Each time I hold Turtle Biscuit this song resonates even greater.
Each time I hold Turtle Biscuit this song resonates even greater.
Prior to becoming a father if you asked me to define a selfish child, I’d say a kid who doesn’t like sharing. The prime example that I’d give is a kid who doesn’t share his toys with other children or siblings. Now after cutting my teeth as a parent, I’m realizing that children are inherently selfish. The degree to which they remain selfish, or rather how this manifests as they mature over time is what distinguishes each child. Moreover, being selfish is not a bad thing. In other words, being selfish is not the same as being greedy or lacking empathy.
What brought this to mind is something that took place last night. Snuggle biscuit and I had to make a late run to the store to pick up some household stuff. We left Teen Biscuit in charge with the mandate to take a shower and have Singing Biscuit in bed by 10:30pm. When we left the house it was about 9:45, so we informed him this was going to be a quick trip because we wanted to get to sleep ourselves. Had Turtle Biscuit not run out of diapers, we wouldn’t have even made this trip…
When we returned home at 10:52, not only was Singing Biscuit still up, but Teen Biscuit had not taken a shower, lights were on all over the house, and tvs were on in both the living room and in the basement. Thus instead of coming home to a calm environment, we returned to a homemade version of Dave & Busters.
Teen Biscuit was not being malicious in not fulfilling his charge, he simply wanted to hang out with his little brother some more (plus he’s afraid of the dark which is why he always lights up the house when he’s alone). But, by not heeding our wishes, he now put us in a position to have to calm down a now hyper Singing Biscuit, a problem that would doubled the following morning when we had to drag his sleepy-Singing-Biscuit self out of bed for baseball camp the next morning. And at 8-years old, the only thing that Singing Biscuit could think about when we told him to get right to bed is that whatever show he was watching wasn’t over and that he wanted a snack–preferably something loaded with sugar.
When these two boys turn into grown men and they’re calling their Mama every weekend, tending to their respective nieces and nephews they’ll argue tooth and nail to any assertion that they were once selfish little biscuits. How do I know, well because I’ve done it myself.
What we as adults fail to realize at times is that being a selfish child is not a bad thing–it’s an evolutionary phase. Had Snuggle Biscuit and I tried reprimanding Teen Biscuit last night it would have been a losing effort on our part. It would’ve taken too much analysis to get him to understand why he did what he did. And once he did understand, the takeaway would’ve been its understandable that children are selfish.
Its in moments like these where I almost wish I wasn’t such a self-reflective parent. I feel as if I would have more fun if I came in like my parents screaming, belt or shoe waving and forcing the kids to scurry like mice.
But I can’t. I’m not my parents. Plus, that would be just plain selfish…
To paraphrase Juvenile,
“If you a real fine Dad, you better back that thang up.”
Ok, I know you’re wondering where this is going and trust me, I have a good reason for invoking the godfather of New Orleans rap. I lost my phone two weeks. We believe it was stolen off the deck by some groundhogs (I kid you not). Those who know me know that this wasn’t the first time, nor is it likely the last that a phone of mine met an untimely death. Unlike previous phones however, this one was special.
Wait, let me rephrase that, the information stored on this phone was special. This phone had a camcorder that I had used to record Singing Biscuit’s first film production “King Chuck’s Last Stand”, and a few recordings of Turtle Biscuit doing everything from rolling over to engaging in a fierce battle with some leaves on the deck of our old apartment.
Unlike the photos and contacts which I had been doing a good job of syncing with my computer, there was no backup for these videos. So not only did our little backyard critter take my ability to make calls, but s/he also took away an archive of some priceless moments.
Thus after finally conceding that the phone was lost and I would have to indeed get a new one, I knew that a new mantra was also needed to make sure that I learned the lesson of this setback. Hence the advent of my Juvenile remix…
So all you Dads out there, as you’re snapping away with the camera or recording those digital shorts, do remember—
If you a real fine Dad, you better back that thang up….
Singing Biscuit is the performer of the family, but as most 8-year olds know, it’s hard finding a captive audience. With parents working hectic schedules, and older siblings being, well being older siblings, where does a 8-year old Singing Biscuit find an audience to indulge him. In his six-month old sister of course.
Turtle Biscuit has become Singing Biscuit’s #1 fan. Whether she’s lying on the floor or in her feeding chair, whenever Singing Biscuit gets to performing, Turtle’s eyes light up.
This morning I walked downstairs to find Singing doing his WWE routine for Turtle’s enjoyment. Had I not lost my phone/video-camera I would’ve quickly set about recording this entire performance. Her giggles and his pro-wrestler schtick are priceless.
After checking out the blog one of Snuggle Biscuit’s friends sent along the following message:
a great living open letter from a father to his daughter. She will get so much joy out of these words one day.
I never thought of this series of posts as an open letter until I read those comments. Ironically, I thought more about my children reading my writing prior to having children than I do now that I am a parent. In fact, I am almost afraid of the thought of my children reading my writing one day. Not that I’ve written anything scandalous, or even plan to, but it seems that the more I write, the less self-aware I become as a writer. Or rather, the more I write, the less I know who I am as a writer and it scares me to think what my children will uncover. This fear is not unlike the one I have about other family members reading my work.
Time will tell how I handle this realization, and this fear.
But when the day comes for Turtle Biscuit to read these notes, I want to be sure she doesn’t have to go one post further without reading these five words: I love you my dear….
Every year I promise to not procrastinate so that I am on top of everything and have accomplished everything that I set out to do by the time the new school year rolls around. Instead of waiting until August to start feeling overwhelmed or as if I have fallen behind, it looks like I will start off the summer feeling this way. This makes sense given that it was 90 degrees in my neck of the woods earlier this week. If summer heatwaves can arrive in late May, I guess I can start feeling as if I am behind the eight ball during the first week of June.
