March 31, 2010

Museum Trip

To further advance our cause that we are, indeed, pretty great parents, we took Lil Sippy Cup to the Museum of Natural History today.

Walking among the various fossilized remains and doing my best to avoid the terrifying Blue Whale exhibit, I was lost in a swirl of memories, vividly remembering my previous trips through these same halls.

I was in a deeply pensive mood and, looking down at my son, hoping to share this tender moment with him, imagining that one day he'd be able to do this with his own son, I quickly realized that he was bored out of his mind and desperately trying to free his hand so that he could run away.

I tried my best to astonish him with the sheer awesomeness surrounding him, pointing out the sharks, turtles, elephants and dinosaurs that were encircling us.  His reaction was, to say the least, a bit underwhelming.

Soon after, however, I was able to find 3 distinct things that did astound him. 

I present these to you, in ascending order of preference, as announced by Lil Sippy Cup himself on the ride home:

3. "The window"

2. "The movie theater"

1. "The water"

Sometimes, the hardest part about being a parent is knowing when your child will be more impressed by a water fountain than by a billion year-old bird dragon. 

Overall though, it was a pretty awesome day...

A Giant Amongst Toddlers

Yes, I'll admit it, this photo is an optical illusion.  In the real world, Lil Sippy Cup never stands this still.

March 30, 2010

Buckets of Fun

Even at a much younger age, Lil Sippy Cup would find ways to get into anything and everything.

Soon after finding his way into anything and everything, Lil Sippy Cup would often find himself stuck in there.

Pirate Booty

I just woke up to my son standing over me, staring at me through his mini-telescope.

Me (groggily rubbing my eyes): "Good morning."

Lil Sippy Cup (still staring through the telescope): "Hi!"

Me: "You're naked."

Lil Sippy Cup: "No I'm not!  I'm a pirate!"

I already know what kind of day today is going to be.

March 29, 2010

Style Timeout - Clarks Desert Boot

The Clarks Desert Boot is my go-to boot for any casual occasion. As noted on the Clarks Timeline, they were created in 1950 and "...inspired by the crepe-soled boots worn by British officers in World War II." They are generally suede or leather and feature the easily identifiable crepe sole. They come in a ton of different colors and patterns and, most recently, have been featured in several cross-collaborations from different designers and boutiques.

Here is a photo of a pair I own in Sand Suede:
Photo Courtesy of Clarks

From the beginning, you need to decide if you plan on keeping the boots in pristine condition (which requires careful care and maintenance) or if you will let them collect random scuffs and spots of dirt.  To me, one of the best parts about the boots though is that they actually end up looking better the dirtier they get, each stain becoming a footnote referencing a previous day or night of fun.  As I have learned from first-hand experience, this is a quality that is rare in men's shoes.

The boots are incredibly comfortable, with a soft and supportive interior, and can withstand the relentless abuse caused either by city streets or, as in my case, the local playground.  They easily transition from day to night, going great with both jeans and khakis, and are easily paired with an oxford or plaid shirt. 

A word of warning though. As the name implies, these boots were inspired by those used in desert combat; meaning they were, and continue to be, designed to tackle sand.  As such, if you wear these on a snowy/sleety/rainy typical Northeast wintry day, they will quickly turn into the most stylish pair of skis ever used on a metropolitan sidewalk. Be careful.

Overall though, I love these boots and would suggest that any similarly style-conscious dad go and try on a pair for himself.

Side Quests

Let's start with a simple fact: I have no professional experience in the world of fashion.

What I do have, nevertheless, is a sincere appreciation of clothes that has developed through years of experimenting with my own personal style.

Now, as a dad, my style continues to evolve; sometimes through an actual, pragmatic need, like learning that your toddler will not only make a complete and utter mess of his own clothes but will include your outfit in the mayhem as well.  Other times, it comes through the realization that, while certain items are beautifully tailored and impeccably hand-crafted, paying $500 for anything that does not play a Blu-Ray movie is no longer economically sensible for me.

Either way, when my son was born, I made a promise to myself (and to those who choose to keep me in their entourages) that I would not become one of those dads that just seems to "give up" on making any kind of presentable appearance because, quite frankly, he has already successfully mated with the opposite sex and, therefore, all of his biological goals have been accomplished.

Does this mean I wear tailored suits to the playground?  Of course not.  Does this mean that I never wear sweat pants?  Of course not.  Does this mean I shop carefully?  Looking at stitching details while taking into consideration things like cut, fit, materials used, patterns and colors?  You're getting warmer. 

While the suggestions I make will come from personal experience, I would like to say that these suggestions and pieces of unprofessional advice are not just for "dads".  I think men of all ages and varying paternal responsibilities will be able to appreciate what I have to say.

With all of that in mind, stay tuned for my first review, which will be posted later today.

And no worries, as promised when I first started writing, Lil Sippy Cup will continue to take up the majority of my time and, therefore, of my posts.  He wouldn't have it any other way.  And, quite frankly, neither would I.

