Are We Still Putting Soap in Their Mouths?

a-christmas-story-soap2 Are we still doing the soap in the mouth thing?

I may need to go out and buy a bar of soap.

Better yet.

Amazon Prime. Soap please.

We use liquid soap here. Body wash really. How does that work? Do I loofa his tongue?

The six year old said his first bad word the other day.

Wait, shit. His second bad word.

About a year ago while we were watching Monster Truck videos on Youtube he said, “Well look at that damn thing!”

It was pretty fitting really. Trucks… John Deere hats. Lots of testosterone in the crowd. I may have been drinking a beer from a bottle. He pointed to a truck and said “Look at that damn thing!”

Actually, I was drinking a beer because I recall nodding my head and tipping the bottle towards him in acknowledgment.

From upstairs his mom yelled, “Don’t feed into it!”

And I didn’t. Well shit, I did. I winked and whispered, “Yep, those are some pretty sweet damn tires.”

It went away for a year. That is until the other day when his potty mouth came out of hibernation. And oh did it mature while it lay dormant.

He said something filthy while I was away from the house. I was made aware of it via text.

No emoji needed. It was pretty funny without adding a pictorial representation. Point made.

When I came home I confronted him about it.

“So what bad word did you say?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” He answered.

“I understand but I need to know what you said so I can tell you why it’s bad.”

And then he unleashed it on me.

The following isn’t edited for content.

This is exactly how it went down.

Hold on.

Make sure no children are present.

“I said, Hate and Suck and Stupid and Fart and Farty Face and of course, Mr Farty Face and Poop Head and Oh yeah, I also said Mr Poopy Head.

“Those are all really bad words. Really bad. But I heard you said something else.”

“I also said, Well Fuck It Then!”

“Wow! That is bad too. Those are all really bad words. We don’t say those words. We especially don’t say those words when we are mad. Okay? We talk about things. Diplomatically and politely.”

I think he got it.

I told him if says a bad word again he will go to his room.

His reply. “For how long?”

“This isn’t a negotiation.”

"What about diplomacy?"

"Not in this case." I answered.

“Will I go to my room for just a little bit? For a long time? Will I go to my room until I am old? How will I eat? What if I have to go to the bathroom?”

“For a hour! Say a bad word and you will go to your room for an hour.”

“An hour isn’t so bad.” He replied.

I guess I need to go buy a bar of soap.

We're taking it up a notch here.

Fuck it.

At 16 I Had No Muscles But I Drove a Muscle Car

barracuda
barracuda

I recently read Auto Biography by Earl Swift in which he retraces all the owners of a '57 Chevy and it's had me thinking about my first car.

It was a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda. I unwrapped it in the Fall of 1990. Twenty one years after it rolled off the assembly line. It was a cool car. I, on the other hand, was not cool car guy. Nor was I even a cool guy. In the movies a guy gets a cool car and then suddenly he has people following him around buying him pizza. That’s Hollywood. In real life I didn’t smoke or have a varsity jacket. No tattoos. I didn’t listen to cool music or have a cool haircut. I was tall and awkward. After my 16th birthday I was a tall and awkward kid driving a 1969 Barracuda with a slant six engine.

The car was a surprise. My father and I went car shopping in the months leading up to my birthday but unbeknownst to me, that was a ruse. My muscle car was parked in the neighbor’s garage the whole time. Interestingly enough, during the car shopping game I picked out several equally cool cars that neither fit my personality or my body type. There was an awesome topless Jeep whose seat belt wouldn’t have been able to restrain my lanky frame had I taken it off road like the trying-to-prove-something 16 year in me would have done. There was an equally preposterous MG that I had my eyes on even though at over six feet tall, my head touched the roof while seated and once inside the only way for me to exit would have been to recline into the passenger seat to get my legs out of from under the steering wheel.

So instead of those silly toys my father surprised me with 3000 pounds of banana yellow steel Detroit classic. If cell phones would have existed I would have had Heart’s “Barracuda” as the ringtone.

My car wasn’t necessarily a muscle car but just as I looked in the mirror hoping to see a muscle or two somewhere on my frame I called my new ride a muscle car. I bought a car cover fabric to protect it from the elements although it was over twenty years old and had proved it could survive just fine in the Florida sun. I installed a cassette player in the glove compartment to not damage the look of the dashboard and rocked out to very uncool music.

