Last month for your birthday, one of the gifts Mommy and I got for you was Dinosaur Train: Make A Match.
It’s the classic memory matching card game, but with a few twists… like the “Take Buddy” card.
The game comes with a little plastic action figure of Buddy, one of the characters from the TV show.
Whoever has Buddy at the end of the game gets a lot of extra bonus points, which in itself could lead to winning the game.
Of course, you don’t care about the points. For you, winning the game means not losing Buddy.
As Mommy and I learned, the game actually ends the moment that she or I draw the “Take Buddy” card and try to, as the card implies, take Buddy from you.
The youngest player starts with Buddy, so if we actually played by the rules, it would mean about 90 seconds into each game, the game would end… because you would get Buddy taken away from you.
So, our rules for the game mean that no matter what, Buddy is yours for the entire game. It’s just about matching the cards, and sometimes, you even use the kitchen tongs to pick up the cards and place them in your Tonka dump truck.
There will come a day when the rules will actually matter when we play family board games. But for now, just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no crying in Dinosaur Train: Make A Match.
And the reason there is no crying in this game is because we don’t play by the rules.
I think it’s safe to say we need to very slowly (!) work our way up to other classics such as Monopoly, which is all about taking away from the other players until they gradually wither away to nothing.
Yeah, we’ve still got a few years before we try that one out as a family.
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It’s no secret that I am perhaps the most… peculiar person at my office.
No, not just because I’m the token vegan, or the guy that refuses to use microwaves, or because I go mountain biking during my lunch break.
I’m also the guy that likes to unleash subliminal social experiments among my coworkers.
Last Friday, the new monthly coupon advertisements were delivered to the break room, featuring discounts for local businesses.
One of them is for a lodge-themed restaurant featuring scantily clad young women as the waitresses, who on the ad, all looked so happy to be wearing so little flannel. (Not to mention, the name of the restaurant is a play on words that is definitely not discreet about what part of the female body it is alluding to.)
I remember about a year ago, when word came out that the fairly new “breastaurant” chain was moving to the very Republican part of Nashville my office is located. There were people evidently trying to boycott that from happening.
As for me, the token Libertarian of the office, my stance was that if the free market financially supports a corny, degrading-to-women restaurant like that, then let it be.
Turns out, there are enough customers willing to support the place to keep it alive and well, because, afterall… “The food is really good there!” I am told.
Here’s where I’m going with this story: I am raising you to see women as… women. Not objects. I’m raising you to see them as somebody’s daughters.
Just to subliminally reinforce this concept to my coworkers, I printed out in size 10 font, the phrase “A.K.A. Somebody’s Daughters,” then cut it out and taped it underneath the restaurant’s logo and the picture of the uniformed models used for the ad.
When word finally got around this week who was behind the prank, because after all, everyone in the office saw those coupons laying there on the table all week, some were surprised it was me: A happily married 32 year-old man with a 3 year-old son.
I responded by saying, “What- did you assume it was an ultraconversative feminist?” (Whatever that means.)
Nope, it was a guy, who is raising his son to treat women with respect. I want to raise you as one less willing customer for a restaurant like that… no matter how good the “food” is.
On second thought, maybe I really am an ultraconservative feminist… if male Libertarians are allowed to be them?
P.S. This is one of those letters that is to be reserved for when you’re older. But while I’ve got it on my mind, I wanted to give you this “life advice” today and I’ll just bookmark it for when the time is right for you to hear it. In the mean time, enjoy the simple life of being a 3 year-old, please!
It was just a month ago that we celebrated your 3rd birthday with your best friend Sophie. I had pointed out the fact that your other friends who showed up to your party were all girls.
And for Sophie’s birthday party this past weekend at Shipwrecked Playhouse, the boys were unable to make it as well.
Here you are again in a situation where you’re the only boy, surrounded by girls.
Not that you minded, or even thought it was out of the ordinary.
