Being A Dad

Not because they're one of the greatest bands ever.  Not because they've recorded some of the best songs in the history of music.  Both of those statements are true, of course, but the reason they appear here is much simpler...

A couple of weeks back, we were making our way home from Hershey Park.  It was very late and we had more than four hours to go.  Both kids were sleeping in the back. Suddenly, Griffin woke up screaming.  Inconsolable.  We were moments away from him waking up Jackson.  Then a song from The Beatles appeared on my iPod.  

Griffin stopped screaming and said, "The Beatles", before falling back to sleep.  

That was pretty fab indeed.  

A couple of weeks ago, on the way home from camp, Jackson announced he had a new favorite band (after Bruce and The Beatles, he clarified).  You can probably guess from the title of this post that the band in question was Kiss.  

I'm not sure how he became aware of them but I'm thinking it was either through one of the older camp kids or the new Dr. Pepper commercial with Gene Simmons.  Either way, he was hooked.  

Now I could have just left it at that and immediately enrolled him in Bible Camp, but I didn't.  You see, I went through a Kiss phase of my own as a youth and I was feeling somewhat nostalgic (and somewhat frightened).  So I set the DVR to record a Kiss concert on VH1 Classic and I dug out an old Kiss CD for him to listen to.  

Cut to the present day and now we have a 7-year old who walks around the house singing about drinking, prostitutes, drinking with prostitutes, partying, sex, sex with prostitutes and Beth.  

Watching your kids grow up can be a strange experience.  There are certain things you look forward to (becoming toilet trained) and other things you don't (discovering iCarly).  

And while you admire their growing independence you also know you're witnessing the march towards "I don't need you anymore".  We're heavily into "Dad is God" mode around these parts and I have to admit I'm not emotionally ready to give up my deity status just yet.  

This summer has been particularly landmark-filled for Jackson from unleashing his inner Evel Knievel at local carnivals to getting his groove on at camp dance parties. So I guess it should not have surprised me that he wanted to take our bedtime readings and kick them up a notch.  

Up until this point, Jackson's choice of bedtime books has been the equivalent of comfort food.  We've been sticking primarily to the classics even though he probably has grown out of the majority of them.  So when he told me he wanted to switch to chapter books, the timing was probably right.  After all, you can only read The Very Hungry Caterpillar so many times before the magic starts to wear off.  

His first selection was the first book in a very popular series - Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I must admit I was totally ignorant of this worldwide phenomenon and while there has already been a movie made of the first book, we've yet to see it.  

For those who are not familiar with the books, they star Greg Heffley along with his family, his friends and his enemies.  In the first book, Greg is in middle school and he's not very happy about it.  As you might have gathered by the title, the book is written in the style of a diary (printed on lined paper with a font that resembles a boy's handwriting) and features Greg's illustrations (the artwork is reminiscent of Matt Groening's Life in Hell).  

The stories include Greg's Halloween adventures, his quest to become more popular and his ill-fated career as a cartoonist for the school newspaper.  The book doesn't follow the standard pattern of conflict, resolution and a moral thrown in for good measure.  It's more realistic this way, but still caught me by surprise.  For example, Greg's best friend gets blamed for something Greg actually did and while Greg considers stepping up to admit his wrong-doing he quickly realizes it's far easier not to.  

From a practical standpoint, it's a fairly quick read and there are just enough illustrations to break up the text.  

There are four books in the series with the fifth coming out this fall.  Both Jackson and I look forward to starting book two soon.