Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Kids ask the most probing things: The dangers of nature shows

Tonight, as a family we were watching an episode of Crocodile Hunter (yes, from the '90s) where Steve and Terri were on a beach where green turtles were mating in the shallow waters. The hosts talked about how during the hours-long mating the females are responsible for bringing both turtles to the surface to breathe because the males are too focused on what they're doing.

Without missing a beat, our son asked (with complete sincerity) "Is that what Daddy was like after you guys got married?"

After several minutes of uncontrollable laughter, we could only say: "Not exactly." 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The simple joys of being a middle-aged dad: Flash Gordon theme edition

Somewhere in my past the chorus to the theme (by Queen) from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie got quasi-embedded in my brain--particularly that couplet: 

Flash! A-ah!  
Savior of the universe! 


Over time my brain changed the second line to "Defender of the universe" (which I think works better in the meter, but that's another topic) but the melody remained, and the key (of course) was the "A-ah!" vocalization after the hero's name. It's not as though I was a huge fan of the movie (I was not) nor a huge fan of the song (it's fine); but that part was just an earworm that was in me permanently.

For no good reason other than my own amusement, occasionally I'd adapt it and substitute another single-syllable word where the "Flash!" was, to elevate the term in a ridiculous way; e.g., "Cheese! A-ah! Defender of the universe!"--although I have no recollection of using that one in particular. It's always spontaneous, tossed out in the moment when an appropriate word comes up in our conversations, as a jocular interjection, so they never stick with me.

As a parent I have done this in front of my now 7-year-old son just to be silly more times than I could recall, but it's not like I do it daily or weekly. Again, it's never premeditated nor meant to make any larger point than some dumb attempt at humor, so I genuinely could not say how often it has occurred. But apparently it has happened enough to make an impression. 

The other day we were playing outside and when we went in the house he went to the bathroom to wash his hands (a habit we have drilled into him through intentional repetition). At the sink, completely on his own, he burst out "Ice! A-ah! Defender of the universe!" (based on a word that came up in our play adventure just before we came inside). He then repeated that when he came out, with an accompanying dance move--a nice addition that I don't recall ever including.

There’s no reason anyone else will get this, and that’s as it should be, but I find it immensely amusing to see how I’m ruining my son while he’s still young.
It’s not my proudest moment as a parent, but I won’t lie: it’s up there.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Say It: Black Lives Matter

[Although I haven't been posting lately here on the blahg, over on the Book of Faces I do still occasionally post privately to only friends, mostly so relatives who live at a distance can see pictures of our son. This is what I posted there, shared here because it's important.]

You’ve probably noticed my hiatus from posting, and it is due to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade and countless others that have spurred the current protests. It has been a very difficult time, not merely as a human capable of empathy, but because of my life. I’m not only one who has benefited from the centuries of white supremacy that led to the troubling society we have, but I’m also the father of an amazing Black boy and husband of a phenomenal Black woman, the two people I love most. I have an extended African-American family who through the grace of God is still with us. It’s not abstract anger about the news; for me it’s very personal.

And we’ve had to keep parenting during a pandemic.

I know many of you enjoy these photos of my son and wife. (Yes, mostly our son.) They are a source of joy in this world. But they’re also a Black boy and Black woman in this world, which you need to understand means it’s a more dangerous world for them than for many of the rest of us.

I know you care about them. I know you believe their lives are just as important as your own. But I need you to declare that not only about their lives but the lives of all Black people matter. Now.

I ask you to leave a comment on this post stating Black Lives Matter.

I need to know you are with me on this.

This is not jumping on some bandwagon. This is simply what should be an obvious view in our society, but clearly it’s not. However, I must believe that it’s possible we can get there, and I beseech you to type three little (but critically important) words below to tell me you believe it too.

Saying Black Lives Matter does not suggest that other lives don’t. It means you believe they matter just as much.

Black Lives Matter. Now and forever. Please join me so I can see who my friends really are.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Taking your medicine

A single moment can change your day, and it doesn’t even need to be that big a moment.

Take yesterday morning.  It was the first time that our kindergartner could wear something other than his school uniform or his PE clothes, and unlike most mornings he eagerly got dressed. The theme was dots (or circles) and he had his red Flash shirt (with the lightning bolt through a circle, but in the design the circle diffused into dots).  He even picked out shorts and socks that had some such pattern.  He was really into it.

As we were wrapping things up before it was time to leave, Mommy asked if he’d had some medicine and he had not; this week he had been coughing some with occasionally runny nose. As she finished getting ready in the living room, I went and poured some into the little cup. She sent him over to the kitchen where I was, and he looked at the cup and said, “That’s more than zero.” I didn’t think much about that and simply replied, “Yes, now here.” As we were running short on time and he was hesitating, I put the cups to his lips and tilted it so the medicine would run down into his mouth.

He then closed his mouth and it spilt down on his shirt and shorts in large globs that did not look like dots.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Play it LOUD, Daddy

Last night on the drive home our preschooler had a full-on crying fit... because I wouldn't play "Here and Now" by Letters To Cleo at full volume in the car.

"I like it super loud" was his argument for why I should increase the volume. Which I countered with, "No"--but while still playing it louder than I would listen to, say, NPR.

Then for tonight's drive the iPod played a mix of songs that I kept at a very modest volume... until he decided he wanted Grant Lee Buffalo's "Truly, Truly" turned up--not that he'd ever heard that before; it may simply have been what came on at the moment he wanted the music louder in general. And the volume stayed up for... the Carpenters' version of "Reason To Believe". When he wanted "super loud" I said, "How about semi-super loud?" That distracted him as he then had to ask what that meant.

Then to close our commute he requested that we listen to the Bauhaus cover of "Ziggy Stardust" twice in a row. That he accepted at just normal volume--which, again, was louder than I'd do for NPR. Because Ziggy played.. gui-tar.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Knock knock

Actual knock-knock joke our preschooler told at dinner a couple weeks ago (with our responses):

(Who's there?)

(Banana who?)

(Who's there?)

(Banana who?)

(Who's there?)

(Pickle who?)

Pickle you glad I didn't say "Banana"! [Cackles with laughter]


Happy National Pickle Day.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Exactly how were we *saving* daylight?

If since March 11 we've been "saving" daylight then conceivably we should have a seven-month stockpile from which we could redeem some of that saved-up daylight and not have it be so dark when we leave work tomorrow.

"Daylight Saving Time" my ass; it was Daylight Having Time and we squandered it during summer when there was plenty of daylight already.

(Clearly linguists were not consulted when the policy was named.)