Thursday, October 29, 2009

Randomness about Ethan

Randomness about Ethan! In an effort to somehow document the crazy things Ethan says, here's a list of recent funny things he has said:

1. He calls his mom a "silly bunion."

2. He calls me "silly underwear."

3. He has now decided to be a vampire for Halloween after starting out as a Transformer and moving to a pirate. "Vampires are COOL Daddy!"

4. In planning a family trip to Disney World in 2010, Ethan looked at me and said in his most earnest fashion, "Daddy. Do NOT forget a stroller. These little legs will get kinda tired walking too much."

5. Anything that is bad is a "rat." As in, "Daddy, he's a rat" or "That show is a rat" or "that food is a rat."

6. When he doesn't like something to eat, he will grasp his belly, moan, and act sick saying "My tummy hurts!" When we remind him that having a stomach ache means no ice cream, he replies "Well, I think that might make me feel a little better."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

McDonalds and Harry Chapin

I know a father who is a very busy construction executive. This hard-charging entrepreneur sets aside one night per week to spend with his son who is about 7 years old. It doesn't matter if a mogul or a politician calls. They spend that evening as father and son.

I've been meaning to do that with my son Ethan. It just seems too often that the days, weeks, and then years slip by. Before you know it, you' are a cliche straight from the old "Cats in the Cradle" weepy Harry Chapin song from the 70's.
Last night, I thought a lot about this as Ethan and I spent an evening together. While Heather played Florence Nightengale to the neighbors (dear friend who is widowed with a 6 year old and 2 year old rushed to hospital for an appendectomy on top of swine flu...count your blessings!), Ethan accompanied me to a parenting class. We then spent an hour at a McDonalds that was virtually deserted. He engaged in excited conversation, talked about school, Halloween, building projects we need to accomplish together, the weather, and his need for more McNuggets. He also spent an inordinate amount of time making goofy faces.

We went home, got into our "jammies," read books in Mom and Dad's bed, and he promptly fell asleep. When Heather returned home late from her good samaritan duties, Ethan was conked out in our room. In the middle of the night, he awoke to find his mommy, and he hugged her awake. He asked her in a rather loud whisper if she could hear me snore!

All in all, it was just a great night with my boy. One I will remember forever. It was so simple yet so special.

I need to make it a weekly appointment. I should never be too busy for this sort of meeting.

Invoking Grandpa

My son is named Ethan Stanford Dunham. My father was Stanford Arlen Dunham, and Ethan's middle name is a tribute to my dad who died in 1993. For me, my dad was almost more of a buddy because my mom married my beloved step-father, Karl Brown, when I was 8 years old. Karl was my day-to-day father.

Nevertheless, as I grew up, I spent a lot of time with my dad who we often called "Stan the Man." He was a great guy, a character whose irreverance and wit endeared him to many. I still think about him everyday and wonder what he would be doing had he not been taken from us when he was only 63.

It is inevitable I suppose that families on both sides of a child's parentage look at a kid and claim dominance in terms of genes. Ethan does look a lot like my wife Heather though I claim his eyebrows! I appreciate that many on Heather's side suggest he "looks just like David, or just like...." Alternatively, I have friends who say he looks just like my brother Steve. I also see my mother's face sometimes, and I see my brother Dirk at times. At different times, he looks like many people on "my side."

But in the sunlight, when a sun ray hits his hair, I think of my dad Stan the Man. Ethan's hair has a subtle reddish tint that my dad's hair had. In addition, as Ethan matures -- racing toward the ripe old age of 5 in a couple of months -- he is developing an enviable wit with an almost evil chuckle that is simply my dad, Stan.

As Ethan and I wandered through a Halloween store a while back, I noticed a mask that seemed appropriate...a merging of Ethan Stanford Dunham with his grandpa Stan the Man Dunham.

