Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Candy Land

I've been on a three-day-long sugar high, and it's fantastic.  Well, up until the point when I feel sick, but I tend to cure that with magic jelly beans.  Yes, this is a very sweet time for a stay-at-home dad like myself, with candy within arms' reach from any spot in our apartment (we might have overdone it this Easter).  I tend to eat a ton of it as a relief whenever Kyle goes bezerk, and he's been hyper a lot these past few days.  The funny thing is, he really hasn't eaten a whole lot of candy, especially when you compare it to all that I've had.  That's as far as I know.  Maybe he has a secret stash somewhere, or maybe he's just breathing it in through the air.  Is there such a thing as second-hand sweets?  The Surgeon General probably should look into that.

Wow, has it been great.  Jelly beans before lunch.  M&M's after lunch.  Peeps at snacktime.  Dinner with a salad and a Cadbury egg.  A chocolate bunny before bedtime.  Some people say having a child allows you to relive your youth.  Usually that means through your child, but I find it better at times to just do the same thing your child is doing, especially when it comes to candy.  If Kyle's going to have a basket of candy, I should have one, too.  If Kyle is going to be hyper, I should be hyper, too.  Kyle doesn't eat as much candy as I do because he doesn't have to: give him a few M&M's and he's running around in circles, burning holes in our rugs.  Too bad Easter came after last week's Boston Marathon.  I bet Kyle could have won it with just a couple of chocolate bunny ears.

Besides the obvious candy perk, this Easter Sunday was a lot of fun.  This year I felt like Kyle was starting to get the Easter tradition.  Not the whole resurrection from the dead/salvation bit, but the part about the crazy bunny that dumps goodies in our home.  The night before, we had him leave a carrot for the Easter Bunny (which was the ritual in my family), and he seemed to enjoy doing that.  The next morning, he slowly walked into the room, with his eyes at the spot where he had placed the carrot.  There was a basket!  With candy!  And cookies!  His eyes widened, and he gave a big, open-mouth smile.  This was almost as exciting as discovering that the chapters in one of my Kurt Vonnegut books are marked with big numbers.  My son appreciates the simple pleasures in life.

I love being a dad at times like these.  You can actually feel your child's joy.  It was so much fun watching Kyle's face light up as he dug through his goodies, discovering M&M's and Oreo cookies.  I loved watching him try a Starburst jelly bean and not like it because it's too tart (more jelly beans for Daddy, then - a main cause of my sugar high).  The Easter Bunny also left a couple of gifts - two Berenstain Bears books - and I enjoyed seeing him unwrap those.  Two years ago, Kyle didn't seem to understand what was going on.  Last year he was possessed by "terrible two" demons, so we didn't have much fun.  This year, he was completely into it, and he made me feel like a kid again.  So, yes, I did relive my youth through him on Sunday.  I know doing that sort of thing won't always be fun (especially when Kyle's in middle school), but I'll take a moment like this one a million times over.  Especially if that means there will be more candy.

Our new Berenstain Bears books are titled "New Baby" and "Too Much Junk Food."  The Easter Bunny thought they might help the little guy during the next eight weeks.  The latter book is a joke (the Easter Bunny doesn't believe there's such a thing as too much junk food), but it's probably a good thing that Kyle's been having me read it over and over.  The way the candy's been flowing into my mouth, I need something to remind myself to take it easy.  I'm just glad I don't have to see the dentist until August.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boxing Day

My parents visited this past weekend, bringing with them bags of Easter candy, Sunday morning breakfast, and enough clothes for a three-month stay (they tend to overpack a little).  They also brought a large, highly-anticipated gift: a toy box for Kyle.  It truly is a thing of beauty, and it is BIG.  It's large enough to hold most of Kyle's toys, his stuffed animals, my magazines, the TV remote, partially-eaten sandwiches, and whatever else the little guy decides to drop in there.  No more tripping on toys!  No more looking around for things!  Hahahaha... yes, I'm just kidding myself.  At least now we have a place were toys should belong.

The box was hand-crafted by my father himself.  He is highly skilled in making these kinds of things.  The cradle I first slept in was built by my dad, and when I was older, he created a backyard fort for my brother and me, using a window shade to create a retractable roof.  I understand this design has been used as a model for several major league ballparks.  Like most kids, I took my father's creations for granted, but now I realize how much skill they require, skill that I have yet to develop myself.  I once made Kyle a chair out of Duplo Lego blocks... it couldn't hold him. 

