Monday, July 30, 2018

American Ninja Warrior

Here's a little background on me: I used to be a gymnast when I was a kid.  I did gymnastics for years and a coach actually wanted to train me with the ultimate goal of getting into the Olympics.  (My mom said no because I had to go to Hebrew school to get a bar mitzvah so now you know why I don't have a gold medal or a Wheaties endorsement...well, that plus I'm waaaaay too tall to be a gymnast.)  In my head I think I'm a star athlete -- not a 40-something year old dad of two who doesn't sleep enough and spent the first year of fatherhood cramming cheese-covered nachos into his face at 2:00 a.m. 

I have also been addicted to American Ninja Warrior for most of the seasons it has been on the air.  I believe I saw it on a TV one day when Derek and I went out for Japanese food.  I might have been more mesmerized by the crazy athletes on the show than the handsome man in front of me.  (Notice I said "might" so this cannot be admitted into evidence as fact.) 

Fast forward to now when I have two kids who love to climb and run and jump.  A month or two ago I showed them a few minutes of American Ninja Warrior and they got hooked -- Jeff in particular.  We set up a (cough cough) ninja warrior course (cough cough) in our back yard and the kids play on it constantly even though it's just a few monkey bars and ropes and rings.  They come up with ninja obstacles for their trains and stuffed animals to do.  They clearly are fans too.

We started watching a few minutes of the show at night after dinner.  It's nice that we can watch something that doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out (yes, Thomas The Tank Engine and Umizoomi, that's what you made me want to do) and spend time together.  When I heard families watch TV together it didn't make sense to me...until now.  I get how it's nice to do something we can all enjoy and I mean actually enjoy.  You see, playing "Twenty Questions" where I get answers to yes/no questions that include "maybe", "I'm not sure" and "sorta but not really" can be excruciating  exciting, but this lazy dad is happy to enjoy TV with the kids from time to time too.

Soon they'll want to go to a friend's house to watch TV or go to the movies alone, but for now I'll take my Ninja Warrior show on the couch cuddling with my two ninja warriors.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Separation Begins

Apparently I started this entry in October and forgot about it until just now.  Everything is pretty much still true minus the dirty tushy part I talk about in my tushy blog entry.  Here is what I wrote...

I still have that "ugh" feeling when I hear "Daaaaaaaaaaaaady!"  I know that there is a dirty tushy to wipe or milk spilled on the table for me to clean or my reading will be interrupted to go on a hunt for a tiny plastic toy that will be forgotten about two minutes after it is found.  Most days I am waiting for the boys to become a little more independent.  It can be exhausting to have to do everything for them.  I recently read an article by a mom of a tween.  She talked about the benefits of having a tween who can do things for himself and even, at times, had the capacity to help her by carrying in groceries or making his own lunch.

So I know there is a lot of good to come and I'm not lamenting the old days, but...

Yep, there's the but...

When school started a month ago I still had two little boys who were nervous about going to a new school with a new teacher and new kids.  Over the first couple of weeks the goodbyes grew to be much easier much quicker.  After a couple weeks the teacher sent home a note asking that parent/child goodbyes take place outside the classroom to make things smoother.  I have followed that request but what happens now is that my boys run into the classroom and don't look back.  There is no goodbye hug and kiss or signing of "I love you airplane" which was our funny goodbye for a long time.  Some days I don't even get a "see you later" from them.

While this makes me a little sad that the hugs and kisses are going to get fewer and farther apart I have to remind myself what a great sign this is.  It means my kids feel safe in school.  It means they are excited to conquer whatever school brings. 


It's now July and my kids were in separate camps this week in different towns studying different subjects. The first day they were nervous.  By the second day they were excited.  It makes me proud to see them following their own interests, doing things on their own and facing challenges alone.  However, I'm also just as proud to watch them hug each other goodbye in the morning and hug each other when they are reunited in the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What Will They Be? (Part Four)

I started predicting what my children would be when they were about five months old.  Research has shown that a child's personality is very strong from a young age so it stands to reason you can see a child's interest early in life.  I have predicted my children will become everything from a pilot, a banking system reformer, an Olympian and a crossword puzzle maker. 

Now that my children are six years old the whims and passing fancies are turning into real interests.  Aaron is fascinated with music.  He started taking piano lessons a few months ago and, in my totally biased opinion, has a real gift for music.  He has always had a strong sense of pitch and rhythm as well as a love for music and dancing.  Aaron was also the child who learned to color in the lines first and he can amuse himself for 20-30 minutes by drawing.  He is clearly an artistic child and he enjoys being the big kid and taking care of younger children.

Jeff recently tried a cooking class and loved it.  He does enjoy cooking but his real interest now seems to be with building.  He is getting into Legos more and more and bought a Rube Goldberg contraption with his money.  Derek and I got him the game "Mousetrap" for his birthday because we thought he would enjoy putting it together and watching how the machine works.  And, of course, he still loves math and numbers.  

So what will they be?

My guess is Aaron will do something in the arts.  I can definitely see him performing in shows in high school.  However, I see his real passion in music so maybe he'll be a music teacher for young children.  

Jeff really loves math and building so my prediction is that he'll go into engineering.  I can imagine him crunching numbers for NASA or designing bridges and skyscrapers.

Of course when you think your child will zig he will surprise you with a zag.  So while these predictions are fun, the most important thing is that my children figure out what they really want to do, not follow their six year old hearts.  New careers will pop up in 20 years that I can't even imagine.  So maybe my children will be a musician and an engineer, but I'm not ruling out the possibility they could be a Martian deep sea diver and a volcano muralist.