FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

D eats C

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 27•16

d andc

He caught D by the legs, and D bit him on the arm. his legs untwisted and D caught him with his legs and pulled him clean out.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” C yelled.

my son laughed while C rolled on the ground screaming, and D was still hanging onto the monkey bars.

BANANA !

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The Beginning

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 04•16

I didn’t see it,

the bright green

glow of the grass,

the soft texture

beneath our feet,

the blue sky above,

flowers and figures,

but he saw it all.

 

 

No, I didn’t see it

the way he did.

 

He noticed every

color and shape,

like a budding artist,

the intricate patterns

the compositions

unfolding before us,

nature’s art work.

 

We swam together,

D floating in his vest,

me a few feet ahead.

He liked drifting,

and me pulling him

in a zigzag pattern.

 

We took the same

route most days.

He found grass

strange at first.

And he liked to

run up a hill to

explore the plaza.

 

 

 

In the beginning, I

held him in my arms,

his heart beating against

my own, my arm draped

over his back, his eyes

looking over my shoulder,

a black cat named Blackie

always following behind us.

 

 

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“Toys for Sale”

Written By: Scot Butwell - Aug• 04•16

It was one of those things that was funny a day later, but not at the time it happened.

D and C were at the park, and C had brought a wagon full of toys, and D took off running with the wagon down a hill.

“Toys for sale! Who wants to buy Sheriff Woody?” he yelled at the bottom. “Batteries not included.”

I don’t know what prompted it–a long summer afternoon perhaps–but C started crying, believing D was really going to sell his toys.

“Those are my toys…you can’t sell my toys,” C said.

“Toys for sale,” D kept repeating. “Who wants to buy Sheriff Woody?”

A group of boys surrounded the wagon, lending credibility to the “toy sale” in C’s eyes, and things soon began to escalate between D and C.

So we ended up back home with D writing “I will use kind hands” ten times. Why can’t he just get along with his friend at the park?

That was the sum of my thoughts. Granted, if C had believed me that D was not really selling his toys, the situation might have turned out differently.

The boys were not whipping out money to buy toys. Still, I was frustrated D could not just go to the park, without an incident occurring.

I couldn’t shake the angry feeling out of my head–that is, until I had a brilliant idea: to role play what happened to help D examine his choices.

Maybe, he could even develop some empathy for his friend. At least, that was the plan.

We started by creating a storyboard, which turned out to have six scenes, and I realized we were plotting the outline for a movie instead of role playing.

And then came the acting.

D reenacted what happened with so much gusto that I realized he probably wasn’t having an empathy for how C felt about his toys being sold.

Oh, well.

First, there was a chase scene. D stealing C’s wagon and running around the kitchen with me trying to catch him. That was a lot of fun–for us both.

“Come back here with my wagon,” I kept repeating as D ran and giggled at the same time.

Next, there was his “toys for sale” monologue, D giving a complete inventory, as I wailed loudly in despair.

“Those are my toys…you can’t sell my toys.”

And so it went. I bartered with D over the price of toys. Dialogue flowed back and forth between us with more of an ease than it often does.

He loved it, and so did I. It was his movie.

We practiced each scene several times before one of us yelled “cut.” And then reviewed the plot for the next scene before yelling, “action!”

And then we did next scene and the next scene–with bits of directorial input from me.

It was great fun—we were both in sync—playing our roles, and as father and son, I rejoiced that we’d found a common activity to focus our attention.

We performed our movie for the Wife, and then we went to his swimming lesson, with the incident at the park long behind us.

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Swim Lesson

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 26•16

swim 1

This is D’s first swim lesson. D said was a little scared, but he knew God would be there with him.

“God told me to brave,” he said, afterwards.

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D is for Dance

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 25•16

d is for dance

D getting his groove on along with his friend C at Kid Concepts, USA.

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Movie Time

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 15•16

d and me 2

Here’s what we’ve been watching this summer:

  1. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  2. Inside Out
  3. Secret Life of Pets
  4. Lilo and Stitch 2
  5. Finding Nemo

And this is a storyboard for a “movie” we created one afternoon titled, “I will Sell Your Toys,” based on a real life incident.

story board

D and I were at the park, and his friend C brought a wagon full of toys, and D was trying to sell them. It was one of those things that’s funny the next day.

The real life incident ended with D using “unkind hands.” I was mad about the entire incident, having to leave the park to write sentences.

But then an idea morphed.  We could role play what happened to learn from it…except it turned in a storyboard with six scenes.

The plot centered on a boy making a toy stand to, uh, sell his friend’s toys. I was hoping D would develop empathy for the friend’s situation.

However, we had so much reenacting the real life event that I think the original goal was lost.

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Letting Go

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 14•16

car wash

I sit in a red lawn chair,

across the street from D

and his friend C playing.

I rub sunscreen all

over my arms as they

take turns spraying each

other with the water hose.

Doing the same thing

as the past couple days,

when I’d joined them.

 

Come play with us,

C chirped.

 

I made up with some

phony excuse.

 

I watch them

for a while

on the sideline,

by design.

I am letting go,

I tell myself,

giving D

the chance,

to play

to interact,

without me.

 

I realize…

 

I have to let

my son grow up,

navigate situations

on his own, talk

with friends,

respond to their

overtures,

solve problems,

like asserting

it is his turn on

the water hose.

