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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Road Rage or Plastic Car Rage?

 The Bubs and his buddy Rutger were riding on their plastic cars one night at the house. Rutger drove the race car while the Bubs managed the fire engine. They began circling/racing around the coffee table in the living room. However, it soon became more fun to bump their cars together.

After every bump between cars, they both shouted, "bump!" I'm not sure which was more fun for them, the vocalization of the word "bump" or the physical bumping itself. I'm going to guess that both acts brought near-equal enjoyment for both toddlers.

Instead of repeating myself for the boys to stop their bumping "before somebody gets hurt," I decided to take a hands-on approach. I jumped on the bicycle (with training wheels). This move caught them both by surprise.

I was able to move them from "bumping" back to racing. Not only that, but I was in the lead most of the time. This only made them want to catch up to me. Rutger felt confident that he could overtake me on the turns. He must have noticed that I had steering troubles. My handle bars kept hitting my knees thereby preventing me from turning quickly (very painful actually!).

Instead of overtaking me on the corners like Rutger did, the Bubs chose to take me out of the race completely. He just jumped off his ride, grabbed hold of my shirt and tried to pull me from my bike. He did this three times before I gave up.

It was an interesting solution and I am still trying to figure out why the Bubs resorted to such aggressive acts of competition. I may never find out. It just may be a mystery for years to come.

Can I blame Thomas the Steam Engine for this behavior?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ear Phones and Technology (and Generation Gap)

 The Bubs was introduced to earphones. He first put one up to his ear. Then tried the second. After a few seconds, he went back to the one earphone and stayed with the one while watching Thomas the Steam Engine on his mom's iTouch.

It was an instant lover affair between the Bubs and the technology. He quietly whispered, "Beep, beep," apparently after each time Thomas tooted his horn. I couldn't hear the cartoon, so that's a guess. Although he later shared the second ear phone with me. That was a sign of sweetness that will get him far in life.

Soon he was kick'in back enjoying his cartoon as his mom and I just watched him watching Thomas. His mom and I looked at each other and laughed. We must have been laughing at his ease with the new technology. It seemed so intuitive to the Bubs. Operating a hand held computer, which was playing a video, while also finagling two ear phone pieces was simple for him. It was as if he'd been doing it for years. I think that I had more issues to hurdle when I watched my first program on the same piece of hardware a few years ago. It took me a little longer to grasp, but that may be because I didn't grow up with it. He's already grasping the concept of a touchscreen when I was fussing with rabbit ear antennas as a kid.

How am I going to teach the Bubs about being grateful later on? He's not even going to be able to imagine having to maneuver the rabbit ear antenna in order to get a clear picture. The useless rabbit-ear-antenna explanation will likely be followed by useless phrases like, "When I was your age, I had to blah, blah, blah." I hope that I don't overdue it with that garbage, because he's not going to understand my world. And I won't understand his.

Maybe I'll just hold back some of his future weekly allowance.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Night Blues in Mystic

 The Bubs hung out with friends and family at an outdoors blues concert next to the Mystic river tonight. It was one of the first times that he voluntarily sat in his stroller. He enjoyed himself running around our blanket and chairs, but he surprised us choosing to climb back into his stroller.

Perhaps it was the mellow rhythm from the combination of an upright bass and harmonica? Or maybe it was the cool evening summer breeze blowing in off of the river? The crowd was relaxed and there were no Moshe pits being created. This was blues. I think the Bubs felt the mood of the concert goers and the music and just went with it.

Our friend, Lisa, took the Bubs for a ride in his stroller to a nearby ice cream parlor. It was just over the river's drawbridge. The Bubs was excited. Lisa and the Bubs left and returned a short time later. All went well (Lisa has experience). However, he was no longer wanting to just chill in his stroller. His ice cream was just kicking in. So we got him to do some dancing... or should I say jumping. He jumped and rolled around to the festive music in the air.

I took him around the grassy area where everybody sat and I brought him along the river. Between the lawn and the water was a boardwalk, where some people were dancing. The Bubs knew that was where I least wanted him, so that is where he chose to hang out. I decided to just make sure that he didn't go near the water. As he walked, I walked. As he ran, I ran. When he stepped one way, I mirrored his every move. He apparently caught on to my strategy. He somehow knew that I would leave him free to explore if he didn't go near the boardwalk's edge by the river.

I was happy that we seemed to have come to an "understanding" without saying a word to each other... like some sort of Jedi mind control. I began thinking how I could use this power to get him back to the stroller and see if he'd be interested in just chilling again (I was tired).

 In hindsight, I realize that I was being hustled by a two-year-old.  All the time I thought I was managing him by the water, he was really managing me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Haircut

 The Bubs didn't know that he was about to have a haircut yesterday. His mom did this while I clicked pictures. I know that this is a blog for Stay at Home Dads and the title suggests that all child rearing is handled by me. However, a good (smart) Stay at Home Dad knows when to just click the pictures. ;)

This was one of those occasions.

With Thomas the Tank Engine playing on the computer (in front of the Bubs) and butcher paper (to catch the hair) covering the floor below, the hair clipping commenced. Good thing we had the Japanese version of Thomas playing, because this completely grabbed the Bub's attention. However, he didn't like the already-cut-hair falling on his skin. He swatted the loose hair off his person like pesky mosquitoes after a summer rain. We gave him an ice pop in hopes that it would draw his attention away from the falling hair. This only complicated matters when the hair stuck to his ice pop. He doesn't like loose hair in his mouth either.

