Today is my son’s 3rd birthday!
I’m so proud to be this amazing kid’s dad and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store.
So far today, he woke up early, rushed downstairs, saw some presents waiting for him, screamed with joy, opened the Thomas and Friends toys (two new engines and a pirate shipwreck playset!), and then played with them for two hours! We’d still be playing if we didn’t have a little party planned for him and his friends at day care this morning.
It’s the first year that he really understands what it means to have a birthday — even though he sang “Happy Birthday” for a whole week last year — and so he’s been excited about celebrating. As someone who loves birthdays myself, I’m thrilled to see how much he’s enjoying his this morning. He’s so much like me in so many ways — including the fact that he’s a much better looking little version of me — and I always love finding new ways that we’re similar.
For anyone who’s feeling nostalgic, as I am, you can actually go back to his actual birth day or even to the day we posted his ultrasound photos.
New Idea: The Judahism
A good friend posts to Facebook a daily “ism” that his youngest son says.
I might steal the idea.
When I posted two of my son’s one-liners on Facebook, they immediately received fifty “Likes” each. Basically, people on Facebook love funny things said by kids. And (almost) three year olds say very funny things.
The most recent might be the best I’ll ever get so the whole experiment might be really short-lived:
Tightening Judah’s car seat straps and he says to me, “Too tight; let my people go!”
So that’ll be my first Judahism … which is particularly great since it works on two levels.
Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old cancer patient, was undoubtedly the star of Saturday’s Nebraska spring game. The Husker fan and friend of the football team led the Huskers in rushing yards on the day.
It’s things like this that make me proud to work at the University of Nebraska.
I started something of a firestorm on Facebook earlier this week, when I made the above comment. I was reacting to the use of tablets in my two-year-old son’s day care classroom, which hasn’t been explained or discussed with parents … though some people seem to have read it as a critique of their parenting.
I should begin by stressing that I don’t want to be read as criticizing anyone’s parenting. If you want to give your child an iPad, that’s your business. My son doesn’t use my iPad but that doesn’t make me a better parent than you.
I don’t have any sort of hang-up about technology and I don’t think there’s something inherently good or inherently bad about technology for kids. Nor do I have a problem with using technology when it’s integrated into a curriculum for a purpose. My problem is when I see technology being used simply because it’s new or because the kids seem to like it, without a clear reason for its use.
This piece by Hanna Rosin in the Atlantic is a good companion to the discussion; it sets out some of the benefits and pitfalls of screen time without casting aspersion on anyone. I was struck by the group of app developers (who are also parents) who don’t allow their kids to have more than a half hour of screen time and, of course, by the good reminder that all screen time need not necessarily be passive screen time.
Still, I’m sticking to my point about using technology in a classroom of two-year-olds. I don’t think it’s appropriate unless it’s demonstrably being integrated into the curriculum that the day care employs for that age group. I’d rather have him drawing a bunch of squiggly lines with crayons, sliding down the slide, running around and inventing games, playing with toys, and reading books with his teachers … the things I would be doing with him if I wasn’t at work.
This photo, along with the heart-rending story of the death of 11-month-old Omar Mashhrawi, ran in mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post and the BBC last November.
The baby’s death was attributed to Israeli airstrikes and suggestions that Hamas rockets might have been at fault were roundly dismissed:
Despite the evidence pointing towards an Israeli air strike, some bloggers have suggested it might have been a misfired Hamas rocket.
But at that time, so soon after the launch of Israel’s operation, the Israeli military says mortars had been launched from Gaza but very few rockets.
Mortar fire would not cause the fireball that appears to have engulfed Jehad’s house.
Other bloggers have said that the damage to Jehad’s home was not consistent with powerful Israeli attacks but the BBC visited other bombsites this week with very similar fire damage, where Israel acknowledged carrying out what it called “surgical strikes”.
As at Jehad’s home, there was very little structural damage but the victims were brought out with massive and fatal burns. Most likely is that Omar died in the one of the more than 20 bombings across Gaza that the Israeli military says made up its initial wave of attacks.
Omar was not a terrorist.
Last week, though, a report issued by the UN Human Rights Council confirmed that it was a Hamas rocket, not an Israeli airstrike, that caused the baby’s death:
“On 14 November, a woman, [an] 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.”
It’s critical to keep in mind the way in which death and destruction is routinely used to further someone’s agenda. In this case, more important than figuring out what actually happened, the Post, the BBC, and even Human Rights Watch immediately made this terrible story the centerpiece of their broader criticism of Israel and dismissed any blame that might fall to Hamas.
Of course, while many Israelis and their supporters are now feeling vindicated, it’s also crucial to remember that these people and many others like them still died. And that many more will likely die as a result of the rockets and airstrikes routinely and cavalierly unleashed by parties to this conflict.
Israelis, Palestinians, and their supporters around the world act as though this is some sort of game that one side can win if only enough people come over to their side; with each death, whether it’s a baby or a grandparent, it’s pretty clear that no one’s winning.
