Monday, February 17, 2014

That 'Sinking in' Feeling

As parents there will always be times when you wonder what your kid will be like when they are a bit older.  Will they retain those personality traits as teenagers that they are displaying when they are 5 or 6?  Of course most parents will hope they retain some of them, while ditching others.

That being said, Lukas is a spontaneous kid. Yes, even for a 6 year old boy - who are known for being rather spontaneous.  He often tends to get caught up in the moment, and while never ill-intentioned, will do things that even he knows afterwards that he shouldn't do.

For instance, in the moment his curiosity might get the better of him, and he might push a button to see what would happen if he did.  His mind is always working that way, but he doesn't always stop to ask himself what the negative effects might be of such an action.

Scenarios like this will make Mrs. LIAYF and I take pause every once in a while when pondering what his teenage years will be like.

But then again, there will be times when you have moments of  hope and a sense that all the 'educating' you have been doing might actually be paying off.

Mrs. LIAYF had one of those moments this afternoon which she relayed to me a short time ago.  She was driving Lukas and a buddy home from the park when she overheard a conversation they were having in the back seat.  She didn't let on that she could hear EVERYTHING they were saying, but just listened.  A parent can learn a lot that way.

Apparently, Lukas' friend joked that he was going to open the door while the car was driving down the road. Lukas, in turn, told him that he thought the child locks were on so that he couldn't open them.  "Let's see" said the friend, as he laughed and tried to open the car door.  (By the way, yes the child locks were on, and Mrs. LIAYF is pretty sure the friend knew it and was just being goofy.)

"Don't do that!" Lukas implored "There is traffic out there, and you could hurt yourself".

His friend just laughed and said that he would just land on his feet and run off.  "Yeah, that wouldn't happen" Lukas let him know.  "You'd just get hit by a car and hurt.  And I wouldn't want that".  Lukas was plotting too, but he was being reasonable about it.

A short time later they passed a 7-11 convenience store, and the other boy said that they should hop out and run in and grab a load of chocolate bars, which they could eat while in hiding for several days from some unknown evil entity.

"That much chocolate will make you sick"  Lukas let his buddy know.  "You would need to grab some sandwiches too so that you will have some protein to eat."   "Nah, we could just eat chocolate everyday!" his friend insisted, laughing.

"Nope, I would get some sandwiches" Lukas continued.  "If I was hiding out, I would want something healthy to eat."  Of course, he said this with a devious laugh too as the two of them planned their ultimate hideout experience.

As I mentioned, Mrs. LIAYF didn't interrupt them during this exchange, and to her it was obvious that she was not privy to what was being said.  She just listened.  And smiled.

Upon hearing about this exchange, I smiled too.   Every once in a while parent will get a glimpse of their child's inner thought processes.

And for us, when we hear a small part of yourselves ringing through, it reinforces the idea that the things we are saying over and over again, are sinking in.  That maybe, just maybe, the spontaneity we see from him will not completely go away, but will be tempered by a good dose of reason.

That's a pretty good feeling.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Hot Dog Has A Second Name

We are talking a lot these days with Lukas about appropriate language and the use of so called 'Potty Talk'. In our house, this talk creeps up at inappropriate times, such as at the dinner table.

It should come as a surprise to no one that he is using terms such as poopy-poopy headstinky fart butt, and penis pants in his excited conversations.  After all, he is 6 years old, in a first grade class consisting of 75% boys, and reading a lot of Captain Underpants books these days.

Yeah, Captain Underpants.  If you haven't heard of the series, they are actually pretty funny early reading books - but the protagonists, 2 third grade boys are, ahem, highly inappropriate in their actions.

We have had a number of conversations with Lukas recently about what words are okay to say out loud, and when.  But it seems like we have been fighting a losing battle.  And when we got word a couple of days ago that he had to spend some quality alone time from class for shouting out some potty talk during quiet time Mrs. LIAYF and I decided it was time to level a bit stronger punishment to get the point across.

No Captain Underpants books for 2 weeks!  BOOM!!

