Sunday, May 12, 2013

'Twas the Night Before Mother's Day


Today was a full day and the kids were pretty wiped out. For me that’s exciting because it means maybe they’ll all crash pretty quickly, and it’s only after everyone else is asleep that I get to enjoy My Time. Yes, that’s with a capital MT. Sadly, it’s Saturday, and My Time tonight, like every other night since became a father, consists of a date with Microsoft Word. And that’s if I’m lucky. Because while going out for a beer is eternally preferable to sitting at home pecking away on the laptop, a quiet evening with a few pages in Times New Roman is infinitely better than dealing with kids who won’t sleep, and since tomorrow is Mother’s Day I’ll feel more obligated than usual to take the little girl off Mom’s hands until eleven or twelve or sometime around dawn.

My three-year-old boy won’t go to sleep by himself. I have to lay there with him until he’s unconscious. This is the by-product of my wife’s insistence that babies should not sleep alone, it’s too scary for them and they need the psychological comfort of knowing Mommy is always there. Well, now my son is extremely psychologically uncomfortable if I am not there to help him fall asleep. If he’s anything like his big brother I’ve got another two years of this crap. Then it’s the girl’s turn to be scared just like she’s been taught.
But like I said, after today they were totaled and I was able to slip away from my kid at 8:30 – a relatively early start to My Time.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Children's Day - No Girls Allowed


Koinobori - 'flying carp'
Today, May 5th, is Children’s Day (子供の日) in Japan. Traditionally known as Tango no Sekku (端午の節句, loosely translated as ‘Yay we had a boy’), Children’s Day is a time for families to pray that their sons be blessed with health, happiness and good English skills.
On this day in Japan huge colorful streamers called koinobori (鯉のぼり, or flying carp) can be seen all over, in front of people’s homes and in many public places. While the carp is said to represent strength and success – in what capacity history has yet to specify – the actual underlying reason people fly these long, brightly-colored fish is to remind anyone who might have forgotten that today is Children’s Day so don’t forget to pray for your son’s strength and success in conjugating his English verbs.

Interestingly, Children’s Day is customarily dedicated to boys. One theory is that girls have an innate capacity for linguistics and don’t need any more help in outdistancing their male counterparts in conversation class. The true reason, of course, is that girls don’t like carp. To compensate, rather than upset the Wa (), a special day for girls was created: Hina no Matsuri (雛の祭り, the Doll Festival, which I did not write about because I don’t like dolls).

Find out more about Children’s Day here. I’d go on but it is May 5th and I am taking my family to – of course – a Tulip Festival.

Happy Children’s Day, boys. (And remember, drink, drank, drunk.)