I’m OK with that.

This weekend my whole family plus the neighbor boy was outside playing. The neighbor boy is a sports nut, by the way. At least once a week he comes over decked out in pads from one sport or another. He has equipment for roller hockey, ice hockey, soccer, baseball, golf… That’s just his thing.

Miles, however, is the exact opposite. Case in point:

We’re playing baseball. The neighbor boy has out a bat, baseball, bases and even a pitcher’s plate. He’s barking orders at Betsy to pitch the ball, I’m in outfield. It’s a hit, he’s running bases, I’m chasing. Where’s Miles you ask? He’s sitting in the top of the playhouse. He’s declared he’s the “robot voice” that’s announcing the game. Then a fly ball comes to him. Instead of tossing the ball back into play, he yells “Let’s pretend this is an ANGRY BIRD!!”

And that’s just his thing.

Miles at 4 is a head strong, curious kid who totally lives in his imagination. And I mean totally. At this age he marches to his own drum, which half the time is turned upside down and is a pot he’s cooking in. Or a car. Depends on the day.

Ok, one more example of Miles being Miles:

Our family was at the Johnny Appleseed Festival in mid September. We’ve decided to let Miles pick out some rock candy, so he’s looking at all the colors and the lady selling them is going through the flavors.

“This one is blueberry, this is cherry, this is watermellon.”

“I’d like the white one.” says Miles.

“Oh, honey, you’re not going to like that one, it doesn’t have a flavor.”

“Oh, I’m OK with that.”

Now, if an adult said that to me as a 4 year old, I’d pick a different color. Not Miles, and that’s what I love about him.

One of the challenges of being a parent is that you don’t know the long term consequences of your decisions and actions until the long term has arrived. So, we parents make decisions based on a myriad of sources, but never on long term experience. We may consult teachers, counselors, books, the internet, fellow parents. Partly we go off of gut and partly based on what our parents did for us when they were young (or younger) and just-as-inexperienced parents.

I am totally thrilled he is who he is, but I also know that schools sometimes have a hard time making room for the wildly creative children. They always prefer kids that can follow directions, keep quiet, color in the lines, and do-what-you’re-told-thank-you-very-much. Schools are designed to make factory workers and good employees. They want everyone to fit into a standardized test and write at a right-handed desk. (That may have changed since I was in school…)

As a parent I worry that Miles will struggle with that part. He’s just not a good cog right now. The rules he follows are his, and they’re fluid. The games he plays he leads. He wants to play with other kids but can get frustrated when they don’t follow his rules. He can spend 45 minutes playing with a circle of paper he cut out, flying it around the room like a spaceship. The kid lives in his head. I honestly feel that in the long run it is his independence, his creativity, his willingness to re-invent the rules that will allow him to be successful in this evolving society, and to truly share whatever his unique gift is with this world.

And so, as a parent, we are forever trying to help him strike just the right balance between following instructions and following imagination.

Balance.

I will listen to him talk non stop for 2 hours (seriously) as engaged as I can be, but will ignore his request for milk until he remember to say please.

Balance.

I will try again to show him how to throw a ball, but won’t tell him the badminton racquet can’t be called a “swisher” and is for fighting off bad guys.

Balance.

Of course, he’s only 4 and 1/2, so it may just be a phase. Check back in 20 years, and we’ll see how we did.

Listen to Chris

In order to share this little piece with you, I feel like some explanation is in order. The other day I was sent this video from my good friend, Chris Melching: Auto Tuning. After watching it, I replied that I had an auto tuner in Logic. That’s was all that was said.

Fast forward a day or two, and Betsy is out of town. It’s a bachelors weekend with Miles and I, and we just can’t have a bachelors weekend without inviting over Chris to hang. It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m getting ready to put Miles down for his nap when Chris shows up. Chris comes over a lot to play with Miles so I thought it was odd that he arrived just as Miles is getting ready for a nap.

“I want to see this auto tuner.” His motive was clear. As soon as Miles hit the bed, we hit the studio. After finding my microphone, we put down a quick beat and some alternating chords and it was vocal time. But you can’t sing vocals without lyrics, right? Right? Hm, lyrics… We have a limited amount of time before Miles will wake up and want to join us. (His job in my studio seems to be to try to steal paperclips and rubber bands, and to find and turn every knob in the room. And then do it again.) So where the hell are we going to get some short rhyming words to try out this auto tuning with? Well, listen to Chris!

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Who knew this:

The Nose Book

would be the perfect source of inspiration!

The funniest part about the whole project is that Miles LOVES it! Because it’s Chris rapping, he asks to “Listen to Chris” every day. And the more I play it for him, the more I like it. 😉 He has even listened to it while falling asleep for almost a week now. Not sure what developmental damage I’m doing to him, but I’m not about to deny my boy his chance to “Listen to Chris.”

Oh, and one last thing… You’ll know it is time to turn the page when you hear the chime ring, like this:

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Much metta,

John

Staying The Night

As promised, here’s the second piece of my marching band show, tentatively titled Staying The Night.

