I am (possibly) raising a sociopath.

nemo

The other night, my family decided to snuggle to a movie and the girls picked out Finding Nemo. We’ve seen the movie as a family before, but it’s a good film.

I think the fine people at Pixar used the opening of Finding Nemo to test a theory that they later went to perfect with the opening of their movie, Up. Make the beginning of the film sad.

If you’ve seen Finding Nemo, you know the scene that I’m talking about. Marlin the clownfish is bragging to his wife, Coral, about the ideal location of their new home on the edge of an ocean drop-off. They show the hundreds of fish eggs that will soon hatch, half of which will be named Marlin Junior, the other half Coral Junior, and one named Nemo.

Everything is fun and games and glorious rapture until disaster strikes. A toothy, evil fish knocks Marlin out cold and feasts upon Coral and clownfish caviar, leaving only one damaged egg. Nemo.

Here’s the scene if you have a couple of minutes to watch it:

We gain insight into the family dynamics that govern Marlin’s over-protective nature and fear of losing another loved one. We understand Nemo’s defiance and desire to prove himself capable in spite of his “lucky” fin. It’s beautiful story-telling, if somewhat heartbreaking to open the movie on such a blue note.

But as we’re watching this scene as a family, snuggled onto the loveseat in front of our computer, my wife and I silently contemplating the loss of each other and our children with tears poised behind our eyes, our 2-year-old daughter begins to laugh.

Full belly aching laughs.

“He eats the fishies!” she shouts cheerfully.

I’m hoping that she just didn’t understand the scene. I hoping that she doesn’t think that it is funny when family members are eaten or killed.

Anyway, if I all the sudden stop blogging, you may want to ask my 2-year-old where to find my body.

I am on the wrong side of the generation gap.

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Go tell it on the mountain. I have a preschooler.

My oldest daughter turned 4-years-old on the same day as her first full day of preschool. And if that wasn’t already making me feel old (When did my child get old enough to attend preschool?!), she recently answered a question in a way that I never would have (or could have) as a child.

My wife and I were prepping her for potential interactions at school. My wife asked, “What do you do when you want to get the teacher’s attention?”

We were hoping for an answer like, “I raise my hand and wait for her to call my name.” We could have even accepted something like, “I say the teacher’s name,” because she’ll often call for mommy or daddy when she wants something at home.

Instead, she said, “I would call her or text her.”

There are a few things wrong with this answer:

  • It does not include raising the hand.
  • She does not own a working cell phone.
  • Even if she did own a working cell phone, her mom and I do not text each other, so where did she get that?

Is my 4-year-old already more technologically advanced than me? Probably. Geez.

I am a pretty princess.

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There is a Princess Party at Baker Book House this Tuesday. I am dressing up.

As a knight. Thank goodness.

The Princess Party is something of a recent tradition at Baker, and I have been happy to play the knight each year. At the party two years ago, though, I got myself into trouble. My oldest daughter was not yet one year old and a coworker asked me if I was going to bring her when she got old enough.

Now, a thing you should know about my wife and I is that we are not princess people. Far from it. The well-intentioned baby clothes plastered with “Daddy’s little princess” were mostly donated to Goodwill unused. It isn’t that we are trying to raise our girls as though they were boys or anything. We absolutely love having girls. But Disney has tried to make it so that in order to be a girl, every girl must be a princess, and my wife and I aren’t 100% cool with that.

We have our reasons. Some would-be princesses are really just royal pains in the backside. By treating our children as though they were well above the common folk, we might inadvertently teach them to look down on other kids (because they are a princess and other kids aren’t, so other kids must have to obey the princess’s commands). I believe that there are other ways to tell your child that they are important and loved. Also, the majority of princesses are encouraged to be dainty, quiet, and über-girly. Oh, and they must wear pink all the time (and love it above all other hues).

When asked about whether or not I would bring my daughter to the Princess Party, I quietly told my coworker the reasons as stated above, but not so quietly that one of the princess’s grandmothers (a queen, perhaps?) didn’t hear. She came at me with a royal fierceness, explaining that princesses were kind and gracious and polite and well-mannered at all times. To say anything otherwise was to besmirch the good name of princesses everywhere. I told her that I meant no besmirchment and that my wife and I would consider her thoughts.

Note - This is not an actual Viking princess. If you ever saw a real Viking princess in the wild, chances are good that you wouldn't survive long enough to tell the tale. Thus, very few pictures of them actually exist.

Note – This is not an actual Viking princess. If you ever saw a real Viking princess in the wild, chances are good that you wouldn’t survive long enough to tell the tale. Thus, very few pictures of them actually exist.

Now that my oldest daughter is a bit older (almost three), I would probably answer my coworker’s question differently. I have no problem with my daughter, or any girl, attending the princess party or pretending to be a princess. After all, Norway, land of Vikings, is still a monarchy, so my daughter can be a Viking princess if she wants.

My thoughts are still the same about teaching kids to look down on other kids though, so I’m not going to start calling her “princess” or anything like that. Also, my daughter looks cute in pink, but she also looks cute in other colors too, so I’m not going to limit her wardrobe (or the options of her imagination) by forcing her to play princess all the time.

What are your thoughts on princesses?

100 Word Challenge | The Queue Was So Long

Feels like a while since I’ve participated in the Julia’s Place 100 Word Challenge. Anyway, I’m back. Be sure to click the image to the right and see the other participants’ entries. Maybe consider giving an entry of your own!

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Tickets for the show in hand, my date and I went to the back of the queue.

“Was ‘So long’ the best you could do?” said a young woman in line ahead of us, staring at me.

“Beg your pardon?”

“Do you know how devastated I was when you didn’t come back?”

“Um…”

“Mum made excuses for you, but I knew that it was my fault. I was the reason that you left.”

“Miss,” said my date.

“Don’t ‘Miss’ me! I have waited too long.”

Icy cola splashes my face, followed by a fist. Then she’s gone.

“Who was that?”

“May have been my daughter.”

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I am a cliché.

I admit it. I write in coffee shops. But I refuse to admit that I do it so people will look at me and think that I am cool for being a writer who writes in coffee shops. I know that people are really thinking, “Wow, I didn’t think people actually did that.”

Well I do. And here are my reasons why:

I have a lovely wife and daughter at home with whom I would rather spend time. Seriously, I love my family. If given the choice, I would choose spending time with them over just about anything. (“Why are you choosing to write then?” you ask. Sometimes I wonder myself, but there are stories in my head that need to get out, lest I go crazy).

I need some noise around me but not directly involving me. I can focus best when I have a bit of ambient noise like music, or traffic, or chairs scraping the floor, or the susurrus of quiet conversation.

I do not see the chores that need to be done from the coffee shop. Dishes, laundry, and making the bed are very hard to do when I am not home. They are all good things to do, but good things don’t like to leave room for potentially great things (Listen to me acting like my writing is a great thing! Such audacity!). I am forced to focus on my writing when it is the only activity available away from home.

I like tasty coffee drinks that I do nothing to prepare except order. And though I know that my wife loves me enough to prepare me tasty coffee drinks, I do not want to ask her to do that. I also like to tell myself that I am stimulating my local economy.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am a cliché. But if you like my reasons and decide to try it for yourself, you may want to ease into it. Here are a few ideas of the top of my head to avoid looking like a cliché coffee shop writer: sit in a dark corner, dress in a non-writerly way (maybe full football gear?), shout out gamer terminology at random (Noobz!), and anytime someone gets close enough to see your screen, alt-tab it to a Google search for “How not to intimidate your friends with how cool you are.”

Anyway, thanks for reading.