AboutNate Smith is an improvisational comedian, a husband, and a father. He's not sure which is hardest. Learn more about Nate Smith at bestnatesmithever.com
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My thoughts on changing diapers in public.
Recently Chandler has transitioned from a grunting neanderthal baby to a nattering chatter box. The other day I walked into his room to get him up after his nap, and I thought I had walked onto the set of the View.
It is so much fun to hear him come up with all sorts of new words and phrases and watch as he experiments with his new found communication skills. About a month ago he had begun asking “What’s that?” It was great for him to be able to communicate with us and ask us for more information about the world around him. But we didn’t always know what he was specifically asking about. Then he transitioned to “What is that NOISE?” or “What is that THING?”
Some of his new phrases are ones we have taught him, like, “Thank you, Mommy” or “Wrong again, Daddy.” But other ones seem to come out of nowhere. For instance, when Mommy told him it was snowing, Chandler said, “That’s exciting.” WHAAA?
Maybe my favorite so far is “that’s funny.” We were watching a video I made (you’ll see it later) and he was laughing and then out of nowhere he said, “That’s funny.” I just about melted. He now knows I LOVE hearing him say that, and so he says it to me all the time. Does life get any better?
A lot of people like to say things like, “As soon as they can talk, they can talk back.” I really hate that mentality. I don’t know, maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, or I just like a good challenge. Since Chandler was born I’ve been teaching him how to make my life more difficult. I eagerly encouraged him to learn to crawl and walk. I showed him how to open doors. I challenged him to climb out of his crib. I showed him how to whittle shivs out of wooden train track pieces.
So what if talking could open the floodgates to back-talk? I love a good debate. But oh, wait…maybe I’ll just raise my child to be disciplined and to never talk back. (All the experienced parents know that was a joke…whether I meant for it to be or not)
I don’t want this blog to turn into brag blog (or a brlaog…as the kids are calling them these days) but recently Chandler has been blowing my mind. He’s at a stage where every other thing he does makes me go
After posting this short list I’ll go back to writing about my struggles as a father.
First of all, just the other day, almost over night, Chandler went from barely being able to put two words together to being able to give George W Bush a run for his money in a debate (let’s not make this political. Republican or not, you have to admit that guy doesn’t talk so good). So Chandler’s newfound speaking skills have been knocking my socks off.
Things he said or did today:
1. I asked Chandler to clean up the three puzzles he had spilled to the ground before playing with another toy. Not only did he say, “Okay,” he put every piece back in each puzzle and then stacked all three puzzles back on the shelf where he got them. He then proceeded to play with the next toy.
2. After spotting a Kermit the Frog lunch box in a store, he asked, “Take it home?” I told him we couldn’t take it home and he said, “I’ll buy it.” WHAT? Where did he learn that? And wait…does he have a job? Is he holding out on us?
3. After dinner at Fuddruckers (swanky!) we were getting back into the car and out of the blue, without being prompted at all, Chandler says, “Thank you for dinner, Mommy.”
I don’t do a lot of reblogging here on Improvising Fatherhood, but this is so good I have to share it with you. David Vienna, author of The Daddy Complex, wrote about the power of hugs, and I know exactly how he feels.
If you’ll allow me to be completely honest, I wasn’t one of those people who thought a hug could make anyone feel better. I know it didn’t work for me. When I was in college, my bike got stolen and I was pretty upset. My girlfriend gave me a hug to cheer me up. But after the hug, my bike was still fucking gone. So, my mood didn’t change. (It’s a wonder we didn’t last.)
Apply that same equation to any and all times someone tried to cheer me up with a hug. I mean, sure, I like hugs. They feel good and stuff and are a fairly solid way to express affection, but I never really thought they had magical healing powers or anything… until I had kids.
Last night, I wasn’t feeling great and Wyatt was being a bit bossy. I didn’t have the energy to go toe-to-toe with him. When I told him it was time to put jammies on, he yelled, “No!” and danced away. I just sat there rubbing my temples. He returned and asked, “Are you sad, Papa?”
“Yes,” I said.
He asked, “Would a hug cheer you up?”
Again, I said, “Yes.”
He wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed me tight, adding a kiss on the cheek. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t cheer me right the hell up.
Not even an hour later, Wyatt got upset about something. He said, “How can you make me happy, Papa?”
I knew what he was fishing for. I said, “A hug,” offering something I’d defined as relatively useless just three years prior. He opened his arms wide and I gave him a big hug. He hopped into bed smiling. As I tucked him in, I asked, “Are you happy?”
He said, “Yes.” And I knew it was true because it was true for me, too.
Chandler picked up some dollar bills from my wallet.
Chandler: Washington George! Washington George!
Me: George Washington?
Me: Who taught you that?
Chandler: Mama BB!
He then took the dollars and ran.