Category Archives: Cutie Snoo

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

Also posted in Arts and Crafts, Beautiful Games, Oot, small adventures | By Pat29 Responses

A Dream of Cows….

Hey there everyone,

As I write this, the fundraiser is closing in fast on three-quarters of a million dollars and there are only three days left.

I’ve been working pretty solid 12-16 hour days for a while, and I’m starting to feel it. So today I’m going to keep it simple and share a video of my little boy: Codename Oot.

For the last couple years, Oot has had his own team page for the fundraiser because he wants to raise money for cows. This year, he had the bright idea of painting some pictures he’s going to give away on that team page, to encourage people to donate.

This is “Cow in the Morning.”

This is “Cow in space.” (I didn’t do a good job of catching the gold painted stars on this one. But they’re pretty great in better light.)

Here’s a third one: “Red Cow in the Desert.”

When I asked him if the red cow had a sunburn because it was in the desert, he just looked at me for a while as if he were confused. Then he said in a slightly exasperated tone, as if he really couldn’t believe I’d asked the question, “Is the cow in space blue just because it’s in space?”

So yeah. That’s fair. I’m obviously overthinking it. I didn’t question the blue cow. Why should I question the red one?

A few quick notes before I turn in for the night:

  • Anyone who donates on Oot’s Cow Jar page is also eligible for the daily prize draws and stretch goals on my page.
  • You’re also eligible for the $170,000 worth of books and games we’re giving away, too.
  • My younger boy, Cutie, has painted some pictures, as well. Including quite a nice one of a duck. We’ll be putting those up on Oot’s change jar page soon too. (I’d do that myself right now, but it’s three in the morning and I need to be up in less than five hours.)
  • If you’d like a graphic that would help you promote the fundraiser on social media, here you go:

Here’s another link to Oot’s Page, if you’re feeling like you might want to help make the world a better place.

See a bunch of you on the stream later tonight,

Spread the word.

pat

Also posted in love, My Mom Would Like This Blog, Oot, Worldbuilders, Worldbuilders 2018 | By Pat18 Responses

Conversations with Cutie

For those of you who are keeping track, my youngest son is just a little more than two years old now. And far all ages have been good ages with my sons (so far) this is a particularly special age for me. It’s the age of language acquisition.

He’s a good talker, and has been using full sentences for a couple months now. But listening to him is still a bit of an acquired skill, because…. well… he’s still a baby, so all of his words don’t quite sound right.

By the way (Pat said, managing to tangent away from his primary purpose in the blog in a record-breaking two paragraphs) did you know that the reason it takes kids so long to talk isn’t primarily mental? A huge portion of it is actually physical. They lack the physical control required to make the proper sounds with their mouths.

It makes sense when you think about it. Learning how to pick up a pencil is hard, but learning to whistle is *way* harder. Learning how to accurately and consistently recreate the 42-46 phonemes that comprise American English…. well… it’s easy to forget how hard it is until you see a kid struggling with the process.

Think about it, your lips, tongue, jaw, and vocal cords all have to orchestrate things together *very* precisely just to make just *one* phoneme. Like an “Mmmmm” sound. And each phoneme has many variations.

Then realize that even a simple word like “more” has *three* of those phonemes. And all of those need to be pulled off correctly, together, in about a tenth of a second.

And that’s just for one word.

This is why a lot of parents do sign language with their young kids. Kids can understand you much younger than they can talk (Most folks who have studied a foreign language know the same feeling: being able to understand a question in your new language, but not answer it.) Babies can think in words much earlier than they can *say* most words, which means they can communicate with you much sooner than you think if you teach them a few gestures.

Cutie

(Don’t look so smug, little man. That’s a pretty sloppy “more.”)

The reason parents understand their kids better than anyone else is because we’re more experienced with our own children’s  particular accent and dialect. And even then, *we’re* clueless some times as to what the kids are saying.

This is why parents constantly repeat what kids say back to them. Partially we do this so children can hear a clearer version of what they’re saying, which helps them improve their pronunciation. But it’s also because we’re double checking what we think they’re saying. (And honestly, I’m guessing there’s some straight-up biological imperative mixed in there, too.)

Anyway, all of this is preamble and context so I can share a conversation I had with Cutie the other day.

Cutie: Daddy Faat es laou!