Of course this met with a look of extreme disappointment from our son.  But really, and this is part of our dilemma, he wasn't too devastated by this.  He gets over disappointment quickly.  It's his personality, and will probably serve him well throughout his life.  It's not exactly easy to discipline a boy with this attitude though.

The two week length was an attempt to give it more weight, so we'll see how it goes.

That being said, here's a word of advice to any other parents out there facing a similar situation with their young kids. Try NOT to find related topics funny.

For example, a couple of nights ago after having one such long conversation with our son, I took him up to bed and had him pull out a book to read to me, as part of his nightly routine.  He is getting extra reading time in each evening.  On this particular night I had him pull out a book of his choosing. He picked a title we had recently picked up used.

I knew it was used because there was a name written in Sharpie on the back.  Lukas studied it, then.....busted out laughing.  

Apparently the book most recently belonged to someone with the last name....wait for it....Weaner. 

Sounds like Wiener.

I couldn't help it, I laughed too.  I tried to hold back, but Lukas picked up on that and that made him laugh even more.  "That's NOT funny!" I tried to tell him.  But it was no use.

It was not only funny, but ironic too.

"Why is the word wiener even funny?" Mrs. LIAYF asked me in all seriousness tonight, after Lukas had gone to bed.  I just laughed.  

"Because, it is."  was all I could come up with.  "Because it is."

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super City

Photo credit: The Seattle Times

World Champions!  World Champions! World Champions!

Readers, words can't describe how thrilled I am this Monday morning.

Of course, this is because I was able to watch yesterday, Super Bowl Sunday 2014, as my hometown Seattle Seahawks dominated quarterback legend Payton Manning and his Denver Bronco football team 43-8 in front of hundreds of millions of people watching world wide.

And, better yet, I was able to watch the game with my kids at my side.

We watched together, at home, along with Mrs. LIAYF.  And even though the game was a blowout from the first snap, it didn't get old, or boring, or anti climatic for our family.  We hung on every play.  We relished every moment of this defining victory for this team and this city.

In fact, Lukas was snuggled up in my lap when Malcom Smith, the game MVP, intercepted a Manning pass and took it 69 yards back for the score.  I stood up, still holding him during the play and we danced around our living room screaming "Go! Go! Go!!".  It was amazing.  Similarly, I was holding Annabelle in my arms when the 2nd half kicked off, and we danced around the room with giddy joy as Percy Harvin took the kickoff 87 yards for the score, making it 29-0 Seattle.

She had no idea, of course, what was going on being 15 months old.  But she knew Daddy was excited and yelling, but in a happy way.  Thankfully, I didn't scare her and make her cry.

Lukas doesn't know yet how unbelievably special the moment is.  After all, he is still just six years old.  He doesn't quite understand that I was 11 the last time a major professional sports championship was won by a Seattle team.  That team was the 1979 Seattle Super-Sonics and that team doesn't even exist anymore.

I'm 46 now.  I don't have to tell you, but I will anyway....35 years is a long time to wait celebrate at this level. That Sonics championship is one of my enduring memories from childhood.  Lukas is a lot younger, but I hope that, similarly, one of his fondest memories of childhood is this championship.

Yes, this Superbowl win by the Seahawks is special. And I am so glad I was able to share it with my family. Especially with Lukas.  As a father, I have often wondered if I would get such an opportunity. Winning professional teams are common in some cities, but that hasn't been the case here in Seattle for most of my life.  

This win changes all that, and I hope it is only the beginning.  I want to experience this kind of joy with my family every year.  Even multiple times a year.  Right now that dream doesn't seen so far fetched.

After the game, at around 10pm local time, once the kids were safely in bed I had to make a run to the local grocery store for essentials.  On the way, I passed through my local business district where a few sports bars are located.  Many fans were outside on the sidewalks, in their Seahawks gear for the moment quietly talking among themselves.

As I drove by, I rolled down my window, layed on my horn, pumped my fist out the window, and yelled SEAHAWKS!!! several times.  This got them all screaming once again, and cars passing the other way honking loudly as well.

And for good measure, I did it again on the way home.  I'm still smiling.  I think I will be for a long time.


Jet City

The Emerald City


This is a lot of fun.