My son loves his new toy box.  As soon as it was set up in his room, Kyle started putting things in it, including some toys.  Right now, the little guy is obsessed with opening and closing doors, and the toy box gives him an opportunity to do just that whenever he wants.  He must have opened and closed that thing a hundred times in the first day alone.  There's a nice little opening right under the box top to help him open it.  The opening also allows air to flow freely into the box, which will be useful should the little guy decide that his baby brother needs to go into storage too.

So this is the major excitement around our household this week, and I am very grateful to my dad for providing it.  The beat-up basket that held some of Kyle's toys is now in the trash, and an old crate that held other toys will once again be used to store our own junk.  Thanks to my dad, we might regain a little more sanity in our apartment.  It's about time, too.  As I mentioned before, this was a highly-anticipated gift, in part because my dad had initially said he was going to give us the toy box on Kyle's first birthday.  Kyle turns three in June.  Better late than never, right?  I think so.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Escape from New York

Last week we put more than 1500 miles on the new car, traveling to North Carolina and back.  Driving gave us more flexibility than flying, and we didn't have to spend Kyle's college savings on airfare.  It was a risky trip, with Jennifer being less than three months away from giving birth.  Fortunately, she had no difficulty.  She said the drive was more comfortable than our trips in the Corolla, which is not surprising, since the Corolla was a low-budget, no-frills model, and its seats were made out of rocks.  When Jennifer was pregnant with Kyle, her back would start hurting almost immediately after I turned the ignition.  This time she felt fine most of the way down to the Tar Heel State.

Kyle did well, too.  He enjoys traveling, especially when he has a bag full of books at his disposal.  He no longer needs us to read them to him, as he prefers to just thumb through the stories, pretending to read aloud as he looks at the pictures.  I was happy with this development, since it's hard to read children's books and drive at the same time.  Kyle's new window seat also made the trip more enjoyable.  When he was not reading books or napping, he loved to look out the window and point at the many roadside attractions, including cows, water towers, and billboards featuring erotic dancers. 

This was a very good trip for Kyle.  He was able to escape the city for a little while and see what makes the South so special: the good ol' Southern hospitality, excellent food (which he didn't eat), homes with yards, and free parking lots.  Kyle also spent a great deal of time with other kids, including his 10-month-old cousin.  We were happy the two got along, since this might be a preview of what will happen when Kyle gets a younger brother.  Of course, Kyle's attitude towards babies might change once he has one waking him up throughout the night.  Mine certainly did, and I'm just now starting to forgive our son.

Last week the little guy wore a suit for the first time.  He was the ring-bearer in a wedding, which meant he had to look impressive as he walked down the aisle in front of family and friends.  The job also enabled him to spend a great deal of time with the flower girls.  As I said already, this was a very good trip for Kyle.  For much of the wedding and reception, I didn't even know where he was, as he followed the girls everywhere.  They played games together, ran around our dinner table, and even practiced some new dance moves:

Kyle was fine after his spill.  He wasn't hurt physically, though he did bring shame to himself and the entire family.  Apparently he struck out with the flower girls, too, as they have yet to return any of his phone calls.

As for me, I also had a great time being far away from the city, where there are wide open spaces between houses and highways without potholes.  I came very close to embracing the suburbs, but then, towards the end of the week, I tried venturing outside for my afternoon coffee fix and became stuck at an intersection when traffic prevented me from making a left turn.  At that point I realized that I don't want to move out of the city anytime soon.  I like being able to walk to my destination.  While I certainly enjoyed driving the new car around, I'm glad it will be parked for the next few days.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sounds of the Subway

Ever since I wrote that entry a few weeks ago about Kyle's obsession with numbers, I have received thousands upon thousands of letters, postcards, and credit card applications, most of them asking what Kyle's impersonation of a subway sounds like.  Well, my friends, you are in luck.  I recorded him doing that sound a couple months ago, after I inspected the windows he washed.  Here it is:

This week the family is taking the subway to North Carolina, making all local stops.  There's a good chance you'll read something about it in my next post.  Have a great week!