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This piece was inspired by the nights in the hospital when Miles was born. There was something special about night time there that’s hard to explain. It’s never really dark in a hospital, and it’s never really quiet, but it has a darkness and a quietness of its own that settles into each room that adds both a strangeness and an intimacy to the experience. Those first nights are both peaceful and exhausting at the same time. As I would settle in to our room with my wonderful wife for the night we would recount the day, express our fears, re-connect as new parents and anticipate what was next in the very first moments of our new family.

Much Metta,

John

One Plus One

I LOVE being a Dad! Miles is around a year and a month and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t just get cuter and cuter! He’s almost walking and he’s almost talking and he’s just SO busy with everything. It’s amazing to watch him learn as incredible fast as he does. The kid is a sponge. I just love him.

I’m visiting my brothers and my parents in a couple weeks and I can’t wait for them to meet him. Get ready you guys!!

Much Metta,

John

Miles is ONE!!

Our little Miles has just turned one! To celebrate we had some family over and I baked a little cake with homemade frosting for the little guy. Think he liked it? See for yourself:

Happy Birthday, Miles!

Much Metta,

John

Euph and Baby

Ok, so a couple days ago I busted out my euphonium to play a couple solos for the recordings I’m making. (See Yesterday’s Post) It just so happened to be Miles’ very first time hearing a euphonium, so Betsy broke out the camera to snap a few pics of his reaction.

What the…? Img 9714

Hey, what is that? Img 9703

WOW! It’s LOUD! Img 9708

Wait a sec, can I try? Img 9690

And being an almost 1 year old, he just had to explore every nook Img 9656

and cranny Img 9662

And of course, I had to show him which button to mash Img 9649

He was just so curious and wanted to know everything about it Img 9690

He giggled a little while I was playing, particularly on the low notes. I think he liked the way they felt. He wrinkled up his brow a little too, like he does when he’s trying to figure it all out. He’s just such a sweet and expressive guy!

Img 9737

Betsy and I are so lucky to have such a wonderful little boy to share our home with.

Much Metta,

John

More Miles

Ok, we had SO much fun making that last video (see the blog before this one!) that we just had to make some more. I actually just spent about the last hour watching clips of Miles, and every time I’d laugh, Bets would come running in to see the clip. I don’t think she got as much done this evening as she wanted to, but boy did we have fun!

So, here’s a small montage of our little guy from the last month. Boy, I just LOVE him!

Much Metta,

John

Raspberries

One of my duties as Daddy is to give Miles his bath just about every night. I’ve heard it’s a typical job for fathers, and one that often bring a lot of joy. Tonight is no exception! Betsy caught this footage of him exploring a new talent in the empty tub.

I’m a proud papa, what can I say!

Much Metta,

John

Happy Halloween!

Queen Bee and Little Honey Bear

When we dressed Miles up to take him on his first trick-or-treating adventure, I had no idea it would be such a treat for me!

Miles is, of course, much too young to even care about costumes or candy or going out, so when Boss Lady and I decided to dress him up in his little bear outfit and she and I in bee costumes, I felt a little silly, honestly. My hesitancy was exacerbated by a comment we heard today about how parents of babies go trick-or-treating just for the candy for themselves. Since I’d been gorging myself on Snickers and Three Musketeers for about a week now, I knew that wasn’t my motivation. We just wanted to take Miles out and enjoy this unique holiday.

So off we went, into the beautiful dusk evening, bear, bee and all. We decided we were going to go to all the neighbors we’d gotten to know in our year and a half here and just say hello and show off this adorable little honey bear.

The first thing I noticed was the distinctly open friendly feeling in our little corner of the planet. It was like a big friendly block party. You could head kids voices down every street, people’s doors were open, lights were on. Despite halloween’s love of all things dark and scary, the mood here was all giggles.

The other part of the evening that touched me was that every house we stopped at was a pleasure all in its own. Each doorbell ring ushered in another conversation with the very people we share a street, mailbox, or even a backyard with. Even though I don’t know any of our neighbors very well, I know them just a bit better after tonight, and this place feels just a bit more like home. We’re very blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people, and I’m excited about getting to know them better.

Happy Halloween, neighbors!

John

P.S.

Ok, I admit, I dressed up a bit too, so Boss Lady wasn’t alone in the bee department. How embarrassing I met some of my neighbors for the first time wearing this, but I am what I am… And yes, those are antennae.

Here’s the whole family:

King Bees

I love procrastination

I’ve got to write my marching band show. That’s the big ticket item on my list right now, so what do I do?

PROCRASTINATE!

Luckily, my avoidance is your gain:

We’ve discovered two major truths about Miles, and perhaps kids in general. Truth number 1 is, if it’s not a toy, they want to play with it. (See Betsy’s blog about his current fascinations…)

The other Miles truth is if it’s wet, it’s FUN!! He’s been trying to get at this water dish ever since he learned to crawl, and we’d finally decided to let him have at it. I have no idea how Betsy managed to catch it, but I’m delighted she did!

I even grabbed the camera for a couple stills. Who knew playing in the dog bowl could be so much fun!

Splish Splash 2

If you look close, you can see the water droplets flying through the air…


Here it comes

Now who’s going to clean this up?!?


Mouth the dish

That can’t be clean.


BW

Wet Leg

Victory! 1


I LOVE being a dad. 😉

Much Metta,

John

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