I’m just going to go ahead and buy this mug now so my kids can give it to me when they’re in middle school.
Am I overconfident? I don’t think so.
You see, I envision the day when my kids are browsing the internet for ammo to use against schoolyard bullies … and they come across all the tweets and Facebook updates from the parents of those kids.
And my kids will run to me, wrap their little arms around me, and smother me with kisses … all because I was a kind parent and decided not to write about any of their efforts at potty training.
As any parent — and many a babysitter — knows, potty training is pure comedy gold. Parents and kids say and do a lot of very strange and hilarious things in order to get potty training started and to keep it going.
But my wife and I have had a policy in place that ensures neither of us will capitalize on the comedic stylings of potty training efforts in our household: There can be no blog posts, no tweets, and no Facebook updates about potty training.
For we know that the short term laughter and even good will of a well-placed potty training anecdote can never be worth the long term horror of a child who grows up to find that his or her potty training has been a subject of discussion for many hundreds (or even thousands) of people … and then preserved online forever.
And so, when I read about the bizarre thing someone’s adorable child said as she happily sat on the potty and I know that my own anecdotes would surely win me hordes of Twitter followers, I just sit back and think how good my coffee’s going to taste in my new mug.
It is becoming increasingly clear to me that my youngest child suffers from some sort of milk-induced insanity.
Every time I sit down to give her a bottle, she begins thrashing around, flailing her arms and legs, making horrific grunting and choking noises, and spitting milk. This causes me to remove the bottle.
At which point she becomes a complete rage monster.
So the bottle returns. And the above repeats.
After two or three iterations, she calms down and drinks happily from the bottle. When she finishes the bottle and I try a second bottle, the above repeats as though she has never taken a bottle before in her young life, let alone thirty-five seconds ago.
Please advise or commiserate.
I’ve seen this poem on Facebook and Tumblr quite a lot over the past week or so. In trying to find more information about it and its author, Cameo Smith, I learned that the poem has even made an appearance on Dr. Phil’s television show [video here] in addition to being shared all over the country and the world via social media:
‘Twas 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38 when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate. Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air. They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there. They were filled with such joy; they didn’t know what to say. They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day. “where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse. “This is heaven” declared a small boy. “We’re spending Christmas at God’s house”. When what to their wondering eyes did appear, but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near. He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same. Then He opened His arms and He called them by name. And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring those children all flew into the arms of their King and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace, one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face. And as if He could read all the questions she had He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.” Then He looked down on earth, the world far below He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe, then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand, “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!” May this country be delivered from the hands of fools” “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!” Then He and the children stood up without a sound. “Come now my children let me show you around.” Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran. All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can. And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight, “In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”
While its virality makes clear that readings things like this is very comforting to a great many people, and while I’m sure the author had nothing but the best intentions, I think it’s really problematic in at least three ways.
The first is that it seems to suggest that we don’t have to do anything about the problem of gun violence in our society because Jesus says he’s going to take care of it. This is precisely the kind of “All Part of God’s Plan” thinking for which non-religious people rightly criticize religious people all the time.
The second is the mash-up of Church and State called for in the middle of the poem, wherein the author imagines Jesus saying that he’s going to take back this country from which his “power and presence” have been made absent (which sounds a bit too much like Mike Huckabee’s nonsense about how too little religion in schools is the real culprit of crimes like this one) [HT: Allen Stairs].
And the third is that not all the children who were killed in this terrible outburst of violence were Christian. The author simply presumes their Christianity — incorrectly, of course — and I can’t imagine that the non-Christian parents of a murdered child feel particularly comforted by such a non-inclusive message. Some might even be offended.
Sadly for owners of Jarts back in the 1980s, and prospective Jarts owners today, the popular but deadly lawn game is not protected under anyone reading of the 2nd Amendment.
Thus, we were able to have a serious national conversation about Jarts control.
My family had a set of Jarts back in the 1980s. If memory serves me, the central conceit of the game was to take turns hurling these metal-tipped objects at targets placed on the ground at some distance away from oneself. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that my parents purchased these and then gave them to my sister and me, but I can’t help hoping that’s how we’ll feel in the future about so many of the weapons people own today.
This website, which is selling armored backpacks for little kids, is a pretty good example of everything that’s wrong with America:
Sewn into the rear of the pack, you can always be confident that the armor hasn’t been accidentally left at home and that you or your child are protected in case of the unthinkable.
The problem in Connecticut was that too few of the kids had armored backpacks, not that one person had a bunch of guns. Rather than worrying about ways to limit school shooters, since apparently there are no ways to do that, they’re focused on making a bunch of money through fear-mongering:
“Your kids are definitely going to get shot at in their classroom, but here at the body armor store named for the 2nd Amendment (where we love guns and all things related to them), we’re selling exactly what they need to survive that shooting.”