Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: kids

Joe and his Tuna

     A true story from the Cook household:

     The boy was eating his tuna casserole. He loved how it tasted. He was filling his mouth so full that it hurt to swallow. But it was worth it.

     Suddenly a thought came into his head.

     “Mommy, is this chicken?”

     “No,” his mother said.

     He sighed with relief and started filling his mouth again.

     “It’s tuna,” his mother continued.

     “Fhisofiadfs!” he said. Which, if his mouth had been empty, would have sounded like, “Fish?!”

     “Yes.”

     He looked down at the plate, covered in bits of animal corpse, and frowned. “These fish had to die so I could eat them…”

     He looked up at his mother. She shrugged. He looked back at the fish.

     “Fish,” he said. “I’m so sorry that I’m eating you. But I’m starving. You can go in my belly with the noodles and then you can play together.”

     And he continued eating, a little more sober and mindful than before.

     “Ha!” his sister cackled, pointing her finger. “You’re talking to dead chicken!”

Thoughts on Being a Goofy Dad

     I spent an hour jumping on my bed yesterday.

     I could pretend that I was doing it just so my daughter would feel love and attention. I could pretend that I didn’t enjoy it and I was just putting in my ‘daddy time’ until I could go and read something mature and venerable. But that would be a lie. I freaking love jumping on beds.

     When we were done, I played video games with my son. That was a bit of a serious thing. We’re about 70% through Lego Star Wars and we’re eager to get the 10x Power Brick. I couldn’t pretend to just be going through the motions on that one. It was clear on my face.

     I’m a goofy dad. Almost every day I put on ridiculous music and dance like a ten-year-old with my kids. They seem to enjoy it. I sure do.

     There is something very freeing about being goofy. It allows me to do things that most people would feel self-conscious about. Like dancing in public, wearing silly clothing and chasing my kids around the playground with wild abandon.

     It also helps me connect with my kids. All kids are goofy, and that goofiness tends to fade as they grow up. It just never really went away with me. I don’t know why, but I’m glad it didn’t. Because I know exactly why my daughter loves jumping on the bed and making fart jokes. Because I also love jumping on the bed and making fart jokes. And I also know exactly why my son loves getting every achievement in video games and making fart jokes. Because I also love those achievements and I still love fart jokes.

     “Act your age.”

     Screw that. I’m going to act fun. Three, thirteen or thirty, I’m going to act fun. Because I think that when I stop having fun, I’ll die. And I don’t want to die.

     So I’ll jump on the bed and make my fart jokes. I’ll run and scream in the playground. The kids will laugh and smile with me while a few oh-so-serious parents look on with frowns. I don’t care. I love life. And jumping on beds is a part of life.