Teacher’s Parrot

31 Mar

Hey Little Man,

Life is one big science experiment, and at no point is that more clear than when you’re young. Right now you’re into mimicking any new words and phrases you hear, nailing the inflection perfectly. Or if you see someone do something you’ve never seen before—like wipe down the table or sweep the floor—you have to do it.

When you get older, this experimenting dies down a bit, as you become comfortable with life and get used to the things around you that make up your everyday life. But when you become a parent, it starts all over.

The world you used to know, during your childless years, disappears for the most part. In its place is a new and exciting world, in which you find yourself digging for worms or stomping through mud puddles in the pouring rain. A world in which you find yourself excited to wash dishes, because it’s your son’s new favorite activity. You find yourself happy to be up early in the morning, even if its your Saturday, because you get to sing the Hokey Pokey and watch your son giggle hysterically as he tries to dance and sing along. Life becomes a science experiment again.

Everyday I learn a little more about what makes you tick; what makes you cry, and what makes you laugh. Most importantly, what makes you laugh while you’re crying. I feel so lucky to be back in school, with you.

Soon our class will be growing, and I can’t wait to see what our lessons will be like when our new classmate arrives.

Love,

Dad

3-31-14

The Intro

5 Mar

Hey Baby No. 2,

Quick introduction from my end, I’m your father and will be working in unison with mother to raise you into a fine outstanding human being, over the next 18 years. The other voice you’ve undoubtably heard—or will hear in just a few weeks, when you develop bones in your ears—is your big-brother Arlo.

Just a note about Arlo… He is convinced you’re a girl, and that you belong to him. If you are in fact a boy, we’ll work on breaking that news to him gently, along with the fact that you are not one of his possessions.

I’m really excited to you, and so far you seem to be developing so quickly! A large part of this is due to the fact that I’m busy entertaining your brother in my free time, which makes time itself seem to fly by. A weeks seem like day, and months melt from my calendar quicker than I can realize they’re gone.

Unfortunately, time is not going by so quickly for your mother, who has been pretty sick so far, in this pregnancy—I swear I’m not guilt tripping you, but just so you know, this may come out at some point in your teenage years if you’re not listening to her or any way shape or form doubt her commitment to you. But your mom is incredible, and you’re surly going to love her.

I’ll explain most of what life has to offer once you arrive, but in the meantime, try to relax. In a few weeks you’ll start hearing a lot of stories being read. For your sake, I’ll try to mix it up so you’re not sick of them by the time you arrive.

Some other things to know about the life that’s waiting for you on the outside: you have amazing grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles who already love you very much, and who are also really excited to meet you; we have really needy pets, a dog named Dexter and a cat named Sedona; you live in Portland, a place that is so quirky and progressive that it has a TV show making fun of the quirky and progressive people who live here; you’re currently two-inches, but don’t be self conscious about it, you’ll grow.

Other than that, know that by the time you arrive your mom and I will have had two years of experience raising a child, which basically makes us experts. In the meantime, if you need anything, just kick. See you in about 6 months!

Love,

Dad

3-5-14

Brotherly Love

28 Feb

Hey buddy,

I can’t believe how big you’re getting, and how quickly you seem to be growing up. You’re stringing together words and thoughts, walking around the house grabbing things from the fridge, and yet it seems like only yesterday you were born. Maybe I especially feel that way today, because this afternoon we went and saw your little sibling for the first time—who you are convinced is a girl.

Sitting in the doctor’s office, watching the little baby move, it made me think of how crazy is that you were that small just about two years ago. Now you’re running around the house cheering, “Go Blazers! Defense! Outside, slide, wheeee!”

When you were that size I was obsessed with learning everything I could about your development, but this time around I’ve been too busy reading and playing with you to see where your sibling is in the process. But I swear, baby No. 2, if you’re reading this, I will not neglect you once you are born, I promise!

At 11 weeks, your future best friend is 2-inches-long, but already had visible arms and legs, and even a little hand full of fingers. Those fingers will undoubtably play a roll in implicating you in some crimes you’ll most likely commit as an older brother, and although those arms will surely deliver you some punches, they eventually offer hugs as well.

