It finally happened, my kid lost his first tooth. God, was he excited. I think he had felt like a leper for not losing any teeth in kindergarten. I sensed him feeling the Olympic tension in the room as each child would come in, annouce to the world that they lost a tooth, and then go up to the teacher and receive their plastic tooth case for the tooth. It killed him to not receive one. As I mentioned in earlier posts, his teacher reassured him, he could return in first grade to collect his case. And as it turns out, he will return today to meet his new teacher and collect on his tooth.
I for one am still somewhat unclear about the origins of the tradition. It seems like an odd way to celebrate the loss of a tooth. It sounds like a bad government program. Actually, it is more like a special deal the local pawn shop, currency exchange, or loan shop might offer. In addition, I could envision the mafia using a tooth for cash program as an incentive for its younger members. But for the rest of us, it seems rather strange.
As my wife and I were pondering the pressure on a kid to lose that first tooth, it led me to wondering about the going rate for a lost tooth. She indicated that the tooth fairy dropped a $5.00 bill on a couple of his friends. I was shocked! How does the tooth fairy afford this? Should all teeth be worth the same? I can see the top two collecting a 5 spot, but the lower teeth can’t be worth more than a buck a piece. And does the tooth fairy take the tooth or leave it.
My kid wanted the tooth fairy to leave the tooth, so we put in a request that he not take the tooth, but leave some money. So he could bring the tooth to school and cash in there. I’m starting to wonder what it would be worth on ebay. Didn’t I read about a guy who started out with a paperclip and ended up with a house in Canada?
There is no doubt that kids can be an advertisers best friend. How many times has your kid watched a show, only to later request a certain type of cereal that you don’t like. For some odd reason, I was also remembering how kids can be a nightmare for advertisers because they haven’t been fully programmed to act without thinking.
Today, I recalled one of the first times I took my son to McDonalds. I proudly ordered him a “happy meal.” I waited for that look of excitement because it was a “happy meal.” But he didn’t know what that was or what it meant. So he ate some of the food, examined the toy inside, and then seemed to be thinking about the experience. His first response to it was, “dad, do they also have sad meals?”
After reflecting on what a perfectly obvious but bright question that was, I was tempted to respond, “son, the happy meal is just that…..a sad meal.”
I just returned from a 4 year old birthday party. While there, I was thinking someone should warn you at the birth of your child that you will be consuming more cake and pizza than you can envision for the next 7-10 years. In other words, either take up running to work it off or start buying pants a few inches bigger. Better yet, some financial institution should come up with some type of fund, similar to a college fund that you can start to prepare for the cost of birthday parties over the next 7-10 years. I had no idea what I was getting into. No one told me the days of “pin the tail on the donkey” and ” musical chairs” in your house was over. I had no idea that parents would have “to rent” facilities for parties.
No doubt, I’m old school when it comes to birthday parties. In my mind, a cake, a few presents, family, and a couple of friends would do the trick. And in fact, if this industry was built with the kid in mind, this would be enough. What may have started as a way to give the parents a break appears to have turned into a competition between parents for the best birthday party.
As many of you know from reading previous blog entries. We went through a vigorous search and find mission before we adopted Ed the cat from Paws, Chicago. Ed has been with us for several months now and can best be described as a “fat cat.” He has a fondness for food. No one is quite certain how he got so big. Perhaps we are all in denial and will soon be going Catovereaters anonymous (COA). He is cuddly. He still purrs when he plops on your lap. He likes to join my wife and I in bed. In fact, he makes for a rather comfy pillow. And then there is Gogurt.
Gogurt has what I like to call “catitude.” He greets Ed by jumping on him trying to get him to play. And true to Ed’s cool cat ways, he “pawslaps” Gogurt and then licks him clean. Gogurt is like the kid who is excited by just hearing you’re going to the amusement park. But what surprises everyone is how much Gogurt lets Ry and J pick him up, cradle him, and hug him. He seems to intuit that the intention is good even if the style may be awkward.
There is talk of bringing one more kitten into the house once Gogurt gets big..hopefully just not quite as big as Ed.