Me: Daddy’s fart is loud?

Cutie nods: Es yike ayafat.

I’m clueless here, so I look to Sarah.

Sarah: It’s like an elephant?

Cutie nods again: Daddy’s faat es yike a yion wohr!

Me: Daddy’s fart is like a lion?

Cutie: Wohr!

Me: It’s like a lion’s roar?

Cutie nods again.

So… yeah. Now you know. Even if you didn’t want to know, you still know. And you can’t unknow it.

Sorry about that.

pat

P.S. In case you were wondering, having kids is pretty great.

Also posted in babies, day in the life, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat24 Responses

Books, Games, Terror, and Toddlers

As I sit down to write up my traditional blog full of Rothfuss-specific items I’m putting into the fundraiser, I notice that Worldbuilders has just crested over the $100,000 mark.

This fills me with joy. Not only because it confirms that all of you are lovely, generous people. But also because it means we’ve passed two stretch goals, and have just unlocked a third, where Nika Harper will do a Tarot reading for a goat.

What were the previous two stretch goals? Well, I brought my littlest boy (codename Cutie Snoo) into Worldbuilders the other day to see the team. While we were there, I found myself wondering what would happen if I introduced him to one of the … odder people that hangs around in our basement.

Namely, Cinder.

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This is a life-sized statue created from whole cloth by Ravn Cotino. He kickstarted the project, then donated the statue to Worldbuilders.

If you’ve been following the Worldbuilders blog, you know how it arrived and has been freaking everyone out several months. Including me. Because let me tell you, nothing is better than showing up at Worldbuilders at midnight, knowing I’ll be able to have the place to myself while I sign books for the Tinker’s Packs. And then, while I’m catching up on the Nightvale podcast, I wander back to get a fresh pen and see this out of the corner of my eye….

Cinder crop

So yeah. It’s only natural that when I brought my not-yet-quite two year old toddler into the office, I proposed that we expose him to this tangible nightmare as a stretch goal for charity.

This is what happened.

If you want to see the other stretch goals as we unlock them, or see what’s coming in the future, you can take a peek at them on the Worldbuilders page.

Now, on to today’s prizes.

*     *     *

First and foremost we’ll start with the items going into the prize lottery. For every 10 dollars you kick in on our donation page you have a chance to win these items and many, many others.

Lottery Items

  • Card Decks: Sets of Name of the Wind, Pairs, and Geek a Week Decks

CardGames

There are 3 different Name of the Wind decks (Limited, Unlimited, and Magician’s Deck), 4 different Pairs decks (Commonwealth, Princess & Mr. Whiffle, Modegan, and Faen), and 3 different Geek-a-Week decks (Season 1, Season 5, and Season 5 Limited).

I’m putting 10 of each set in, so that’s 30 prizes into the GAMES part of the lottery.

  • A Set of Foreign Editions in the Language of Your Choice

ForeignEditions

My books have been published in 35 different languages, and I get between 5-10 “author copies” of each edition. More if the book goes into multiple printings.

Whoever wins this item will receive everything I have published in the language of their choice. Love Portuguese? You can have O Nome Do VentoO Medo Do Homem Sábio, and A Música do Silêncio. Want to give the book to your Grandma who only speaks Estonian? We’ve got you covered. We even have the rare, out of print set of the 3-volume Japanese edition of Name of the Wind.

And if you don’t want to leave it to chance, you can always buy some copies straight out of the The Tinker’s Packs, where all proceeds go to Worldbuilders.

Stuff in the Store

Speaking of the store, we have a lot of items in there you might not be aware of. And for the duration of the fundraiser, all the sales in the store count toward raising our donation totals and unlocking new stretch goals.

  • T-shirts

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We have a lot of t-shirts. So many we don’t have enough staff to model them. Our Eolian hoodie, a onesie, and a scarf, all over in the Apparel section of the store.

  • Games & Collectibles

P1090390

There are lots of games in The Tinker’s Packs, including some limited edition game pieces, like the Draccus monster for King of Tokyo and King of New York (it works for either game).

We also have Boss Monster and Boss Monster 2, which has limited edition Bast & Bastas heroes you can kill (again, in either game). Plus there’s cool collectible game stuff like our True Copper Dice made by Shire Post Mint.