The irony though is that I am just now starting to get the hang of this primary care thing. Turtle Biscuit and I have been on a roll the past two weeks. Twice this week I accomplished something I had fantasized about in February/March prepping dinner while Turtle Biscuit took her afternoon nap. While she slept, I diced vegetables, made the salad, got crackin’ on the mac ‘n cheese and marinated the evening’s protein.
February I was too sleep deprived to think straight enough to accomplish this and in March Snuggle Biscuit had just returned to work and I was realizing that I am wetter behind the ears when it comes to this parenting thing than I had previously presumed.
I don’t recall April or May…
But June has looked majestic thus far, that is until I realized that oh doodlesuaddlebugs “It’s almost September and I still have a million and one things to wrap up!!!”
Normally, I’d start prepping my lawsuit against time, but I don’t even have time to do that these days…
To say the least it’s gonna be a hot summer—not quite long—not quite fast—but definitely a hot one.
Moving is a…well you know, and if all the usual post-move prerequisites such as unpacking and adjusting to a new location weren’t enough, Snuggle Biscuit and I have had to endure both the Green Hornet & the White Shadow (aka the family cars) breaking down simultaneously. The Green Hornet was technically the first to go down and as the older of these two cars it wasn’t a complete surprise. We thought the White Shadow would’ve been able to avoid the auto-repair bug that’s been going around, but we were mistaken.
Of course Turtle Biscuit is oblivious to all of this drama. To her all this has meant is that she now gets more long walks with her dad and less time traveling backwards (she can now sit facing forward in her stroller).
As Charlie Sheen might say, Turtle Biscuit is winnnning!!
As a kid growing up in New York City I was much better at inflicting damage in homes than repairing them. My parents have lived in the same apartment building for almost 40 years and the same super has managed the building for most of those 40-years. Therefore, like most NYC renters, whenever something popped up in the building, we called our super. That our super had grown into such a close family friend that he was practically a relative, made it almost as if my mother was asking my father or my uncle to fix something whenever she called on Fernando. And since I was more interested in memorizing the stats for the 85-86 Yankees or Mets than mastering any home repair skills, it quickly became apparent, that like my dad, I was pretty useless for anything beyond changing a light bulb. Over time I learned how to do more than change a light bulb, but not more–I mean let’s not get it twisted–no one’s ever confused me with Bob Villa.
When I bought my apartment in NY a few years back one of the things that I looked forward to was attending to some home repairs. A trip to Lowe’s to buy a washer/dryer quickly stripped me of these aspirations. As the salesman began running through various warranty options, I looked at the price tag for the machines once again and realized that this machine cost almost ten times as I spend on laundry a year, plus I’d be burdened with power and maintenance costs. Saying goodbye to that washer/dryer I vowed to keep it simple, or as a friend would later tell me “always remember fewer moving parts means fewer chances for things to break”. Thus my biggest handyman breakthrough as a first time home owner was essentially, I rather not be all that handy.
Three years later, now residing in the suburbs and having to factor in that my decisions don’t just impact me, I am having to make a critical shift and upping my home repair skills. One way of putting this transition is that I’ve morphed into my family’s Fernando. In less than three weeks of our new house, I’ve done more repair work than I’ve done in the previous 30 years of apartment living. Among other things, I’ve installed new power cords on a washing machine and dryer, unclogged drains, and fixed some delinquent kitchen cabinet hooks.
These were just the starter tasks to get my bearings around the house and local hardware stores. There about 3-dozen other items awaiting my attention on the “honey-do” list. Completing each job has brought a sense of reward, and it’s delightful to have a tangible accomplishment to turn to at the end of a day. Whereas before, I’d be delighted by having written a page, read a book, or revised a syllabus, now I’m overjoyed after fixing Turtle Biscuit’s swing or a successful trip to home depot.
Speaking of Turtle Biscuit, she’s been a great companion as Dad has embarked on these home repair adventures. I am looking forward to enlisting her help in future projects as she gets older. And whereas before I was always quick to declare that my child will speak multiple languages, I am now similar elated by the fact that my daughter will know how to operate a drill (and then some).
Being a parent is inevitably an opportunity to relive our own childhoods because our own experiences as children often define the kinds of experiences that we hope our own children to have, or not have. Parenting presents ample opportunities to indulge in some of our favorite childhood pastimes and discover new ones via our children.
Ok, ok. I know I am stalling.
occasionally often sneak steal a few of Singing Biscuits chewable vitamins when no one’s home.
Whew. That feels so much better. I am glad I got that off my chest.
You see it began innocently enough with a taste to see what these vitamins were like. Once I discovered they’re essentially “healthy” gummy bears I was hooked. A vitamin every now and then quickly morphed into a couple of times a week, and occasionally, every day for a week.
It’s not as if I don’t have my vitamins, I do. And I take those everyday. But his vitamins are just so much tastier.
Freud would blame my mother (doesn’t he always) for this addiction because she was the one who’d administer my daily dose of cod liver oil when I was a child. I can still see her waiting for me by the door as I got ready to leave for school. Spoon in hand with that slimy concoction always on the brink of falling off the spoon. As my luck would have it, regardless of how much I stalled it never fell off, except when it dropped into my mouth. Mom’s voice is forever etched in my mind: “it’s good for you” she’d declare as my face twisted in disgust.
Singing Biscuit has never had to experience the ignominy of these cod liver oil mornings. Kids these days have bubble gum and fruit punch flavored everything.
Had I been fortunate enough to have gummy vitamins as a child i would not have to stoop so low as an adult.
With time, therapy and a bit of behavior modification, I know that I can kick this habit, but until then, I will continue sneaking in my gummy vitamin fix on the lower frequencies of life.