Their Obsession With Cheetahs

The CubbiesEvery night my children go to bed with cheetah cubbies that may be leopards.

They are cheap stuffed toys, the kind you see at the front of lesser family restaurants. Nothing extravagant, but wherever they go in the house, they are usually in the same room, many times next to each other. And each evening, they are needed for nighttime or there might be tears.

The cheetahs started with my son when he realized how fast they were.

My son has always loved to run. Back when he used to go to daycare and I would pick him up, on every nice day he would be in the playground racing with his friends. The teacher would just shout “Go!” and watch the kids run around and around again, not considering it was the parents that had to deal with the kids with sweat-soaked hair that would always need a bath later.

Now my son wasn’t always the fastest, he did good, but there were always kids a little faster since they might be older or just plan bigger. But that didn’t matter to my son, he would always tell me on the way home how he won… even when we both knew he didn’t.

He was Dash from The Incredibles for Halloween when he was four then the year after that The Flash. Whenever either costume was put on he would get this look in his eye, scream “zoom” and take off running around our house hoping to find a bad guy some place.

A red blur of speed!

 Last Christmas, my daughter gave her brother a giant stuffed cheetah. (Well, actually the parents did but she happily took credit for it, she was one then.) My son immediately declared it was the mommy cheetah, and they both happily agreed. The cheetah cubbies were grabbed and quickly were reunited.

They are now a family of cheetahs. Continue reading

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The Historical Resonance of Turning Two

With a baby...Sentimentality runs thick in my family. It has always been that way, carrying on that tradition from my parents to me. And when a holiday or family event arrives at our door, the past always arrives with it, shaking the snow off its boots, an escapable addition at the table.

Every Christmas tree is compared to a past tree, every gathering being a moment to remember those no longer there, and birthdays are always tainted with the feeling of a time gone that will never return.

This is not a bad thing.

In a way it adds to my family’s experiences along this mortal coil, since we view time and moments in such a special light. So at any event, look for me with the video camera trying to chase something down that can’t be chased down; the elusive kernel of a pure, real instant.

Every giggle, every dance, every story of my kids, I want to capture it, knowing that someday, with my sentimentality sitting beside me on the couch I will want to view it again… and again… and again…

That time that is just about to slip away. Continue reading

Nine Thoughts On Turning One

Today, my daughter turns one.

It may seem selfish, but my kids’ birthdays always become a moment of reflection for me. They are milestones and milestones usually have that impact on a person, no matter if they want it or not. Yet, as first years go, this one seemed to speed past, leaving a soul wondering where all of the time went and why it had to go by so fast.  Here are nine of my initial thoughts on her birthday and the last year…

1. I have heard that many say when your babies age, it makes a parent feel older. That has yet to be the case for me. Maybe I have a touch of the Peter Pan/young at heart thing going you see in the movies, but having kids has made me reclaim bits and pieces of my own youth. I wear brightly colored shoes now, I know all about superheroes, and I can read Fox in Socks incredibly fast. To be honest, I like being this guy, I like being a dad. In a way, it is a gift my kids gave to me… If that doesn’t sound too Hallmarky. Continue reading

Doubting Thomas… Thomas the Tank Engine

An editorial on Thomas the Tank Engine and PBS Kids is up at Green Spot Blue.  Here is part of the introduction of the article:

 It all starts so innocently. 

     And it always begins the same. Thomas the Tank Engine, we all (parents and children alike) get indoctrinated via the cute little wooden railway toys.

     They are so fun and who doesn’t like putting the tracks together! My son and I always like to lead the track under furniture, but that is just us, I’m sure.

     Oh, the toys are expensive and really we parents should’ve taken that as the first warning sign to run for the hills. (Seriously, when did 15 dollars for a little wooden train make economic sense?) And like Scientology with their free personality tests, Thomas inches you forward subtly until finally, your child is sleeping in a bed covered with Thomas sheets, your TV is running episodes every day and you can’t get that blasted theme song out of your head (both the version with lyrics and without).

     I’ve been there, fellow parents.  And like an alcoholic at AA let me tell you there are better life style options out there for you (and your kids). Because when you really step back and look at Thomas and its show and its message, it’s all… well… smoke.

T0 read the rest of the article (where I also give  some suggestions on how the show could be made better and more educational), please click here.

Peep! Peep!