Category Archives: Lazy Rules

A collection of do’s and don’ts

awightdad_1b

Since it was Father’s Day on Sunday, the boy spent a lot of time over the weekend asking me questions about my dad and about my dad’s dad. The boy asked me if my dad and my granddad were nice to me when I was a kid. I told the boy that my dad was awight and that my granddad was pretty good, but I purposefully kept my critiques of their parenting and grandparenting styles somewhat vague. The boy asked, “Did your dad like to spend time with you when you were little?” And I said, I dunno, I guess, at least maybe a little bit. And the boy asked, “Did your dad cook for you?” And I said, No, my mom did all of the cooking when I was growing up.

Then the boy asked, “What was your grandpa like?” And I said, He was a nice man, kinda like a big teddy bear. He used to dress up like Santa Claus during Christmas. And the boy said, “Your grandpa sounds nice.” And I said, He was.

The boy said, “I’m lucky that I have a dad and a daddy, and a birth father, too.” And I said, We’re lucky that you’re our son. And the boy said, “Well, I’m lucky to have a real dad like you and a real daddy like daddy.” And I said, You birth father is your real dad, too. And the boy said, “Yeah, but my real dad is the dad who cooks for me and takes care of me.” And I said, Yeah.

screentimeBefore I became a dad, I told myself that any of my future kid(s) would be able to consume as much electronic media as he or she wanted. Now that I’m actually a dad, and I have a son who is obsessed with electronic media, I’m starting to have second thoughts. I mean, it was fine when the boy was little, like, before he was in school and stuff, but I think his consumption of electronic media is starting to get in the way of him being a productive member of second-grade society. Plus, I’m starting to have visions of my son at age 20, and he’s living in my basement playing Minecraft all-day-long.

So I’m trying out this new parenting technique that I like to call “limited screen time after dinner.” Here’s how it works:

  • After homework and dinner, the boy is allowed a set amount of screen time before bedtime.
  • I’ll set a timer, say, for 15 minutes, and when the timer goes off, the boy’s screen time is done.
  • Once the timer goes off after 15 minutes, the boy will renegotiate for additional screen time, at which point I’ll add 10 minutes to the clock.
  • After 10 minutes, I’ll tell the boy that he’s done with screen time, and he’ll invariably ask for five more minutes of time.
  • I’ll concede and give him five more minutes of screen time.
  • Once five minutes have passed, and the boy has used a total of 30 minutes of screen time for the evening, I’ll turn off all of the lights in the house and hide in my bedroom while the boy begrudgingly brushes his teeth and gets ready for bed.

I’ll readily admit that it’s not a very well-thought-out technique. So sue me, sheesh!

donutsEveryone at the Busy-Lazy shack seems to be a bit under the weather lately, and frankly, the piles of snow outside ain’t helping matters. I think I caught whatever stomach bug the boy had a few days ago, so I feel utterly craptastic. Like, every bone in my body hurts and the thought of eating anything makes my stomach churn. The good news is that this stomach bug is turning out to be the Best Diet Evah cuz I’ve lost, like, five pounds since yesterday! The bad news is that it’s probably just water weight and stuff. I think I might be a little bit dehydrated cuz I’m becoming a little bit loopy.

I called out sick from work for the rest of the day cuz staring at my computer screen all morning was resulting in diminishing returns. Really, there is only so much a person can stare at a website in dev mode before you want to tell everyone to STFU.

Busy daddy’s office is closed today due to the weather, so he’s been running errands and/or shoveling snow. On his way back from the gym, he called to see if I wanted some donuts or somethin’. I said, No donuts for me, but maybe the boy would like one? So busy daddy bought six.

Nothin’ says love like a half-dozen heart-shaped donuts from the local donut emporium. Too bad I can’t eat any, but the boy said they were deloycious!

glassesWhen the boy was a wee lad, he had this strange habit of blinking his eyes and scrunching up his face at random times. It was adorbz, obvs, but after awhile, busy daddy and I started to grow concerned that maybe there was something wrong with our son. But each year at the boy’s annual wellness checkup, the pediatrician would tell us not to worry. Babies often exhibit tics that they eventually outgrow, the pediatrician would tell us. Lighten up a bit, he’d say.

Sure enough, the boy’s facial scrunching and blinking subsided, and through the years he picked up other tics that came and went. There was a period between ages two and three when the boy would curl his toes under his feet and walk on his toe knuckles for shizz and giggz. Then there was a period between ages three and five when the boy would cross all of his fingers—index with middle and ring with pinkie—and walk around with clenched hands.

Generally speaking, I’m not much of a worry wart when it comes to weirdo kiddie stuff. As an older brother to many younger siblings and as an uncle to too-many nieces and nephews to count, I’ve seen my share of kiddie behavior that might seem strange at the time but never had any lasting effects.

The boy’s blinking and face scrunching resurfaced with a vengeance sometime last year, and although I didn’t think much of it at the time, when the boy had his annual wellness checkup last fall, it became clear that there actually might be something behind this tic. Turns out, the boy failed his eye exam. It wasn’t a near-miss kinda failure. It was a can’t-see-the-biggest-letter-on-the-top-of-the-eyechart failure.

Shortly before Christmas, the boy got his first pair of glasses, and suddenly the blinking and face scrunching stopped. Actually, he still occasionally does the blinking and face scrunching thing, but I think it’s probably more out of muscle memory than anything else.

The first time the boy looked at the world through his new glasses, he said that everything suddenly looked 3-D. I asked him what things looked like before getting glasses, and he said, “I dunno, not 3-D.” The boy has a kind of myopia that’s progressive, so as he gets older, his vision will likely continue to falter. It’s not terrible and he could probably get contacts or Lasik surgery if he wants when he’s older, but the boy minimally will need corrective lenses for the rest of his life.

