Archive for April, 2016

A Letter To My Unborn Daughter (Part Five)

April 29, 2016

I’m going to do my best as your father, but if there’s one thing five years of being a father to your brother has taught me, it’s that my best is far from perfect.  I’ll keep working at it though.

In the meantime, I’ll end with more or less the same advice I gave your brother in my first letter to him.  Be sure to cut your mother, Lala, and your brother some slack too, they’re going to need it just as much as I will, and watch out for those people who think it’s funny to tell outrageous stories to children just to see if you’ll believe them.  If someone ever tries to tell you there’s no peanut butter left in the world because a giant peanut better eating black hole has sucked it all away, the Universal perfect child response to that is a disdainful “Nu-uh!” and a scornful look; don’t kick them!  Until you’re old enough to make the determination on your own, just come to me and let me decide if they need to be kicked or not.

There’s a lot more I want to say, but it can wait for now.  Good luck, daughter.

I’m pulling for you.

A Letter To My Unborn Daughter (Part Four)

April 28, 2016

But enough about other people’s problems for now.  There’ll be time enough later for us to discuss how not to make their problems your problems . . . or barring that, how to give them a new set of problems . . .

Okay . . . sorry about that, what you saw there was my overprotective streak trying to kick in again; I’m working on having that more in check by the time you get here.  If it makes it any better, I have a tendency to do that with everyone who I care about.

That doesn’t really make it any better, does it?

I know that too, which is why I’ve been working on overcoming this particular “smoking habit” of mine even before your brother was born . . . and I still have a long way to go.

What I’m trying to say is that you’re probably going to have to cut me some slack on this one, kiddo.

A Letter To My Unborn Daughter (Part Three)

April 27, 2016

I want you to know that while a lot of fathers fret over having daughters, I’m not one of them.  In the long run I’ll end up worrying less about whom you kiss than I will about successfully teaching you to use proper restraint in . . . “enlightening” those who think they may do anything to or with you without your express permission.  In those cases, whenever possible I want you to first try being diplomatic, but I want you to always remember that freedom from harassment is not only your right, but your left, and if necessary, you can also use kicks.  However you end up handling the situation though, I want you to be smart about it.  We can talk about this subject in more detail a little further down the line though.

I wish I didn’t feel the need to address this matter with you so early on, but given the culture we live in, this one of those “differences” in my lines of thought that I mentioned earlier.  It’s not that I’m not teaching your brother how to stand up for and, if necessary, defend himself as well, but he’s likely to need to do so for different reasons than you will . . . and to admit a sad truth, probably not as often, so that’s why this topic is stronger in my thoughts at this point with you than it was for him.

For what it’s worth, I’m sorry for that.  Rest assured it’s a problem with the culture, not you!

A Letter To My Unborn Daughter (Part Two)

April 26, 2016

So . . . you’re going to be a girl.

Good luck with that.

It’s not easy being a girl.  I don’t have firsthand experience with it myself,  of course, but I’ve spent enough time with and around girls to know that.  It’s not easy being a boy either, but like I told your brother, both paths have their advantages and hardships, and I figure in the end they more or less even out.

(And don’t worry, I won’t make it a habit to keep linking back to the letters I wrote your brother.  I’m just trying to underscore how much my thoughts now are running parallel to my thoughts back then.  We’re already starting to get to the differences though.)

A Letter To My Unborn Daughter (Part One)

April 25, 2016

Well, daughter . . . here we are.

Figuratively speaking, I mean.

Much of what I said in my introduction in my first letter to your brother still applies, particularly the part about understanding if the timing of this letter seems odd to you.  Like I said to him as well, I plan to live a long time, but sometimes plans do change so . . . . here we are.

At least you have a name I can call you by while I write this; your brother didn’t at the point when I wrote him his first letter.  This is in no way favoritism, it’s just that for some reason I always thought that you’d be the first to join us, so I had your name picked out far in advance, but you and your brother certainly showed me, now didn’t you?

But Only When They’re Both Old Enough To Roll Their Eyes At Me

April 22, 2016

So how am I going to address my daughter?

That’s easy.  If I can say, “Son, we need to talk,” to my son, I can say “Daughter, we need to talk,” to my daughter.  That was always my plan, it just struck me how odd it is that that’s not the norm, albeit not as odd as the whole “princess/prince” thing.

Of course during less formal times I’m sure to use a generous mixture of my preferred gender-neutral kid addresses of “kiddo,” “champ,” and/or “slugger” as I see fit just as I do with my son since I’m already in the habit.

. . .

And once, just once (probably), I plan to address my daughter and my son as “lesser spawn” so I can bid them to “attend your creator and master.”

A Trick Which Requires Multiple Sticks

April 21, 2016

Upon further reflection I realized that it sounds strange to me to address my daughter as “daughter” because in the gestalt culture I grew up in, daughters are generally addressed with pet names like “princess” instead.  And even though I suspect we could easily find offensive elements in how that cultural habit developed, before anybody get too offended by this, I’d like to point out that it would sound equally strange to me to address my son as “prince.”

So which is worse?  That sons are addressed as “son,” but not as “prince,” or daughters are addressed as “princess” but not as “daughter”?  It seems to me that somehow everybody ends up with the short end of the stick on this one.

It Just Sounds Strange

April 20, 2016

While the L Naming Issue has been resolved, there is one more ripple that came out of that issue.  One of my original thoughts was since I frequently address L(K) as “son” to clarify when I’m talking to him as opposed to about him, I could do something comparable with L(A) . . . but then I realized something.

Maybe this is just me, but while it sounds perfectly natural to me to say, “Son, we need to talk,” saying “Daughter, we need to talk,” makes me want to raise my voice so I can be heard all the way from the 1800’s.

Just one of those quirks of language and culture over time, I guess.

Dew We Really Have To Do This At This Time Of Morning, Son?

April 19, 2016

People always seems to like portraying children as being as enthralled by “the wonder of discovery.”  Funny how they never show a child’s horrified offense to discover (yet again) that grass in the morning can be wet and cold upon bare feet . . .

Um . . . Phrasing, Son . . . Phrasing

April 18, 2016

Over the weekend my son, L(K), brought me his latest toy and asked me if I could put batteries in it for him.

“Sure,” I said.  “Let’s just get this panel off and see what kind of batteries it takes.  I’m guessing Double A’s, but we’ll know for sure in a moment.”  A moment later I added, “Yep, Double A’s are definitely what goes in there.”

Craning his head around to get a better look, L(K), concurred with my assessment.  “Those look like Double A holes to me too!” he chirped.