In fact, you were quite preoccupied by the fact Sophie had told you earlier in the week at school that she had a surprise for you that you’d receive at her party.
The moment you sat down next to her as the cake was being cut, you politely yet very directly asked her, “What’d you get for me, Sophie?”
She didn’t tell you.
However, you patiently waited for her to open her gifts… knowing afterwards you could see what was in your goodie bag from her.
Sophie and your friend Madison both eagerly watched you open your goodie bag, as if that were just as important as the actual birthday kid opening her gifts.
You were happy: There was Play-Doh in there- which I am finding is like currency among 3 year-olds, as cigarettes are in prison.
Afterwards, I really enjoyed observing the way you played, versus the way your girl friends did.
While Sophie and Madison used the phone to repeatedly announce clean-up on aisle 7…
You drove the Lightning McQueen car around the indoor playground, exploring the ins and outs of the joint. Granted, you visited Sophie and Madison, by parking right in front of them as they played on the phone. You served as the sole, straight-faced audience member.
After a few minutes, you drove away without even the thought of giving them any applause.
You acted like a total boy the whole time. And they acted girls, accordingly.
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Back in those days, when you tried to say the word “cookie,” it came out as… a word I’m not going to say on record.
You didn’t have the ability to announce certain sounds, so a completely innocent word could end up being something that would be censored on cable TV.
These days, however, you can pronounce most sounds you need to and therefore, “accidental curse words” are less of an occurrence.
However, I’m picking up on what I call “the 3 year-old version of cursing.”
Today Mommy was out with a friend for a little while, as part of her monthly designated girlfriend time (my designated guy friend time was a few weeks ago when I went with some friends to see Thor: The Dark World… then Hunger Games: Catching Fire), so this afternoon I stayed home with you cleaning our “2 and a half” bathrooms.
It was time for your noontime nap, but I really wanted to get the cleaning out of the way before you went to sleep.
So I made you a deal…
You followed me to each of the bathrooms as I cleaned them. While I scrubbed the sinks, toilets, and tubs with Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Peppermint Soap, you read me stories from a book your aunt Jeneane recently mailed you for Christmas: Best-Loved Children’s Stories.
As I was kneeling down to clean the shower drain, I heard you say, “Poo you! I poke you in the eye!”
I paused for a moment, as I did my best to keep you from hearing me laugh.
Then I walked out of the bathroom doorway to come see which storyline could have motivated that kind of dialogue.
“The purple page, Daddy,” you explained as you flipped back a few pages, to show me the part in “Ali Baba” where a thief annoyingly questions a lady store worker.
I’m guesing it was she that told the thief, “Poo you! I poke you in the eye!”
What a clever curse from the mind of a 3 year-old. I mean, I don’t want you repeating that at school, where you probably heard it to begin with.
There’s stuff that, as great as she is, Mommy just isn’t designed to help me talk through and understand. And vice versa, I want her to hang out with her girlfriends, without you and me around, so she can get the encouragement she needs in a way that I’ll never be able to handle.
In the movie, Big Fish, the whole plot is rooted in the fact that a grown man with a child on the way, is attempting to find out who his own father really is.
His father (subconsciously) refused to meet his son on a deep, emotional level; instead the father seemed to only tell lavished versions of stories of his own life, so the son grew up never really even know who his dad was, in a way. The son therefore couldn’t really relate to his dad.
Yes, the father had always physcially provided for his son; no question there. But the father was, in essence, emotionally absent.
I vow to you: I’m going to be here for you emotionally, not just physically.
And I think a big part of that happening means that right now, I make a proclamation to you:
You can talk to me anytime, about anything.
It’s not enough that you know that. You need to be reminded… so I will do that too.
I realize I will not always be the first fellow guy you want to talk to about certain things, but please know you can talk to me, whether it’s to have someone to listen, or somone to give you season advice, or both.
I’m here. I’m not like the dad on the movie Big Fish.