I think the plan was for the car to be a team building exercise for my father and I. It was a high ropes course for the two of us. Actually, it was more like going to a high ropes course with no ropes, helmets, gear or upper body strength. None of which we had.

But, we had a guide! Our guide had tools and knowledge and experience. And a sales pitch! A coworker of my father’s was a muscle car guy and explained to us how much fun it would be and how much we would learn about cars, the world, each other!

And then soon after I unwrapped the classic he moved out of state and we were looking up at the high ropes course without gear.

One of the first projects we undertook was replacing the master cylinder.

Yes, I know what you are thinking. “But the 1969 Barracuda had manual brakes. Are you sure it was the master cylinder you replaced?”

Before the Fall of 1990 I wouldn’t have known that either. The power brakes were an after market add-on a previous owner had installed.

With our guide out of state he sent us step by step instructions via fax.

Fax!

This was 1990 remember?

The nearest fax machine was at my father's office.

Follow up illustrations were a drive away.

“And where is this nut that we loosen to bleed the lines?” We would ask on the long distance phone call.

“I’ll send a drawing.” He would answer.

To the office! A fax awaits!

By the end of the project the faxed instructions were as stained with red brake fluid as our hands and bodies were.

But our team grew stronger.

I owned the car for a few years and then upgraded before I went off to college as I needed a more reliable car to make the journey out of state with.

I replaced the muscle car with a more practical VW Jetta that needed less maintaining and fit my uncool lifestyle a little better.

Rambling With Flashcards

learn-to-read-free-sight-words-2
learn-to-read-free-sight-words-2

We recently upped the ante on our nightly single sight word flashcard routine.

After recognizing the word on the card before him the boy has to use that word in a sentence. At five and three quarters old (his description) the words these days are short and typically monosyllabic. We’re giving him things like BROWN and CAME and FUNNY and DOWN to read to us between bites during dinner. Sometimes his sentences turn into paragraphs that take us far from the given word and down a long stream of thoughts. But in the end he finds a way to tidy things up and use the word on the card before him. Does he begin with a theme or does he simply ramble his way through a thought until he finds us nearing the end of our attention span and then clean up the loose ends with the given word?

His word was "DOWN".

“Um, after dinner and after I finish my words and my food and my milk and my applesauce and after I wash my hands and clean up and put my plate in the sink and everything then will you please get my Halloween candy so I can have a nice piece because I was good and did everything I was supposed to and when you do get the candy you will have to get my Halloween bag from on top of the refrigerator and you will have to get it down.”

My guess is regardless of the word getting candy was the objective.

And if getting candy was his goal then in his mind all he needed to do was turn any word we gave him into a story about how that candy was going to get into his hands.

Perhaps he’s been studying the presidential candidates and learning from the way in which they turn any question into a platform to spin their objective.

In the end they all just want candy.

Time... According to a Child

 
   

How amazing it must be to have no concept of time? How liberating.

Plotting our sons growth alongside the chart of mankind’s evolution, he is close to understanding that as the sun settles near the horizon it's time to get back to the cave.

Walking upright? Check.

Simple cave drawings? Check.

Charting the Suns movement across the sky and breaking it into 24 equal increments? Hardly.

Our five year old's time thumps to the rhythm of his own internal combustion engine... and the beat of his imagination. Unless it's a school day and his routine is orchestrated by our needs, he wakes when his body tells him he's had enough sleep. It's never the “groggy, rolling out of bed hesitant to start the day” look. His is the “I got exactly the amount of sleep by body needs to replenish the energy I lost on the previous day playing and doing kid stuff” look. It's our job though to manipulate his clock.

He has yet to fully comprehend that the numbers on the face represent the time of day. His only perspective is sun up versus sun down.

As his overlord, there have been a few days I've set the stationary teaching clock on the wall in his room to 7:50am and told him he can't get up until 8. It's nice playing god.

He has yet to figure out how morning fog can delay wake-up time.

“Nope. Sun’s not out yet… Back to bed.”

Curtains were invented not for privacy but to control a kids sleep patterns.

We've taught him days in how many sleeps he will have between now and the event in question. But that doesn't always stick. Maybe we need a slow burning rope with knots for days? Or an hourglass.

