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I’m Big!

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

At two years and almost two months old, my son thinks he’s big. He thinks he can drive a car. Whenever we see another young child, according to my son the other kid is a baby, but he isn’t…even if they’re within a only few months of each other. And of course, he wants to do pretty much everything himself, because you know, he’s big. He says so all the time. “I’m big!”

I think this is a good thing. I’m pretty sure we hit the terrible two phase and the accompanying tantrums early, around 16 or 18 months or so. He still has some tantrums but they’re fewer and far between now. When he does have them, it’s usually when he wants to do something himself and either can’t because we won’t let him, or because he’s tried and gotten himself frustrated.

As for me, I continue to be amazed by how big he’s getting, but then he will do something like play with my shoes, and then I realize how comparatively small he still is.

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P.S. those shoes were neatly aligned against the wall in pairs at one point.

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Categories: fatherhood Tags:

The Holidays.

November 19, 2012 3 comments

Tis the season…

For what though, people to lose their minds? Is it me or has this gotten out of control? With the stores now saying they are opening actually on thanksgiving day, I can only wonder if will just be a matter of time before we do away with the turkey and football and just make Thanksgiving the first national shopping day of a four day national shopping long weekend.

So why is this a fatherhood post? Because we have to raise our kids through this season every year, and hope that they don’t get caught up in the madness and greed. I’m Jewish so I never really participated in this. Yeah, we got Chanukah presents and we definitely looked forward to them, but it’s not a major holiday comparatively to other Jewish holidays, and we weren’t always expecting the latest thing. My wife is Christian and so unlike me she was more exposed to this, but times have changed and it’s not what she remembers. Because it’s her holiday I’ve chosen to leave it up to her how we do Christmas. This was easy for me because I already knew what she would want. She decided that we weren’t going to make Christmas a big present thing but rather focus on the season of giving aspect. Unlike me, she is really big on birthdays and believes that’s the more appropriate time to celebrate him and give him the most special things he will get each year, not Christmas.

Still, it’s hard to take this stance on the holidays when everyone else doesn’t. We really appreciate the intentions people have when they express desire in buying my son gifts and don’t want to seem ungrateful. When my mom asked what she should get my son, I told her to give us money toward our plan to participate in his school’s Angel Tree program, and she did. It was harder for me to tell her not to last year because she naturally wanted to buy her only grandson a gift. In a few weekends, we will go to a toy drive to donate some toys. I want him to be the one to physically put the toys in the collection bin. He’s only two now, so I’m not sure how much of the exercise he will understand, but I think it will be good to set the precedent early.

I hope I’m not being too much of a Scrooge or anything. I think it’s great that people want to give loved ones gifts. I just think that somewhere along the way the system of greed tainted all of that. The perception I get from the whole thing is that if you’re not buying new TVs, game consoles, and diamond rings then you’re not doing it good enough.  When people feel like they HAVE to spend, and have to do it on thanksgiving day to get the best deal, something is wrong to me.

Fatherhood short: Yep, that’s my boy…

November 17, 2012 Leave a comment

The scene: Mid afternoon after a long morning of activities.

My son is on my bed napping and I’m lying next to him watching football with the TV volume low. He then starts to stir, sits up, opens his eyes, says “I watch football!”

He then lays back down, rolls over, closes his eyes, and falls back asleep again.

Yep, that’s my boy…

Which box will he check?

November 14, 2012 3 comments

I held off on posting this too close to the election because this is not a political post (although I do wonder about that as well), but if you read the “About” section of this blog, you know that I’m in an interracial marriage, and therefore my son is biracial. If you ask me, he would be perfect if Kia ever needed a two year old version of Blake Griffin for one those commercials where he goes back in time. He’s a little darker than Blake and doesn’t have the reddish hair, but it’s not that far a stretch.

I have always wondered how he would choose to identify himself when he gets older, and I recently got my first insight into how he sees himself.

The book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” is probably the one book we’ve read him the most. He’s loved it ever since he was an infant, and now at age two he can “read” (aka recite from memory with pictorial cues) the book. That alone was awesome for me to experience because it was the first time he “read”, but then this happened: Toward the end of the book there is a page with a bunch of children, and my son decided that the kids in the book were the kids in his class.

I have no idea why or how he got this idea, but he began pointing at each child in the picture and naming someone from his class. For himself, my son chose the black child with the flattop in the green shirt.

I’m looking forward to having race-based discussions with him. It can be a popular topic of conversation in this house, and beyond, as was done on ESPN about Blake Griffin.  The fact that he is named after Jackie Robinson is a good conversation piece, as is the fact that Barack Obama is the first president in his lifetime. I guess this was a partly political post after all.