  • Jewelry

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There’s lots of jewelry too, like the Pinny Arcade Talent Pipes pin, Auri’s Brazen Gear, the official Eolian Talent Pipes, and even Denna’s Ring. There’s a lot more than that, though, so be sure to head over and peruse to your heart’s desire.

Lottery AND Auction

There’s a lot of stuff that I wanted people to have a chance at winning, even though the items are bit more limited and rare. So for everything in this section, I’m putting one item up in an auction (for folks with more money, or who want a sure thing) and one going into the lottery (So everyone who donates gets a chance.)

  • Doodled Beta copy of Princess 2. A Matching Set of Numbered Princess 1 & 2. All signed by me and Nate Taylor.

PrincessPack

These are all really rare.

When we were working on the second princess book, Nate would send me his newest illustrations, I’d get them printed and bound, then get feedback from friends. After that was done, I had a few left over, so Nate signed and doodled them. There’s one up for auction right here, and one in the lottery.

We also have fancy numbered editions of the Princess books.  They’re both numbered editions, leather bound, with beautiful signature pages signed by both me and Nate. We have two matching sets, so one is in the lottery, and the other is in an auction here.

  • Rare books: 1st Edition Name of the Wind. ARC copy of Unfettered.

Fabio_BrainGuy

Here you have it guys. I’ve had to start buying 1st editions off of people at signings to keep Worldbuilders stocked for things like this. One first edition/first printing of NOTW is going into the lottery, and the other is in an auction. We sold three of these for $2500 last summer, so I can only imagine what this will go for.

These ARCs of Unfettered are pretty rare too. The regular print run only had 5,000 copies, and there are only 250 of these ARCs.  Here’s the link to the auction if you just can’t leave it to chance, otherwise one is in the lottery as well.

Auctions

There are some things that are just too specialized to put into the lottery, so we’re auctioning these off to make sure they’re going to get into the right hands.

  •  General Geekery: Limited Edition Boss Monster cards, Master Set of  Cealdish Coins, and 300 Chip Poker Set.

BossMonsterCards_PokerSet_CealdishCoins

The first is an auction for the Quothe Ladykiller, Bast, and Bastas Hero Cards for Boss Monster. There were only ever 200 made, and we only have this one because a fan donated it back to us.  Auction is here.

We also have a 300-piece poker set from the Albino Dragon Kickstarter a while back. This contains 60 of each color chip, all three decks, plus some extras in in a lovely wooden case. The bidding starts here.

Next up is a Master Set of my Cealdish currency, made by the folks at Shire Post Mint. This even includes version 1.2 of the iron drab, which  you can’t get any other way. We only made 94 of these, and they’ve been sold out since about 2 hours after we made them available.

To bid on this, head over here.

  • Bookish Geekery: ARC of NOTW, ARC of WMF, Edited & Critiqued NOTW Text Scarf.

ARCsAndScarf

It’s getting harder to find ARC copies of The Name of the Wind, but we’ve got one up for auction. It’s one of the cool rarities where they didn’t print on the dust jacket image. Instead my editor, Betsy, wrote a note on the cover explaining why people should take a risk on this unknown author named Patrick Rothfuss.

There’s also a Wise Man’s Fear ARC looking for a new home, and if there’s a space for it on your shelf you can bid on it here. These are extremely rare (only 227 copies were ever printed), and all of them were numbered so that we’d know who had leaked their copy if one sold before the actual book release.

Those of you signed up for The Tinker’s Packs newsletter probably saw one of the new items launched last month, an infinity scarf printed with text from The Name of the Wind. I took the liberty of correcting some of the purpler prose on one of the scarves, and it’s going up for auction. This one is truly one-of-a-kind, because the team took my pen away before I could correct the rest of the scarves.

* * *

So there you go, folks. A bunch of signed and rare stuff in the Lottery, new items in the store, and unique items up for auction. A little bit of something for everybody.

Don’t forget: I’m streaming on Twitch every evening from 4:00-7:00 CST. I’ll either be working on Book 3 or playing Fallout 4 depending on which option people vote for.

The auctions for professional critiques of your manuscript go through Sunday, so be sure to check those out too.

Thanks for helping out, everyone. And thanks for spreading the word…

Also posted in a billion links, Acts of Whimsy, babies, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat26 Responses

Using Your Words

If you read this blog (and I’m guessing most of you do) you know I tell a lot of stories about my older boy, Oot, who’s creeping up on 6.

