Saturday, October 30, 2010

Head-banging 101

So, I found out my son can't properly bang his head to rock music. In fact, he can't even do the subtle man-nod to rock music.

It's not for a lack of tutelage. I've tried teaching him the art of a well-timed head thrust during a driving rock anthem, but he's not up to the task. The best he can manage is a furious sideways head waggle, as if he thinks his head is a generic can of orange juice for which pre-consumption shaking is vital.

Don't get me wrong; the kid has moves. Crazy Toddler (CT) is like a young Kevin Federline — everything from the Charleston to the macarena. But he if ever wants to look the part in a testerone-laden free-weights workout session, he'll need to develop the head-bang, or at least a variation. Even a slight nod on beat would suffice.

CT has his work cut out for him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Talking rocks

Talking rocks. I mean, not when self-important adults do it (Are you listening, 95 percent of sports and news commentators out there?). I'm referring to when my 2-year-old son does it.

Ever since my wife first found out she was pregnant, I've been looking forward to when my child could communicate with me on a level beyond pooping and screaming. Now that the time has arrived, I'm far from disappointed.

Everything Crazy Toddler says is cute — and every aspect of the process. The way he grasps at each syllable, elongating words to ridiculous lengths. The shouting of run-of-the-mill words to give them added significance. His insistence on saying "goodbye" to people/places/things when he first sees them.

I was starting to think Bill Maher and Michael Savage had soured me on the English language for good (and on humans in general, for that matter), but I think I'm coming back around. It's all thanks to CT.

Here's to actually knowing what my son is thinking. And another "cheers" to laughing our butts off when our kids can't say things correctly (just make sure to leave the room first).

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's up with the stupidity?

What's up with the stupidity among NFL quarterbacks?

Normally in this blog I try to deftly mingle sports issues with the comings and going of fatherhood. But today I'm loathe to compare to son to the overabundance of block-headed quarterbacks. It's simply not fair to him.
  • Jay Cutler threw four interceptions to the same dude yesterday. At some point don't you consider throwing it to the opposite side of the field, or through a tire swing or something?
  • Brett Favre is slinging ill-advised passes like a drunken Jeff George or, well, Brett Favre. He has officially become the old man who refuses to wear pants, even when the doorbell rings. Brad Childress needs to be the crotchety wife who hits the old man upside the head with a hard-backed Civil War coffee-table book.
  • Philip Rivers is just north of a nervous breakdown. He needs to rent "The Shining," then watch it repeatedly. Consider it a self-help video, man.
I could go on. And on. Aren't quarterbacks supposed to be the smart ones?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My week — in headlines

I've been writing headlines for so long that I am loathe to stop now.

After years of penning scads of these short yet hopefully punchy blurbs, I see headlines in my day-to-day life sort of how Neo sees the Matrix, John Nash saw numbers and Jay Cutler finds surliness in any situation.

From my family to the sports world, here are some of this week's Father Knows (Travis) Best headlines:
Toddler counts to six, fends off MIT
(Quote from story: "It's too soon," Crazy Toddler said during a tense after-bath press conference. "I gotta figure out why Elmo only has eight fingers before I can even BEGIN to think about college.")

Yankees, Phillies take pity on 'little ones'
How else can you explain these powerhouse teams trailing 3-2 to the Rangers and Giants, respectively, in the baseball playoffs. I think they felt bad for these beleaguered fan bases and decided to throw them temporary bones.

Two-year old: 'Bye-bye moon'
I'm not sure why Crazy Toddler (CT) says farewell to the moon every time he sees it. Perhaps he truly disdains it and is simply hoping it will go away forever. It's exactly how I feel about ESPN football analyst Marcellus Wiley.

Cowboys give away ball, Super Bowl aspirations
Dallas still has a chance to make the playoffs, but does anyone think this underdisciplined, overhyped team has any chance to play in the biggest game of the season, which will be held in their own stadium? If you do, I have a slew of Brett Favre "Back in 2012" T-shirts I'd love to sell you.

Big-headed boy wrestles away living-room championship
I was convinced I would win tonight's "King of the Hill" battle between me and CT this evening. I was proved wrong when the lithe youth slammed a wall of plastic blocks into/through my face. This little dude knows how to maximize his talents. Or, as a TV sports talking head undoubtedly would say, "From a testerone standpoint, CT has a lot of testerone." Thanks for that enlightened commentary, Marcellus.

Duke ranked No. 1 in preseason poll
For those of us who enjoy rooting against Coach K, having the Blue Devils basketball team put on such a pedestal before the season starts is delightful. It will make the fall from the top that much more sweet.
(NOTE: I will face a stern talking to from my wife for that last comment, but I'll gladly take my lumps.)

