A Tie Surprise

A few days ago, JSL gave me an early Father’s Day present.


Inside was a very special tie.


Yes, it’s a tie snake.

JSL kept asking me when I was going to wear it, but I kept putting it off.  Then, yesterday, I surprised him.  I wore a different tie to work, but changed into the snake tie when I went to his nursery school graduation.


JSL was surprised and happy.  Even when the snake tried licking him.


I’m so proud of my now-Kindergarten Kid.

Later on, I found out that one of JSL’s teachers saw me wearing my snake tie at the graduation and (unbeknownst to me at the time) teared up.  She told B that the ties were her father’s.  He recently passed away and she donated the ties for the kids to use in their snake tie project.  She had never seen anyone wear them.  It made her very happy to see me wearing it, as if a piece of her father still lived on.  This makes the tie even more special to me.

The Day I Became Doc McStuffins

TurtleMy kids love the new Disney Junior show, Doc McStuffins.  They love the characters, the songs, and even the lessons about staying healthy.  Of course, the fact that the show has a plethora of toys for Doc to interact with doesn’t hurt.

I’ve written before about Doc’s father, but the other day, I felt like Doc herself.  The kids were getting ready for bed.  They were in their PJs, nighttime allergy medicine was taken, teeth were brushed and they were climbing into their beds.  As NHL picked out which toys he wanted to cuddle with that night, he let out a cry.  Something was seriously wrong.

I came to see what was the matter and he explained that his turtle’s leg was coming loose.  This was a turtle that he had won at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Dinoland party.  I checked the turtle out and immediately saw the problem: A busted seam.  It was bad, but completely fixable.  I reassured NHL, took the turtle with me, got my sewing kit and got to work.


Pretty soon, the leg (fin?) was fixed.  The stitching might not have been as clean as the original, but I reinforced mine so that it would last.  Plus, it’s not really that noticeable unless you really look for it.

My only disappointment was that, in hindsight, I wish I had taken some photos of the busted seam and the sewing in progress.  My mind wasn’t focused on "This is a blog post in the making", though.  Instead, it was mainly focused on "I’m fixing NHL’s stuffed animal the way Doc McStuffins would fix a toy."

Yes, I channeled my inner Doc to get his toy feeling better.  And, yes, I was a little disappointed when the turtle didn’t leap up post-toy-surgery to sing "I feel better!"  Still, The appreciation from NHL when he saw his turtle was fixed beat any magical turtle serenade.

Dad McStuffins

Doc and her dad.As I prepare for the Disney Social Media Moms celebration, I’ve been thinking of the various dads in the world of DIsney.  While there are many, one recent one stands out to me: Doc McStuffins’ dad.

Doc McStuffins is a story about a very special little girl.  She wants to be a doctor when she grows up and gets plenty of practice by fixing toys.  She doesn’t simply patch up toys, though.  Thanks to her magical stethoscope, her toys come alive.  They can walk, talk, and cuddle.

Doc’s mother is a doctor and provides much of Doc’s inspiration, but I’d like to focus on her father.  Too many times, dads on television are portrayed as dim-witted and/or unwilling to have a close relationship with their children.  Doc’s dad is neither of these.  He’s a stay-at-home dad that does the gardening and cooking.  He might not be a doctor, but he’s intelligent and loves his kids.  Whether he’s taking Doc and her brother out on a camping trip, or recognizing that Doc’s brother (who stayed up late one night) needed a nap, he provides a great Dad role-model for kids.

He might not be center stage, but then again, neither is Doc’s mom.  The main attraction is Doc and her toys.  Doc’s dad is always in the background, though, ready to lend a Doc a helping hand if she needs it.

Disclaimer: The image above is courtesy of Disney.  The opinions, however, are all my own.

Karma, Starscream Bullying and the Stolen T-Cog

Starscream_PrimeAs all parents do, I’ve tried to teach my boys right from wrong.  Of course, there are times when doing the wrong thing results in an immediate reward for the person while doing the right things results in a near-term penalty.  Young kids, being short-term thinkers, can often take the wrong path due to the short-term gain, even while knowing that it is the wrong thing to do.

