Trains, Trains, and Automobiles
Well, we didn’t fly anywhere, so “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” would’ve been misleading. And we actually went on two different trains, so the title is factually correct. Let me just say that Mason is obsessed with modes of transportation. This all probably started when he got a DVD box set of The Wheels on the Bus for Christmas. You may recall that he was home for 10 days straight during that time and 7 of those days he spent sick as a dog. Well, we helped him stay calm during his recovery by playing those DVDs non stop. I now know every word to “Fill it up, fill it up” and “We’re going shopping”. It’s like an ear worm. I still find myself humming those tunes on the way into the office sometimes.
Anyway- we took advantage of the weekend sunshine and had our first dad’s day at Zilker park where we rode the Zilker Zephyr train with the kids. It was a solid first outing for the new group and I’m looking forward to the next one already. Getting the guys together made me realize how similar many of our issues are and it’s great to see how differently and creatively we all go about solving them. This is obvious but guys just handle things differently, which I realized when I saw my buddy Benjie’s daughter high on top of the tube slide at the park. Most parents would have been screaming for their kid to get down and climb back through the tiny hole above the slide that she had wriggled through. Benjie, however, calmly walked over beneath the slide and stretched out his arms. “Jump!” That’s all he said. His 6 year old daughter was nervous but after a bit of coaxing she made the 12 foot drop and landed safely into dad’s outstretched arms. Two things ran through my head at that point. 1) Kelly would kill me if she saw me do that with Mason and 2) That was really cool. The latter reaction is exactly why we’re having these daddy days.
I also had another reaction recently that I wasn’t quite prepared for. Mason and I were on our way home from school and were sitting in traffic waiting for a long freight train to pass. We were in the right lane of two and in front of us was one car and then an intersection. The car in front of us was kindly waiting in front of the intersection so as not to block any through traffic from passing. Behind us was the devil…. I mean an old impatient lady hell bent on making the right turn at that intersection. She honked her horn once and I assumed she couldn’t see the train or the long line of cars preventing anyone from moving. Then she got out of her car and walked to the car in front of us. They had an exchange and then that car turned right on the through street and sped off. I knew where this was going and before I even had a chance to gameplan the woman behind me was honking furiously at me while I assumed the same position in front of the intersection. Then Mason began to cry and there was this Incredible Hulk-esque reaction that welled up in me. I actually got out of my car, stomped back to her driver’s side window and less than calmly told her that if she didn’t stop honking and making my son cry I would make sure that not being able to turn was the very least of her concerns. Do I feel bad for threatening an old lady? Slightly. Was I serious at that moment? Yes. Did she deserve it? Definitely. Kelly always told me about the “mama bear” coming out but I guess it’s just one of those things you have to experience to understand. Don’t make my kids cry or I will punchisize your face. I kid; I won’t hit anyone but I will do my best to scare the shit out of you.
Our second train ride was downtown on the metro rail to visit Chris, Meghan, and baby Christopher. Mason was very excited to ride on a real train and spent the entire trip down and back starting in amazement as we sped by buildings, cars, and people. We spent a short couple of hours with the Bancroft clan prior to speeding back home for dinner and bed time. Baby Bancroft looks just like his dad and is developing a good set of lungs. It’s always fun to see new parents and remember what it was like to be in that state. Not that we are seasoned pros by any means but there is just so much “newness” when it comes to being a first time parent. I just remember not knowing what the hell I was doing really at any point. I still don’t but I’m pretty good at faking it now.
Birthdays were another theme over the past month. We celebrated Charlotte, Kaleb, and Bella’s first birthdays all within a few weeks. Mason and mom got to go to the Austin Children’s Museum for Kaleb’s party and the week before that he and I were at Charlotte’s party at Mangia Pizza. Then it was a group outing to the Leer’s for Bella’s shindig. Good times at all three and lots of overeating for me. Our friend Josh also threw his wife Jill a pretty sweet surprise birthday party for her 30th. This gave Kelly and I an excuse to get a baby-sitter (thanks Micki!) and go party for a few hours. Josh made all men everywhere look bad by throwing a legit and well-planned surprise party. Fortunately for the rest of us we can rest well knowing that he will have a hard time ever topping a party that included 30+ guests keeping their mouths shut, a 30 year video montage, dogs in a pool, plenty of beer, sangria and wine, and a perfectly delicious cake. This date night combined with the canceling of our rarely used gym membership prompted us to vow to go on monthly dates from here out. So watch out Austin- we will be back on the prowl once a month! Hide your kids, hide your wife… (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
We also had a visit from cousin Katie, which is always welcome. She was in town for 5 days and helped take care of Ben for a couple of those days. I think we may have just pushed back the timetable for when Katie will have a child but we certainly appreciate the help and good times. The girls spent a lot of time in bed watching chick flicks and girlie shows and I spent one afternoon golfing.
This last week was filled with play dates for Mason and also featured me in a bunny suit. I’m not sure how I became the costume guy but I’m always happy to help out my favorite rescue group Blue Dog. I dressed up like the Easter Bunny and took pictures with dogs, kids, and friends alike this past Sunday, all for the love of the pooches. Let me just warn anyone who thinks a bunny suit is a fun idea. It is. It’s also very, very hot. I think that a day in a costume like that is as good a weight loss program as any I’ve heard of. Eat what you want and just wear this bunny suit twice a week and lose 20lbs!
Mason update: He is very popular at school. In fact he has a good buddy named Kairos who likes to greet him with a giant hug at the beginning of most school days. This is great for the boys and equally outstanding for me, since I can leave knowing he’s happy and not upset that I’m off to work. Thanks Kairos! Mason is also increasing his vocabulary rapidly and stringing together words now. We spend 90% of our time outside when we’re home either watering the veggies in the garden, playing on the newly added rope swing, or chasing the dogs around. The decision to move into the new place in the middle of Kelly’s pregnancy has never looked so smart.
Ben update: Ben is growing like a weed. He’s about 15 pounds now and is losing any indication of a discernible wrist. It’s all chub! He is also the happiest and most smiling baby I’ve ever seen. Mason was always quick to smile but Ben seems like he’s just waiting to ambush you with a grin. At 3 am when he wakes up to feed he greets us with a smile. As Kelly puts it, this is just so that we don’t want to kill him, but it’s extremely effective. Apparently babies and parents both need pacifiers to get through the night.
Let’s get the pictures/videos started with something ridiculous. My co-worker posted this on her Facebook page and I can’t stop laughing at it. First of all, this song is just plain terrible. It’s a song about the days of the week, namely Friday. The dancing, however, is awe-inspiring.
I dare you not to laugh at that.
Let me just say that Uggs are not for men. Sorry Tom Brady, but even you can’t make Uggs cool for guys. Let me also say that a good picture trumps any other pretense, so Mason, rock them Uggs buddy! I’m also fairly certain that Britney Spears has worn this exact outfit in public once or twice.
I think if Mason could catch Tater he’d never let go. He spends a good portion of his time calling out “Tay-Tay” and chasing him around. This time I think Tater was just too tired to run. I used to think bark collars were cruel until I had a dog that would not stop barking and waking up napping children. Now I think they’re a necessary measure in the preservation of sleep.
Mason’s first pudding adventure was a lesson in how to turn your face into a mural. You can’t see it in this picture but there are several globs in his hair and on his neck. I feel sticky and gross just thinking about it.
Mason decided to help feed Ben on Sunday morning. It’s remarkable how gentle he can be with Ben at times and then, seconds later, use his head for support when he needs to stand up. Overall I think the relationship is going in the right direction. Ben loves to smile at Mason and Mason loves to give his brother hugs and kisses. Keep it up duders!