Dear Jack: You’re Still Young Enough to Be a Boy Who Does Silly Boy Things

10 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

In a few months, you’ll be turning 11 years old; taking you further into the preteen years. Even so, I still catch glimpses of you doing classic boy things; like the way I remember you when you were much younger.

This weekend, you spent several hours testing out Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty versus some generic slime you still had from Valentine’s Day.

You decided a good experiment would be to poke a straw in each clump and blow air until the point it exploded. Of course, you gave me a play-by-play commentary during the entire event.

I couldn’t help but think to myself: Enjoy these moments.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Finally Got Your New Bunk Beds

8 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack,

Over New Year’s weekend, Nonna and Papa came up so we could build your brand-new bunk beds that you’ve been wanting for a couple of years now.

And when I use the word “build”, I’m not exaggerating.

It truly was a building process, as the whole kit was made out of all steel.

You took pride in helping put in many of the screws. You helped contribute to the assembly of your own bed.

Once we got it finished, over a 24 hour period, we realized how huge the thing is!

It’s so tall, that you have to be careful when you sit up on the top bunk, so that you don’t hit your head on the ceiling.

The bottom bunk doubles as a futon, so hopefully it can help serve as a place for you to study and do homework in years to come.

Oh, and Papa and I also painted your room blue.

You now have the bedroom of an 8 year-old boy!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You Made a Real Cobra Head Necklace and Wore It to School… So Yeah, That’s Pretty Awesome.

7 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Unlike Indiana Jones, you are clearly not afraid of snakes.

Last week, you found an old key chain I brought back as a souvenir from Thailand, when I was in college. I had bought it from this man who professionally hunted and skinned snakes. He used the leftover heads for key chains.

Realizing you could disconnect the crystal arrowhead necklace that you got at Ruby Falls during Spring Break, you then replaced the arrowhead with the snake head.

In your own initiative, you had created a cobra head necklace and decided to wear it to school.

As you were leaving that morning for school, I assured you that you’d be the only boy in America to wear a real cobra head necklace to school.

No, this story doesn’t end with me saying that your teacher told you not to wear it to school anymore. You totally got away with wearing the head of a poisonous snake to school.

You came home and bragged to me, “Daddy, on two people thought my cobra snake wasn’t real!”

Coincidentally, just a few days later on Sunday, I had put your sister down for her afternoon nap and decided to take you to play in the creek at Brenthaven in Franklin.

As we were walking across the bridge over the creek, you and I both noticed something we assumed was a rope that had surfaced on a rock, in the middle of the stream.

But as we made our way closer, I announced to you with both caution and joy, “Jack, that’s a real snake!”

I tossed a few pieces of mulch at it- but it never budged. Then I tossed some rocks at it- it still never budged.

Finally, I found a stick long enough to pick it up with. It was obvious the snake was not only dead, but it had been dead there overnight.

You pointed out to me that its tail looked like it had been chewed up. My theory is that a neighborhood dog found the snake and broke its neck by slinging it like a whip, then the snake crawled onto the rock to die.

Turns out, it was either a venomous Cottonmouth or a harmless Brown Watersnake.

But since it was definitely dead, I let you throw rocks at it. I’m pretty sure you’ll remember that day as a highlight of your boyhood.

So yeah, you’re not afraid of snakes.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

5 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

This past Sunday afternoon, leading up to Mommy taking you to see The Secret Life of Pets, you and I had a solid hour to kill. So I decided we both ought to take a meandering walk outside in the Tennessee July heat.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

You decided to start out our adventure by grabbing a toy dinosaur that has been left outside our back porch. It was the kind that costs a dollar and grows 5 times its size when it’s emerged in water.

Given the fact it’s been sitting outside in the sun and rain for several weeks now, it has defaulted to a sort of gooey, slimy, puffy version of itself. You decided to take your extinct friend on our journey.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

You also grabbed a test tube from one of your experiments that you had worked on the day before. Without surprise, the dinosaur got slimed with the goo.

After that matter was resolved, we began our trip along the empty sidewalks; as no one else was crazy enough to be outside in that heat.

One of the warnings I remember receiving a lot when I was a young boy was not to play with sticks; granted, I had a young sister too.

But you and I were outside, with no one else around. So when you took it upon yourself to pick up a few sticks use as crutches and/or weapons, I didn’t stop you.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

We made our way to the edge of our neighborhood where they are finishing up the last of the new construction.

Your first self-assigned challenge was for me to find a rock too heavy for you to pick up, but light up enough that you could hold. You enjoyed the glory of holding it while I took a picture.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

Then you decided you wanted to watch me pick up the biggest rocks I could and throw them against the other rocks so you could watch them break each other. You were amazed to see such an event.

Next, with the sticks you brought, you decided to explore all holes and crevices by poking the stick inside; I assume you were hoping that some kind of critter would come crawling out. It never did.

However, one of your sticks broke, in the process.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

Somehow in the midst of all that, you skinned your leg. The funny thing is, you never seemed to notice. Even when I brought it to your attention, you didn’t seem impressed.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

We finished our excursion with you climbing the gravel and dirt piles. You had been wanting to climb them for months, so the opportunity finally prevented itself.

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg) p13

I’d say we did a good job of killing an hour. And you learned an important lesson about life:

Sticks and stones may break other sticks and stones… and maybe even skins your leg, as well.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Sticks and Stones May Break Other Sticks and Stones (and Skin Your Leg)

Dear Jack: The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

5 years, 4 months.

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

Dear Jack,

This past weekend for our tradition of being dangerous but not getting hurt, we decided to explore the McCutcheon Creek at Jerry Erwin Park.

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

I insisted that you jump across every possible crevice with water flowing under it, as you have quickly proven you have a remarkable ability to hurdle spaces you shouldn’t physically be capable of.

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

Of course, I made sure you wore your Spiderman rain boots, to be better equipped to walk across the water.

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

While that was a decent amount of fun on Saturday, we decided to venture out again on Sunday for an afternoon of mud.

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

After driving through that big puddle again, we made our way to the field behind Lowe’s, which features the same creek from the park the day before: McCutcheon Creek.

At first, I wasn’t so sure our surroundings would be that unique. That is, until you asked me if you could go down to the water:

You got stuck in the mud on the way there. It was like the mud was pulling you in as you attempted to step out into the nearby water.

I explained to you that’s how quicksand works. As you can see from these pictures, you at some point fell down in it and became what I call a “soggy bottom boy”.

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek

It became obvious to me that we will need to be returning this coming weekend to better explore that muddy, swampy part of McCutcheon Creek.

Granted, for all we know, your new baby sister could be born this weekend, which would delay our plans.

But we definitely need to return as soon as possible. That’s because I need to let you get much muddier this next time.

I can help ensure we can be dangerous without getting hurt, but I’m not sure we can get thta muddy without it leaving some stains.

Love,

Daddy

The Quicksand (Mud) at McCutcheon Creek