Categories: fatherhood, race Tags: ,

Today in pictures…family outing…

November 11, 2012 1 comment

Today was a day my wife has been hyping up to me for a long time…our trip to the Gaylord Texan Hotel to see the Ice! exhibit featuring the Madagascar movie characters.  The hotel also had lots of other holiday decorations, some of which weren’t done yet.  We’ll be back to see them when they’re done, but onto today…

We all packed into the car…me, my mother in law, my wife, my son, and also Bur Bur, Wally the Green Monster, and Elmo.  I’m not sure why Elmo has such a distressed look on his face.  Sadly for these three, we were so excited to arrive and get inside that my son forgot to take them with us, so they held down the car while we went in.  I’m sure any potential thieves were thwarted.

 

Only in Texas to they have their own special carpeting.

 

After a little wait for the exhibit to open, we lined up and went inside.  Because these are solid ice sculptures, they temperature inside the exhibit is 9 degrees F.  They had parkas they handed out to everyone to wear inside.  Being in that cold made me feel like being in the Northeast again.  Here are a few pics of some of what we saw…

Not bad for some blocks of ice.  They also had an ice slide, but my son wasn’t having it.

Categories: fatherhood

Score another one for the mama…

November 7, 2012 4 comments

A while back I wrote about my son’s mama favoritism, and today it took a new, presidential turn.
This morning my wife and I were watching Obama’s victory speech on Youtube, and telling my son who it was speaking.

us: “that’s the president, Barack Obama”

son: “Bawack Omama”

This was followed by a few times of us re-pronouncing it for him. Out of about 10 tries, he actually got it once.

Then, on the way to school, I revisited the conversation with him to get some extra repetition…

me: “The president is Barack Obama.  Who is the president?

him: “Bawack Omama”

me: “it’s not Omama, it’s Obama.  Can you say Obama?”

him: “Obama”

we practice this a few more times, and it seems he’s getting it…I try one last time.

Me: “Good job!  So who is the president?

him: “mama”.

Categories: fatherhood

Parenting and education #2 – Ay, Yo be a father (for a $25 gift card?!?!)

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Sometimes, parents will give kids small rewards for earning good grades.  I’ve heard of an ice cream sundae for making the honor roll, $5 for every A, things like that.  But what about a reward for parents who agree to meet their child’s teacher in person to discuss the report card, something they should presumably be doing anyway?

At the beginning of the school year I wrote about Chicago’s teacher strike and now I have another reason to write about Chicago Public Schools.   CPS is in the news again, for a different but equally controversial topic.  A partnership between Walgreens and the city of Chicago has been formed, and at 70 schools, parents will be given a Walgreens “Balance Reward” card with a free $25 preloaded on it. According to the article, it seems neither the city nor Walgreens is saying how much the company invested in the program, and Walgreens gets the direct benefit of having the families who receive the gift card be automatically enrolled in their reward card program, which they are light years behind CVS in establishing.

On the surface are two different sides to the argument.  One, on the surface it seems that this is a good example of a corporate/public partnership.  Walgreens is sponsoring this program after having already have supported educational missions in the past.  For Chicago, they have targeted the schools with the lowest parental involvement and are hoping that this program will be the first step to get parents in the door, and ultimately increase parental involvement, something that we all know from plenty of studies is essential for students and schools to be successful.  I have experience working in schools, and I know the challenge of trying to engage parents.  If this will make even 1% of the parents who participate in the program more involved in the long run, then maybe it’s worth the charade.  It’s a sad day when it has to come to something like this, but maybe it just does in some cases.

On the other side of the argument are those who feel this program is nothing more than a blatant and blasphemous bribe for parents who should be participating because they care about their child(ren)’s education and not because they want a free $25.  Legitimate questions can be asked about how genuine the parents’ interest is if they weren’t coming in the door before, but are coming in now for this, or why those who aren’t participating are suddenly getting a reward for something plenty of other parents are doing anyway.  Those are difficult things to disagree with.

So where do I stand?  I’m for almost anything that will spark parent involvement, but not this.  What swings my opinion toward the “against” stance is something I haven’t seen addressed anywhere else yet.  To me there’s the ethical question of Walgreens being allowed to do this, even for a perk to the schools and families.  I’m sure we’d all be more than happy with a straight corporate donation from Walgreens to CPS that could be used however CPS wanted to; for textbooks, computers, school improvements, new programs, etc.  But there’s something disingenuous about the way this will go, with the parents who receive the rewards card also signing up to be part of Walgreen’s program and, according to the article I cited, provide Walgreens with marketing data.  To me, the city of Chicago shouldn’t be so directly auctioning off the data of it’s citizens to whoever might be a bidder via their public schools.

If you’ve made it through this entire post and have an opinion of your own, I’d love to see some comments on this one…