Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Love T-Shirts

I love T-shirts. I always have and I always will. The only thing that I have ever loved enough to make me part with some of my shirts is Arica. When she moved in and I had to clear drawer space the T-shirts actually lost a head to head battle. We found T-shirts from as far back as 1992, and crazily I didn't want to get rid of them. Over the past 5 years I have slowly thrown out of all the shirts left from high school basketball, 3 on 3 tournaments, and trips to the podunk county fair.

Now I have a different kind of T-shirt collection, the vintage T-shirt. If you have been into any clothing store in the past few years you know that these things are popular. I have some old band shirts like The Who and Johnny Cash. I have the Dukes of Hazzard and Mario Brothers. I have others too. If I was made of money I would buy a T-shirt a day until the rapture.

This behavior is nothing new. I have been wearing what I thought were unique T-shirts for 15 years. I like to claim that I was way ahead of my time fashion wise. Arica likes to claim that I was just a bum. She is probably right.

I grumble a lot when we buy clothes for the little man. As a tight wad it bothers me to buy clothes for someone who grows so fast. It would be fine with me if he just wore diapers until he stopped growing. That type of thinking is just another example of why God made mothers.

One time when I am first in line to buy Braden new clothes is when we find new T-shirts. I hope by buying him an inordinate amount of cool T-shirts that I will instill in Braden the same love for this cotton clothing staple that I have.

Braden has rock shirts including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and AC/DC. He has at least two Star Wars Shirts. He has Super Man and Batman. He has a nice vintage Oscar the Grouch one too. In fact the only way that I could ever list all his cool retro shirts is to rummage through his drawer. Since I am at work now the drawers are safe from my "rearranging".

So here is today's ironic moment. Right now I am being paid to write about the T-shirts that I hope to buy for my son with the money I am making while writing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kelley Blue Book Condition: Kids

Is there anything that can destroy a cars value faster than kids. Placing that little toddler throne in the back seat is like anointing your car as the kingdom of messiness. Only using your car as a badger transport could do more damage.

I am sure you are all familiar with the Kelley Blue Book. We have all used it to determine fair value for buying a used car. Who am I kidding? I use it to find out how much I can get for my old truck if I decide to sell it and ride a bike to work. I might find myself thinking, if I just replaced that donut tire in the back and got rid of that rag for a gas cap I could get enough money to pay the mortgage for another month.

When doing financial research using the Kelley Blue Book you have to identify the car's condition. The choices are excellent, good, fair, and poor. I think they should add another category after poor called Kids. At the very least they should ask, Do you have kids? What ages where they during the period of time that you owned this car? The consumer needs this information.

I started considering all this today after I cleaned Arica's car. Before we had Braden the back seat never needed to see a vacuum. It was always clean. Today when I opened the back doors it looked like we had been feeding chickens in the back seat.

Today I will continue my quest to show a lack of creativity by offering another list. This is a list of things I found in the back seat while vacuuming the car this morning.
  • Untouched Fig Newton
  • About 1/16th of a Pop Tart
  • A rock
  • Purple Froot Loop dust
  • An unidentifiable plastic piece of a toy
  • A bouncy ball
  • Wipes
  • A straw
  • French Fries

Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day Wish List

Sunday is Father's Day. This means that philandering nogoodnik Tiger Woods will be playing the US Open Golf Championship and I will be eating my weight in fatty southern delights.

It also means it is time to celebrate Dad's. That is a big time for us Dad bloggers. I guess it is our moment in the sun.

Dad's influence their children in so many ways. They teach us the lessons of life, right from wrong, and why you should never pee into the wind. My Dad certainly taught me a lot of important things, but he did more than that. He also shaped my interests. He helped me grow to love baseball by coaching me for many years. He influenced me to love animals because he raised more critters than the St. Louis Zoo. Those shared interests carry on to this Day.