Sky's The Limit

As a parent, you never want to set any limits on your child's imagination, their dreams, or their aspirations, no matter how lofty they may seem.  You can come up with hundreds of different famous quotes which directly relate this same bit of wisdom.

With this in mind, I do my best to never say the phrase "You can't do that" to my son.

Unless, of course, he's standing on top of the dining room table, with a whisk in one hand and my wallet in the other.  Then I don't feel so bad telling him he can't do that.

March 28, 2010

Weekend Witness Protection Program

Sometimes, I am just a witness to the adventures. 

On the weekends, my son likes to take advantage of his mother's presence and make her privy to his newest interests, latest scabs, and various opinions.  Being a teacher, she knows how to actively channel his energy into productive outlets and he enjoys these activities immensely.  She'll count with him, read to him, play his board games with him and he is, generally, an amiable and enthusiastic participant.

Usually, I watch them when they're playing together, feeling happy and proud but, at the same time, confused, wondering where the weekday terrorist I've come to know and love has disappeared to.

That's why it is so awesome when, finally, he reappears.

Like today, for example.  Here is a transcript of the dialogue that just took place.

Lil Sippy Cup (shouting, from the bathroom): "Ma! Mom! Mommy!"

Mommy: "What is it baby?"

Lil Sippy Cup (giggling): "You've got to come and see this!"

Now, as I watch her walking back and forth from the kitchen with handfuls of paper towels, a bucket, and a mop, I realize that being a witness to his adventures is safer, a whole lot more enjoyable and it sometimes means I won't have to clean up pee from the bathroom floor.

The Quiet Contest

The rules were straightforward.  "Who can stay quiet the longest?"

The prize was reasonable.  Five dollars and the thrill of victory.

We shook on the bet, making the contest legally binding.

I stared at him.  He stuck his tongue out.  I laughed.  He won.

Anything is possible in this world when a 28 year-old man can lose a Quiet Contest to his 3 year-old son.

March 27, 2010

Hindsight Bias

My son has spent the last 20 minutes wrestling a pillow.  He is kicking and punching it into submission, shouting in some strange language I do not recognize nor comprehend.

As I sit here, watching him deliver several uppercut and roundhouse combinations, I realize that I'll always remember this moment.

Either as "The Exact Moment when I Knew He Would Be a Mixed Martial Arts Champion" as I clap from outside the ring.  Or as "The Exact Moment when I Knew This Would Be a Problem" as I sign him out of in-house suspension in kindergarten.

Child Labor Laws

Just out of curiosity, do child labor laws apply when the "child" in question is your own? 

They probably do, right?  Yeah, that's what I thought.

March 26, 2010

Forever Young

I'm kind of hoping his wish comes true...

Mission Accomplished

Every so often, we like to re-affirm the fact that we are, indeed, two of the most awesome parents in the world.

Tonight, we did this with a random and unexpected trip to Toys "R" Us.

I fully expected the boy to lose his mind but, thankfully, he behaved himself and politely asked for what he wanted.  Granted, his shopping list included every single toy in the store but, at the very least, he was polite with his requests.

Even better than his behavior?  The fact that he didn't steal anything.  Trust me.  I checked.

"They have books here?!"  Yeah, I didn't know that either.

Stunned silence

"I think I like everything.  Dad, I want them.  Please?"

The Arts & Crafts of War

As I was cleaning up the kitchen, I came upon an empty container of orange juice and an empty plastic bottle of soda.  In an effort to make his days more engaging and educational, I thought it might be a good idea to put these items to good use by sitting down with my son for some "Arts & Crafts" time.  I took out the safety scissors, glue sticks, several sheets of colorful construction paper and his crayons, thinking to myself "You're an awesome dad".

As I sat staring at the orange juice container, wondering how I could turn it into a bird feeder or a basket of yarn or something, I saw my son grab the plastic bottle of soda and turn it upside-down.  He then adjusted his grip on the bottle neck and, while looking at me directly in the eyes, popped me on the head with it.  Twice.

Stunned, but laughing, I shouted "Dude!  What did you do that for?" 

That's when he explained to me that he had made a "sword".

A clever sense of imagination is a dangerous thing in the hands of a 3 year-old.

Banana Stickers

My son is a big fan of bananas.  This is a part of his diet that I whole-heartedly support and encourage.  What my son is not a big fan of, however, are the stickers fruit companies place on the banana peel.  As a matter of fact, he will refuse to eat any banana that does not abide by his "No-Sticker-On-The-Peel" policy.

I tried to explain to him that since, technically, he does not even eat the peel, it shouldn't matter whether there is a promotional sticker on it or not.  He, in return, sighed patiently and said "Daddy, the stickers are no good for me" and walked away with an apple instead.

