Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

Dear Jack,

Last Sunday in your Sunday School class, your teacher gave you and all the other kids a cross necklace. Needless to say, you were very serious about wearing it to preschool each day this week; nearly treating it with as much humanity as you do your stuffed animals.

Each day during your nap at school, I learned that you carefully placed your necklace in your cubby to keep it safe while you slept. You also explained to me how “the babies” in the younger class tried to take the necklace from you when they saw it.

You are seriously proud of that necklace!

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

Apparently there was some kind of “Mustache Day” at school yesterday, because you came home with a big decorative one. Mommy insisted you try it on for a picture. You easily agreed. It fit you very well.

This morning as I was getting you dressed for school, you showed me how you stuck the mustache on the closet door so the door could have a mustache.

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

You have now had your 2nd soccer game. You didn’t try even once to walk off the field early before the game ended.

The main goal at this point is still to get you to at least following the ball around with the rest of the kids.

This coming weekend will be a lot of fun for you as Nonna and Papa are driving up to see our new house for the first time since early February when they helped us move in.

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

Mommy and I are going out Saturday afternoon and night for my 34th birthday; which is actually next Monday.

So you’ll get to just hang out with them while Mommy and I go to the symphony, movies, and dinner in downtown Nashville.

I won’t be surprised if you wear both your cross necklace and mustache for them!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Cupcakes/Music Lessons/Upcoming Pensacola Road Trip

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Cupcake Party/Upcoming Trip To Pensacola, FL

Your teacher Ms. Aimee lets your class do something special every time you guys earn enough marbles to fill up the jar, on account of good behavior.

A few weeks ago, it was a pajama party. This past week, though, you all had a cupcake party. I was surprised to see the pictures… you actually made your own cupcakes, thanks to Ms. Aimee’s handy dandy cupcake maker.

Dear Jack: Cupcakes/Music Lessons/Upcoming Pensacola Road Trip

I didn’t even though that existed… we might have to get one for our house. Here’s your teacher’s note:

“Hi Nick!

Today was our cupcake party!

Jack had a blast mixing all the ingredients together to make our cupcakes.

The best part was frosting and decorating them!”

Jack had a blast today with our guest, Mr. Adam, from Firey Music!

He showed us how to play the; guitar, banjo, and mandolin! Jack got to try each instrument.

Mr. Adam also gave each student an instrument all of their own (the greatest sight you’ve seen, 14 children’s eyes lighting up, finding out they get their OWN instrument!)

Jack has also fallen in love with our magnet tiles! He is the master of building rockets!”

Aimee Cornelius

Lead Rockstar Preschool Teacher (self-titled)

Rainbow Child Care Center

Spring Hill, Tennessee

www.rainbowchildccc.com

Dear Jack: Cupcakes/Music Lessons/Upcoming Pensacola Road Trip

Coming up, we have a fun road trip/mini-vacation planning for Pensacola, Florida. We will be reviewing a 2015 Toyota Sienna, which will only add to the excitement!

On our itinerary is a fun trip to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, as you are currently obsessed with sea animals since watching and reviewing Dolphin Tale 2 a few months ago. You have already decided your souvenir for our trip will be a dolphin stuffed animal.

Dear Jack: Cupcake Party/Upcoming Trip To Pensacola, FL

And it should go without saying, I will officially be reviewing the city of Pensacola from a “vegan friendly” perspective; as I’ve already done with our trips to Atlanta, Asheville, and Lake Tahoe.

I’m excited to see you play in the ocean. I have a feeling you will be looking for baby crabs there on the beach.

Pensacola is apparently only about 6 and a half hours from our new house, which is a bit closer to the ocean than our home in Nashville was.

This may turn out to be a new regular vacation spot for us, like Asheville has become.

All fun ahead, it sounds like!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

4 years, 4 months.

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Dear Jack,

Our Easter tradition every year since you have been born has been to take you to the big egg hunt that Nonna and Papa’s church has at someone’s (very large) house.