I have another son, who’s a little over 18 months old. I don’t talk about him as much for the simple reason that when you’re that young, there aren’t as many stories to share. Babies are, to be completely honest, fairly useless. They can’t do much, either physically or conversationally.

20141103_123630(Goldbricker)

But Cutie Snoo has been talking more lately. What’s more, he’s started saying “dada” again, after a few months of heartbreaking hiatus.

It’s a fascinating time in a kid’s development. He’s learning how to express himself, and if you’re good at interpreting, you can get a little window into how his charmingly unspoiled little baby mind works.

Tonight, I ended up having to do a fair amount of work (because that’s what Labor Day is all about, right? Working until 9:30 pm?) and as a result, I missed my kid’s bedtime. By the time I wrapped up the things that needed immidate attention and opened the door to my office, the house was dark and quiet.

Still, I crept into the room where they sleep with Sarah. It was dark and as I stepped close she said, “the end,” finishing what was no doubt their bedtime story.

“dada” Cutie said.

I crawled into the bed and lay next to him. It’s a big bed, but I still had to move carefully because he’s so tiny and it’s so dark.

I smooched him, and he squirmed around a little bit until he was nestled next to Sarah, then he said: “my mama.”

There’s only so much that text can do to replicate a baby’s speech. Most linguists agree that nonverbal communication (which includes things like tone, inflection, and body language) accounts for about 80% of the total information transmitted when we talk. But when you’re a baby and your entire sentence is two words, that number is pushed even higher.

Here’s part of what he was saying: “My mom is here.”

But he was also saying, “Look at me, cuddled up against my mom.”

But he was also saying, “Look, this is my space. There are boobs, like, right here, and they’re great, and that’s kinda my thing, and I’m going to sleep next to them. So just be clear, I’m glad you’re here, but don’t try to pull any shit with me. This is *my* mom. Okay? Okay.”

(In his defense, I do sometimes tease him by trying to steal the boobs from him while he’s nursing. So this is not an unfounded fear on his part.)

Last and not least, he was also saying, “Isn’t this great?”

It was clear as day what he meant. And now that I was closer to him and my eyes had adjusted a little, I could see him smiling. His tone was so contented that it was actually kinda smug. And his body language… he wasn’t just relaxed. He was deliberately and theatrically lounging.

It made me realize how awesome his life is. Think about it. How cool must it be to go to sleep next to the person you love without any reservation? The person who is, in effect, three quarters of the known universe? To know if you are hungry or need comfort or a cuddle, a boob is right there. Like, literally, right by your head. To know that you’re cared for. To know you’ll be taken care of. To not have any fears or worries that ride you into the night and make you wake up sweating?

What must that be like, to feel like that for days at a time?

I’m not going to lie. Thinking about it now, I’m more than slightly jealous.

But at the moment, I was jealous for a different reason. He’d said, “My mama” with such smugness and satisfaction, but he’s never said, “my dada.”

I should be better than that, I know. But I’m not. I’m not going to carry a grudge or anything, but still, I can be jealous.

“My baby,” I say, and I kiss his belly.

I say goodnight to him, and give more kisses, and promise that tomorrow I’ll try to spend more time with him.

“Bye,” he says. “Go. Go!” he pushes at me with his foot. This might sound like a dick move. But it was playful. Not mean. And there’s nothing wrong with letting someone know what you really want. If I was all geared up to snuggle with a boob as big as my head and someone was there who might ruin it for me… well… I’d kick them the hell out of my bed, too.

I get up and I say goodnight to Oot, too. (He’s on the other side of Sarah.)

Then I get up and start to leave. “Goodnight my family,” I say.

“My dada,” Cutie says, and I get all melty inside.

“My baby,” I say.

“He’s reaching up for you.” Sarah tells me, because she knows I can’t see him in the dim.

So I get down into the bed and kiss him again. A lot. On their deathbed, nobody ever says, “I wasted my life kissing babies.”

Still. Oot has school in the morning. I know I’m keeping them all from getting to sleep. So I get up.

“Mo,” Cutie says. This is one of his other few words: more.

“Mo dada,” he says. In the dark, I can see he’s reaching up again. “Mo my dada. Mo bebe dada. No bye dada bebe.”