I learned two important things this morning: (1) I will need to pre-screen all bananas before placing them in the kitchen and (2) there is a good chance my son has actually eaten a banana peel sticker in the past.

March 25, 2010

Paternal Instinct

I have a pretty good sense of paternal instinct.  It’s like a little voice that says things like "Hey, he's been quiet for too long, you might want to check up on him" or "Clearly, his mother would not approve of this particular physical stunt". 

Tonight, my instinct said to me, "Hey, you know what?  Giving him pieces of chocolate and marshmallows at 9:45pm?  Probably not such a hot idea.  I'm just saying."

I would advise that everyone listen to their instincts. Based not so much on the scientific theories that our instincts keep us safe but, rather, based on the fact that our instincts keep 3 year-old little boys from completely losing their minds right before bedtime.

Diner Surprise

This morning, as a treat, my son and I went to the diner to eat breakfast.  He behaved like a perfect little gentleman, sitting quietly in the booth and coloring while we waited for our order of silver dollar pancakes.  On our way out, he even charmed his way into a lollipop from the hostess when we paid our bill.  I was very proud of him. 

When we got home, as I was getting him undressed and thanking him for being so awesome, I found a fork from the diner in his jacket pocket.  Why did he take the fork?  I'm not sure.  But I hope you understand why I'll be frisking him whenever we leave restaurants.

Studying the menu

Keeping busy

Pancakes + Apple Juice = Happy Toddler

Plotting his caper

Serenity Prayer

We drove Mommy to work this morning.  We live in Queens.  She teaches in Brooklyn.  Its roughly 1 hour or so each way, depending on the traffic.  On the return trip home, my son seized the opportunity provided by the general peace and quiet of the morning drive to deliver a lecture entitled "A Discussion Regarding All of the Things, Cars, Trucks, Planes, People, Animals, Trees and Colors I Can See Out of the Car Window".  I believe its part of an on-going series but, since he did not allow any interruptions or follow-up questions, I can't be too sure.

March 24, 2010

What I Learned Today

Today, I learned that when my son and I are in two different rooms and I ask him "Hey champ, what are you doing?" and he says "Nothing!" what he really means is "I'm coloring the walls with sidewalk chalk!"

Mr. Awesome

Sometimes, when my son is busy doing the little things he does best (like watching cartoons while dancing on top of the coffee table), I like to look at pictures like the one I posted below and remind myself that, yeah, he is pretty awesome.

By the way, he stopped dancing on the coffee table.  Now he's busy dismantling the couch.

Son of the Morning

This is what I wake up to on most mornings.

For the record, he goes to sleep with his clothes on. 

I still haven't quite figured out how he wakes up in a semi-nude state.

March 23, 2010

Piggy Bank vs. Checking Account

Out of curiosity, earlier this afternoon, my son and I opened up his piggy bank.  What was initially supposed to be a simple lesson in basic counting and numbers quickly turned into shock and amazement when I slowly realized that, without a doubt, he has more money in his piggy bank than I do in my Checking Account.  I've included a picture below to document my discovery. 

On a related note, my son may or may not be robbing banks on the weekends.  Just in case, I've taken the appropriate steps to obscure his identity.

A Balanced and Nutritious Breakfast

My son and I got into an argument this morning over what constitutes a healthy breakfast.  I offered him a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios.  He asked for some Doritos instead.  We stared at each other in silence for a few minutes.  Finally, he asked for some grapes and a small glass of apple juice.  I thanked him for being reasonable.

March 22, 2010

Hide and Seek

The game of "Hide and Seek" is only fun when both people playing know they are taking part in the game.  Otherwise, "Hide and Seek" quickly becomes "Missing Child" and the seeker suddenly debates internally which explanation his son's mother will most readily believe when she wonders how he managed to lose their child inside of a locked apartment.

The Start of a New Adventure

Being a first-time father is never easy.  For anyone.  Actually, being a father is never easy, whether its your first child or your 5th.  Regardless, 3 years ago, when I found out I was having a baby boy, the anticipated feelings of panic mixed with fear sprinkled with excitement came over me.  What no one could prepare me for, however, was the adventures that would come with each passing day as my wife and I tried to raise a functioning, intelligent, sociable and generally awesome member of society.

Recent events have found me at home, taking care of our little monster, on a full-time basis.  What originally started as funny Facebook status updates eventually blossomed into the idea for this blog.  A way to chronicle the daily debates and random adventures a 28 year-old man and his 3 year-old son can get into.

I would like to warn everyone and say that I will post other topics that interest me, particularly clothes and fashion, as I feel that, in general, most guys give up on maintaining any kind of decent appearance once they have mated succesfully with the opposite sex.  Hopefully, I can find a way to help them out with my humble suggestions and real-world experience.

Nevertheless, the majority of this site will be dedicated to detailing the conversations I have with my son, ranging from the merits and benefits of wearing clothes in front of guests to whether or not he should be standing up on his tricycle seat.