Van Dyke.  Little did we know that it was more a trip down Elm Street and might as well as had Freddy Krueger driving old Mr. Bang Bang. Kidcatcher

 Everyone goes along swimmingly until they land in Vulgaria and the Kidcatcher starts running around scooping up kids and throwing them in a cage.  You know how this story ends.  Movie off, crying child and nightmares for six months that still linger to this day.  Nice work Dad.

 Anyway, we’re still fans of the old movies, we’ve just learned to screen them before the family showing.  Even if you think you remember the movie, you might have repressed your own fearful memories of the Kidcatcher.  Drop a comment with your family movie choice gone wrong.

October 21, 2009

Our Little All-Stars

 

Soccer season has kicked off and now is in full swing.  As coach of my son’s U7 team I get to be in the front row for the amazing show that is youth sports.  As coaches, parents, relatives and friends, I’m sure we all wonder what is going through the kids’ heads sometimes.  Most of us were probably young athletes but don’t recall (or don’t care to) much beyond hopefully fond memories of running around the field or court and maybe even picking a flower or two out in center field. 

I am lucky enough to be friends with a very experienced, championship winning, long time NBA coach (now retired).  I recently asked “Coach” about coaching and he shared a youth sports story from personal experience, namely one of his granddaughters.

Coach’s granddaughter has recently started playing volleyball in middle school.  She is a gifted athlete, tall for her age and has coaches drooling at her prospects.  Her first game was a gem with her in the front line blocking, spiking and generally ruining her opponents’ day.  Coaches, parents, teammates were all excited and looking forward to a great season. 

As the second game begins, she immediately seems more hesitant.  Unenthusiastically moving around the court without her previous fire in the belly and nothing like the tornado of arms at the net like the last game.  The game ends and her supporters are puzzled.  Her mom approaches her after the game to see if she is feeling alright.  She gives that distant “yes” that we are all familiar with from kids.  Her mom beautifully explains that she shouldn’t feel any pressure to play and that everyone just wants her to be happy.  If she decides, though, that she does want to play, she should give her all every time.  Her coaches, friends and teammates deserve that from her. 

As the discussion moves along, she explains she does want to play, today was just a unique day.  When moms gently probes deeper, she answers, “I forgot to shave my armpits today and didn’t want everyone to see.”  Enough said.

So to all your youth sports coaches, parents and friends out there, cheer those kids with all your heart.  But remember, we all have days where we forget to shave our armpits.

October 19, 2009

You Didn’t Lick That Off The Grass

Every family has its little sayings and catchphrases.  I suppose they are a combination of cultural and geographical influences plus the personalities that make up your family.  Not as disgusting as it sounds and my all-time favorite saying.  That’s how I would describe “you didn’t lick that off the grass.” 

“What does that does that mean?” you’re probably asking with a horrified look on your face.  Loosely translated, “the apple didn’t fall from the tree.”  My grandparents lived in eastern Canada where my mom also spent her formative years before heading south to the warmer lands of California (explains a lot).  I have many childhood memories of visits to Canada.  I would be sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen in Renfrew (no you’ve never heard of it) doing some childish thing and immediately getting a dose of “you didn’t lick that off the grass” in her Canadian-Irish-Grandmotherly accent.  As a little kid you hear these things and either don’t understand them or just ignore them.  A quick, “Whatever, Grandma” runs through my brain, although certainly not out loud. 

As I got older, I’d then get it from my mom (of course referring to the fact that whatever ridiculous thing I was doing was a result of my father’s genes).  At this point, a little older (although no wiser) I would take some silent pride in doing something annoying or ridiculous (boys) and knowing I could pass it off on my genes.  My mom, looking through my eyes and directly into my brain as mothers do, would then say, “just wait.”  And the inevitable, “Whatever, Mom” thought passes through my teenage brain.

And then you become a parent.  As with many of the things our parents were right about, I’m now acutely aware of her meaning.  Circle of life and all that.  And now, on visits to California, sitting in my mother’s kitchen watching my son do his thing with me trying to keep some semblance of order, what do I hear?  “You didn’t lick that off the grass” echoing off the walls like a gunshot in a canyon, with a faint Canadian-Irish-Grandmotherly accent mixed in for effect.  And looking into my son’s eyes, what is that flicker I catch a glimpse of?  Could it be a “Whatever, Grandma?”

October 13, 2009

Love Your Socks

I love new socks.  The feeling of that pristine cotton that is shiny new, so soft and as yet unspoiled by dirty feet.  They haven’t been washed, stretched, ripped or stinkified.  They seem perfect.  There was a time I thought that I’d wear new socks every day if I could, but I’m not nearly that interesting or quirky. 

