Dear Holly: Mommy Painted Your Nails for the 1st Time

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

All last week, you kept asking Mommy: “We paint my fingers and my toes this weekend?”

There was much anticipation for this event.

So Sunday afternoon, before you and your brother watched a movie with Mommy, she took you to the bathroom floor where she carefully painted each of your fingernails and toenails.

Needless to say, you were so proud to have Mommy do this for you.

I wasn’t surprised at all when I dropped you off at school on Monday and the first thing you did when you saw your teacher, Mrs. Kim, was to display your fingers and proclaim:

“Look! Mommy painted my nails!”

Yeah, you are such a little girl.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: You Started Taking Karate Lessons at the Rec Center

8 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Saturday, we drove around the corner to the rec center so you could start intro karate lessons.

The instructor called you up several times to help him demonstrate in front of the class on how to get out of certain attack holds.

He explained that the first action in self-defense is to verbally tell the person to stop.

His focus was on helping students to prevent a fight, as opposed to participating in one.

We are trying out this class over the next couple of months to see if you want to take it to the next level and enroll in an official karate studio.

I have a feeling that could easily be what ends up happening.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Your Matching Elsa and Olaf Nightgown for Your Jelly Cat Bunny

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

Three years ago, which was a few months before you were born, I bought you a Jelly Cat bunny with a flower design for its ears: Blossom Bunny Posey.

It has been one of your favorite stuffed animals this whole time.

Well, for Christmas, Aunt Dana got you an Elsa and Olaf nightgown, that also came with a smaller version of itself for a doll.

Needless to say, your bunny was the doll selected to wear the matching nightgown.

Since Christmas, you have been that much more excited to go to bed each night, knowing you get to wearing your special matching nightgown.

You look so adorable in it!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: It Was Time to Smash Your 2 Year-Old Volcano in the Cul-De-Sac

8 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

In December, you finally erupted your volcano kit that you had received for Christmas from two years before.

This past Sunday, after you took a break from riding your four wheeler and then your razor scooter, as we took advantage of the surprisingly sunny afternoon, you then assigned yourself a fun activity.

You had found that volcano in the garage, along with your hammer.

So needless to say, you had a great time destroying that volcano in our cul-de-sac.

Looking back at the picture, I guess I should have had you wear some goggles instead of the helmet you happened to already been wearing.

Oh well. That volcano lived a good long life.

Love,

Daddy

Dads Secretly Take Their Sons to See PG-13 Rated Superhero Movies, Like Aquaman (But They Don’t Admit It On Social Media…)

At what age is it socially acceptable for a boy to go see a PG-13 rated superhero movie with his dad?

Follow up question:

At what age is it appropriate or okay for a boy to watch a PG-13 rated movie with his dad?

I think those are difficult questions to answer, and even dangerous to ask, because ultimately, each parent has their own standards on what they perceive as acceptable in raising their children.

And in an age where many people have traded in their fear of God for fear of a social media backlash thanks to ever-potential mob mentality of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, no one wants to have to defend their views to the 10% of the population who passionately disagreed in the comments section; and then have to follow-up with a token social media apology a few days later.

My theory is that many dads do take their sons to watch PG-13 rated superhero movies, they just don’t talk about it on social media because it may not be socially acceptable to broadcast it.

On certain issues, I am undeniably more conservative as a parent. But with other things, I am perhaps more liberal than people might expect.

I recognize that not all PG-13 rated movies are created equal. So to me, the movie rating is a bit arbitrary.

Fortunately, it’s as if there is now an unspoken rule that PG-13 rated superhero movies that have their own toy line have agreed to keep sexual content out of their movies. Instead, the PG-13 rating is earned from stylized action sequences; in other words, violence without blood.

There are also typically a handful of milder profanities thrown in these PG-13 rated superhero movies. Even though my 8 year-old son doesn’t hear his own parents cursing, I’m sure by now he’s learning the “bad words” from other kids at school.

Honestly, what bothers me more is my son hearing the casual use of “oh my God” in PG rated movies and kids’ sitcoms. To me, that phrase is breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be worried because my son hears an alternate word for butt or poop?

So as long as he knows which words he’s not allowed to say, as he gradually becomes aware of which words our society has given power of taboo, then I am not too concerned.

However, this is all simply my own parenting style.

This isn’t necessarily what the norm is. Maybe it is. I don’t know. Honestly, I’m not keeping up with what other parents are saying on the subject.

Or maybe they’re like me- they’re not admitting to taking their sons to see PG-13 rated movies; not because it’s inappropriate for the child, but that it’s inappropriate for the parent to admit it on social media?

But if it were socially acceptable for a dad to admit he took his 8 year-old son to see Aquaman this past weekend, I would use this opportunity that say that it was probably my son’s favorite superhero movie so far.

And knowing that he and I had quality time together this weekend doing something we both enjoyed- well, that makes me happy to be a dad.

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: Your Homemade Ladybug Boat and Its Tragic Voyage Out to Sea

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Our friends Mohamad and Lena got you a really cool craft box for your birthday. It has provided the ideal outlet for all your creativity when you’re trapped inside the house on a bitterly cold December.

Your ultimate creation so far has been your boat, equipped with a special tether so you wouldn’t lose it.

I told you I’d take you to the creek in the next neighborhood over, once you were ready to try it out on the water.

So last Sunday, the weather was warm enough for us to outside for a little while. You happened to catch a ladybug, which you placed in a plastic capsule that had served as the container for a 50 cent toy you bought from the machine at Kroger.

You named the boat Ladybug Boat.

The ladybug served as the fearless captain. That bug had to be fearless, because…

Even with the tether, you ended up losing a grip of the boat as you hung it over the tunnel to drop it in the water.

That brave little ladybug, along with the boat itself, entered that tunnel never to come out the other side across the street.

It’s as if they entered a whole other dimension. That’s the best case scenario, at least.

Love,

Daddy