I usually sleep in on Sundays. Not because I’m lazy, or because of any “fatherly” ritual about “a day of rest” or anything. I lie in bed and listen to NPR Weekend Edition. My wife hates that shit and it’s the only time I can just take it all in. I hate it too but I figure it’s good to know what those sneaky do-gooders are up to since you cannot trust do-gooders. (more…)
While doing homework with Beasley at the kitchen table, we both heard it. It was a dull, but eerily sickening thud against the side of the house. I saw a shadow just before. We both thought someone had tossed something against the house.
There it was. A cardinal had struck the house. It was dying. We watched its head move for a few seconds; its beak opened and closed a couple of times. Silently. The body still. And that was it. It died quickly; in 20 seconds or thereabouts. (more…)
My kid is smart. She is smart and she goes to a great American school. Not “Great American™,” but an American school that doesn’t suck like most of them. In fact, it’s been recognized as one of the country’s best. (more…)
So the fish has been sent to pasture. The fish that never had its own name is now swimming freely. That’s what reduces my dissonance. (more…)
The GUY in me goes, “hey, woah! A boob!”
The DAD in me goes, “that cookie’s a choking hazard for such a young child.”
My friend, The Professor, took his 11 year-old daughter on a 280 bike ride. Check it here:
- My kid cares about winning: She doesn’t obsess over winning but she’ll try her hardest to contribute to success. She knows participant trophies are irrelevant.
- She is a gracious loser: As much as she cares about winning, she can walk away from a loss head high. As long as she tried her best, she gets it. There are winners and losers.
- Same effort in practice as in games: Ball is ball. She loves to play and to compete. There may be more laughs and goofs at practice, but she tries to win every drill and plays tough during scrimmages.
- She enjoys and supports her teammates: She smiles so hard her cheeks sometime ache. The pure joy is evident and is contagious.
- She allows herself to learn nuance: To get good, she learned the basics. To get better, she studied subtitles.
- She will not allow you to score: Nope. You will be beaten to your spot, your angles will be compromised, you will not be able to dribble around her. You are fully checked.
- She is tougher than nails: Tough and strong. Surprisingly. Neither pain nor exertion prevent a maximum defensive effort. She takes a lick and she dishes them out. She has never self-called a foul.
- She prepares like a pro: She understands conceptual continuity. Same bag, same sneaks, same shorts, same socks, same routines. She has a practice uniform, she has a game uniform. iPod and headphones en route to each.
- She is coach-able: She hears, she listens, she adjusts, she absorbs. Doesn’t need to be instructed twice. She coaches herself. She respects refs.
- She does it for herself: Basketball was her idea. I didn’t even consider it. Last year’s team went 0-8. She came back because she likes to play. This year, they were 7-1.
My kid plays sports. She plays soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and rock climbs (or, “climbs rocks”? You know: harnesses, ropes, goofy shoes, belaying n’ shit. Barefoot white dudes calling each other “brah” everywhere…). She’s kind of a studly.
Unfortunately, she got all the shitty eyesight genes. She’s not blind or anything, but she requires vision correction to see what we used to call the chalkboard. And, obviously, to play sports. She’s probably genetically a touch narcissistic too.
For sports, she typically wears Rec-Specs. I know, expensive but worth it.
Last year at her annual ophthalmology appointment she brought five talking points on an index card lobbying to get contact lenses. She made a convincing case but our ophthalmologist said the youngest he has prescribed contacts to is a ten year-old and that was a special case for football. She was eight. She was pissed the standing exception was for a boy to play sports. The doctor told her he’d reevaluate in a year.
This year, she had one point: I’m ready. He agreed. As the doc said, “motivation is the strongest predictor of success.”
When they initially fit and demonstrate contact lenses for kids they send the parents to the lobby. They put them in and the kid has to take them out and re-insert them solo. This is a huge hurdle. Beasley took about 40 minutes to take out and put back in. Through tears (from toying with the eye), snot (same), and perseverance, she did it.
The parents are in sent to the lobby because we’d go apeshit nuts watching and “helping.”
I promised B it would get quicker and easier. It quickly did. Now, she takes about the same amount of time to insert and remove as her mom and me. She’s proud of herself and quite methodical.
She’ll be 10 in a couple of months. So she now has the record at our ophthalmologist’s (and I’m sure every four-eyed kid at school will now beg to get contacts).
When kids are ready to do things, they are ready. Quit bubble-wrapping and helicoptering!
Gavin’s sweet post about childhood innocence (followed by a few back & forth emails with him on the topic) got me thinking about how we influence our children to become the people we really hope they will be. We try to provide opportunities and experiences that leave them both in awe of the world but never suckers who give all their money to cult leaders or Microsoft. There should be wonder and innocence for kids, it’s cute. Yet naivety is one of the very worst traits we could allow. It’s the opposite of cute.
I am both mindful and fearful that I’m creating a cynical, over-logical, jerk, egghead-of-a-loser math nerd who will be picked on (yet make billions and disavow me). There are just too many liberal Ph.D.-holding family members on the white side of her family. Fortunately, my side of the tree has few hustlers, gangsters, and con artists. I have hope for the well-balanced and well-adjusted offspring.
Does Beasley believe in
Santa Dorothy? No-doy! That shit’s long played-out, son. God too. But she probably still believes in democracy, the poor, cute thing.
So when my beautiful, intelligent, lovely, and generous wife and child gave me a nice new MacBookPro for my birthday–I’m still amazed that they both care so much and also catch clues so well–It was a joyous moment for all since I had promised the kid–now 9 & a half–that I’d simply give her my old machine when I ever got go new one. Win-win, right?
But it wasn’t so easy. I had to remove all sorts of things she didn’t need to be involved with, from processor-intensive applications to cached images (oy!). From explicit music to bookmarks to dark-ish places, etc. I had to make a fully functioning computer kid friendly to, you know, protect her innocence. I even dumbed-down Firefox so when she’s looking for Dick’s Sporting Goods she doesn’t get something like this: [clicky for NSFW sample of what you get when you Google "dicks"] See what I mean? Too soon for that. Too soon to explain that.
I got that computer all spiffily reformat and configured for her. She was beaming. All full of Allstar Weekend songs and Good Luck Charlie videos. Sweet. Mission accomplished! I was beaming too.
But one day a couple of weeks after delivery, I used her new machine for something and decided to click on her browser history. Whoops! Kids are pretty curious, aren’t they? I guess one YouTube video leads to a long and perilous descent into dumb, sexualized, and injurious adventures.
Fortunately, or not, she appears to have an affinity for Fail Compilations so far. I was crestfallen that my kid was going to grow up to be a total jackass meth addicted loser!
I felt so bad for a while, too. I blamed myself. I even installed Net Nanny software to prevent her from wandering into the ugly areas of the net. We had a talk. I briefed the mother. But I was also relieved because it could have been much worse. She didn’t make it into anything too bad yet, thank goodness.
Today I used her computer to check an email and decided to check the history again. Just checking since I’m a parent, not being nosy or anything. I found nothing. I mean, I literally found nothing. She disabled the history function to cover her traces.
I am so proud! She’s growing up wonderfully.