 If you think about it, our kids are a bit like new socks.  They are born as perfect little beings that haven’t taken in any of the stink of the world yet.  Starting with the moment of birth we spend our time trying to protect them from the world, themselves and even us.  There are “stinks” of all kinds that include artificial ingredients, pollution, riding a scooter without a helmet, Hannah Montana and the list goes on.  How do we keep them away from all these bad things?  Maybe we shouldn’t.  I’m not saying that there isn’t a long list of things that we absolutely need to protect them from – there is and I don’t need to list them here.  Protecting our kids from real danger is our number one job as parents as I so often remind my son, to his great dismay.  I’m just saying that I’ve recently started to realize (yes, it’s only taken me six plus years) that maybe I need to let go a bit.  I need to let my son experience the world, make some mistakes, scrape a knee or two.  Not every moment is a learning experience – some are just experiences.  

 If life was a series of the same new socks day after day it would get pretty boring.  Those new socks would start to lose their luster because they’d all be the same.  What makes us all unique individuals and interesting is our collection of unique experiences, habits and preferences (some good, some bad).  Parenting has taught me many things, but I never thought I’d learn to love my old socks along the way.

October 8, 2009

Which Remote Is It Again?

In our house, my role as the more home-bound parent and my Y chromosome make me the de facto “IT Department” for all our home technology.  Cell phone, TV, music, computer, home network or even kitchen appliances all fall under my responsibility and if something goes wrong or needs updating, my wife’s stock answer is “that’s your department.”  Of course, our IT Department must always get budgetary approval for any new expenditure which can sometimes crimp the coolness factor, but generally keeps things from getting too out of control.  My wife always jokes with friends that a benefit (one of many I’m sure) of having a stay at home dad in the house is that she is always on the cutting edge of technology.  Although one of the downsides is that she sometimes can’t turn on the TV if I’m not there.

I’m sure this division happens in many households out there, albeit not always along gender lines.  As with many aspects of day to day family life (finances, food, etc.) it just makes sense to have one person dealing with it.  I admit, I’m a minor technology junkie and keep up with most of the latest gadgets and gizmos.  In the electronics world, there’s always something new around the corner to want or that you really “need.”  I thought I’d take a minute to share a few of my technology “how did I live without” and of course a few of my “really wants.”

How Did I Live Without?

Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – In my humble opinion, this is one of man’s great inventions.  The ability to quickly and easily record any show or series and pause live TV have spoiled me to the point where I often find myself standing there with a shocked look on my face when I find someone who doesn’t embrace this technology.  I personally now use Verizon FIOS and love many of the features of this service, including my ability to program my DVR from any internet connected computer.  Brilliant.

Smartphone (Blackberry, iPhone and the rest) – I’ve said before, I spend a lot of time at the playground.  As my son has grown older, our playground and park time is much less focused on how I can entertain him, so that leaves me to entertain myself or even get some work done with all that time.  Enter, my Blackberry.  I am able to answer emails, phone calls, do web searches, research products, play games and the list goes on.  Without my Blackberry, I could conceivably be even crazier than I am now from all the time spent watching toddlers eat sand.

How Can I Get My Hands On That?

Sonos Music System (www.sonos.com) – We have an iPod in our house for all our music.  It is the perfect way for us add new music to our collection in our small NY apartment.  Sometimes, though, we’d like to be able to have some adult music in the living room, while the Superheros theme (or Michael Jackson) that my son wants plays in his room all from our one music collection.  Enter the Sonos Music System that I must figure out how to buy.  It can play different music in any or all rooms all from your one computer or iPod.  The system is expense, but people rave about it and I need to ask Santa for it.

iPod Touch (www.apple.com) – As I mentioned above, I’m a Blackberry man.  I need the physical keyboard for writing emails (and sometimes blog posts) in playgrounds, on planes and subways and even sometimes on the couch.  That doesn’t stop me from craving all the Apple toys out there with the iPod Touch at the top of the list.  The new 32GB iPod Touch can run all the iPhone apps, games and music plus surf the internet with WiFi.  Basically a specialized, very small computer.  It also may save me from having to buy my son a dedicated game machine like the Nintendo DS which would create a daily struggle of “put that thing away.”

That’s my short list of technology for now, but I could go on and on.  Hopefully Santa will see this blog and I’ll try to be good for a few months more.  None of the companies or products mentioned above have paid or given consideration of any kind for inclusion in this blog.  What can’t you live without?