He's a lot like his father in that regard. When I find a hair in my food, I lose my appetite immediately - no matter how hungry I was. We rinsed the ice pop off, but decided to nix a second attempt and tossed the ice pop. We didn't need it anyway, Thomas speaking Japanese was doing the trick.  No need to fix a situation that was not broken.

We clipped more hair. He was soon done. I ran him upstairs to the already-drawn bath to free him of the loose hair clinging to his body. His mom swept up the cut hair and waited for the end result to come back downstairs. We did and she admired her work (for a good long time!).

This may be the best haircut (out of the 5 or 6 total) that the Bubs ever got. And it didn't cost us a dime - just an ice pop.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day and the Bubs

 On this Father's Day, the Bubs got a new swing. We hung it on a tree limb in the backyard. I learned how to tie a few knots during this project. I had no idea there were so many ways to tie a knot in a rope. I'm pretty sure I used a Running Bowline for all the knots (actually hung two swings - four knots).

The Bubs loves swinging. He calls it "swing-a!" He laughs when pushed higher and then says, "sorry." I'm not sure what the "sorry" means, but perhaps he's just being polite and recognizing my hard work (as I patiently wait for his return flight in order to give another push). He doesn't know how to kick (when swinging) and maintain his own momentum, but I try an explain by bending his knees back (when swinging backward) and kicking his feet out front (when swinging forward). We did this a few times, but no such luck yet. He just laughs at me as I run next to him, bending his legs as he swings.

Pretty soon he's going to graduate to the flat-board, belt or disc swing and leave the baby-seat swing. He's probably ready for these types of swings, but I'm not. My fear is that when this transition occurs, he'll then begin thinking about launching himself from the swing as it extends forward and landing somewhere. He'll do this again and again while trying to beat his longest landing. I will be wondering why he is doing this and doesn't he understand the danger. My mind races, but we're not here yet. This kid still has to learn the basics like holding onto the rope and kicking forward (and backward) and balance...

I guess when it gets to the point where I have to grease up the Bubs legs in order to "slide" them into the leg holes, then I'll retire the baby-seat swing and move onto one of those previously mentioned rocket-launching-parent-heart-attack swings.

Or... maybe, I'll just cut down all the limbs on the trees in our yard.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bubs: Big Man on Campus

 The Bubs and I took a trip back to my alma mater, Wilkes University. We walked through campus and into  Breiseth Hall. We rode the elevator to the second floor and then realized that we needed to head up one more floor. Back into the elevator we went and on up to the third floor. We walked down to the political science department and walked in. The Bubs met one of my professors. I chatted with Dr. Baldino as he smiled down at the Bubs, who was exploring the department office. During our conversation, I learned that Dr. B's kids used to attend elementary school within walking distance from his office. He said that his kids would walk to his office after school, where they would hang out until he was done with work for the day. Prof Baldino said he missed those days. His kids are much older now and on their own.

I was interested in his story, but more interested in the noticeable expression on his face as he reminisced. It struck me that I was in the midst of great memories of my own for another day.

The Bubs, however, was busy spilling the paper clips on the desk of the department's secretary. He was about as interested in my conversation with my former professor as a two-year-old could be.  We said our goodbyes and left the poly sci department office.

We walked through campus on our way out and I decided to click a few pictures. I realized it's not a very big campus and that it seemed so much larger in my memories. I looked around for something interesting, even memorable, to click a picture of. I felt like I was surrounded by opportunities to capture, but couldn't decide. Did I want to click a pic of the building where I took most of my classes or the statue of John Wilkes (of whom the university is named after); or even just something that made the school unique? I then found my photo opportunity:

The Bubs, crouched down near the stroller, looking at the ants on the sidewalk. The same stretch of sidewalk that I traveled on to and from class... day after day until I earned my degree.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bubs vs Water Sprinkler

 The Bubs discovered a water sprinkler on campus today. The sprinkler head rotated clockwise and the Bubs soon figured it out. He hid behind me at some points, but he soon understood when to approach the water's source.

I can't say that he that figured out when to run... just yet.

As we initially approached the water sprinkler, the sound caught our attention. At first glance, he just pointed and said, "water." I encouraged him to take a closer look. I even edged myself closer to the sprinkler head so that the Bubs would follow. It worked. As soon as he saw the first round of water get dropped in front of us, he was sold. Although not sure how the whole process worked, he walked around me and stepped onto the wet sidewalk. He found a puddle to dip his train "Rosie" (from Thomas the Train) in.

Then the water drops came. He was shocked, but happy as he yelled and ran towards me. He hid behind me in order to study the sprinkler's motion. This process occurred a few times. He soon began connecting that when the water drops passed, he could quickly approach the sprinkler head. However, he would get sidetracked with the puddles and then get caught under the following wave of water drops.

Water sprinkler: 1; Bubs: 0. We'll be back again next week and see if the Bubs can outsmart the sprinkler head.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Swing

The Bubs found this swing lots of fun. We gave him a try at it sitting upright, but he was not grasping the concept of "hanging on tight." A few more times should expose him to the idea (and hopefully no falling backwards). However, he has found a way to have fun swinging another way (pictured). I was impressed that he was able to stop himself without losing balance. Not too long ago he would have fallen over as soon as his feet touched the ground. This is good practice for sitting the other way. He's learning.

Since this is not my backyard (pictured), I'm going to have to hang a swing soon. I think I have a tree limb in mind (and not too high either).

I'm dreading the day that I will have to climb a tree and build a tree house for this kid.
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