Makes me miss Dad even more. He would have adored his name sake.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grandma's cookies revisited

I've already blogged about my mom's chocolate chip cookies, but we have now reached a crisis: We are out of them. Tonight, I told Ethan that we were out of Grandma's cookies but could eat Heather's. He said, "Disgusting!" Later, I sneaked him one of his mothers along with an ice cold milk. He ate part of it, and then said, "Daddy. Why don't you finish it. It just isn't very good."

On another Ethan note, over the weekend, he spent a couple days with his cousin who took him to a Vallivue High football game followed the next day with breakfast with the Vallivue Cross Country team. When I asked him if he was having fun (while we were in Vegas), over the phone in a plaintive little voice he replied, "Not very well. Last night I barfed like a chicken." He didn't "barf," but he is a bit under the weather.

He told me tonight that he just didn't feel well enough to help with the dishes. "My legs are just too tired Daddy."

Maybe one of Grandma's cookies would help....

Friday, October 9, 2009

The "Stockholm Syndrome" and the Nobel Peace Prize

Wikipedia defines “Stockholm Syndrome” as a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed.” Coincidentally, Nobel Peace prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden meaning President Barack Obama, less than one year on the job, will travel to Stockholm in December to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Apparently, his second trip to Scandinavia will be more fruitful than his unsuccessful trek to Copenhagen to get the Olympics in Chicago.

There is a certain irony that a psychological condition based on a cult of personality where prisoners become enamored of their captors is named for the same city where an award will be given to a person whose credentials for a Nobel Peace Prize are thin at best but seem based primarily on the fact that he is NOT George W. Bush.

Of course, this is the same group that awarded Jimmy Carter a peace prize in 2002 in recognition of his significant international peace efforts which, in my recollection, amount to the following:

1. Overseeing the fall of Iran and the resulting Iranian Hostage Crisis which was settled only upon the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration;
2. Inserting himself unannounced, unasked, and uninformed into various international situations;
3. Overseeing the Camp David Peace Accords, which in retrospect, seems to have been little more than a photo op because there has never been a lasting peace in that region; and,
4. Being an apologist for corrupt regimes as an election observer.

I have never been one of those who wish ill-will on President Obama, and I actually respect his political skills while most often disagreeing with his policies, goals and actions. More often than not, I find Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk to be repugnant demagogues who do not reflect the true Republican ideology I respect.

But awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to someone because he is eloquent, glamorous, and not his predecessor trivializes the Nobel Prizes awarded to so many other recipients throughout the years, in the future, and in all of the categories.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Grandma's Cookies

My mother makes amazing chocolate chip cookies. I'm probably biased having spent 48 years eating them; however, my college buddies also can attest to their quality. In fact, for years, my mom has baked chocolate chip cookies for them as well.

Ethan has inherited an affinity for "Grandma's Cookies." She bakes them for him, and we put them in the freezer. Ethan and I dole them out sparingly. When he is sick, he sometimes whines, rubs his belly, and says "I think one of Grandma's cookies may make me feel a little better."

Every once in a while, Heather decides to make chocolate chip cookies. Don't get me wrong, Heather's are great, but...well, they are just not my mom's. I know I run the risk of engaging in the old "Well, my mom's are better than my wife's." I don't want to do that, so I refrain from saying anything. But, the old adage "out of the mouths of babes" means Ethan isn't quite so restrained.

The other night, I was in Ethan's room when he said, "Daddy, do you think we should have one of Grandma's cookies?" I said, "Sure! That sounds great. I'll go get us one."

I went downstairs, poured him a glass of milk, and retrieved two cookies from the freezer. Heather asked what I was going, and I told her I was taking Ethan a cookie. She said, "I'll take it to him."

About 10 minutes later, she returned and said, "Ethan said the cookie tasted funny."

Surprised, I responded, "Really? I think they're OK. Mine tasted fine."

She grimaced, and said, "OK. I substituted one of MY cookies for your mom's. So MY cookie tastes funny."

I had to smile. Grandma's cookies are tough to beat.