There was a time when wearing glasses would make a kid a target for ridicule, but I think (I hope, at least) that times have changed. I don’t think the boy minds wearing glasses, although he has recently developed a habit of “forgetting” where he put his glasses and walking through the world with blurry eyes. I think the fact that the boy sees both of his fathers (and many family members) wearing glasses, so it’s really NBD. At least that’s what I hope. Plus, boys who wear glasses are adorbz, amirite?

sickdayNot long after the nanny dropped off the boy at school, I got a call from the school’s nurse telling me that the boy had vomited in his classroom and I needed to take him home. That was 9:30 AM this morning.

The boy has been feeling a bit under the weather for the past week or so with Strep Throat, but I think the antibiotics have mostly quashed that bug. Last night, though, the boy complained of an upset stomach, then he woke up in the middle of the night to vomit in the bathroom. He seemed to be back to normal when he was getting ready for school this morning, but it’s hard to tell with him because he tends to be pretty tight lipped about how he’s feeling and stuff.

I dunno, I felt like the boy was stalling when he was walking out the door this morning cuz tomorrow is the first day of winter break, but I guess he has another bug or something. Hopefully it’s just a 24 hour thing.

When I was a kid, my sisters and I could be projectile vomiting and have blood shooting out of our eyes and ears, and our parents would say, “Just put a Kleenex on it,” and they’d send us to school. I don’t think I missed more than three days of elementary school when I was a kid, and my parents only let me call out from school because of Serious Injury and/or Life-Threatening Illness.

I’m desperately trying not to be like my parents when it comes to letting my son have a stay-at-home sick day (especially when he’s really sick, obvs), but a small part of me wants to say to him, When I was your age, I had to get 15 stitches on my leg or a broken arm just to get a half day off from school, sheesh.

Sometimes it’s hard to undo a lifetime of nurture, even when I know better now.

angrypanduhdadI’ve been in a lousy mood because of reasons and I feel like I’ve been (unfairly) taking it out on my co-workers and my family. I’m usually a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, so when I’m not, it tends to freak people out. As a recovering rage-aholic, I have to work hard to keep my always-simmering-beneath-the-surface rage in check. Over the years, I’ve developed a pretty thick skin and it takes quite a bit to get my goat. But when I’ve been pushed over the edge, it takes a while for me to settle down and get back to normal again.

Despite my pessimistic opinion of most peeps, I’m still always surprised when peeps are assholes. It’s weird because even though I expect the worst from peeps, when I see and experience their worst, I’m all, Dude, what’s up with that?

Usually I give my kid a pretty long leash when it comes to accepting his bad-ish behavior, but he’s been on a bit of a tear lately. I blame second grade and being seven-years-old for his new-found uncooperative attitude. I need to remind myself that my kid is still a kid and not expect him to behave like a fully grown, fully formed person. My main gripe with my son these days is his attitude, which flip-flops between obnoxious non-compliance to just plain obnoxious.

Tonight’s argument with the boy’s involved his resistance to practicing violin and then the boy “accidentally” spilling an entire glass of water on the living room rug. I know what a drag it is to be “forced” to practice an instrument cuz I’ve been there, too, but, you know, that’s the breaks and you gotta do shizz you don’t wanna do sometimes when you’re a kid. As for the water spillage, I was less perturbed about the accident and more angry about the fact that the boy tried to cover it up. Everyone knows that the cover up is often worse than the crime.

Since the boy rarely sees my angry side, I’m pretty sure that he has learned his lesson that he shouldn’t try to get one over me, especially when I’m already in a lousy mood. I might seem like a cuddly panduh dad, but panduh dads are pretty scary when we’re mad and stuff.

Even though the boy can (sometimes) express a surly attitude with his family and loved ones, in public, at least, the boy’s good manners are impeccable. I credit the nanny for instilling in the boy a strong sense of propriety and common courtesy, as well as give props to Santa Claus and God for always keeping tabs on what the boy is doing, even when no one is looking.

Since the boy was big enough and strong enough to hold a door for others, he has insisted on doing so whenever we’re out. The boy says it’s nice to be nice, and I can’t disagree with him.

Few things irk me more than when the boy is keeping the door open for peeps, like at the gym this morning, and they provide nary a look of acknowledgment nor a simple thank you. In my completely unscientific, totally anecdotal observations, it seems as if 90 percent of men will at least give a “thanks, bud,” or a smile to the boy, while 90 percent of women will ignore my son and walk right past him.

I understand if you are an Uppityville yoga mama, and you’re busy wrangling a child or packages, but if you’re simply walking to your yoga class in your see-through Lululemon pants and holding a yoga mat while fiddling on your iPhone, the least you can do is smile or say thanks.

I am keenly aware of the race and class politics at play. These Uppityville yoga mamas probably don’t even see my little Asian son or think of him as a servant there to please them. I am aware of these politics because I experience them Every Single Day.

The boy said, “No one said thanks or noticed that I was holding the door.” And I said, Yeah, those people are jerks. And the boy said, “That’s OK because it doesn’t matter if people are rude to me, as long as they don’t hurt me and I’m still nice to them.”

I bit my tongue so hard, but I wanted to tell my son that being a girl doesn’t automatically give you free license to act like an entitled douchbag, despite what so many of the asshats in Uppityville might think. I guess that’s a lesson the boy will learn over time.

Regular lazy pup and mini lazy pup are normally mortal enemies, on account of the fact that mini lazy pup is an obnoxious, mentally unstable sociopath on four legs. But when it’s wicked cold, like it is today, they’ll huddle together to stay warm. Which, I suppose, is what families do.