book

A First Draft

A big moment today. Well, two big moments. Bodhi lost his first tooth and his father has completed a first draft. A first draft of what?

Together, Bodhi and his father are working on a book-length version of the baby diaries, also known as Overfifty/Underfive.

Coming next – we will be posting cover mockups and asking for your vote on the title.

Book

Book Project in the Works

Greetings fans of this blog. Although it was mostly written by a baby, with a few of them written by his father, I (the father) have decided to assemble a book project from all these wonderful pieces. I will be creating an anthology of all the blogs published here, plus some deeper wisdom if I can find some, and collect it all into an ebook and hardcover edition. The working title is The Private Diary of An American Baby. Look for it in the fall of 2017.

In the meantime, Bodhi will keep posting his own work, including podcasts. I hope you enjoy them.

Babies

At 3:30 in the morning in a big boy bed

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I had a deal with my parents.  If I used the potty regularly I would get to sleep in the big boy bed. I have made enough deposits, so yesterday they made good on their part of the bargain.

A big boy bed is very comfortable. It has a railing so you don’t fall out.  My railing has a light on it, which is intended to be a night light so that the big boy is not scared.  It is a decent night light but functions much better as a reading light.

It was 3:30 in the morning. I wanted to get in a little light reading, perhaps Guess How Much I love You. I often don’t have time for reading during the day because I am too busy building things, asking for things without saying please, and running around trees in tight circles.  I got out of the big boy bed and walked into my parents room.  ‘Excuse me,’ I said.  I never say excuse me.  My parents didn’t answer.  They were asleep.  ‘Excuse me,’ I said again, ‘but you said one book in the bed.’

My father opened his eyes and said, ‘What?’ I thought that was a good start. He could have said what everyone says at 3:30 in the morning, which is, ‘Do you know that time it is?  It’s 3:30 in the morning.’

The line is customarily delivered with an acute sense of outrage, on a rising, slightly strangled inflection.  There was no tone of outrage in my dad’s voice, though. As he often tells anyone who will listen, he is a veteran parent, with two other children besides me who are now grown. I don’t think he should make so big a deal out of this, but he won’t stop referencing it.  From my perspective, having been in business for just three years now, experience is overrated. He got out of bed and we walked into my room and got a book.  I turned on my light to start reading.

Guess How Much I Love You is a wonderfully heartwarming book, but it is not the kind of page turner you need at 3:30 in the morning.  I needed a Nazi-chasing Ken Follett saga or Grisham, not a story of a bunny getting hugs from his daddy.  So I walked out of my room, because I can do that now, and started to play with my blocks.

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Construction is a noisy business.  There are city regulations preventing  it from being done at 3:45 in the morning, but I chose to ignore those laws, much like Uber ignores existing laws, or how Donald Trump speaks his mind.  When you are a truth teller, like Donald Trump, or a pre-schooler, or other part-time sociopath, you do not have to be politically correct. When you have a vision that happens to be illegal, and you are wealthy enough like Uber, you can get those laws fixed.

My father returned. He had word from the Ultimate Authority. ‘Mom says if you get out of the big boy bed again before the light comes, you have to go back in the crib.’ I was actually too sleepy to fight with him.  I was just awake enough, though, to bat back and forth his definition of ‘when the light comes’ like the Clintonesque lawyer that I am. ‘When the light comes?’ I asked, as though I had never before encountered the idea of dawn.

I slept through the dawn, and well past my usual breakfast time. But it had been a busy night, and a big boy bed is very comfortable.

Daddy Writing

Don’t Scream Monkey Water in a Crowded Theater

This is a dream I had recently.  I was attending a talk by Seth Godin, a respected author and an influential thinker. Unfortunately, the talk wasn’t that good, and it got worse when he singled me out in the audience to answer a question about talking puppets wearing eyeglasses. I know it doesn’t make sense, sorry, and anyway I did poorly with my answer. Then the talk was ruined by a child screaming monkey water in the theater. It was completely disruptive and people started to file out of the theater, disappointed and angry.

I woke up and realized that my own child was screaming monkey water in the next room. Monkey water refers to a red straw-equipped cup that we have with a picture of a monkey on it. If you saw the cup, you’d understand but I realize the reference might not hold a ton of meaning for you.

I think the lesson to be learned from this is to be true to your primate nature, and to get more sleep.

Daddy Writing

The Be Careful Voice

As a parent, you are always telling your kid what to do. You hope that a particular kind of voice gets inside their head. It’s called the ‘be careful’ voice. It starts with ‘be careful not to run into the street,’ ‘be careful not to jump around on the couch and fall off,’ and ‘be careful not to play with that sharp object that you somehow got ahold of and that you are not allowed to have.’ Later on it becomes, ‘be careful to take a job where they value you, ‘be careful not to drink and drive,’ ‘be careful to use protection when you have sex’ and all kinds of other cautionary statements that you don’t know you will need to say, yet. But you will say them all, believe me, and often.

That is the science of this, the information, the facts. There is also an art to it. The be careful voice can never have anything negative about your child in it. You want that voice in their head to guide them when you’re not around any more, and it has to be a positive voice always.

Daddy Writing

On the Importance of Dirt

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Creative life starts with dirt.  You take your dirty laundry, metaphorically, and metaphorically put it out there for everyone to see.  Nothing worthwhile that is creative is accomplished without digging into the subconscious, and it is dirty in there. I would like to think that we learn this first as children, mucking around in playgrounds. I don’t think that’s true. The creative connection with play is forged there, along with a sense of cooperation with playmates, and fighting with playmates, and together making something or destroying it. It is valuable, but it is missing the courage, the element of skilled daring that is required to dig into dirt and come up with something memorable that is not just more dirt.

Babies

5 Things I’ve learned so far…

This is good, solid advice and learning from Chris Gaspic.

This, That & The Other

So, in honour of all of the end of year lists out there, I thought I’d quickly share what I’ve learned just over the past year (Matilda is only 14 months). I don’t think listing only five will be enough, so perhaps I’ll carry this over. I’ll see. Well, let’s get this started.

1. You sleep more than you think.

We’ve all heard the stories when you don’t have a kid and you’re preparing to have that first child: “Oh, say goodbye to sleep” or “You’ll never have a good night sleep again”. Well, I’m here to say that it’s not entirely true. Yes, I will say that the first few days absolutely, positively suck. It’s the worst. I’ll never forget being in the hospital and watching nurses come in and out of the room checking in on Matilda and taking her out of the room. In those first few…

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