Memory #957: The Thin Line Between G And K


Dear Blue,

You like to talk. This is not a surprise since you’re a toddler and you try on words like they’re clothes at a thrift store. And you don’t let insignificant annoyances like pronunciation hinder you from trying to communicate to anyone and everything. It’s admirable. If we somehow manage to get you through this stage and you still attack the English language with no shame to your game, we’ve won. We have won.

Right now, we’re in the game, and that means helping you figure out how to get your tongue and your brain on the same linguistic page.

For instance, you have trouble pronouncing FR. It comes out like FUH. Also, you usually pronounce G as K.

This led to a situation  at the zoo. We were heading down the hill to your favorite exhibit, LAIR. Like most boys, you like your animals creepy, crawly and slimy. I mean, you really like them.

As soon as we entered, you ripped your hand out of mine and went catapulting across the room towards a glass window and behind it, a mossy log. As you went, you started yelling “F@*K! F@*K! F@*K!”as you pointed emphatically at the glass. Parents gasped. Kids gave ground. Who was this little kid who spoke so foully? Where did he learn such filth? And where were his parents?

Right here, prudes. And no, we’re not going to correct him.

He really like his FROGS.

You’re my boy, Blue.

-Dad

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Summer Days With Dad: Week 3, A Running Diary

summerdays

Dear Blue,

 The other day, I kept careful notes on the day’s events. Someday, I hope you appreciate this and know that raising a kid is hard work. Spending the day alone with one is even harder.

 

9:00 Mommy leaves for the day. From this point on until 5:15, it’s just you and me, kidd-o. Before she leaves, she kisses you on the forehead, reminds me to feed you so that you continue to exist, kisses me on the forehead and then leaves. You don’t cry when she leaves, but you do look understandably concerned. But then I feed you warm breast milk, freshly expressed, and you’re good to go.

 

9:30 Playtime begins with Pooh fight. That is, a Winnie the Pooh fight. For whatever reason, you have attached to two stuffed animals. You completely lose your mind when you see Nemo. It’s like the girls fainting during Beatlemania. You also lose your mind when you see Pooh, but the interesting thing is the way you handle them. You’re gentle with Nemo. Hugging him and kissing him. With Pooh, you see him and you immediately go MMA. Poor Pooh. You bite his ear. You pile drive him into the Boppy. You choke him. You leg lock him. It makes me very proud, seeing you fight bears. It’s kind of a family tradition (story to come later).

 

After you’re done Pooh fighting, we work on making farting sounds. You really get a kick out of it when I kiss your fat, fat cheeks and then make a farting sound. You like it so much you gut chuckle. Not a squeal or a little coo. A full on chuckle. We do this for about five minutes, and then you get bored and stop laughing. Part of me is sad that the moment is gone, but I’m also proud. You’re not easily entertained.

 

10:00 Play time is over. It’s time to start settling down for your nap. Welcome to my nightmare. Because you haven’t figured out yet that you can go to sleep by yourself, getting you down for a nap involves putting you in my arms and then bouncing you to sleep on an exercise ball. It takes about fifteen minutes and by the time you’re finally asleep in my arms, I had my workout for the day.

 

12:00 You sleep for two hours in my arms. I try to put you down, but every time I do, you wake up and cry. So that has to change, but not today. I hold you for two hours. While you sleep, I binge watch The Office and write down notes. Oh, and play Clash of Clans, which is a free to play game on my iphone. It’s awesome. You get to build a base and then upgrade your base up by clicking on buttons. Then, you get to watch for five weeks until your upgrade is finished. Super fun game.

 

When you wake up, you look really confused and scared, like you blacked out at a party and have no idea where you’re at. But we fix that with some tummy time. You get super pissed during tummy time, because you really want to crawl over to bite things but can’t do it because you haven’t figured out how to use your feet for anything other than grabbing with your hands…and subsequently attempting to bite them.

 

12:15 It’s time to play a game we play every day. It’s called Will He or Won’t He? You are absolutely awesome at this game. The rules are simple. I change you and while this is happening, you attempt to pee on me. Or yourself. Or basically anything that is not your diaper. You win if you accomplish this, and right now, you are shooting about 90% from the changing table. You’re like the Steve Nash of peeing on things. (Note: Steve Nash shot about 90% from the free throw line during his professional basketball career. I don’t know if you’ll be into obscure sports facts like me, so I’m putting this here.)

 

12:30 Another feeding, champ. Your mom calls and asks if I’ve fed you yet. I reply that I’m on it and I’m keeping up with things and I know what I’m doing. While I’m on the phone, the milk bag that’s thawing in the sink under running water tips over in its cup. One ounce of that precious ivory nectar is gone forever.