Mankind has come so far. Childkind? Not so much.

I told him recently I was coming to observe him at school the following week. The following Tuesday. That day was Friday.

“Are you coming to my school tomorrow?”

“No, tomorrow is Saturday. I will be there Tuesday. Four sleeps.”

“Tomorrow is Tuesday!”

“Well, it’s not. Today is Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday. If tomorrow was Tuesday, tonight would be a school night and you would have school tomorrow.”

“I don’t have school tomorrow! Tonight is not a school night! Are you coming to my school tomorrow?”

I told him to think that over.

On the news one morning he overheard the reporter mention an approaching nor'easter.

“Yay! Tomorrow is Easter!”

“Well, no. It’s not. Easter is always on a Sunday. Today is Friday… that makes tomorrow what?”

“Easter! I can’t wait. He said it was Easter! Did you know the Easter Bunny lives in the ground? Why do they live in the ground? Is it cold down there?”

He has it in his head that Halloween happens when it’s dark out. Occasionally, as the sun is setting he will exclaim! “Yay! It’s Halloweentime! I love Halloween. What am I going to dress up as tonight?”

When you have no concept of time the daily rotation of the earth determines the holidays. That and seasonal holiday decorations.

At the sight of Christmas lights up in March. “Yay! It's Christmas! I've been a good boy this year. I hope Santa comes.”

“It's not been a year. It's only March.”

“I don't like to march. I can do a somersault though. And skip.”

And blowing leaves means it's Fall.

“Yay! It's fall! The leaves are falling!”

“Well, it's actually spring. Summer will be here soon.”

“No it won't. It was hot yesterday. Summer was yesterday.”

To be unburdened by time. What a peaceful world.

He's watching the earth move and slowly assigning values to its position. And when that doesn't work… He pulls holidays out of the air.

“You're wearing red? Yay! It's Valentine’s Day! I love Valentine’s Day. Can we get some chocolate?”

“Not necessarily. But today is not Valentine's Day. It will be Valentine's Day in a year.”

“When I am six?”

“Yes.”

“Yay! When I turn six it will be Valentine’s Day. And my birthday! At the same time! Yay!"

Let's hope he doesn't see a turkey that day or we'll have Thanksgiving too.

 

Appropriate (and Inappropriate) Holiday Gifts for Your Flight Crew

moneycockpit
moneycockpit

It's the season for gift giving. That means it's also the season for scrambling to pay off your guilt by dishing out gifts to those who serve you and make your life easier… The trash collector, your postal worker, the Starbucks barista and of course, your flight crew. While there are many great and appropriate gifts to surprise your lowly flight crew with as you travel this holiday season there are also some inappropriate ones. You may think you're being cheeky and thoughtful if you present your crew with a nice holiday surprise as you board the plane but there is a chance you are wrong. Allow me to list some of the presents that make perfect gifts for us reindeer who are driving your holiday sled if you are heading out to the airport this Christmas. I will also give you a few that don't work no matter how cleverly wrapped they may be.

Great holiday gifts.

Single individual dollar bills.

In this line of work we are often in need of ones. We tip daily and are always asking for change. It's awkward giving a hundred to someone and asking for ninety nine bucks back. No no…. Not girls on a dance floor tipping. Each day we ride hotel vans back and forth to the airport and it is customary to tip the drivers for each leg of the journey. A gift of a few ones would go along way with your flight crew. No card needed. A great way to dispense of it would be to approach the cockpit and ask how the weather is going to be at the destination. While being told the answer throw up a handful of ones and yell out, “How about we make it rain!!!”

Hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes.

Airplanes are disgusting. The humans leave a filthy trail behind them. We breath the same dirty air all day that swims through that trail. At altitude and closer to the Earths yellow sun, bacteria grow into absurdly stubborn living organisms that multiply way more than on the planet. And there are the coughers. Don't get me started on the coughers. If I had my way all passengers would be required to don their seatbelt and face mask before departure. Our only defense is a regular dose of gut cleaning airplane coffee and hand sanitizer. An excellent Christmas present would be some disinfectant wipes. Either throw it up to us or handle it with one of the wipes. Germs and an associated illness is a horrible gift.

Astronaut food.

