Birthday

Bakers Dozen Jane

I often wish that I could take a new understanding that I get from watching my kids and bottle it up and then pour it into their head. To show them what I see.

This weekend we welcomed Jane into the realm of the teenager. I haven’t been ready for the past thirteen years and I’m still not. The things I have taught her over these years could fit in a small pamphlet but the things she has taught me have helped fill me out as a person, on the inside. Doughnuts have helped me fill out as a person on the outside. I’ve had to wrestle with myself on what I believe and how I want to be seen in the eyes of others. I’ve softened how I interact with the world. We have learned to support the underdogs and enjoy the weird things in life. I’m definitely a better person because of her.

Several years ago she wanted to draw something. If I remember correctly it was horses. We had discussions on art and her frustrations with not being able to draw the thing that she had in her mind. I told her the secret that I wish someone had told me, “No one is naturally good at anything but peeing and pooping and everything else is learned.”

Everything. Else. Is. Learned.

When you drop out of the womb you learn to breath air. You learn to nurse to get food. You learn to cry with the new air in your lungs and you learn to enjoy human contact. Babies aren’t born with the ability to talk or sing or dance or draw. Somewhere along the way we try these things and mostly suck at it. Babies are terrible at almost anything but undeterred by anything. That is the magic of babies. They will try to the point of injury to do the thing that cannot yet be done.

I told Jane to keep drawing. To take one thing and draw it really well. Learn why it looks like this or that. Practice shading. Practice shapes. Draw the same damn horse five million times. Use every sheet of paper and all of your markers to make a pile of terrible drawings. Then take the things you like and put them together in a new drawing. Throw the rest away. Keeping doing it. Practice with anything that you might ever want to draw. Then one day, you will look up from the scribbled bodies strewn around your floor and you will realize not only can you draw but you are an artist.

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She has been into drawing Anime characters in the latest drawing phase. She is an excellent artist. She has found several apps that help develop the drawing process and shading and even time-lapse her work.  She has even started teacher her sisters some art basics.

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I fancied myself an artist back in the day but I wasn’t nearly as talented.

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Jane has always made me proud. She has always known what she liked and been brave enough to be herself. From an unprompted Lord of the Rings fandom to making more money that I expected from competitive goat showing, Jane is always chasing a new passion.

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She always looks to me to smile or give a thumbs up of approval. She brings her drawings to me when she finishes and I always take a picture on my phone. I have a running record.

The truth in a bottle that I would love to pour into her head is that we are both seeking each other’s approval. I want to be sure that I am a good father and she wants to be sure that she meets my approval as a daughter. The funny part is that as long as we are both trying our best, the other will never be disappointed.

I hope that the next thirteen years are just as fun and interesting and amazing as the last round.

Happy Birthday Jane!

If you have kids growing up way too fast, this post is for you. You’re welcome. All of my kids are awesome but they weren’t all born on the same day so this one is for Jane.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Bday Movie Night

Another birthday in the books. Thirty six feels like… something much older than my twenties. It came with drinks, dinner, and a movie. I had a hard time deciding on the movie.

I love what Marvel has going with the Avengers and the whole Marvel Universe. Guardians is my favorite. They are incorporating Spiderman and if Venom turns out half as awesome as it could be then I might not be able to handle it. Last night we saw Thor: Ragnarok. It was a natural selection for the evening. It was awesome. Classic Marvel. During the credits they left a good preview of the next step in the saga. There was also a preview for Black Panther and I have high hopes for that one too.

But I was still curious about Justice League. DC has always had the darker side of comics and I have wanted to be a fan of what they were putting out but nothing really seemed connected. Batman vs Superman seemed flawed from the beginning. How is that even a contest? Don’t say Kryptonite because that is a cheap trick. The writers of Superman knew he needed a flaw so the only one they gave him was a glowing green rock. And Batman is wealthy and used to be a character who was driven by his darkness but evolved into a guy without much direction who just buys expensive tech and gets roped into weird plot lines. The Dark Knight series weren’t built for spinoffs which was short sighted. I was starting to lose faith that the universe would make sense. Then Wonder Woman came out and started to turn things around. There were connections to build off of. Maybe it was an island full of powerful women who were scantily clad. Maybe it was her purity of heart. Either way, her movie was good and as soon as it was over I wondered when I would get to see her again. DC has a poor history of follow-up.

We have started watching the Flash on the CW and caught up on the last few seasons via binge watching. We watch Teen Titans GO! On cartoon network and got to know the lighter side of Cyborg. I noticed lots of familiar faces in the Justice League trailer so I almost picked it. But Flash won’t be Barry Allen that I remember and Cyborg won’t make silly dude jokes with Beast Boy. Batman will still be Ben Affleck.  I realized that the only character that I knew I liked and wanted to see was Wonder Woman. Maybe we will get back to the theater soon. The critics aren’t being kind but some people have seemed to enjoy the movie. Let me know what you think if you have seen it. Is Gal worth the effort? Should I have chosen Bad Moms instead?

Aside from birthday fun, I have another update that is a little overdue. We have added a new member to the family.

Jasper “JTP” Waggingham Sr.

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He is an older Maltese who needed a home and seemed reasonably well behaved. He came to live with us about two months ago. JTP had the breath of a dead swamp rat which turned out to be a tooth abscess and he had to have the top two teeth removed. Now his tongue hangs out a little bit and gives him a goofy blank stare. He is a good dog who spends the majority of his time curled up in bed. Sometimes he is too curled up and a few times I have even thought he was dead. He hasn’t been here long but finding him dead would still be traumatic. His only other flaw is that he eats the cat’s food and it makes him vomit. The girls love him and he adds to the family character. I’m certain we will have some fun stories to share about JTP.

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If you are into comics, sagas, and new pets; this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.