Daniel’s first Cub Scout badge

Tonight was the Pack 46 Pack meeting, and Daniel received the first badge he’s earned: his Bobcat. He is very proud of himself, and we’re proud of the work he did to earn it. He also earned his Collecting and Languages and Cultures belt loops. Hallie taught the Tigers a short German lesson at the last den meeting to help them get that belt loop.

Daniel also got a hiking patch for going on his first hike with the pack last weekend. He’ll get a special patch after he’s hiked 25 miles, and at 50 miles they’re presented with a hiking stick. He REALLY wants that stick! And he loves hiking, so I’ll bet he gets it sooner rather than later.

Daniel's first Cub Scout badge

Tonight was the Pack 46 Pack meeting, and Daniel received the first badge he’s earned: his Bobcat. He is very proud of himself, and we’re proud of the work he did to earn it. He also earned his Collecting and Languages and Cultures belt loops. Hallie taught the Tigers a short German lesson at the last den meeting to help them get that belt loop.

Daniel also got a hiking patch for going on his first hike with the pack last weekend. He’ll get a special patch after he’s hiked 25 miles, and at 50 miles they’re presented with a hiking stick. He REALLY wants that stick! And he loves hiking, so I’ll bet he gets it sooner rather than later.

Ice Storms, R.E.M.'s 'Driver 8' and One Little Boy

During the NWA Ice Storm of 2009, we stayed in two different hotels for four nights before being persuaded to stay with friends in Bentonville. It was on the fifth night of not being able to sleep in his own bed that The Boy couldn’t get to sleep on a borrowed sofa bed.

After a half hour or so of hearing him toss around, I went in to check on him. He was very upset. He said, “Daddy, why can’t I sleep in my bed tonight?”

powerlines_floaters

His bed was at our house where there was no electricity, no heat, and a clogged sewer line that couldn’t be cleared until the power was restored. And it was getting down into the 20s at night. I reassured him that we’d be able to go home soon and he could get back to his routine.

So as I lay there and comforted my son who had held up for the first four nights like a champ, I nearly lost it, too. I had been trying to balance work (in the news business where we were busy covering the storms aftermath with something more like obsession and overkill than completeness) with making sure my family was safe and warm and my house was getting repaired and services restored. It had definitely taken a toll on me as well.

So I rubbed his back and sang the usual bedtime songs to help him get to sleep so that I could get some rest, too. But he piped up with a twist, “I want you to sing me a new song.”

I was surprised and a little nervous. I’m not a singer, and I just don’t know the words to that many songs — at least not ones appropriate for singing a 6-year-old to sleep. Bit it was late and we were both physically and mentally exhausted, so I sang him a new song: R.E.M.’s “Driver 8,” which is one of my absolute favorite songs and the first one I learned to play on my guitar close to 20 years ago and — most importantly — one of the few songs I know most of the words to.

“Driver 8” is a great song, but not really a lullaby from any direction you approach it. It could be about a deranged train engineer, a long ago failed relationship, just pastoral scenes from the South, or lots of other things. Michael Stipe’s lyrics in the the early days were often obscure and difficult to understand even when you could decipher which words he was singing.

So, I sang this great but possibly inappropriate song to a tired and frustrated little boy who was trying to fall asleep in a strange bed for the fifth night in a row.

And he loved it.

It didn’t really put him to sleep, but we had a long talk about “floaters” and why they would be on powerlines, which lead to a conversation about cropdusters (and trains, of course).

We got to go back to our re-electrified home a couple of nights later, and things returned more or less to normal, including the same old couple of bedtime songs.

But when he’s really tired or maybe not feeling great, he asks for “Driver 8” and it seems to help him get to sleep. It’s even more my favorite song than ever now.

Ice Storms, R.E.M.’s ‘Driver 8’ and One Little Boy

During the NWA Ice Storm of 2009, we stayed in two different hotels for four nights before being persuaded to stay with friends in Bentonville. It was on the fifth night of not being able to sleep in his own bed that The Boy couldn’t get to sleep on a borrowed sofa bed.