 

12:45 You are laying on your back playing with another of your favorite toys, a green maraca your mother picked up in Mexico a few years back. You’re not very good at holding things yet, so while you’re holding it, you shake it once, twice, and then bang it hard against your forehead. You cry out in shock. I pick you up, pat your back and say it’s okay, and then five minutes later you’re back to playing.

 

1:30 My nightmare again. Getting you to sleep takes about twenty minutes this time, and you sleep until 3.

 

3:00 You wake up. Feeding happens again. Then you start to talk. It’s all nonsense, of course, but at one point, you come within a consonant of saying your name. It’s exciting to hear you’re almost voice.

 

3:15 Countdown to mommy coming home officially begins, wherein I check the time every five minutes desperately hoping that thirty minutes have passed since five minute ago. Nope. We pass the time with more Pooh fighting and practice sit ups. You’re really good at getting pulled up to a sitting position. Staying there? Not so much yet.

 

We also read a little bit. All these books say it’s good to read books to your kids so that they hear lots and lots of words. I’m tired of reading your kiddy books so today we read a little bit of the book I’m reading. It’s called Flags of our Fathers and it’s about the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. I’m just starting it, so we read about 1930’s boyhood instead of all the violence that comes later. I might be an inept father at times, but I’m not dumb. You listen, but mostly gnaw on a chew toy.

 

You’re gnawing because you’re teething. There’s one tooth on your bottom gum that’s almost there. You can see the outline just under the pink ridge of gum, like a outcropping of rocks just beneath the incoming tide. That little tooth has been the bane of our existence for weeks. When it emerges completely, there will be much rejoicing and celebrating. Also, sleep.

 

4:00 Still waiting on your mom.

 

4:15 I jump the gun and try to get you down for a nap. While you’re sleeping, I reflect on the day and get to the truth: this is all the epitome of first world problems. Here I am, with the luxury of being able to stay at home with you. I don’t have work right now because we’re on break and we have enough in savings to get by. Not only am I able to do this, I can also blog about it. No matter how hard this fatherhood thing can get, I know that I’m lucky to have what I have.

 

4:45 Screw luxury. I’m tired and have heat rash on the innies of my elbows. You almost wake up but I act quickly and adjust the pillow under you. Back to sleep. Crisis averted.

 

5:15 Your mother arrives home. When you wake up, you smile at her the exact same way you did when she left in the morning. Maybe, just maybe, you think it was all a dream. But then you look at me…and smile again.

 

Cheesy, I know. But totally real. And even better, tomorrow your mother is home all day.

 

-Dad

 

Paternity Leave: Well, we’ve made it this far.

paternity

Dear Blue,

You and I have spent the last two days together. We will spend many more together in the near future, since I have the month of July off from school and you are not yet a productive member of society. We party hard, you and I, and I intend to chronicle that party.

Whenever you read these letters, the purpose is two fold, Blue. One, I want you to know something about yourself and your family. Two, I want you to learn something important about life. Maybe more than one something, but I don’t presume to think my pontifications on poop are all that profound.

I also hope by reading this that you never become one of those people that talks about being a father doing for a day what mothers do for much longer and says, “I had no idea it would be this hard.”

Here’s a life lesson, Blue: Men that talk like that are idiots.

Think about it for a second. Any other animal, let’s say a horse…momma gives birth to her colt. Pretty much right away, the colt figures out how to walk and be dumb and pretty. And there, they’re a horse.  That’s pretty much every other animal on this planet when it comes to the raising their young. Except for us. Human babies come out not knowing how to do anything. So parents have to teach them how to be human beings. How to walk and eat and everything else. But that’s only part of it, because parents also have to teach their little human beings how to be people.

So, all that being said, I had no idea it would be this hard, Blue.

It’s not just another job. It’s a new life, and your old one is gone.

Illustration: Today, I needed to go to the bathroom. So I fastened you into your cute little bouncy chair with the bunny ears and sat you in the doorway. Then I proceeded to watch you as you watched me take a dump. For a minute, everything was cool. I guess, though, at five months, you’re really big into mirroring. So as I took care of my business, you started some of yours. It came out in a torrent, flooding out from your diaper like one of those mudslides that levels houses. I weighed you after and you were a pound lighter. Honest.

This is our life together, Blue. Today you mirrored me pooping, because you’re a person. Not a horse.

Tomorrow we’re going to work on that whole sitting up thing.

-Dad