While we don't always have easy access to ovens, hot plates or microwaves we do have a steady supply of hot water. Aside from all the obvious advances that have come from NASA over the years, Tang and dehydrated foods must be near the top of their works of genius. Pilots and flight attendants are hungry. Actually, we're not hungry. We're bored. We do the same thing every day. It's a well crafted routine that has been perfected with time. Same checklists. Same boarding announcements. Same meals... Airport pizza, fried rice or Cinnabon. That's all we have to chose from. A steaming hot dish of rehydrated NASA approved beef stroganoff at 37000 feet? Now that's living! You know why no one gets astronaut ice cream in their stocking on Christmas morning? Because Santa steals it at 37000 feet on the journey from the North Pole. That's not true. I made that up.

Coffee shop gift card.

The best bang for your buck? Pick up a gift card before you board your flight. A happy flight crew is a happy flight and nothing makes us happier than free coffee. Sure, you can argue that the caffeine makes us more alert and ready for anything. Maybe it makes us eager and willing to safely operate the airplane? But free coffee also makes us very happy. The weather could be horrible and the plane is broken and we may get stuck on the road but all the while we will look at each other and say, “How about that lady who gave us the free coffee? She was really nice.”

Okay, on to the inappropriate Christmas presents.

Non cockpit friendly foods.

Sure. You make some incredible chili this time of year. I bet it has the perfect amount of spice and is delicious. Aw... So thoughtful. You even brought crackers for us to crumble up and pour into the topped off flimsy Tupperware bowl you packed it in. It's gonna make a mess. We're gonna hit a bump and it's going to be everywhere. The cockpit floor is going to be covered in cracker crumbles and we're going to have chili on the controls. I can always tell where a plane has been by the finger print smears. “That kind of looks like Paella. Miami?”

Heavy things.

Our suitcases are already maxed out. I will smile and appreciate the oversized hand made holiday sweater but I have nowhere to put it. The best option will be for me to wear it but the problem with wearing non-airline approved garments in the airport is you don't get discounted gum and you get hassled by the credit card hawkers who think you are just another passenger. We don't really need that. It's nice and generous but not appropriate. Same with heavy hard bound books, flatware and home electronics.

Booze.

If we carry anything through security they make us take a sip to prove that it's not a liquid bomb. Hard one to explain when you get pulled over on the taxiway. An nonalcoholic beer is not funny. An no eggnog either. Or those powdery cookies. Messy messy messy.

So this holiday season if you are traveling…. Keep your flight crews in mind. We are here to serve you and do so with a smile while secretly hoping for a gift.

If you're eating from a bucket of donut holes offer the pilot one and say, “Merry Christmas friend.”

If your eating a slice of pizza offer a bite to your flight attendant and say, “Happy Holidays.”

And if you happen to have some astronaut food offer it to the crew and say, “Bring some water to a boil… Looks like you could use a hot meal."

This Christmas... He's a Believer

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10847745_10152624830838860_3903207579272294327_o

This is his fifth Christmas and this year he’s a believer. We took him to see Santa last week. We went to the good one. The Friday night Mall Santa. Not the Tuesday morning B-Shift guy. Our guy was the real deal. At least the boy thought so.

We got to the mall early at five to beat the rush. It was shift change. Luckily they build in a thirty minute buffer between Santa’s so the kids don’t see one tap out for the other.

“You’re in John. Rough crowd today.”

“I can tell. Is that gum in your beard?”

Our A team Kris Kringle apparently started his shift at 5:30. It was five and we had to wait. I thought this would be an issue. Little boys aren’t known for their patience. I started pulling out the old tricks.

“Wanna go look at the train display?” I asked him.

“Nope.”

“Go look around the toy store?”

“Nope.”

“Get some ice cream and eat is real slowly?”

“Nope.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I want to sit here and wait for Santa.”

And sit and wait we did. For thirty minutes. Patiently.

He’d hear a phone ring in the distance.

“Oh! Is that Santa!”

“Nope.”

He’d hear the jingle of someone passing into the jewelry store.

“I hear Santa! I hear Santa!”

“Not this time, Son. Soon though. Soon.”

Never in his his nearly five years on Earth has he sat so still and eager.

In years past I’d review the script of what he was to do when he got up to Santa.