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

I gave you several coaching sessions before the hunt; sharing with you the effective strategy of immediately running to the far corner of the field, where no one else bothers to go. I also reminded you not to stop to open the eggs; just to throw as many as you could into your basket, then worry about opening them after the hunt is over.

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Without surprise, you easily obtained more eggs than the other kids by doing so. While you are still not quite inspired to kick the soccer ball during your games, egg hunting is a sport you can get excited about!

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

What’s funny is that you’ve yet to really look through the eggs, even now. You were happiest about bringing home some of my old stuffed animals from when I was your age; not what was inside the eggs.

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Later on, we all went to Hawkins Spring Park there in Fort Payne, Alabama; my hometown. Where I grew up, there were several parks around our house, yet I never really went to this one.

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Had I known about it back when I was 4, this might have been my favorite park; especially since a giant creek runs through it.

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Of course, I didn’t let you and your cousin Calla have all the fun on the playground. They happened to have an adult playground where grown men like me and your Uncle Andrew could test our agility and strength. We were victorious… mostly.

p6

Oh, and we rescued an old abandoned tire from the creek. We helped the environment!

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

A common question I have been getting this week is, “Did you have a good Easter?”

I did. We all did. We have nothing but good, fun, quality time as a family… while visiting family.

Love,

Daddy

Our Easter 2015 Egg Hunt/Visit To Hawkins Spring Park

Dear Jack: Your Easter Ride In A White 1980 MG MGB Convertible

4 years, 4 months.

White 1980 MG MGB Convertible

Dear Jack,

Obviously, a lot of what I do on this blog is review cars from a family friendly perspective. All you have to do is click on the Family Friendly Car Reviews page on the upper left side of this page to be able to see the dozens of different vehicles our family has now reviewed.

What happened over Easter weekend was a little bit different though…

You and Papa got to test drive his the 1980 MG MGB convertible he is fixing up for his Daddy!

White 1980 MG MGB Convertible

He installed your car seat in the only passenger seat the 1980 MG MGB convertible has and you guys drove down to the end of the road and back. This marks your first time in a convertible and your first time in the front seat of a car.

Granted, I doubt you two even reached 30 miles per hour, and it was basically on a closed course, but still… that’s a big deal for you!

This weekend was basically Papa’s official debut of his 1980 MG MGB convertible. He’s been spending a lot of time working on it; getting it into drivable condition.

White 1980 MG MGB Convertible

You took your “new” stuffed animal who you named “Killer Whaley” with you. I got him back in 1987 when our family visited MarineLand on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls during my only visit to see where Nonna grew up; in Buffalo, New York.

After Papa gave you, then your cousin Calla, a ride in the 1980 MG MGB convertible, we had planned to follow everyone else in the Toyota Highlander down to the park. However, right as we were all about to leave, Papa realized one of the tires had lost a lot of air.

So it look like you were pretty lucky to get to cruise in it… I didn’t even get to myself!

Maybe next time…

Love,

Daddy

White 1980 MG MGB Convertible

At What Point Can I Admit My Kid Turned Out Fine, Having Never Been Spanked?

I’m used to being in the minority. I’ve typically always questioned what society’s acceptance and endorsement of what is deemed as normal and/or popular.

So it should be no surprise that I represent the minority percentage of American parents who does not spank my child.

Instead of spanking my 4 year-old son, I follow these simple guidelines I learned from back when I was Parents.com‘s official daddy blogger for those 3 years:

1. Ignore attention-seeking behavior.

2. Pay attention to good behavior.

3. Redirect your child.

4. Teach consequences that make sense.

5. Use time-outs for serious offenses.

I have no interest in trying to convert the majority, but I do believe it is relevant as a daddy blogger to show the other side of the story to those who are open-minded and/or curious.

Before I myself converted to the minority who doesn’t spank, I used to believe that “disciplining your child” and “spanking” had to be one in the same.

I feel that up until recently, there hasn’t been enough easily attainable, professional research on the subject.

