Monday, October 08, 2007

Three Years (36 Months)

So, our boy is now three-years-old and he's so sophisticated. He's already learning so much and teaching us so much and reminding us how wonderfully precious life is supposed to be. But... with every day of growth comes an awareness that doesn't always rhyme with the way that we perceive him. Actually, I have to say that now that he's three, he's really learning better ways to give us attitude.

One of the things that Lucas is improving on is his ability to whine. At his birthday, we invited a few young children near the same age and as they interacted, I heard many whinging tones floating up out of their circle of play. At the time, I didn't really think much about it but in the days following, Lucas began to speak to both Xtina and me in very similar tones. Now, I'd like to think that before that day he was more perfect that he is now and blame this new behavior on the terrible influence of the children of my friends, but that wouldn't be honest and I know that if I am going to have a genuine relationship with my child then I need to be honest about how he is growing, even if I don't like some of the things that he does.

It's natural for him to begin questioning our direction. I guess that phase of their lives begins when they turn three and ends...well...never! I hope that I can remember that no matter how great a person I think that I am, I actually still have a lot to learn and that there are going to be times when I screw up or really deserve some of the attitude sent in my direction.

Which brings me to my first eye-roll.

At the fine young age of three, Lucas has already perfected the eye-roll. I was driving in the car listening to some nice music when a great Ratatat song started to barrel out of the speakers. Well, one of the "fun things" that we used to do...maybe a year ago...was that when a good song came on with a groovilicious dance beat supporting it, we'd shout at Lucas, "Shake it!" and he'd start to bounce along down the road while the two of us would admire our little cute boy. Now, I know that those days aren't probably completely finished but when I looked in the rear-view mirror, my head already bouncing to the beat, and shouted "Shake it, Lucas!"...well, the vision that came back to me wasn't quite what I was expecting. Lucas gave me the most disdainful expression that has ever crossed his face, followed by a frown and a rear of the head, eyes rolling skyward.

Oh, dad, why do you have to be such a dork?

I actually saw a look that I will probably become all too familiar with, as any parent of at least a three-year-old can attend. I saw the teenager who's embarrassed by his unhip father. It was just a moment but so much was spoken through that one look and for a second, I felt myself getting really annoyed. Who does he think he is? Generation gapping me at three? But then I stopped myself. I realized that he's simply adapting to his environment and learning to express himself so that's exactly what I needed to do, adapt or I really would become truly unhip.

Sometimes it's so easy for us to get caught up in our supreme selves, our egos but I can't do that with Lucas. I had a father who did that with me and we had a terrible relationship during my childhood. I have the opportunity to change that, to break the cycle of generational karma. But it's not easy, especially when you catch a glimpse of your own aging despair reflected in the face of your child. He's just turned three and I have a lot of growing up to do.

One other event that occurred this month that I absolutely must talk about is our very first ball-game. Lucas, Pops (my dad) and I went to a San Diego Padre game during the heat of a pennant race. It was the first Major League Baseball game that Lucas ever attended and normally I wouldn't even mention it because it's really just a baseball game and in the grand scheme of life it doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot. But this turned out to be no ordinary game.

Now, I have been a baseball fan since I was probably Lucas' current age and I have been to many baseball games including a couple of playoff games, even a World Series game, but I have never seen a game like the one that we saw a couple of weeks ago. Okay, here's the scene:

Padres are one game ahead in the wild-card standings and if they lose, then they fall back into a tie with the Philadelphia Phillies. For eight innings it was a rather boring game but then came the bottom of the ninth. The Padres are losing by one run, a man on first and second and they are down to their final out. Scott Hairston, a player obtain through a trade in July, is at the plate with a one ball and one strike count. The next pitch is hit hard to left-center, we can't hear a thing because just for a split-second we all hold our breath hoping but almost not believing, then the center-fielder races headlong into the outfield fence. He's run out of room and the ball falls into the outfield seats for a walk-off-home-run. That's when the crowd erupts and with Lucas in my arms I jump up and down and we both cheer and clap and smile and wave at everyone else because it's a happy time in San Diego. It's a beautiful wonderful day to be at the ballpark...

...and that was your first ball-game Lucas.

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