10 Armpit Hairs

Frazetta the Incredible

Here’s my list for the ten best Dad-dito moments of 2012. These are in no particular order.

  1. My son got his first armpit hair and has underarm body odor. He is now wearing an adult size shoe. Puberty is around the corner. But the happy smile on my son’s face as he lifted his arm to show off his BO has been more than worth the price of this early transition. He is slowly emerging as a sexual being, one hair and smell at a time. “Hey Dad-dito, smell this!” has taken on a whole new meaning.
  2. My son read a book about puberty called What’s Going On Down There, by Gravelle and Castro. He laughed at the big nose/small penis jokes inside and the cartoon line drawings. It had a section about being Gay and a section on girls and provoked discussion for a good month afterwards. He read it cover to cover. I can’t recommend this book for boys enough (age 10-14).
  3. We saw The Hobbit together and loved it. We saw John Carter of Mars together and loved it. My son chose to see these movies with me over seeing them with his friends. That won’t happen much longer so I’m grateful for these moments while I have them. This was the year we graduated to live action films. We still see lots of animated films and that is good because I love animated films also but a corner was turned.
  4. Mom-ita and I survived M-ito going to sleep-away camp for two weeks. We survived. He survived. I don’t know if he’s going back again this summer but… we all learned something about being apart from each other. I learn over and over again how much I love my son and my wife. And I will never forget how it felt to say goodbye.
  5. Ratzo’s zombie apocalypse almost took over the world on my son’s birthday. For the third year in a row my son asked me to create a live roleplaying save-the-world from super villain Ratzo birthday adventure. He says he wants a fourth go at it. I hope I have it in me.
  6. My son said he has classes that he enjoys in school. Seriously, this year, 5th grade, he actually said Fridays are his favorite day at school and he does not want to miss it. I practically had a heart attack. He has a day he wants to go to school! His favorite classes are Drama (they play great theatre games) which he has twice on Friday, and Percussion (he loves the xylophone). The only thing that would make it better would be if he had art class too.
  7. My son read all 24 books in The Warriors series. He loved this series so much he actually said, “I wish this didn’t have to end.” What else can I say?
  8. My son played soccer at school on their B-team. This was the first time he’s ever played an organized team sport. They lost all of their games but scored goals in 3 of their 5 games. It was wonderful watching him play. He says he didn’t enjoy it but I think he enjoyed the experience overall. Mostly I enjoyed going to two of the games, standing on the sidelines, and watching the same way my father did with me when I played baseball, football, and rugby. My father came to both games also so for a few moments in time we watched M-ito play together.
  9. M-ito received his purple belt in Taekwondo. He is 60% of the way to his black belt. Watching him do his forms, break boards, and spar was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve done as a father. He was near perfect in all three aspects, though he had to persevere through hitting his board with his knuckles six times before the board finally broke. That’s character and guts. Ouch.
  10. Hurricane Sandy left my Rockaway in-laws homeless and Pop-pop, my father in=law, living with us for two months while the ground floor of his home was rebuilt. M-ito gave up his room and slept with us. For a few weeks one of Mom-itas sisters stayed with us also on the living room couch. Many nights were spent with the three men sitting together on the sofa watching The Big Bang Theory. We survived the holidays together. We’re all still talking so I count it a success. I also have an image of my shirt-less father in-law walking around our apartment scratching his stomach that I can’t get rid of and a few moments of we’re living in close quarters, I have no privacy, somebody get me out of this nut-house, and I just want to get in bed get under the covers and pull them up over my head, that I’ll keep close to me but in the end I think it all balances out.

I come back to this again and again. It is the hardest job I have – being a father. I need a beginners mind for just about everything I do as one and I have to learn quickly in order to keep up with my son. It is frustrating. It is heartbreaking, sometimes boring (helping with homework), fun, terrifying, daunting, maddening, makes me full of rage some days and pride on others. It is also the most fulfilling and wonderful job I have and I would not trade it in for anything.

Feet and other sundry things…

My son is now wearing an adult sized shoe.

He has now pulverized me in Strategery, epic scale, one on one.

He has just finished 24 of the 26 Warrior novels even though he likes dogs more than cats. He expects to finish the last two before Thanksgiving and I believe he will. “I wish these wouldn’t end,” is his highest complement for the series.

He has watched all three of the Lord of the Rings movies in preparation for The Hobbit coming out in three weeks.

He now watches Big Bang Theory with us (including his grandfather and aunt who are still staying with us as the first floor of their house in Rockaway is being rebuilt from the hurricane damage). What were we thinking when we allowed this (I’m referring to watching the show…)?

He still loves animation. We say Wreck it Ralph last week in the theatre, Flushed Away, and Over the Hedge on DVD – all of which had us both in stitches.

His favorite day at school is still Friday and not because it’s the last day of the school week. He loves it because he has drama class twice, or drama and shop and those classes make him smile.

He still loves art, taking a three-hour class at the Art Student’s League of New York every Saturday morning with his friend. I drive him in and write all morning at Argo Tea around the corner.

 

Sandy

Jackson Heights

Hurricane Sandy hit us this week.

We have my father-in-law and sister-in-law staying with us as of last night.

I don’t know for how long.

Jackson Heights

They live in Rockaway and their house is a wreck. The ground floor was under water and they watched the water climb the stairs during the ‘surge’, pretty much terrified out of their minds. We had them on the phone at that moment. One sister-in-law lost everything. They both lost cars.

Rockaway

Trees are down in our neighborhood but we maintained power. Three cars were flattened by a beautiful old tree just outside our window down the block.

My father out on Long Island has been out of power also but he was inland so seems to be fine though he’s run out of cell phone power. He only turns it on to call me so I have no way of contacting him.

Nature is humbling and an angry mother nature even more so. We are so small compared to it.

Rockaway – A big Piece of the Boardwalk

I’ve spent the morning and afternoon writing and working at my son’s school. Mom-ita and I, along with a host of other parents, have been given a room to work from, showers if we want, coffee, breakfast, and lunch. We don’t have enough gas in the car to go home and come back so we’ve just staid here all day.

Rockaway

Lines for gas are quarter-mile and longer. I’ll have to get up at 4am tomorrow and see if I can beat the lines, otherwise we’re not going anywhere until it gets better.

My office is in Manhattan on 23rd street without power still so it’s closed.

Maybe on Monday.

In the mean time it’s a full house back at our apartment.