I think it was Robert Bly who said vocabulary wasn’t important for a writer. He claimed you could write marvelous poetry even if you only knew 200 words, so long as you knew how to use them properly to get your point across…

He’s not wrong.

Later all,

pat

Also posted in babies, day in the life | By Pat35 Responses

Being Evil

Tonight, I was playing in the living room with my girlfriend (Sarah) my oldest son (codename Oot: age 5.5) and my youngest son (codename Cutie Snoo, age 1.5)

It wasn’t anything fancy. Nothing organized. I’d just come back from recording this week’s podcast with Max Temkin, and rather than head upstairs to do more e-mail, as I am wont to do, I decided to stay downstairs and play with the kids.

A large part of this is because my Cutie is at a magical age. 18 months is pretty awesome. After a bit of a hiatus, he’s saying da-da again, and it pulls at my heart.

Those of you without kids might have trouble understanding how enthusiastic an 18 month-old can be. Let me explain.

You know how excited a dog can get when you’ve been away for a couple hours? (Or let’s be honest, when you’ve just left the room for a couple minutes). At 18 months, my little boy has that level of enthusiasm. He runs up to me, his face all lit up, grinning, his legs doing that straight up-and-down stomping walk that’s the closest he can get to a run.

And all the time he’s saying “da-da-da-da-da-da!”

So yeah. It’s pretty fucking amazing. I’m not going to lie.

Anyway, I’m hanging out with my family, and Oot walks up to Sarah and says, “I’m so… thirsty! Can you please… get me… a drink of water?”

His performance makes it clear that he is about to die from thirst. People in the desert don’t have it this bad. He’s really going full Shatner in his performance.

Sarah starts to get up to get him a drink of water. She does this because she loves him.

Sarah and Oot

(Exhibit A)

“You know where the water is,” I say to Oot. “You can get yourself a drink. You’re a very grown-up child.”

I say this because I love him too. Sarah and exhibit our love in different ways. She wants him to be happy now. I want him to be happy in the future, and part of that is making sure he’s self-reliant.

Plus he’s five. If we were living in the wild, he’d be hunting and cooking birds on his own. So yeah. He can get his own drink of water.

But here’s the thing, it’s a little late at night. The kitchen is on the other side of the house. It’s a whole, like, 50 feet away. And it’s late in the evening, so that part of the house is kinda dim.

And he’s five, so he’s a little scared of being alone, and of the dark.

“Will you come with me?” he asks.

This is a familiar dance. We want him to do things for himself. He wants company. We want him to be brave. He wants to feel safe.

Nobody’s wrong here. We all want good things. But they’re in conflict.

“You can do it,” I say. “I know you can.” (Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not some muy mas macho monster. If it was fully dark in there, I’d work with him. But it’s not. He can handle it. He has before. It’s good practice for him.

I’ll tell you a story,” Sarah says.

This is a compromise we use sometimes. If he hears our voices, he knows he’s not alone. So one of us will tell him a story, and it will help him go somewhere in the house when he’s a little spooked.

“I’ll tell you a story,” I say.

“I want mom to do it,” he says, moving toward the baby gate that leads into the dining room.

He’s on to me.

Once there was a little boy who really liked candy,” Sarah says. “So he decided to go exploring.

I’m going to be honest here, Sarah’s narrative structure isn’t the best. Her themes can be kinda muddy sometimes, and, truthfully, her stories are often really lacking in terms of the Aristotelian unities. But even so, I know she’s up for this. Two minutes of story will get Oot into the kitchen and back. I watch as he opens the gate then turns on the light to the dining room. Out of our line of sight. Out of his line of sight. He’s gone.

So one day he walked out into the the backyard and he found–

A Thousand Angry Ghosts!” I say. I don’t yell it. But I say it in a really loud voice. My phantom of the opera voice. I project from my diaphragm.

And from the other room, comes a high, piercing scream. It lasts for a full two seconds.

Then Oot comes running back into the living room.

You’re going to have to trust me on this, it was *super* funny. Sarah will back me up on this.

You see, most days, I’m a good dad.

Other days, I’m an AWESOME dad.

Stay tuned, everyone. Soon we’ll have bedtime stories.

