Crapping Presents: In Which Oot is Cute

Heya everybody,

It’s been a while since I told a story about my kids here on the blog. And over the last couple days, my kids have been *particularly* fucking cute. So I figured this was as good a time as any to break my dry spell…

My little boys are, despite my best efforts, getting older. Oot is ten, and just a little while back, Cutie (also known as Cutie Snoo) turned an almost incomprehensible six years old.

(Here they are at Gamehole Con, dressed up as squids.)

Now some of you might think that the costumes they’re wearing look suspiciously like those costumes people buy for their dogs at Target. And some of you would be right. But my kids don’t know that. And I don’t plan on telling them. And also they were super cheap. Also shut up. Also, I’m an awesome dad.

Also also, just because it’s been a while since I’ve talked about the boys here on the blog, I should make it clear that Oot and Cutie Snoo aren’t their real names. I keep their real names private because I talk about them and share pictures of them on the internet. Using public names gives them a bit of privacy and safety. If they really want to be internet famous, they can make that decision for themselves when they grow up. I don’t want to make it for them.

Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve been wanting to tell a cute kid story for a while now, and for a similar amount of while, I thought that that story was going to involve the time that I heard them playing in their room together.

“What are you guys doing?” I asked.

“We were playing M&M!” Cutie chirrups.

“What’s that?” says me, the very good dad who would never dress his kids in dog costumes unless, of course, they were super cheap and his kids looked amazingly adorable in them.

“It’s kinda like D&D,” says Oot. “Except without the dice.”

Which is to say that what they were *really* doing was telling stories together.

I hope I don’t need to stress to you how ebullient that makes me feel. I’ve been telling them stories for years now. Little adventure tales where they are characters and they solve problems or make choices that shape the narrative. It’s like role playing without the roll, if you catch my meaning.

And now, apparently, they’re doing it with each other….

I’ll be honest with y’all. I wish I had that story on tape. Partly so *I* would get to listen to it all, but also so I could share it with you. All I really caught from listening in the hallway was that someone had stolen someone else’s socks. Further inquiry informed me that Cutie was originally going to be a Frost Gecko who would eventually transform into an Ice Dragon. But then he became a Flame Raven. But now he was a human because he needed to have a backpack because… honestly. I don’t remember why. Probably just Because Backpacks, I’m guessing.

(Also, I think he had a shock toad as a pet? And it ate battery flies? I don’t have any more context than that for you, sorry.)

But that story, sadly, will have to wait for another time. Maybe I can get lucky and get them to continue it on tape at some point.

For now, as I was saying, my boys = cute and awesome. Also, my littler, Codename Cutie, just recently had a birthday.

So. Cue the music. Cute story time.

*     *     *

The other day, I had a remarkably large amount of fun going shopping for Cutie’s birthday presents with Oot. This didn’t used to be the case, as little kids, by and large, are more interested in getting presents than giving them. And taking a kid to a toy store and telling them over and over, “Yes, I know YOU like that Frozen 2 Drum Set (TM) and the Farting Kermit the Frog plushy with RealStinq technology, but we’re shopping for your brother, remember…?”

But this year, shopping was such a delight. Oot had ideas of his own. Things *he* wanted to shop for. Even picked out his own card, which is one of the best I’ve ever seen:

But wait, it gets better.

One of the things I struggle with a lot as a parent is *not* doing things for my boys. Especially when we’re in a hurry. Especially when I can see my boys are struggling.

This may not make sense to a lot of y’all, but I think one of my main jobs as a dad is to let my children struggle. They need to try things, fail, be frustrated, fail again, get irritated, try again, then eventually get something done and be generally disappointed in the fact that it hasn’t turned out as well as they’d hoped.

But it’s HARD. I’m a fixer. I’m a helper. I want to make their lives easy. I want to offer assistance, give advice, and help them *avoid* disappointment.

Still, I strive to leave them be and force them to do things themselves even when they’re bad at it. Because doing things yourself is the only way you get better.

I’ve done this for years with Oot, one of my earliest memories of this was him around 2 years old. We’re in the kitchen, and I’m watching him try to cut a potato with a butter knife for AGES while my fingers twitch with the almost overwhelming desire to step forward and say, “Here, let me help….”