“And then you will walk up to that stranger and smile at the camera and tell him what you would like for Christmas and that you’ve been a good boy.”

Not this year. He wrote it himself. He only wanted one thing. And when he ran up and sat on Santa’s lap he delivered. He made fools of the crying kids after him. He high fived us when he jumped down and relayed the conversation to us.

It’s going to be a fun Christmas.

Luckily, we know what that one thing is.

National Adoption Month. Where Do Storks Come From?

stork-and-baby
stork-and-baby

“Father?” Said the almost five year old. “Listen, there is something I’ve been thinking about. You and I have been watching a lot of classic television programing lately. Shows like Tom and Jerry and Dumbo and I’ve noticed that in them, often a Stork drops off a baby to Moms and Dads.”

“Yes?” I answer while thinking, “Here we go. It’s time to talk about his adoption story. Where’s Mom? It’s something her and I have had on our to-do list but just haven’t gotten to. Damn you MarioKart.”

“So in these shows,” He continues. “The families always receive their babies from flying Storks. They are dropped from the moonlit sky and the little ones float in under a full parachute safely to land on the doorstep of their eager families. I’ve seen a Stork drop little elephants, giraffe and humans. All sorts of things. But what I’m wondering is this. Who brings the Storks?”

“Uh, I’m not sure I follow?”

“Well. A Stork flying around with a baby llama is quite a sight. Clearly that’s not the Storks child. It doesn’t look like her. It doesn’t even have wings. The same with a baby alligator. The Stork is going to drop off the alligator to an alligator family. Why would a Stork be flying around with an alligator if not to drop it off at its real family? But why would she deliver a Stork to another Stork? Wouldn’t they be able to deliver their own baby? Is this why we never see them flying around with a baby Stork in the basket?”

“There is a lot to cover here?” I said. “Maybe we should wait for your Mom to get home. I think I’m going to go play some MarioKart.”

“I guess my question is this. Where do Storks come from?”

“Just so we are clear here, Son.” I ask him. “We are talking about Storks right? The bird.”

“Of course we are Father. What else would it be? I understand that when a Stork is flying around with a potbellied pig in her basket or cloth sack no one would guess that it is hers because the pig looks so different. Same with a baby zebra. But if the reason we never see Storks flying around with their own is because Storks deliver themselves… where do Storks come from?”

“Okay. First of all. Families are made of all types of animals. Moms and Dads adopt children from other species and they make beautiful families. Even when they look different and have different features. Sometimes a bird may have a donkey for a son and that is just fine. Or a monkey. Second. Storks do fly around with other Storks. Just not in the basket. Baby birds can fly too so they just fly alongside their parents.”

“Surely they can’t fly at birth. How do they get to their parents houses?”

“Magic.” I said.

“That’s not true.”

“A Genie in a bottle.” I answer.

“Like Aladdin?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t believe that answer either.”

“Amazon Prime. They come in those brown boxes.”

“Oh. That makes sense. Amazon drops off all the babies that way right? Then on moonlit nights, the Storks fly them to their families?” He asks.

“Yep. You got it. Until the drones take over. They will put all the Storks out of business.”

“Oh. One more thing?” He asks. “Am I adopted?”

“Yes. And we love you very much.”

“Thanks Dad. Can we order a sister from Amazon?”

Future Daddy Blogger Support Group

Group white chairs
Group white chairs

The meetings are held in the basement of a church near an all-night donut shop. Although both are helpful, the location is more about the donuts than the man upstairs. The chairs are arranged in a circle. The donuts are placed on an end table in the middle. They are a focal point. The embers of a fire that never goes out. There are always more donuts.

“It’s time to start the group.” The host says. “Thank you all so much for coming today. I see a few new faces and many familiar ones. Who wants to begin today? Tyler? How about you start?”

Tyler was seated in the circle directly across from the host. Although he was a regular to the support group he was hard to remember. He had an unassuming disposition and talked in a hushed voice. The others leaned in when he spoke because he was barely heard over the buzz of the box fans. It’s not uncommon for the grown up kids of dad bloggers to shun the spotlight. Growing up online was enough. Tyler was the norm.

“Hi, I’m Tyler. You all may know me as “Little T” from the SometimesHePoopsInHisPants.com blog.”

