Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Last Halloween, my wife, my son and I went trick-or-treating shortly after the sun went down. My son was Iron Man and his costume took a little time to get completely fastened on, but my wife and I got him squared away. The wife was a ballerina and I just threw on an Ahmad Rashad jersey, which is about as much as choose to do at the age of 41 (I'm 42 now) on Halloween.

Since it was Halloween and my wife was taking a little bit longer to get ready than I thought (surprise, surprise) I decided to keep the Halloween-vibe going by putting on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. I felt like the wife and I had done a great job of exposing our son to MJ's music, and all that goodwill would be more than enough to offset the fear and scariness the video invariably would cause. Plus I felt like showing him this potentially scary video was ok, but if he really was scared and shook, the candy and trick-or-treating experience would brainwash him 100%.

Now if I had been properly using my brain I would have realized that when I first saw the video I was 8 years old, and I literally was laying down on my dad's back alternating between watching the video and burying my head in his back. I loved the song, and I loved MJ but I didn't understand why he a) kept turning into a zombie and b) insisted on dancing and cavorting with the other zombies he literally had just met when he set foot in cemetery with Ola Ray. The whole operation both scared and confused me, and it was shaking the previously rock-solid trust I had in MJ--it feels weird to say that as a 8-year old I trusted MJ, but humor me.

After I watched that video, I took down my Billie Jean and Human Nature posters for a good month, before I finally got over my fear and watched the video three or four times. Using that logic, I had no business showing my 4-year old son the video last year, but I did it anyway. And you know what? It wasn't half bad.

My son watched the video and he didn't flinch, hide or cry. He did ask a million and one questions about zombies, cemeteries, MJ's transformations and why MJ and the monsters vacillated between being friends and enemies. These were all valid questions, and I did my best to answer each and every one of them. Then we went trick-or-treating and everything seemed to be ok. But while we were trick-or-treating, and once we finished, my son was sure to tell me, "Daddy I don't want to watch that again". I said ok.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, when my son started begging me to see the video again. I've been playing the Thriller album a lot lately, and my son has fallen in love with the song, "Thriller"--especially Vincent Price's diabolical rap/laugh combo. I guess hearing the song repeatedly built up my son's confidence, because all day Sunday he asked me to watch, and I reminded my son that he told me one year earlier that he never wanted to see the video again. Right around the time I almost gave in, I realized it was about 30 minutes before his bed time, and I didn't want MJ to be the catalyst for his bad dreams.

The next day, about two hours before his bedtime, I let Nyles watch Thriller. Just like the first time, he didn't move, cry, scream or hide, he just sat there and watched while asking questions. I got up to dance and he ignored me and remained fixated on Michael Jackson and the zombies around him. Then, about two minutes after the video ended, Nyles lightly hit his head against the couch--something he had done countless times in the past few months without crying--and he just started bawling like a baby. First he tried to say his head hurt, but he quickly pivoted and said that he was crying because Michael Jackson had scared him yet again. But this time his shunning of MJ had a little nuance involved. He no longer wanted to see the video, but he clarified that he definitely still wanted to hear the song--and he did all this while crying, which was quite impressive.

Sadly, the bad reactions did not end there. My son woke up about four times between 8 and 11pm, and each time he was crying and whining about what MJ did to him. He made me promise that I wouldn't show him the video and that I'd keep playing the song for him and I agreed. I also told myself (and the wife) that I was an idiot for allowing a 5-year old to swindle me into showing him a video I knew good and goddamn well he could not handle. This incident--combined with last week's incident when I slipped hummus into my son's sandwich instead of mayo/mustard which caused him to vomit and the teacher had to call me to come get him--means that my Dad-of-the-year award is in peril.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

My son Nyles has reached that phase where he test his limits as a five year old. He's been watching the kids he went to summer camp with, he's been to some parties where he's witnessed other parent-to-kid interactions, and now he's peppered in what he's learned after one week of kindergarten. I was informed that this phase was coming by other parents, so in theory I should have been fully prepared for whatever he attempted to throw my way. But I still managed to let that little mfer get under my skin--especially this past Sunday.

Nyles went to a birthday party on Sunday morning, and that party was at a gym where they allowed the kids to run, jump, tumble, roll and hit heavy bags. It was a two-hour party and he burned an insane amount of energy which always makes parents happy because it leads to an equally as insane nap. At the conclusion of the party, they gave the kids pizza, cake, a cape and an accompanying mask. Parties like this did not exist when I was a youngster.

My son devoured the pizza and the cake, but his favorite parting gifts were the mask and cape. He wore them home, he wore them before and after swim lessons, and he basically kept them on right up until bedtime. If I had allowed him to wear the cape/mask combo in the shower, he would have tried to pull that off as well. Unfortunately, while he had on the cape and mask, he ran, jumped and stomped all over the damn house. A couple of times he even mimicked a superhero by trying to fly--and given that he was wearing a superhero's uniform, he was certainly well within his right. But not really.

After the seventh time of asking him to stop running, jumping and superheroing, I got in his face and raised my voice a bit. I forcefully asked him to keep his butt still and respect the house rules, or I'd take the cape and mask. I felt pretty good about myself and based on the sad, puppy dog look on Nyles's face, I think he got the message. Then I looked over to the wife, and she was laughing at me. Then I looked back at Nyles and I realized I was attempting to discipline this child while he was still wearing the ridiculous cape and mask. The following conversation ensued:

Me: I don't know what the f**k I think I'm doing trying to yell at him with a cape and mask on

The Wife: I was going to say, you look completely ridiculous right now, there's no way he's listening

Me (shooting a stern look at Nyles): He better be listening

The Wife (more laughter): Yeah I don't think so buddy

The lesson here? Before you discipline your kids, remove their superhero costumes. This blog would have been funnier if I recorded video of this bless-ed event, but somehow I doubt that my stern lecture to my son would have carried weight if I had a camera in my hand while my son was running around looking like a midget Batman. Just a hunch.

And my how times have changed in this blog over the years. I used to blog about women, masturbation, exercise and inane observations. Now the blog is kid-dominant, which combined with my extended periods of dormancy, have led to a reduced readership. I thank all five of you for continuing to humor me.