Fast forward to now. He’s 10. He’s picked out his own presents. He knew exactly the wrapping paper he wanted. Picked out the bow he wanted, too.

We were a little late for the party. Time was tight. He didn’t want to be late. I asked him if he wanted me to help him cut the wrapping paper… and he said no, thanks anyway, he’d rather wrap it himself…

Then he wrapped this:

I am going to be completely honest here. This is more fastidiously wrapped than anything I’ve done in my whole life. This will probably shock none of you, but when I wrap things… pretty isn’t the word that leaps to mind.

Here, for example, is a prize package that I wrapped for the Worldbuilders lottery years and years ago…

(Click to embiggen.)

Needless to say, they don’t let me help with that anymore.

But here’s my boy, age 10, doing this:

Then this:

Whatever gene governs this ability must be recessive, because it certainly didn’t manifest in me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love how beautiful my boy’s presents turned out. I love that he cared about making something beautiful for his brother. And I love seeing him be better at something with me.

But that wasn’t the really excellent part.

This was:

Then:

And finally:

The final result: a present that looks like it was wrapped by an angry badger. It looks like Oot  either didn’t care at all, or that he really couldn’t use tape to save his life. We spent so much time strategizing about how to make it look crappy, laughing and laughing. It was 15 minutes of pure joy. Joy the likes of which I rarely experience these days. Quite literally the most raw and perfect happiness I’ve had in a week.

As we were getting ready to take him to the party, I looked at the package and started to laugh.

“It’s such crappy wrapping!” I said.

“Crapping,” Oot corrected me, making a portmanteau of the words. (I should teach him that term, now that I think of it.)

“You did a good job crapping that present,” I said.

“We crapped it together,” he said, grinning like a maniac.

And we continued like that, back and forth, all the way to the party.

*     *     *

It’s been too long since I shared something like this with y’all. It feels nice.

As an interesting side-note for those of you who are interested in my writing process, I wrote this blog live on my Twitch Stream as part of the daily livestreaming that I do to promote our yearly fundraiser.

If you’re interested in seeing things like that, you could wander over and give my Twitch page a follow.

Alternately, you can visit Oot’s Team page for the fundraiser over here. He’s really excited about raising money for Worldbuilders.

In other news, the Worldbuilders Auctions are in their final day. If you haven’t wandered over there to take a look at what’s being offered, you’re really missing out. There’s some truly unique items there, and all the proceeds go to charity.

And lastly but not leastly, tomorrow (Sunday the 15th) I’m doing a special livestream where I talk about the upcoming liveplay podcast I’m doing set in my world with the One Shot Podcast Network.

(That will be over on my twitch stream too)

That’s all for now, but stay tuned. The fundraiser is over in just a couple days, and we’re going to have cool things happening every day until the end…

See you later space cowboys…

pat

This entry was posted in Arts and Crafts, Beautiful Games, Cutie Snoo, Oot, small adventuresBy Pat29 Responses

29 Comments

  1. Katie
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t it kind of amazing how, when we’re having trouble finding joy, it comes from our kids? They’re little beams of pure joy and wisdom and sweetener.

    • brian fesko
      Posted February 16, 2020 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

      yours have not reached teenage yet ?

  2. Stella
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    I watched the stream where you wrote the blog! You really should write all your blogs with the Twitch chat at your side now :)) It was extremely enjoyable and lovely to watch you write <3 Thank you, Pat!

  3. Adam
    Posted December 14, 2019 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Beautiful story. “We crapped it together” should be on a banner at the top of your blog. I am still smiling at that.

  4. Kendall
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 12:44 AM | Permalink

    I feel this shimmer of the joy you experienced, thank you, Pat! And congrats on the horribly wonderful (wonderfully horrible?) crapping job. ;-)

  5. Alex
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

    “As an interesting side-note for those of you who are interested in my writing process, I wrote this blog live on my Twitch Stream[…]”

    Pat is an absolute monster! :^)

    • HALIAX
      Posted December 18, 2019 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

      Well..you would not believe what people do just to get some more clicks..and views..and of course money.

  6. Heidi
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

    My boys excitedly told me a few years ago about this new amazing game they’d learned called “Word Problems”! Yep, they excitedly made up stories with math problems.

