Archive for January, 2014

Guard Your Face And Groin In Particular

January 17, 2014

I’ve alluded to this before, but it’s time to say it specifically:

Something that nobody (but me) warns you about before you become a parent is just how much of your attention you’ll end up devoting ensuring that your child doesn’t hurt you too badly.

And no, I do not mean emotionally.

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This Bodes Ill

January 16, 2014

So the other day, son, can of Play-Doh in hand, you marched up to me and asked, “Daddy open?”  Naturally I was in the middle of doing something which made your question not a particularly well-timed one, but that’s par for this course, so I didn’t give that any thought.  But I was a little perplexed what had brought you and your Play-Doh from the family room (where I knew your mother and Lala were sitting) to ask me instead. . . in the bathroom.  Accordingly, I made a mental note to ask this very question of either your mother or Lala as soon as time allowed . . . and opened your can of Play-Doh for you.

It turns out, of course, that you had asked your mother, and she had told you no because she wasn’t quite ready yet to guard against any “Play-Doh being ground into the carpet” incidents.  Upon being told this, without missing a beat, you turned and went straight toward where you knew I was to ask me . . . in the bathroom.  This behavior is stereotypical of childhood for a reason, so you doing this is a developmental milestone, so congratulations on that (sort of), but that’s not really the reason why I’m telling you this.

You see, once I learned the backstory behind your request, I asked your mother and Lala why they let you get away with such an obvious ploy.  “Because,” I was told, “once we realized what he was doing, we were too busy laughing for either of us to stop him.”

Heavy Thoughts (Follow-up)

January 15, 2014

And yes, son, that means I’m working to unlearn that wrong lesson even as I type this.  It’s taking time though, time I’d rather be spending learning any number of right lessons . . . or simply in spending time just enjoying life, a lesson in and of itself, come to think.

In that same vein, here’s another lesson:

Just because I have made it a habit of learning lessons in the hardest and most roundabout way possible on more than one occasion, that doesn’t make it a good idea for you to emulate me in that regard.  Put another way, learn from my mistakes, son, and learn early that sometimes the best path really is the easiest and/or the most direct one.  If you do, you’ll spare yourself some hassles down the road, and I’d like that.

A lot.

Heavy Thoughts

January 14, 2014

This morning, son, as I watched you play happily with “noisy Thomas” (A motorized Thomas the Tank Engine), I was struck by the thought that this was one of those heartwarming moments I was supposed to treasure.  So why, I asked myself, was I instead feeling pensive?

The answer came easily enough as I watched noisy Thomas chuff around the track on his way toward the “Gordon’s Hill” your mother had included in the layout.  Now Gordon’s Hill was a challenge I knew noisy Thomas could surmount, albeit with difficulty, but only if he wasn’t hauling any freight.  Experience had taught me that he could only barely make it up the incline alone, the addition of even one other car made his ascent practically impossible . . . and more than one made it definitively so.

Naturally, you wanted him to pull no fewer than four cars.

Don’t learn that from me, son.  Please.  It’s the wrong lesson.

Otherwise . . . Splat!

January 13, 2014

I use the phrase “in and of itself” fairly often, usually as part of the sentence, “That habit does no harm in and of itself.”

I’m frequently misunderstood though.

Usually when I’m saying that, the example I’m thinking of is jumping out of a flying airplane, a habit that, in and of itself, isn’t likely to cause any harm provided you have a way to stop before you hit the ground.

Feelings (Part Two)

January 10, 2014

Accepting that is part of accepting that you have emotions, but it can still come as a surprise.

It doesn’t have to though.

As a rule of thumb, it helps to keep in mind that because emotions linger, the tendency is to feel the same way toward someone or something as you did the last time you had an emotionally significant interaction with them or it.  It may be a fleeting feeling, and if enough time has passed, the emotions may have become muted, but only rarely will they be completely not present.  It may have been decades or more, but if you parted company with someone on good terms, the odds are you’ll be pleased to see them again, and if your parting was unpleasant, you’ll probably feel your feelings from that moment even if you’re also pleased to see them again for unrelated reasons.

Emotions can be tricky like that.

Feelings (Part One)

January 9, 2014

Emotions linger.

It’s one of those facts of life that everybody knows even as they disagree on exactly how and how much they linger . . . but emotions linger.  Anyone who doubts this need only find a smell from their childhood, the smell of crayons or Play-Doh perhaps, to feel a surge of emotion from their youth.  Or perhaps, as someone I know discovered recently, they need only be so pressed for time that out of desperation they make themselves the first peanut butter and jelly sandwich they have ever made as an adult to discover anew that emotions linger, waiting to be released, sometimes by the most unexpected of triggers.

Of course, not all these triggers release pleasant emotions.

Even When It’s NOT Innuendo

January 8, 2014

I don’t care what anybody else says, sometimes the sexiest thing a woman can whisper to you, particularly in the morning, is “Would you like to sleep in?”

And Then *I* Had Something To Write About

January 7, 2014

Sometimes it’s hard to sit down and write.  That’s no joke, that’s a fact.  It’s also a fact that sometimes it helps to have other people around to encourage you when things are difficult . . . and sometimes you find nothing but discouragement (usually unintentional) in the company of others.

And sometimes you get both effects at once.

As I sat down to write this, I had a lot of things I knew I could write about, but I wasn’t coming up with anything that really satisfied me.  At the same time, I knew another writer of my acquaintance was getting ready to sit down and write as well.  I was still mulling over and rejecting topics when I found out they were done with their project, a piece on mediation as an aid to focus.

I’m not going lie, this stung my ego a little . . . twice.  Once for them finishing before I’d even started, then again for their chosen topic.  Regardless, I managed to be gracious enough to compliment them on their completion, and to ruefully confess that I was having trouble focusing today.

“Oh, me too!” they assured me.  “That’s why I wrote what I did. I felt myself hugely resisting any kind of focus, so I figured I’d at least force myself to write about it, since I couldn’t do it!”

Go Ahead And Laugh, But It Really Does Help

January 6, 2014

If you find yourself in doubt of what to do next when facing a challenge which has been deliberately crafted for you to overcome, just ask yourself, “What would be the most annoying way they would expect me to overcome this?”