So up until now, American tradition has overruled the possibility that not only is spanking less effective than “non-spanking child discipline”, but that spanking is indeed more likely to produce negative effects on the child. This is something I’ve covered before in “Is Spanking Actually More Effective Than The Alternative?“.

This point is also mentioned here below in this video featuring Robert Brooks, PhD Psychologist, featured on KidsInTheHouse.com (The World’s Largest Parenting Video Library)

With that being said, at what point can I admit my 4 year-old son turned out fine, having never been spanked?

As his dad, I am regularly told how well-behaved yet creative and full of joy my little boy is, by adults who teach him and watch him while I am not around.

He never gets in trouble at school. He’s a good kid. He’s intelligent. He’s not a brat.

That’s not to brag; instead, I’m saying that to demonstrate that my method of disciplining my son has been successful, and my method has never included spanking.

What age must he be before my method of discipline is accepted by mainstream America as effective? Do I have to wait until he’s a preteen or a teenager? Or should I wait until he’s lived a long life without a criminal record?

Is my son an exception to the rule? Or he is “just a good kid”? Or perhaps does my method of child discipline have something to do with him “just being a good kid”?

Must I proof that not spanking is effective by having more kids who all turn out to be good kids too? How many kids? At what point is my point legitimate?

As a parent, I am interested in using the most effective method out there; not necessarily the one that is most popular by tradition. For me, the evidence is right there in front of me every day when I see my son.

I would like to close with comedian Louis C.K.’s words on the matter.

Originally, I featured this in “I Find Louis C.K.’s Bit On Child Discipline Hard To Argue With“. Here’s a selection from his special, Hilarious:

“And stop hitting me, you’re huge. How could you hit me?! That’s crazy. You’re a giant, and I can’t defend myself.”I really think it’s crazy that we hit our kids. It really is–here’s the crazy part about it. Kids are the only people in the world that you’re allowed to hit. Do you realize that? They’re the most vulnerable, and they’re the most destroyed by being hit. But it’s totally okay to hit them. And they’re the only ones! If you hit a dog they… will put you in jail for that… You can’t hit a person unless you can prove that they were trying to kill you. But a little tiny person with a head this big who trusts you implicitly, f(orget) ‘em. Who (cares)? Just… hit–let’s all hit them! People want you to hit your kid. If your kid’s making noise in public, “Hit him, hit him! Hit him! Grrr, hit him!” We’re proud of it! “I hit my kids. You’re… right I hit my kids.” Why did you hit them? “‘Cause they were doing a thing I didn’t like at the moment. And so I hit them, and guess what? They didn’t do it after that.” Well, that wouldn’t be taking the… easy way out, would it?”

No matter what other parents choose for their own children, I can feel fully confident in my personal decision on not spanking. Thank you for your open-mindedness in reading my (unpopular) opinion on this much controversial topic.

At What Point Can I Admit My Kid Turned Out Fine, Having Never Been Spanked?

Dear Jack: Your 1st Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday you had your first ever soccer game! It might be expected for me to tell some high energy story where you scored a goal, in which I feature a picture of you kicking the ball into the net in a very pivotal moment in the game…

However, my goal for you last Saturday was a bit different: “Jack, just finish the game.”

I promise I’ll never be that stereotypical 1990s TV dad who tries to get his son to live out his own sports career dreams.

It doesn’t matter to me if you decided after this season that you never wanted to play on a soccer team again.

I just want you to be able to know that you gave it a shot so that you could decide for yourself whether you truly like soccer or not.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

You have good soccer skills, as demonstrated in your practices with Mommy and me in our driveway and even at the soccer field right before the actual game began on Saturday.

The thing getting in your way is that you don’t want to be forced to play soccer in front of other people… with other people.

Therefore, my goal for you will simply be for you to join the rest of the kids on the field by choosing to at least chase the ball around.

I say that because you just stood there, looking at the ground. It was pretty hilarious, actually. I shot this video of you doing the kick-off; you kicked the ball, then just waited and watched the other kids chase the ball as to say, “Alright, my job’s done here.”