 

He isn’t chatty…

but I hear talking.

Two-way dialogue.

He is doing fine.

There are no fights

or arguments – they

act like brothers.

At times…

Pushing and shoving.

But they’re kids

having fun getting wet.

 

So I join them.

 

I run on the sidewalk.

I get sprayed with water.

I point the hose to heaven

and I make raindrops fall

from the sky. I become part

of my son’s world, taking

turns shooting each other

with water. I am a runner

on first base leading off

before stealing second base,

safe if no water hits me.

 

I let no one pass by me

when it is my turn on the

hose. I torture prisoners

waterboarding their back

up close

or the back of their head.

The tip of my thumb on

the hose. I teach my son

to do the same with his

thumb.

 

I am having fun, doing

things D likes to do.

 

I am thankful for water,

its cold wet caress on my

skin. I am amazed how

the simple act of water

flying through the air,

these micro-size packets

of joy, makes my son

smile, dance, laugh,

be happy, connected

with others.

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Chicken Fight

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 06•16

chicken fight

I think I started it all.

D and C were swinging from the monkey bars, a few hours before Fourth of July fireworks, when D wrapped his legs around C’s waist, trying to pull him down.

“Chicken fight,” I said, giving a name to it.

We’d been searching for something to do, and I was thankful we’d found it, when D’s legs accidentally pulled C’s shorts halfway down.

Hello, Captain America.

So they took turns trying to pull each other down and Skyler (C’s mom’s friend’s tween daughter) video recorded them and we watched the chicken fights.

And we laughed.

C made loud wailing noises in the first few videos before realizing he didn’t need to be a passive victim and then the chicken fights became more competitive.

It was two boys having fun, and it was very fine entertainment, and it was exactly what I imagine it would be like if D had a brother.

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Improv in a Tree

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 06•16

beach stairs

This is how D and I like to spend our Saturdays, and if climbing stair railings ever becomes an Olympic sport, D will definitely become a gold medal winner.

“That’s dangerous,” the Wife said, flipping through pictures on my phone and finding this one.

She doesn’t realize this is D’s way of navigating every environment. Find the closest obstacle–railing, fence, tree, trash can, sculpture–and scale it.

At the top of the stairs was a small park, and D met a girl with a wonderful imagination. The girl was six years old, and just like D, pretending her native language.

After we climbed up a tree, the girl asked if we wanted to play Girls of the Jungle, a game she plays with her friends. Then she realized we were not girls.

“Why don’t we be a brother and sister who are lost in the jungle?” she asked D.  And to me: “You can become our dad. Do you want to be our dad?”

Game on.

She told us each come up with a new name, and after a tiger growled at us from the bottom of the tree, she told us to give ourselves special powers.

Thus, the tiger was killed, I believe, by dragon-like fire breathes, and we added layer after layer, both D and I following her lead and cues.

It was awesome. Improv in a tree. Giving and receiving. And then the girl asked D to sit next to her on a branch, as they’d become buddies in twenty minutes.

Times like this don’t happen enough.

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Thoughts on Summer Reading

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jul• 05•16

reading

D signed up for the summer reading program at the local library. It will be his first time reading and monitoring the number of minutes he reads to earn prizes.

This feels so contrary to the joy of reading itself—reading to earn a prize. Isn’t the real joy of reading being engrossed in a story and the world of its characters?

Reading to earn a prize may appeal to some kids’ sensibility. But I know D won’t read just to earn a prize, unless we’re talking a candy bar or ice-cream.

I think the prize is…a book. Ha, ha.

D likes to read, but knows he can check out a book at the library or, as we frequently like to do, go to our favorite hangout–Barnes and Nobles–to read books.

(He likes making “coffee” with a mix of mocha, vanilla, and cinnamon, and to try to persuade me to buy him a Mini Munny, but that’s getting off my point.)

barnes n

Anyways, I don’t think you can say to any kid, “Read for 20 minutes and I am going to ask you what you read.” This is what the Wife said to D the other day.

Maybe, this will work on kids with certain personalities, but not with D. He is too independent. Also, I’ve always felt reading is so much about interest and mood.

You have to want to read—not be told to read.

Nevertheless, per the Wife’s request, I tried the “read for 20 minutes” with D. He spent the next five minutes telling me “don’t touch my books” and trying to scratch my arm.

Then, he grabbed his school yearbook, looking at kids’ pictures and reminiscing on events from the just-completed school year, and sharing them with me.

They were like “snap chap” moments:

I met Lily when I got into this school…

I didn’t like it when everyone said yesssssssss when Mrs. S said T wasn’t going to be in our class anymore.

You want to know what Tyler did? He covered his ears when Ms. Nicole was talking to him.

So I didn’t make him read a book. I figured he would pick up a book and start reading when he felt like it later in the day.

Sure enough, a half hour later, he asked to go to Barnes and Nobles, and on two or three different times, he spent at least 15 to 20 minutes reading books.

Without me telling him to read.

I didn’t feel like calculating minutes or writing book titles for his summer reading sheet. The Wife got upset when I told her this story.

“You could have just taken a picture of the book cover,” she said. “It would have been so easy.”

Except I was enjoying reading a book myself.

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