    And secretly I’ve always thought of your boys as Oot and Twoot.

    Beautiful children.

  7. Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    Regarding allowing your children to struggle, agreed!!! Any time I am deep breathing over how long (total INTJ, efficiency is my air) it’s taking my girls to accomplish a task or sweating while my 10 yr old chops veg for dinner I think of the Amish community a few miles away. I am not ashamed to admit that I point out the 7yr olds driving buggies, mending barbed wire fences, and plowing fields to my girls as we drive by and tell them I bet those kids don’t get paid for chores either. Hmmmm, perspective.

  8. Sim
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Thank You. I’ve Missed This. :)

  9. Posted December 15, 2019 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Wonderful post and love seeing your children’s smiling faces. I think you got the balance right. I won’t dim the mood with tales of my own childhood (suffice it to say that I learned some of the same lessons just not in a loving way).

    I wish you and yours the very best things this season and life have to offer. Keep on being a force for good.

    PS. I think Oot should design a line of crapping papers for the Tinker’s Pack. No doubt people will put them in their baskets for use in all types of special occasions.

  10. Pat Bookman
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

    love that your boys are storytellers…maybe they can help finish book 3

    • Jeremy G
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

      I wanted to write something snarky and combative in response to this, but it takes too much energy to not only get angry, but then spread that to others. I genuinely hope you have a wonderful holiday and can reflect on what’s important in life.

      Personally I love these posts and love sharing things like this, especially since I’ve been following this blog since Oot was a baby. Thanks for sharing this with us Pat, and thank you for everything you do, and continue to do to make people’s lives better

      Happy Holidays everybody!!

  11. Jonathan
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    As someone whose wrapping skills are much closer to yours than to Oot’s, I appreciate this very much. It’s such a heartwarming story, especially in time for the holidays. I’ll have to remember that when I’m crapping out my wrappings this year…

    (Small note: “Click to embiggen” is not working for me)

  12. Carmen López
    Posted December 16, 2019 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

    That was cute and sweet and funny. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  13. caori
    Posted December 16, 2019 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

    Awww, that’s why you’re my favorite storyteller… I love your blog.
    Wish all the best to you and your beautiful family!

  14. QuiverPen
    Posted December 16, 2019 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back, storyteller Pat. You’ve been missed.

  15. Sonja
    Posted December 16, 2019 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

    Loved your blog. Jim would have too. Kiss Oot and Cutie for me. Love ya and Merry Christmas to all

  16. Lindsey Decoy
    Posted December 17, 2019 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    This brightened my day so much! Thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to similar joys in the years to come. My littles are 2.5 years old and 3 months old. The Elder Little wanted something Baby Shark for the Younger Little… until she saw a Paw Patrol lift the flap book. We’ll put it in a gift bag this weekend. 😊

  17. Andy
    Posted December 17, 2019 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

    My kids just bought a cow with Oot, they will be jacked when they get it as a Christmas present, the monster drink 8 gallons of milk a week so this will translate for them.

    Thanks

    • Andy
      Posted December 17, 2019 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

      monsters*

      no single one collectively drinks 8 gallons a week

      • Andy
        Posted December 17, 2019 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

        make that individually

        ugh… not a professional writer on this end…

  18. jei
    Posted December 18, 2019 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    beautiful story pat!

  19. Ben
    Posted December 21, 2019 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    The story about your younglings telling stories reminded me instantly of a comic strip called Axe Cop. If you haven’t ever checked it out you should give it a go.

  20. Steve
    Posted December 21, 2019 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    I just excitedly told my wife theres a term for all the silly word combinations we come up with – Portmanteau. Lol. Thanks Pat great story.

  21. RoyanRannedos
    Posted January 3, 2020 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    My two sons, ages 6 and 8, are constantly playing The Game (you can hear the capitals in how they say it). I hear snippets like “…but there’s a laser door and you don’t know the password!” and “My kitty just laid an egg!” and I get rather jealous.

  22. eyesac
    Posted January 24, 2020 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    love the story pat thanks for sharing!

  23. Posted February 18, 2020 at 2:58 AM | Permalink

    Your children are so cute. Thank you for your post. It was interesting to read it.

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