Welcome to Film Nerd 2.0, an ongoing look at my relationship with my first son, Toshiro, and his relationship to media of all types, particularly the stuff that I grew up with as I pass it along to him.
It's been a rough two weeks to be Toshi.
He's four now, so he's got typical four-year-old issues, and since he's not really able to articulate those issues or feelings yet, he's obviously trying to vent.
It sort of cracks me up that a four year old could have anxiety over things like pre-school or playtime or coloring, but of course they can. Tension and anxiety happen for any number of reasons, and when you react only to a kid's behavior, you're sort of trying to juggle water. Things are constantly shifting. Toshi's got competition in the house now for people's attention thanks to his adorable nineteen-month-old brother Allen, who has recently become self-aware of said adorabilosity, and who works it shamelessly.
Like I said... the last few weeks have been particularly rough. Since media in my house is a privilege, not a god-given right, Toshi's been benched from absolutely everything cool.
"You're grounded from cool, buddy," is exactly what I told him, and he knows that means a lockdown on everything except vintage "Sesame Street" on DVD or bedtime stories at night. Those are always okay.
He's trying. I know he is. He's had a few tearful heart to heart conversations with me. He's just got an itch he can't scratch. So as we approached the weekend at the end of a whole lot of bad days, I decided we needed to cut him a break.
As I sat down to write the beginning of this column, I had a plan for the weekend, and a list of directives for myself: I've got to give him a taste of the promised land if I expect him to work harder. I've got to give him a weekend that is the weekend he aspires to have every weekend. The weekend he's got to earn.