This year on Father's Day I thought I would make a list of things that I hope I can influence Braden to enjoy or participate in. Of course I want him to be a Hog fan, a Cardinal fan, a hunter, and a fisherman. Those are all the big building blocks of who he will become. Today I would rather talk about some little things. After all you need the little things to be the cement that holds those big blocks together. One could never truly build a personality or true character without the cement. 

Without further ado here is my wish list of things I hope Braden will pick up from his old man.
  1. Dislike of anything related to the Texas Longhorns
  2. The love of French Onion dip
  3. The ability to recite The Streak by Ray Stephens
  4. How to properly eat Buffalo Wings
  5. The proper way to accuse a video game of cheating
  6. Love of War movies and Clint Eastwood
  7. The appreciation for a well dressed hot dog like a Chicago Style Dog
  8. When to properly quote Caddyshack
  9. How to tie a square knot with his teeth
  10. The desire for grilling perfection
Happy Father's Day to my Dad and all the other Great Dads out there.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Origins of Fear

Fear - an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger (Merriam-Webster)

How does one derive fear?  Are we born with fear? Do we learn fear from others? Do we learn fear from our own experience?

I would say that most fear probably comes from our experience. But what about little kids? Some of them are scared of things at an early age. Where do they learn that?

In my dealings with animals it seems that they are born with fear. Many of them rely on fear to keep them aware of predators. Fear fuels their fight or flight response. Some people might argue it is instinct not fear, and I might agree in some cases. I would also say that I have cornered many animals meaning them no harm in my life and seen something in their eyes that looked a lot like fear to me. Others may say that the fear is learned from their mother.  When a coyote comes along the mother deer runs.  The baby deer then runs as well. The baby deer is smart enough to follow mom even if she doesn't know why. Eventually the baby learns what to "fear".

I really don't know these answers, but I have always been intrigued by the genetics versus learned behavior question. My interest has even increased since becoming a Dad. Recently I've been thinking about that question as it applies to fear. I see some kids that are afraid of their own shadows. They are afraid of thunder, dogs, the dark, the water, the vacuum, the mail man, the frying pan, the toaster, the couch, and the toilet.

I see no such fear anywhere in my son. If the answer to my query is that you are born with a fear instinct then Braden must have just missed out completely.

We took him to the local water park a couple weeks ago for the first time.  He got in the kiddie pool and waded around. He played with the fountains. He splashed a little. The pool is 2 feet deep or less so I was having a hard time getting wet. Finally I just laid down in the water. Braden loved that. He laughed and smiled and tried to do the same.  The rest of the day Arica and I spent our time trying to keep Braden from purposefully going under water. If kids are supposed to learn fear Braden is missing out on that too. Each time he went under water he would come up gasping and coughing yet he would do it again a few minutes later.

Braden's teacher at his new school has told Arica recently that he scares her to death because he isn't afraid of anything. They have gymnastic like climbing mats in class. One of them is like a steep triangle shaped hill. Braden runs down this thing at great personal risk to his health.  At home he gets on the ottoman and jumps off like a crazy person.

So far I don't know of anything that scares this kid. No amount of knots on his head seem to deter his dare devil spirit either.

Braden may never know an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, but he instills that emotion in his parents every day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Frankenstein Wins

In the movie Big Daddy Adam Sandler's character, Sonny, raises someone else's child due to bizarre circumstances.  Sonny, being the child raising genius that he is, decides to let the kid do whatever he wants. Sonny wouldn't tell him what to do. The kid, Julian, would make his own decisions.

Julian's first order of business is to rename himself Frankenstein. After that he decides to eat ketchup packets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  He also chooses not to take baths and becomes the stinky kid at school.

Sonny also gives Julian the right to choose his wardrobe every day. He can wear whatever he wants. Normal attire includes shorts, boots, a cape, and earmuffs or maybe some other clothing fashioned as a head band.

Today I experienced a slice of this self dressing fun.  After I dressed Braden this morning he started reaching for the shoes he wanted. The kid has an absolute love of shoes. He wants to wear shoes all the time. He will go pick them out and bring them too you. It is not uncommon in our home to see Braden wearing only a diaper and two mismatched shoes. Before today his shoe fun only happened at home.