To help NHL with handling this concept, I decided to introduce him to the concept of Karma.  Karma, as I explained to NHL, is the concept that good things happen to those who do good deeds and bad things happen to people who do bad things.  (Karma dates back to ancient India, but for NHL’s purposes, I relied on the modern interpretation.)  NHL seemed to understand as we ran through a few scenarios describing what would be the right and wrong thing to do.

A week or so after we spoke about it, NHL, JSL, and I were watching Transformers: Prime.  We’ve come to really like this incarnation of Transfomers and look forward to each new episode.  This two-parter, Operation Bumblebee, saw Bumblebee lose his T-Cog.  For those who didn’t watch, a T-Cog is the biomechanical organ that lets Cybertronians scan vehicles and transform.  So when MECH, a group of humans trying to make their own Transformers, knock out Bumblebee and take his T-Cog, Bumblebee finds that he can’t transform anymore.  Since transformation is so integral to what they are and since Bumblebee enjoys driving fast in his vehicle mode, this makes him feel useless to his team.

Back to Starscream, though.  We first see him arriving on the scene after Bumblebee was knocked out by MECH.  (They had both been tracking the same signal that MECH used in their trap.)  Starscream’s reaction wasn’t to help Bumblebee, but to muse "Better him than me."

After this, he follows MECH back to their headquarters and proposes an alliance.  The alliance goes well enough until Bumblebee tracks them down and tries to retrieve his T-Cog.  MECH’s troops prove no match for Bumblebee despite the robot being unable to use his weapons.  (No T-Cog means no transforming his arms into guns.)  As MECH retreats, its leader tells Starscream to bring the T-Cog.  Starscream grabs it.  He describes Bumblebee as pathetic and a failure for being unable to transform into vehicle mode.  When it looks like Bumblebee will get his T-Cog back, Starscream shoots it.  He leaves Bumblebee with one final taunt: "Time to jet.. because I can!"  (Note to non-geeks: Starscream’s vehicle mode is a jet.)

Of course, MECH isn’t happy with Starscream for losing the T-Cog.  When Starscream says they can get one soon enough from another Autobot, they zap Starscream and take his.

I intended to use this episode as a lesson in bullying.  I described to NHL how Starscream took advantage of Bumblebee’s weakness, helped the people who hurt him, and taunted him to make him feel bad about himself.  (Of course, schoolyard bullying rarely involves blasters.)

NHL, however, dredged up the Karma talk from a few weeks back and pointed out that it applied here.  Impressed, I admitted that he was right.  Starscream could have done the right thing by helping Bumblebee (either right away or after he tracked down MECH’s headquarters).  Previous episodes have established that he can contact the Autobots (when he was in need of medical assistance).  His actions throughout the episode were one bad action after another, right down to shooting the T-Cog to spite Bumblebee.

For his bad actions, something bad happened to him: He lost his own T-Cog.  His description of Bumblebee as a pathetic failure who couldn’t achieve vehicle mode became him as he scampered away by foot.

I was extremely proud of NHL for remembering our lesson and for applying it so perfectly.

Disclaimer: The image of Starscream above is from Clement Soh‘s Flickr stream and is shared via a Creative Commons license.

Earworms of the Parental Kind

Anonymous_trble_clefIt used to be that I would find certain songs running through my head.  Tunes came from such artists as Billy Joel, Barenaked Ladies, and Bon Jovi.  They may have annoyed me slightly by climbing into my brain and refusing to leave, but at least I could rock out to them for awhile.

Then I had kids.

Joel and Jovi quickly were replaced with Wiggles and Laurie Berkner.  Don’t get me wrong, I like their music.  I’ll freely listen to them with my kids and will dance around the house with those songs blaring.  What I don’t want, though, is for their music to set up shop in my mind and continue running when no kids are around.  It’s a little embarrassing to find yourself humming Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car in the office.

The other day, I was going for some blood work.  As I walked into the building, I found myself humming a tune.  Only this tune wasn’t from a mere children’s singer.  No, this was one worse.  It was from a children’s TV show.

Yes, that was running through my head.  It would not leave.  I had no choice, but to counter it with the most powerful grown-up earworm that I could think of.

Mission accomplished.  The kiddie earworm was driven back.  But for how long?

Disclaimer: The "trble clef" graphic above is from OpenClipArt.org.

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