After a half hour or so of hearing him toss around, I went in to check on him. He was very upset. He said, “Daddy, why can’t I sleep in my bed tonight?”

powerlines_floaters

His bed was at our house where there was no electricity, no heat, and a clogged sewer line that couldn’t be cleared until the power was restored. And it was getting down into the 20s at night. I reassured him that we’d be able to go home soon and he could get back to his routine.

So as I lay there and comforted my son who had held up for the first four nights like a champ, I nearly lost it, too. I had been trying to balance work (in the news business where we were busy covering the storms aftermath with something more like obsession and overkill than completeness) with making sure my family was safe and warm and my house was getting repaired and services restored. It had definitely taken a toll on me as well.

So I rubbed his back and sang the usual bedtime songs to help him get to sleep so that I could get some rest, too. But he piped up with a twist, “I want you to sing me a new song.”

I was surprised and a little nervous. I’m not a singer, and I just don’t know the words to that many songs — at least not ones appropriate for singing a 6-year-old to sleep. Bit it was late and we were both physically and mentally exhausted, so I sang him a new song: R.E.M.’s “Driver 8,” which is one of my absolute favorite songs and the first one I learned to play on my guitar close to 20 years ago and — most importantly — one of the few songs I know most of the words to.

“Driver 8” is a great song, but not really a lullaby from any direction you approach it. It could be about a deranged train engineer, a long ago failed relationship, just pastoral scenes from the South, or lots of other things. Michael Stipe’s lyrics in the the early days were often obscure and difficult to understand even when you could decipher which words he was singing.

So, I sang this great but possibly inappropriate song to a tired and frustrated little boy who was trying to fall asleep in a strange bed for the fifth night in a row.

And he loved it.

It didn’t really put him to sleep, but we had a long talk about “floaters” and why they would be on powerlines, which lead to a conversation about cropdusters (and trains, of course).

We got to go back to our re-electrified home a couple of nights later, and things returned more or less to normal, including the same old couple of bedtime songs.

But when he’s really tired or maybe not feeling great, he asks for “Driver 8” and it seems to help him get to sleep. It’s even more my favorite song than ever now.

Pre-New Year's Resolutions 1: Document My Life Better

Seems like every year — even in the blogging near-blackout of the last few — one of the handful of posts I manage to make consistently is the New Year’s Resolutions post. This year, I’m going to start early, and do them one at a time. First up: Document My Life Better.

I used to blog (we’ve already sorta touched on that one). I used to write in a private journal (still do, but sporadically). I used to take LOTS of photos, especially of my kid. Not so much anymore, and I intend to make that the main plank in my platform, and here’s why…

Over Thanksgiving, we went to visit my parents. Now that The Boy’s almost 6, he’s moderately interested in the other people in his life, and he wanted to see pictures of me when I was his age. So, I pulled out the old family albums and discovered something: if you removed one year’s high school prom pics (I went both years I was allowed to, though) and my high school graduation pics, a causual observer might think I died when I was about 11 or 12.

Now, I’m fairly naturally camera-shy (if you’ve seen me, you know why), but there are NO pictures of me from junior high and high school. I’m glad I have a handful of high school yearbooks still. Of course, I grew up before digital cameras and camera phones and Facebook and all, but, still. It was a little disturbing.

In addition to my not having any pictures taken of me during the later years at home, my parents have managed to lose or throw away even stuff like the official class pictures and t-ball league photos from my youth, not to mention the baseball trophies and Cub Scout badges and other detritus of the life of an American boy in the 70s and 80s. It’s a little weird to have no physical evidence (other than, you know, ME) that I existed then.

I also noticed while helping The Wife put together one of those slick iPhoto calendars from Apple for my mother-in-law that every year we take fewer photos of The Boy, despite our being a multiple-camera family these days.

So, I’m going to encourage photographs and video at every opportunity. At least one Christmas List item (a Flip Mino HD video recorder) should help that somewhat.

Next up: I dunno, but it’ll be up in a few days.