“Hi Tyler.com” The group said in unison. Adding a dot com to their name was a joke that caught on. A way to mock their dads who’ve chronicled their lives online since birth.

“I’ve made some progress since last week when I told you I was ready to talk him about his blog and how it has always been the third wheel in my relationships. He acted surprised that employers ask about the site and that first dates do their research before we meet. Secretly, I think he was adding up the page views in his head. He suggested that I add his link to my resume to help with search engine optimisation. He even asked if he could make me a match.com profile and put it on his blog. But, he listened and was receptive but... I caught him recording me. I haven’t seen it pop up on any of his feeds yet. With our conversation recorded at least I know he may listen to it later. The last time I had a serious talk with him he spliced my words into a Beastie Boys song that went viral. “Whatcha Whatcha... Whatcha Want!” with me replying “No More Blog.”

“I like your optimism.” Said the host. “We’ve all learned that they will not change and unless you are ready to hack and delete their pages we’ve got to find a way to live in their world.”

“Thanks. I tried to vary my pitch and volume to give him little to work with. He’s always been pretty good at sound editing though.”

“I’d like to go next.” Said Rachel as she sat down with a fresh donut. “I’m Rachel from SheWillAlwaysBeMyLittleGirl.com”

“Hi Rachel.com.”

“My dad wrote me a letter this week responding to an email I sent him. All I told him was that I wished I didn’t have pictures of me online from every awkward age growing up. To him they may be cute and at the time maybe they were but now I can’t hide from them. I told him that when I look in the mirror all I see is every flaw from childhood. He seemed genuinely sympathetic and wrote me a poem.”

“That is really great, Rachel. Would you like to read it to us.”

What moon songs do you sing your baby?

What sunshine do you bring?

Who belongs? Who decides who's crazy?

Who rights wrongs where others cling?

I'll sing for you if you want me to

I'll give to you

And it's a chance I'll have to take.”

Tyler squirmed in his seat and spoke up. “Oh man, Rachel. Holy shit! Your dad’s passing a Smashing Pumpkins song off as his poem to you. Damn! That’s low! I’ve had damn near every 90’s alternative song used as the backdrop in my childhood home movies. I hate that shit.”

“I knew it was too good to be true. I bet he spent more time choosing the font. He’s always going on and on about fonts. I think he only speaks to me in headlines sometimes.”

“Sorry about that Rachel. That really sucks. To you all. I’m new to the group. My name is Mark from ItsGonnaLeaveAMark.com”

“Hi Mark.com.”

“I thought I was alone all these years in my feelings. I thought I was being too selfish and judgemental and then I realized that it was he who was being selfish and narcissistic. There isn’t a movie from my youth out there for me to enjoy because all I see is my face cropped into the movie posters. I think my dad must have taken every movie made during my childhood and spliced me into it somewhere. What gave him the right to take that from me?”

“Your anger is justified Mark.com and your feelings are valid.” The host said. “May I suggest you watch something that he didn’t use?”

“I have! All I can enjoy is Japanese Animation and I hate Japanese Animation! I don’t know what’s going on and I always think I’m gonna have a seizure.”

“Most of us have tuned out from the digital world.” Said Rachel. “We get together and play parcheesi. You should join us after group. We don’t take pictures and listen to vinyl so there is no digital record. God, my dad would love to stream my listening habits online."

"My dad blogger would love to write a post about that." Added Mark.com.

His First Joke

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10557699_10152354800583860_4772943340586971653_o

For the first time in his life he has come up with something funny. Months later he still calls back to it. And it is funny. He’s had funny moments before. He’s pulled some physical gags and laughed at himself and then asked if it was silly. But this is his first joke.

Sometime late summer the subject of a sweet dessert came up. He was asking for it and I didn’t know what it was. He wasn’t saying it right. His pronunciation was off. It didn’t make sense. It was something he got somewhere and I didn’t know what it was. At four he’s too young to have things in his life I’m not aware of. We both laughed (hysterically) as I made it into a game of twenty questions. He caught on to the bit and riffed with me.

He was asking for something that sounded to me like “Fruit Myer”.

“Is it cold?”

“Yes!” He said laughing implying that of course it is served cold.

“Is it in the refrigerator or the freezer?”