It sure beats being the couple of kids who cried their way off the field and never finished.

Your challenge isn’t physical; you are very skilled in that department. Your challenge is a social one. (Not to mention, it was only 36 degrees outside!)

Granted, you are only 4 years old, so I think it’s only natural that you’re not eager to prove your physical skills on the field before a live audience.

If your coach and I can help you overcome your “stage fright”, then I can feel you really got something out of your first soccer season.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Your cousin Calla (and Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew) drove up from Alabama to see you. We carpooled in their Toyota Highlander.

To help us find the way to the soccer field, you had painted us a map with your watercolors. You also made sure to bring along your newest stuffed animal, Spot; a $5 purchase from Kohl’s.

So we’ll see how the rest of the season goes. I just want you to have fun. I think after a few more games, you’ll start coming out of your “shell.”

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Get it? Because our last name is Shell?

Meanwhile, at your school this week, your teacher Ms. Aimee gave me a fun update:

Here are some photos of Jack from today! We had a blast playing outside with chalk! 

My favorite photo is the grumpy face, I couldn’t help but take it when I looked at him.

“Ms. Aimee, I can’t draw my picture!”

“Oh, why not hun?”

“Because, you’re STANDING on it!”

I about died laughing, while evilly taking his picture… hehe.

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Looking ahead, we’ve got Easter coming up. I’m sure it will be great family fun! I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it in my next letter to you…

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your First Soccer Game/Grumpy Face At School

Dear Jack: Getting Ready For Your First Soccer Game

4 years, 4 months.

Hello Nick!  We had lots of fun this week outside!  Jack and his friends went on a pirate adventure around the playground. He rowed his boat over to skull rock island, climbed through his way through Vine snake jungle, then snuck up on the sleeping dragon to steal the magical fire rubies! (His face running away from the dragon was priceless!)     Today we had a lot of different activities!  He worked with friends to fold pieces of paper and build a tower. He was extremely proud of himself he built it up so high!     His latest craze, is to write his name with “scary letters” They’re beyond amazing! He has such an artistic talent!     And last but not least (We were busy today weren’t we!) we flew kites!  We took out our parrot kite this morning. He asked to hold the kite and he tried to hold on very tight. Ultimately, the wind was a bit too strong and took the kite across the playground, across the street, and into the corn field! Thankfully Ms. Lara came to the rescue and retrieved our kite!  This afternoon, everyone wanted to make their own kites and flew them outside!     We had an absolute blast!

Dear Jack,

This Monday you had your first soccer practice… and this weekend you will have your very first soccer game! Pretty exciting stuff these days.

We bought you a soccer ball and have been practicing in the driveway. From these pictures your teacher sent me, it looks like you’re getting some good practice there as well.

Dear Jack: Getting Ready For Your First Soccer Game

Here’s what your teacher had to say about what you’ve been doing at school this week:

We had lots of fun this week outside!

Jack and his friends went on a pirate adventure around the playground. He rowed his boat over to Skull Rock Island, climbed through his way through Vine Snake Jungle, then snuck up on the sleeping dragon to steal the magical fire rubies! (His face running away from the dragon was priceless!)

Today we had a lot of different activities!

He worked with friends to fold pieces of paper and build a tower. He was extremely proud of himself he built it up so high!

His latest craze, is to write his name with “scary letters” They’re beyond amazing! He has such an artistic talent!

And last but not least (We were busy today weren’t we!) we flew kites!

We took out our parrot kite this morning. He asked to hold the kite and he tried to hold on very tight. Ultimately, the wind was a bit too strong and took the kite across the playground, across the street, and into the corn field! Thankfully Ms. Lara came to the rescue and retrieved our kite!

This afternoon, everyone wanted to make their own kites and flew them outside!

We had an absolute blast!

When I read this kind of stuff about you, it makes me so proud. I love your creativity. You are a bright young boy and I’m so glad your mine.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Getting Ready For Your First Soccer Game