Remember when I used to write about the connection between parenting and improv?
I realized today that Chandler is better at pantomime than most of the improvisers that I perform with. No offense to any fellow improvisers that might be reading this, but it’s true.
Today Chandler and I were playing and he needed some tools to fix his robot. In an improv scene the improviser would probably have pulled those tools out of thin air. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves about improv; improvisers don’t always take the time to do good pantomime or build their environment. So a set of tools might just happen to be floating right next to the improviser, or maybe they were in his hand all along even though they weren’t.
But not with Chandler. As I watched him turn around, pick the spot where he decided they were stored, and then carefully pick out each tool, I couldn’t help but laugh. The kid’s a natural! Granted, once the tools were in his hand, his object work was a little sloppy. But he does a great job creating his environment and knowing that every imagined object has to come from somewhere.
I think he does a better job than most improvisers because unlike an improviser, when he’s acting out a scene he’s not worried about getting a laugh. Improvisers often start to panic if the laughs aren’t constantly flowing, and that causes them to rush through actions that they don’t think will directly get laughs. Chandler, on the other hand, is just playing. He’s acting out very specific and elaborate scenes and taking his time not to miss a single detail.
I might be able to make some money on the side by holding an improv workshop where people just watch us play Ninja Turtles.
This weekend we will be engaging in a three day potty training intensive. Basically, Chandler will be sans diaper during his waking hours starting from today until Sunday night.
Up until now we have not forced potty training on Chandler. We have made the potty readily available and have encouraged him to use it quite a bit. But for the most part we have been letting “nature” take its course.
All of that hippy-dippy-do-what-you-please crap ends today. It will be replaced with a sink-or-swim approach and in this analogy it is Chandler’s pee-pee that we will be sinking and/or swimming in.
Right about now, as I sit here at my desk at work, my darling wife is explaining to our son that he won’t be wearing a diaper today. I wish her the best of luck and would like her to know I might be working late tonight.
I will of course be live-blogging this event all weekend. I also look forward to hearing any suggestions you guys have about potty training, and subsequently ignoring and/or laughing at those suggestions.
Tonight it struck me that in about 5 months I’ll be starting the process of fatherhood all over again. The late nights. The burp cloths. The late nights.
But of course, I won’t be starting over completely. We’ll still have Chandler…at least I think that’s how this works. But I’ll also have this new kid to take care of. How are we going to pull that off?
Right now, one of the main reasons I am excited for our new child is so that Chandler will have a sibling to play with. I realize that my entire focus is on Chandler and I can’t imagine splitting my focus between them.
What if I don’t like the new baby as much as I like Chandler? I mean, that’s what happened when my little sister was born.
Or what if I like new baby WAY more Chandler? I mean, that’s definitely NOT what happened when my little sister was born. But I’m sure it could happen.
What if new baby isn’t as good as Chandler at acting in my videos? Or what if new baby turns out to be a total diva and demands his/her own trailer?
What if new baby is a bad influence on Chandler and they gang up on us and steal our money and run away for a life of crime?
What if new baby hates my blog? Or what if new baby sees my blog as a business opportunity and demands royalties for use of his/her likeness.
I just realized I’m going to have to make a new banner for Improvising Fatherhood featuring Me, Chandler, and new baby, all with fake mustaches.
What if new baby comes out with a full mustache?
That’s right. This July, coming to an Improvising Fatherhood blog near you, A NEW BABY!!!!
We don’t know the gender, and based on the ultrasound images we’re not even sure about the species. Chandler is very excited to have a new baby in the family. He has been carrying around a baby doll - and sometimes a baby monkey - that he has been taking care of.
Okay, I’m going to go take a nap now. I’m tired just thinking about this.
After watching (and being apart of) my last video, The Basketball Diaperies, Chandler has now started throwing the soccer ball around and saying, “Get that noise out here!”
Another victory in parenting.
I haven’t been writing a ton lately, mainly because I’ve been focusing my efforts on filming videos. I’ve started what I hope is just the beginning of a long series of videos that involve Chandler and I engaging in various activities together. Last week I released a video of Chandler and I playing Legos and next week I’ll be posting a video in which I teach Chandler the finer points of Basketball.
It has been a lot of fun making these videos. I’ve enjoyed getting back to the medium of film, which was my primary focus in college. At one point I had dreams of being a video editor. The process of editing the footage that Chandler and I create is truly a joy.
Filming the videos has also been a lot of fun. Chandler is quite the little ham. After seeing a video of me imitating things that he says, he gets really excited when I ask him if he wants to make a funny video with me.
But working with a 2-year-old can be a real delicate process. Today, before we started filming, I told Chandler, “We’re going to make a funny video. Now, I’m going to pretend to be mean, okay? But I’m not mean. And I love you.” He gave me his verbal consent, but there were times throughout the shoot that I had to remind him that we were just playing.
Every good director has a vision for their film, but when you’re filming with a 2-year-old, that vision has to be a little more fluid. For some reason Chandler just didn’t seem to care when I told I had “just three more shots I want to get.” He was ready to play trains, and there was nothing I could do about it.
These video projects have been a lot of fun, and I hope they can be something that Chandler and I do together for years to come. I look forward to the day that he is the one doing the directing and I am playing small bit parts in his funny videos.
An honorable mention needs to go to my wife, who not only allows me to use her only child as a stooge in my silly videos, but also handles the camera for me and is a masterful videographer.
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)
Chandler: Mommy, what are you doing on the phone?
Ashley: I’m making dinner reservations for Chinese for Sat night.
Chandler: Oh. That’s cool!
Grandma: Chandler, you’re cool!
Chandler: No. Papa’s cool!