Here's hoping my next headline reads: "Young dad sleeps through alarm during son's world sleeping record." 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The one in the cartoon socks? He wins.

My kid could elicit laughs and comments like "He's so cute!" while wearing a Member's Only jacket over a "I Heart Kim Jong Il" T-shirt.

That's not a statement about my son being so amazing. That's simply the way it is with children; they can pull off almost any look. And I'm seriously jealous about that.

Case in point: I'd most certainly be ostracized for wearing that same (hypothetical) Kim Jong Il T-shirt. (NOTE: Luckily, my Jong Il fanhood went south a few years ago. All Jong Il apparel has long resided in the giveaway clothes box in the spare room, next to my five-sizes-too-big Fila ski jacket from junior high and my MC Hammer pants.)

In fact, I'd be laughed out of most rooms if tried to sport almost any of my son's ensembles. You name it, he has the confidence and dimples to make it work. Overalls on top of pastel polos. T-shirts featuring super-cheesy sayings. Cartoon-emblazoned socks. Black pants with tan shoes. Sweatpants to church on Sunday.

My envy has convinced me to sabotage his outfits time and time again (after all, I help control what he wears), but I've come to realize he's immune to such shenanigans. You win, Crazy Toddler. You win.

Add this to the long list of reasons Peter Pan was a smart dude.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Can a 2-year-old wax my car?

Should a barely 2-year-old be expected to wash and wax the car?

OK, that's my bad. I probably shouldn't have asked my Crazy Toddler (CT) to do that. But seriously, how am I supposed to know what he can and cannot handle at this age?

Here's my best guess, based on my limited experience thus far — along with what I've gleaned from dozens of TV sitcoms:

Realistic Expectation: CT will refrain from throwing food all over the floor, wall and me.
Unrealistic Expectation: He will clean up the aforementioned mess with a Swiffer mop.

Realistic Expectation: CT won't smack me in the face with a sippy cup when he's upset.
Unrealistic Expectation: He will calmly utilize time-tested nonviolent conflict management tactics to diffuse tense situations.

Realistic Expectation: CT will allow my wife and I an hour or so a day of quiet time as he plays with some blocks or something to that effect.
Unrealistic Expectation: He will drive himself down to the mall with a fistful of quarters and play video games for five hours at a time while his mother and I watch movies, take naps and talk about CT behind his back.

At least I'm learning.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Checking it twice: Volume I

Check out this list of the top five throughts going through NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's brain as the first quarter of the 2010 season comes to a close:
5) "Remember when Ben Roethlisberger's biggest problem was that he didn't wear a motorcycle helmet?
      Those were the days."
4) "If we drop Brett Favre off at a nursing home, will he even know the difference?"
3) "Michael Vick? A starting quarterback again — and with good statistics? Man, I owe Tony Dungy $10."
2) "If I promise Kurt Warner a year's worth of free dancing lessons from Emmit Smith and Jerry Rice, do you think he will come back to the Cardinals?"
1) "Man, my fantasy football team sucks. I can't believe I drafted myself in the second round. Stupid, stupid, stupid! You never should draft an administrator until the end of the draft."

Athletes inside the TV haven't appreciated me

As my friend at Life of a New Dad said recently, "I need to be rid of things that take too much time from my family."

His recent blog post about time management for dads detailed why, now that he's a father, he watches far fewer baseball games than ever before. Replace "baseball" with "football and basketball," and you've got my situation down pat.

The amount of time I used to spend viewing football and basketball games is legendary. In fact, I was so over the top with this stuff that now I have a difficult time convincing anyone who knows me that I have turned over a new leaf.

The truth is, these days I usually only watch the two or three teams that I have been ardently following since I was a young child. (NOTE: Listening to sports radio shows via podcasts and streaming are excluded from this conversation. Now back to my regularly scheduled blog.) Between being a first-time homeowner since late last year and a first-time dad for a little more than two years, my weekend TV sports binges have given way to prolonged train track planning with my Crazy Toddler and arduous yard work at length.

I'm not going to lie and say I always yearn to play with my son instead of watching that key late-season football matchup on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes it feels like work, especially compared to the sweet, sweet laziness that drips from a jam-packed Sunday schedule. Regardless, CT needs that interaction. And I can actually have a significant effect on him, whereas the teams I root for don't seem to benefit from my devotion all that much.

How dare they? Don't they know how angry I get when they lose?

Evidently not. It's all good, though. I've got a burgeoning family that cares about me more than any of those uniformed guys inside the TV ever have.