This morning I tried to deny Braden's shoe dreams.  He was none too pleased.  We over slept and let's just say Braden is not a morning person. So in his just awakened state he was not going to give up easily. The shoes were important.

Arica wisely suggested I just give him the shoes he wanted, and she would take the other shoes to school with them.

And this is the story of how Braden got to wear big red Elmo house shoes to school today.

Monday, June 7, 2010

You Might Be My Son

If you want to be outside 24 hours a day getting filthy dirty and sweaty, but you can't stand to have anything on your hands...You might be my son.

If you are the owner of 250 balls, but you can't pass any ball in any store anywhere without screaming for another...You might be my son.

If your favorite pass time is a toss up between trying to con your parents into giving you candy and hitting everything in the house with a bat...You might be my son.

If you have absolutely no fear of jumping off the couch or jumping into the pool despite your lack of swimming prowess...You might be my son.

If you are going through a phase where you love applesauce more than anything except chocolate...You might be my son.

If you love dragging people around the house by their fingers in order to entice them to do your bidding...You might be my son.

If you can say two or three new words every day...You might be my son.

If you have recently started pointing at the TV and saying T T when you want to watch the tube...You might be my son.

If you spent this morning singing Hot Dog! with me while we watched Mickey Mouse by say Da Dog! ...You might be my son.

If you woke me up at 5:30 the previous two mornings...You might be my son, but I can't be sure due to severe sleep deprivation.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Down on Blogging, Sickness, Confessions, and Alphabet Soup

I haven't posted this week because, to be frank, I am a little put off by the whole blogging experience right now.  It has started to feel more like a job than a fun hobby.  It will always frustrate me that I can't get more regular readers. I thank the handful of you that read every day from the bottom of my heart. It makes me happy to know that some of you will show up no matter what.

Lately I have not put as much effort into feeding and nourishing my blog. You bloggers know exactly what I mean. To keep readership up you have to read other blogs and comment regularly. I have struggled finding time for that lately and my blog has suffered. My readership is lagging. My comments are lagging, and that has left me a bit down on the process.

Maybe the biggest thing bothering me is that I wrote what I thought was a great post for Memorial Day. I was excited to post it and hear what people had to say. I thought surely this post would evoke some response. Several readers have said it was powerful so I am pretty sure it was good writing. Alas, to this point the post has garnered a measly 9 comments. That is what has got me down the most. Good content didn't move the masses either.

Now that I am done feeling sorry for myself I will post a few bullet points about what has been going on in the Life of a New Dad house. You know that I love bullet points.
  • Braden was sick again this week. Since February he has had problems with his severe pollen allergies about every other week. Those allergies often turn into respiratory infections and ear infections. In between allergy problems Braden has had the pink eye, hand, foot and mouth disease, and about 3 stomach viruses.  It is such a stressful thing to have a kid that just can't get well. Arica and I both feel terrible for him.
  • Right now Braden has an infection in both ears and is taking some sort of asthma like breathing treatment. I hate seeing him breathing through the tube. It is a sad sight. I hope he doesn't develop asthma as a result of his allergies. On the plus side he likes taking the inhaler. He thinks it's fun. At least we don't have to fight him. He went back to school today so hopefully the worst is behind us.
  • In a bit of good news, I passed my PE exam. The results were posted online and I just found out yesterday. I haven't had the opportunity to celebrate yet, but I think I might pop the top on a cold one tonight. I hope this license and the added letters behind my name will open up more career opportunities for me. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
  • Finally I want to put some silliness to rest. I think nearly all of you know this already, but I want to make it official. My first name is not Otter and my last name is not Thomas. None of my names are Thomas to be exact. My given name is Benjamin Buford Blue, but people call me Bubba. No. Seriously. My name is Robert Smith. I continue to parade myself around as Otter for name recognition only. So now you know.
Robert Smith, P.E. signing off.