When we got home from the appointment I showed you the pictures from the ultrasound and explained that they were pictures of your brother or sister. You took the pictures from my hand, studied them closely, then held the pictures to your chest, “Arlo’s,” you said. Then you handed them back to me.

It’s nice to know your little sibling already has someone looking out for them.

I love you so much, love,

Dad

2-28-14

Number Two

19 Jan

Hey Arlo,

A few months ago you started getting interested in the toilet. It began with opening and closing the lid, but quickly lead to you trying to reach your hand in to splash around, and throwing things into the bowl—the largest, a tube of toothpaste, which you timed perfectly with my flush, was never seen again. 

One morning I asked you if you wanted your own toilet, to which you exclaimed, “Yes!” So the two of us went to the store to get you your very own throne. When we got home, I took it out of the box and placed it on the floor next to you.

“This is your toilet. Do you want to try it out?” 

You excitedly said you did, so I took your pants and diaper off, and set you down on the toilet.

“This is where you poop. To poop, you push, like this” and I made an expression like I was trying to go No. 2. 

You immediately grunted, showcasing your very best poo face, which looked surprisingly realistic. I asked, “Are you really going poo?”

“Yeah,” you responded. Then you stood and walked away, leaving your very visible mark at the bottom of your new toilet. 

The next night, as I was getting you ready for bed, I knocked over the humidifier in your room, spilling water all over the floor. 

“Oh, shit…” I murmured.  Immediately realizing what I said, I cringed and held my breath, hoping the new word would go unnoticed. 

You were laying on the floor with your mom, getting your diaper changed. A few seconds went by, then…

“Shhhit”

I turned your mom, thinking, “Oh, shit…”

When I was a toddler, probably a few years older than you, I was playing with my sisters and some rocket ships we had, when my sister Tricia called out, “There’s a meteor coming!” 

“Oh, shit!” I exclaimed. I guess my vocabulary hasn’t expanded all that much in the past thirty years. 

When my dad got home from work, that night, he washed my mouth out with soap. 

Afterwards he ask, “What do you have to say now?”

“Thank you,” I responded. 

He said in that moment he felt terrible, and decided to never try that type of punishment again. After all, it wasn’t like I had pulled that word out of thin air, I heard it from someone, just as you unfortunately heard it from me. 

A week has gone by since your first successful poo, and so far you’ve held off a repeat performance of potty time or trying out your new expression. The other day you did go streaking out of the bathroom, pausing by the front door just long enough to drop a duos. “Oh, shit,” I thought. But no worries, by the time I ran to the kitchen to grab some paper towels, the dog had successfully spit shinned the contaminated area.

The past few weeks were filled with quite a few “Oh, shit” moments. There was the day you wouldn’t stop slapping the dog… The morning you wouldn’t stop grabbing handfuls of dirt from our potted plants and throwing it on the ground, just so you’d have something to sweep up with your new broom… And the nights you wouldn’t stop throwing bowls of food off of your high chair… 

By the end of the week I was at work, feeling tired and sick, so your mom sent me a text message and a picture to cheer me up. The message said, “Now I know why I haven’t been feeling well all week,” and in the picture was her hand, holding a positive pregnancy test. 

“Oh, shit,” I thought. “We’re going to have another baby!” I was instantly happy, then felt sad, briefly, feeling that the new baby would take up too much of my time and result in me missing moments with you. Moments that result in scrubbing green smoothies from the ceiling, or removing entire rolls of soaking-wet toilet paper from the toilet bowl. But then I smiled, imagining how much fun it will be to watch you interact with your little brother or sister, and smirked as I wondered just how many “oh-shit” moments the two of you will create together. 

Congratulations, Arlo, you’re going to be a big brother—and an amazing one at that!

Love,

Dad

1-17-2014

The elephant in the room

25 Dec

Arlo,

There are things about you I’ll never forget. Like the first time I saw you, your first steps, and the first time you saw an elephant.

Last week we took to you to see the Christmas lights at the zoo, and while walking around we saw an elephant. You just starred wide-eyed, and I believe the exact thought running through your head, was, “That looks like an elephant, but it can’t possibly be… I’ve seen elephants in my books and they’re nowhere near that big. Elephants are the same size as dogs, right?”