Seriously,

pat

Also posted in babies, Beautiful Games, Because I Love, Oot, podcasts, Sarah | By Pat26 Responses

Cutie, Crying, and the Weirding Way

I was just laying in bed with Sarah and our youngest child. He’s just a little bit over one year old.

little bug

Codename: Cutie Snoo. (Because I don’t like using my kid’s real names online.)

I don’t know how it works in other households, but in ours, a lot of the day-to-day kid activities end up happening on the bed. Sarah has a huge king-sized mattress that just rests on the floor. Partly because she likes it that way, and partly because low-to-the ground beds are easier and safer for kids.

Anyway, I’m laying in bed with Cutie. I’d come in to hang play with him when I heard him wake up from his nap.  A little later, mom joined us, because she has the boobs, and boobs make everything better.

Cutie was laying between us, nursing (on Sarah) while she and I were talking.

Then, unexpectedly, Cutie rolled over and pushed a little baby spoon he carries around with him at my mouth.

It surprised me. It bounced off my lip a little bit, and hit my teeth. It hurt just a little, about as much as it would if you poked me in the mouth with your fingernail. We’re talking… like… half a newton of force, tops.  Not enough to crack an egg.

Still, it surprised me. And it hurt just a little.

So I looked at him, and I said, “Ow.”

Didn’t shout it, didn’t bark it. Didn’t even do my disappointed dad voice.

I mention this because over the years I’ve learned my voice is a powerful thing. Where my kids are concerned, I’m one of the Bene Gesserit. I’m the Kwisatz Paterach. I’m Black Bolt.

I’m not sure why this is, exactly. I’ve got a pretty good baritone, but it’s not earthshaking by itself. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been a teacher. That I’ve been a singer. That I was a performer who never really liked using a mic until the crowds started topping 100 people and I was forced to go electric.

Maybe it’s all of those things together. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I discovered early on in my parenting career that if I wasn’t careful with my voice, I would terrify my children. Once, back when he was about 16 months old, I barked Oot’s name at him from the top of a stairway and he went into fetal crouch, trembling with animal fear.

I felt like king asshole of the universe at the time. I still do. As a parent, you slowly build a portfolio of memories. Things your children will never remember, things that you will never forget.

Standing at the top of the stairs, looking down at my terrified boy, I thought to myself, “You need to get this shit under control right now, Rothfuss…”

So I did. Slowly. Over many years.

All of this is to say that I’m very careful with my voice these days. I don’t bark. I rarely even snap or get a little sharp in my tone. There’s no need, just a little disapproval in my voice is like iron to these tiny little faen creatures I have flitting around in my life.

So. Remember where we were? Bed. Cutie. Spoon.

I looked at him and said, “Ow.” Not because he hurt me, but because I want him to know that he *can* hurt someone. He needs to learn to be careful.

“Ow,” I said. Softly.

Hearing me, Cutie turned away, facing back toward mom.

“He was trying to give you a bite,” she explained to me.

I nodded, only understanding then what he’d been trying to do with the spoon. It’s a game I’d seen Cutie play with her, but he’d never done it with me before.

Looking down at him, Sarah’s face goes concerned, then she looks up at me. “He feels bad,” she says.

Then Cutie gave a little sob. It was tiny, but it was one of those deep ones. One of the ones that comes out of you in a lump: “Uh-huh.”

When you’re a parent, you learn the different types of crying. You learn to recognize the panicked cry of a baby that’s hurt. There’s the “I can’t believe you took that away from me” cry. There’s the “I’m tired and can’t hold my shit together” cry. There’s the rare, furious red-faced rage rage rage cry. There’s the “Where’s Mom?” cry.

This wasn’t any of those. It went, “Ah-huh” and it was nothing but sadness. One sob. Pause. Then another. Then he was really crying.

He felt bad. He was sad that he’d hurt me.

I read something somewhere that said children start to develop empathy when they’re 3 years old.

I’d like to officially go on the record as saying that is bullshit.

Cutie is 13 months old. He can speak about 10 words, and those he speaks badly. He can’t run, or jump, or eat with a spoon.

But he feels bad when he hurts someone. This is something some adults have yet to learn.

He’s is my boy. My sweet boy. I am so proud of him.

pat

Also posted in babies, How to be a Worthwhile Human Being, musings, Oot | By Pat30 Responses
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