If you have been following this blog, you know that our family was robbed during father’s day weekend. You can read about it on my June 15, 2008 posting, “How do you make your kids feel safe after you’ve been robbed?” It was to say the least a tumultuous time. As I wrote back then, the hardest aspect of it was talking to my sons about it. It was the moment where the safe world we had created for them was tested.
Today, I received a call from the detective handling the case that the robber has been caught, and will likely go to jail. He is a 48 year old man with a history of burglaries. It appears he robs to support his drug habbit. He had hit numerous apartments and homes in the community. They followed him and he was caught in the act of attempting to rob.
It doesn’t change the fact that my sons are more aware that robbers are not just make believe. It doesn’t bring back my things or the money shelled out to repair things. It doesn’t change the anger, helplessness, and frustration I felt. It doesn’t change the fact that we painted and drew on the 2×4’s on the door to make it seem less sterile and cold. It doesn’t change the excitement of winning the fathers day basketball tournament. And it simply doesn’t change the fact that we let go and moved on with our life as a family. For all it doesn’t do, one thing it does do for me is give me some actual closure.
It quiets that little part of me that wonders or thinks about it from time to time. It puts that nagging piece of the story to rest. And for that, I’m grateful.
As parents, I believe we are continuously confronted with opportunities to question whether we’ve done as much as we could for our kids. For me, this often comes in the question of whether I’ve exposed my kids to enough good reading material. My wife has often joked about the fact that our sons could not tell you anything about Harry Potter but ask them to tell you about Rocky or the Karate Kid and they’ll go on and on. I think my kids are pretty bright, so when I hear that their peers are “so into Harry Potter,” I begin to wonder what makes a 6 or 4 year old that into Harry Potter. In fact, I wonder if they are into Harry Potter or if it is simply more enjoyable for the parents.
When the boys hear the “Gonna Fly Now” theme on one of the homemade kids CD’s, they always ask to hear the Rocky story. J usually has a question about “cuff and link,” the turtles. And when we get to the top of the Philedelphia museum, Ry often wants to hear about the Karate Kid. In my best Mr. Miyagi voice, I say, “wax on-wax off.” And then, I’ll switch to a stern Mr. Miyagi, “no! Daniel son…wax on…wax off.”
The most recent form of scholastic advancement has come in the form of the Green Hornet and Kato. As I write, I’m thinking of the cadence of the story, “If you give a pig a pancake.” If you expose a boy to Kato, then you have to tell him about Bruce Lee. If you tell him about Bruce Lee, he’ll want you to show him Youtube clips of Bruce confronting many bad guys by himself. If you show him Bruce in action, then he’ll want you to tell him about other lesser known heroes of that era, including “super chicken.” If you tell him about “superchicken,” he’ll want you to stop and read to him about a giving a pig a pancake.
Today, we shook up some routines and went to a community outdoor festival. We let the van sit in the drive way and took the bus, which the boys were excited about. On our way there, I was feeling lukewarm about going. I’ve been to so many outdoor festivals that are very crowded, loud, and generally a pain. Let’s put it this way, I spend most of the time trying to chat and then turning my head saying, “where’s Ry or J?” But today was different.
We went to the Raven festival. It was only $5.00. The crowd was modest. The volunteers were friendly and helpful. They had inflatable rides and a climbing wall that the boys could go on over and over. The face painters took their time to turn my sons into cute little dogs.There was a nice selection of music to listen to. There were places to sit in the shade. They even had pony rides, albeit, very short rides-but it was a nice touch. And most importantly, they had clean, usable porta-potty’s. I’d never actually used a clean one before.
At one point, my wife and I sat under a tent and let the boys roam around the event. While we live in a major metropolitan city, it felt like we were in a small town. In fact, after getting a snack, I called my wife over because the boys were on stage singing with some other kids. It was my first time seeing J on stage. I think he may return there again.
When enough was enough, we were on our way. J was on my back. My wife had the backpack which contained the beach ball, soccer ball, and key chain from State Farm; the self made buttons from Whole Foods; lollipops from the Catholic school; tattoos from the public school; and a red and yellow balloon from a small bank hung from the back of the pack. And then we ended the afternoon as the boys wanted, we took the train. For more information, http://www.RavenChicago.com