When you finally realized it was in fact an elephant, your jaw slowly started to drop until your mouth was completely wide open; and there it remained until you started yelling jibberish to the elephant and flailing your arms.

You were so excited, and your reaction was unbelievably priceless. You’ll have all sorts of amazing perceptions about the world you live in, and if any of them are half as entertaining as taking you to the zoo, I cant’t wait to hear them.

You’re amazing.

Love,

Dad

12-25-13

The Sponge

22 Nov

Hello Mr. Smarty Pants,

We’ve already covered the fact that the number one thing people tell you about having a kid, is, “They grow up so fast.” The second thing on that list has to be, “Oh, they’ll learn.”

This response is typically used after a child has done something completely undesirable, like: pulling the cats tail and having the cat hiss and swat at them; throwing blocks at the dog and then getting run over by a 60-pound mutt retreating to the bathroom for shelter; or eating handfuls of dirt in the sand box.

But it is truly amazing how quickly you learn and apply your knowledge to the world around you. Apparently, at one point we told you that the pictures hanging in your playroom of Batman, Captain America, and Superman, were good guys. Now anytime you see a comic book, which are your current obsession, you flip through the pages pointing to each character, exclaiming, “Good guy!” You even call the evil villains good guys, which I take as a sign you see the best in everyone.

You’re now naming off colors, counting to three, and playing hide and seek (although you always hide in the same spot). You picked up our keys one day without us teaching you the word, and yelled out, “KEYS!” Then you walked over to the front door and attempted to place one of the keys in the knob. Everyday I’m more amazed at how much you understand me, and a little more conscious of the fact that I need to start filtering my thoughts, since you try to mimic everything that comes out of my mouth.

Ouch. OWCH! Stinky diaper, pee-eww. PEEWOO. Oh, that’s where it is… OH!

Daycare told us you’re really smart for your age. Then just last week a parent at the playground was shocked to learn you were only 14-months old, “He’s so advanced,” the mother said. But last night after your bath, you took the toilet paper off the roll and took a bite out of it like it was an ear of corn. You made a disgusted face, like you do every time you perform this action, then preceded to take two more, pausing to overact at how horrible it was between bites. Advanced, huh? Oh well, I guess you’ll learn.

Love,
Dad

11-22-13

Seasons Change

1 Nov

Hello Arlo,

Every time I turn around it seems like you’re bigger, and saying more and more words. It’s harder than ever to find time to write to you, since I’m so busy stomping around the house with you playing hide-n-seek, reading books, and watching you test out every kitchen utensil you can get your hands on.

I blinked, and October was over. We’ve had a beautiful fall, and it’s still lingering, but winter feels like it’s growing closer. Halloween was yesterday, and much to your approval, we dressed you up as a gorilla.

I look at holiday’s differently now, since you’ve been born. Instead of just acknowledging Halloween season was upon us, I thought of how I will explain to you what Halloween is.

To me, Halloween is a day where people dress up in costumes and go door to door and people give them candy; but to be honest, I’m not really sure why. I suspect I’ll run into this a lot as a parent. Explain things to you based on what I know, or think I know of the subject, without really having the full story.

So in an attempted to properly inform you of the holiday’s origins, I researched the meaning of Halloween. There was no simple explanation, but it seems to be a ridiculously- old pagan tradition used to remember the dead. In some countries, people decorate turnips as part of Halloween. In North America, we carve pumpkins.

I always have the grandest plans for carving my pumpkin. I imagine a really creative design, and picture the end result to be a beautifully carved Jack-o-lantern. But each year I quickly realize that my plan wasn’t fully thought out, and my design is neither creative nor original, nor does it look good once it’s illuminated. Your mom, on the other hand, has some pumpkin-carving skills.

The last few years I haven’t even carved a pumpkin, electing instead to hold you and insure you don’t get your hands on one of the carving knives. I figure with the rate you’re growing, the stage where you’ll want to cuddle on my lap will pass much quicker than the tradition of carving pumpkins.

So for know, I’ll happily sit and hold you. Then when you’re old enough to start dreaming up designs for your pumpkin, we’ll create an amazing Jack-o-lantern, together.

I love you so much, my little pumpkin head.

Love,

Dad

11-1-2013

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