“It’s in the freezer silly!”

“What color is it?” I asked.

“Green.”

“And what is it called again?”

“I told you. Fruit Myer!”

“I have no idea what this is! Maybe next time we are in the store you can point it out to me.”

“They don’t have Fruit Myer in the store, Silly! You are so crazy.”

"Also, Dude. Fruit Myer is not the preferred nomenclature." I added.

I have no idea what this stuff is.

My clues so far.

It’s green. It’s served cold. You eat it with a spoon. It makes a mess if you spill it. You get sick if you eat too much of it. Asking if it is bigger than a breadbox makes no sense to him. They don’t sell it at the store. You’d be crazy to think they did.

I’m guessing it’s some kind of green ice cream that my Mother-in-Law bought him.

She was also the source behind another mystery. One that I was able to solve.

That one was easier to piece together.

He asked for a popsicle from the freezer and when it was lemon instead of chocolate he demanded I put it under running water. “It will turn to chocolate!”

“No it won’t.” I said.

“Under the water! It will turn to chocolate! I don’t want lemon! I want chocolate!”

“That doesn't make any sense! That is impossible!” I yelled back matching his volume for affect. “Running water will not turn frozen lemonade into chocolate! It will turn it into more lemonade!”

I proved this and subsequently disappointed him in the name of science. His expression when I gave him a plastic stick that once held a popsicle was actual comedy.

“See!" I waved it. Again, for affect. "No chocolate!”

I may have over done it. He sulked. Tough audience.

My hypothesis. His Grammy makes him frozen popsicles with chocolate milk. She also makes him some from lemonade. My guess is to help extricate them from their plastic mold she runs them under water to loosen them up. Perhaps the lemonade variety doesn't need loosening? He must think we have a Willy Wonka sink that can turn anything into a chocolate popsicle?

But. To the current mystery. And joke.

Months later he will call back to the Fruit Myer bit and laugh knowing it’s funny.

It may begin with him chuckling, “Remember the Fruit Myer?”

I will laugh and start the round of the twenty questions again.

Even better is when I catch him laughing to himself and then when I ask him what’s funny he says snickering, “Fruit Myer.”

It’s a joke we share. A joke him and I wrote and one that I think he finds as funny as I do.

Maybe I don't want to ever know what Fruit Myer is?

My Son. My Chronological Yardstick

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spacegrowththinEvery memorable event in my life that happened before the spring of 2010 is filed away in my brain with a five year buffer. My mental calendar from the era before I had a child is ordered in half decade increments. When did I graduate college?

“I was done wearing flannel shirts by that time... mid to late 90's?”

Since my son was born he has become a yardstick on which I measure time. Instead of just inches marked off on the door frame I see months and the corresponding historical events. I look at his growth notches on the wall like a geologist sees the colors of a canyon.

My brother was married the month our son’s adoption was official. June 2010.

February 2011 he started scooting around the coffee table on his way to becoming bipedal.

In addition to tagging my memory with his chronology, I’ve watched the evolution of mankind as he’s inched his way up my leg. His descent from the crib akin to early man deciding that a tree wasn’t such a great place to raise a family. Soon after conquering land he began grunting and sketching crude drawings on the walls. This led to the use of simple tools and more complete sentences and an attempt to overthrow the established rules of the house. He assumed he was smarter than his elders but didn’t yet realize that we control the food and the bath toys.

It’s just a matter of time before I catch him sitting around a plastic round table with his playmates playing Rock Paper Scissors to decide who gets to be Braveheart this time.

“They will never take away our Freedom!”

I can’t wait for him to catch up with the 1960’s human and enter the space race in the backyard. Am I allowed to impart my wisdom onto him or do I have to let him fail in order to achieve global dominance? Does he need to lose a few model Estes rockets because my interference will disrupt the space time continuum? I’d hate to walk back inside after properly staging his rocket engines when he’s not looking to find my image fading in the few physical photos we have on the wall.

And when he actually becomes smarter than his elders I’ll be certain to hide the growth chart from him so he can’t rewrite history. It will be saved for posterity so I can remind him where he came from if his power becomes too great for him to handle.

“Right there. That is when you first inched up to my waistline.”

Hopefully he will still look up to me as he did then.

If not, I'll just take away his bath toys.