Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 7th Birthday

7 years old today!

Dear Jack,

It was still completely dark outside this morning when you walked into the bedroom and quietly asked me, “Daddy, can I open some of my birthday presents now?”

As your sister munched on a waffle, you preceded to unwrap your gifts from Mommy and me; all of which were explicitly Pokemon-themed.

This marks your first birthday in which stuffed animals nor Lego blocks were part of the excitement. No way. You’re seven now. This is serious stuff:

Everything is Pokemon!

Out of all the money spent on your birthday gifts, you appeared most excited and proud of the Pokemon binder we got you to hold all your cards. That was less than 10 dollars well spent!

You even asked me, “Daddy, how did you and Mommy get my name on the folder?”

I didn’t spell out how simple a concept it actually was; that the binder and the sheets only cost a few bucks each from WalMart and that Mommy simply printed off the Pikachu picture and then typed “Jack’s Pokemon Cards” from our printer.

As you spouted off a constant news reel for the rest of the morning about all the Pokemon cards you now have, I heard you say you were “organizing all the Pokemon cards according to how they evolve” and that you now have around 400 cards.

Mommy and I visited you for lunch today at school, just a few hours later. You told us that you had already traded some of the cards you got this morning for your birthday from us.

And I guess that’s the whole point- it’s fun to trade them, even just hours after getting new ones!

We are so proud to have you as our son. You are one intelligent and creative boy. Out of all the little boys in the whole entire world, we’d pick you every single time.

Happy Birthday, Jack.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 2nd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 3rd Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 4th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 5th Birthday

Dear Jack: A Dad’s Letter to His Son on His 6th Birthday

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Dear Holly: Your All-Business Approach to Having Nonna Take Care of You

1 year, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Last weekend I took you and your brother to Alabama to spend time with Nonna and Papa, which gave Mommy a chance to get caught up on work back in Tennessee. I was there with you, of course, but I couldn’t help but notice you chose to rely on Nonna for your needs instead of me.

Whenever you got hungry or felt you needed a diaper change, you simply took it upon yourself to walk over to your travel bag, pull out what you needed, then make your way across the room to Nonna.

With no words necessary, you simply looked up at her without even a smile on your face; but with a diaper in one hand and a fruit pouch in another. It was simply implied:

“Alright, Nonna. You’re the head matriarch figure in this room so I guess I’m supposed to bring this stuff to you. Let’s go ahead and get to work then.”

It’s slightly fascinating to me that you’re wired to having the most mothering person in the room take care of your physical needs. Whenever it’s just you and me at our house, you obviously solely depend on me for these things. You know good and well I am more than qualified to serve you.

But apparently, I become the 2nd most qualified person for the job if Nonna is in the room.

Obviously, you’re not old enough to comprehend that Nonna is actually my Mommy.

That doesn’t matter. You just know you’re better off having her open your bag of organic cheddar crackers instead of me.

Or maybe, this is your way of giving your Daddy a break. Maybe you’re just that intuitive; to realize that Daddy wouldn’t mind being off-duty every once in a while…

Nah. 

You know me too well. I’m always on the clock for you.

Love,

Daddy

 

My Son’s New Prime Time Toys’ Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster

Lucky is the son of a daddy blogger… that’s all I’ve got to say! My son Jack knew that the weekend Papa was coming up would be an especially big deal, because that would be when he got to open “the surprise” I got in the mail for him. Companies send me products to feature here on my blog, knowing that many people read what I write.

Still a little over a month until his 7th birthday, and still nearly 3 months until Christmas, Jack got to open a present for the special event of simply showing other kids and parents what it’s like to play with a certain toy.

Obviously, Jack was very excited to see that the mysterious gift was none other than an Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster. It can shoot 20 darts in 20 seconds up to 80 feet!

The super-powerful blaster with light-up action is one of only 25 toys featured on Walmart’s annual Top Rated by Kids toys list.

So we took it out to the front yard to test it out. He and Papa (my dad) took turns trying to hit me while I zoomed by on the skateboard. Sometimes I would get hit by a whole row of darts as I sped by, while other times the rhythm of the darts was just right, to wear every single one of them missed me; like the way action heroes can run through a spray of bullets and never get shot.

Jack then decided to try out the range of his Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster. He enjoyed pulled the trigger and seeing out how far across the cul-de-sac he could shoot the darts.

I noticed that by default, he was making sort of an Easter egg hunt out of finding the darts after he shot them. He was very protective of those darts.

So I guess now, my son has the coolest dart gun in our entire neighborhood.

I can easily see him as a teenager, shooting paintball guns with his friends, like I did when I was in high school.

But until there are paintball guns, he can practice with his Adventure Force Light Command Motorized Blaster.

Dear Holly: You’re Zero Percent Tomboy, Despite Having a Brother Who Could Easily Turn You into One

1 year, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

As I took some pictures of you and your brother before church on Sunday, I couldn’t help but notice the obvious visible contrast as the two of you stood next to one another:

You are all girl and your brother is all boy. I have one of each.

And I didn’t have to teach either of you to be that way, either.

Over the past couple of months, you have demonstrated how you always just instantly know what to do when Mommy presents you with a new pair of shoes or a new shoes.

You instinctively know how to walk across the room with a pretty smile on your face, assuming that the whole world is watching you.

Meanwhile, your brother is typically up to something to counteract your graceful moves; whether it’s trying to slap your leg with a sticky stretchy hand he got from the treasure box at school, or simply serving as an off-beat commentator in the beauty pageant you’re pretending to be in, as he speaks in an exaggerated Southern accent:

“Ah, how sweet! Look at little precious baby girl! I think she just pooped in her pants… isn’t that so precious?! She’s a little tin man. She’s just made out of metal. So precious!”

Sure, you may develop a natural interest in Pokemon cards, as your brother has already told me he’ll give you some of his cards once you get a little older.

And sure, you’re used to him wrestling with you and playing a little too rough with you, on a daily basis.

Yet still, you are one girly girl. You just have no chance of ever being a tomboy.

I’m sure it doesn’t help, the way I treat you…

The way you just cling onto me as I carry you around the house, constantly confirming what a sweet little girl you are.

Yeah, I guess you just don’t stand a chance at being anything other than a Daddy’s Girl.

At least, that’s what I hope!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: You’re Back from Summer Vacation 2017 at Nonna and Papa’s

6 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

This has been the longest amount of time that Mommy and I have spent without you; 10 whole days!

Obviously, we called you on video phone at least once a day, thanks to Facebook messenger. That way, CIA members in Hawaii were also able to catch up on all you’ve done while spending your summer vacation in Alabama.

I say that jokingly (?) because Mommy and I went through the trouble of renting some movies from Redbox while you were gone; Snowden being one of them.

Yes, it was much quieter without you in our house for 10 days, but I have to say, it wasn’t as good. Mommy and I are too accustomed to having a 6 year-old expert inform us of little known facts about dinosaurs and Pokemon.

And obviously, your baby sister kept looking for you the whole time. She kept pointing to your pictures on the wall, doing her best to pronounce your name.

But finally, you got back a week ago and now we can get back to the norm. We missed our little boy!

Speaking of Facebook, Nonna was faithful to keep us posted every couple of hours on whatever fun thing that she and Papa were taking you to do. It became obvious quick that you were not simply just hanging out at their house. No, you were on the move!

You went hiking, to a splash pad, to scrap yard, and to see The Emoji Movie; just to name a few!

Of course, you loved being able to spend time playing with your cousins the whole time as well.

And now the summer has officially come to a close. A week ago you started 1st grade!

Yes, you are now our brilliant 1st grader son. First grade is going to be great.

Love,

Daddy

A Parent’s Guide To Smartphones (By Guest Blogger, Digital Doc)

Let’s face it … it’s a smartphone world today, and your kids are living in it. Phones are everywhere — in pockets and purses, and in parents’ hands whether they’re on the go or relaxing at home. Kids see this, and are naturally curious.

Nowadays, children as young as toddlers (sometimes babies) can recognize and reach for phones — after all, they mimic adult behavior. So in this kind of technology-centric culture, it only makes sense that as kids get older they want phones of their own. What does this mean for you as a parent? Here’s a look.

Questions Parents Tend to Ask About Smartphone Use

The minute your child holds a phone in his or her fingers, the questions start:

· What are the pros and cons of phones for kids?

· How do you know when your child is ready for a phone?

· Are there serious risks you should be aware of ahead of time?

· If you get your children phones, what safety and security measures should you practice?

· Are there rules that can be useful?

· How do you monitor usage?

Do these questions sound familiar to you as a parent? If so, you’re not alone. These are just some of the issues parents think about as they monitor smartphone usage for their children.

Pros and Cons of Smartphone Use for Children

As with so many difficult parenting decisions, there is no one right or wrong answer for all children. A good place to start, however, in thinking through the choice to give your kid a phone is in understanding the pros and cons. With that in mind, here are a few points to consider:

· Smartphones expand the world for your child.

· They put information at their fingertips.

· Smartphones make it easy to get in touch if you’re separated.

· Smartphones also open your child to risks such as cyberbullying, viruses, child predators, sexual content, violent content, etc.

To get a better idea of how to plan for and manage your children’s smartphone use, check out the link below fora slideshow, which details tips for setting rules, monitoring behavior, and other helpful tips!

Dear Holly: Your Attempt to Figure Out the Sprinkler in the Backyard (and Why Your Brother Had a Bucket on His Head)

1 year, 3 months.

Dear Holly,

Here we are in the scorching heat of July in Nashville. There’s not much we can do, as a family, outdoors right now. But when Mommy took your brother with her to buy groceries on Saturday morning while you and I stayed home and played, she bought him a $5 sprinkler for our water hose.

The original plan was just for Jack to run through the sprinkler while Mommy supervised outside on the back porch. But after just a few minutes, you began grunting and nodding your head towards the back door.

Translation: “Daddy, aren’t you going to take me outside?”

You didn’t even notice the intense 91 degree weather. You were just fascinated by watching your brother jump through the water.

So Mommy helped you get a closer look, holding you up high to where you wouldn’t really get too wet. That’s when your brother, who assumed his role of entertainer, placed a bucket on top of his head and started dancing around.

I’m trying to imagine how you were processing what was going on, as the 15 month-old little girl you are…

It’s scorching hot. Let’s go outside!

And now big brother is dancing in the water with a bucket on his head.

I assume that this event ultimately gets translated in your brain as “completely normal event.”

That’s something I tend to think about- how everything you see our family do, even if you forget about it an hour later, is ultimately hard-wiring your thought process as to what are the norms of society.

However, I have found that you actually do remember more than I would expect you to. Just little things, like when we were reading a book together that had a picture of a cartoon lizard on it.

I said, “Holly… lizard!” Then I made a silly noise by sticking my tongue out again and again, which sounded like, “bluh-la-buh-la, bluh-la-buh-la…”

A few days later when you pointed to the book for us to read again, you placed your finger on the lizard and immediately made the sound: “Bluh-la-buh-la, bluh-la-buh-la…”

You looked up to me for immediate approval, as you smiled so big, which translated as, “Daddy, that’s the sound I’m supposed to make when I see the lizard, right? Aren’t you proud of me for remembering?”

What’s funny is, I had forgotten I had even made that sound the last time we had read the book. But now, every time we read it, you make that silly lizard noise that I accidentally taught you.

Love,

Daddy