Tag archive for "Jack"

The Tooth Fairy and A Tale of Three Temperaments

Good Times

The Tooth Fairy and A Tale of Three Temperaments

5 Comments 05 January 2015

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And so it has begun – the draining of the Tooth Fairy’s bank accounts due to our kids beginning to lose their teeth.  Jack was the first – lost one of his lower front teeth in October.  It was loose for awhile and then one day he decided it was time for it to go.  I gave him the idea of gnawing on an apple and sure ‘nuf he had that tooth out in 10 or 20 little tiny bites.  The excitement that coursed quickly through all of the Fab 5 once that little tooth popped out was quite an experience for all of us!  The Tooth Fairy was generous – left him two bucks underneath his sleeping noggin – and so was Jack – when he found the treasure, he gave half of it to Brooklyn and declared that every time he lost a tooth he would give a dollar to one of the girls.  This is not the first time Jack has exhibited a generous streak towards his girls and it melts our hearts every time!  Chivalry is not dead as long as Jack Jones is part of our world…. :)

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The next to discover a wiggly tooth was Brooklyn and it appeared a few weeks ago.  And there it still is, not-so-firmly attached to her less-than-generous gums.  Brooklyn won’t touch it except for the occasional wiggle to make sure it’s still there.  Every time we suggest a way to get it out, she quickly says “No!”  It’s been at least 3 weeks since the wiggle began and if teeth were attached to their gums with thread and a needle, that tooth would literally be hanging by a thread – a single, tattered, weathered, chewed up thread of a thread.  And she won’t touch it…no way, nope, forget it.

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And then there’s Lila.  Lila discovered a wiggly tooth 2 days ago.  And the tooth was out 10 minutes later.  She first went for the apple and even though it got her gums bleeding, it wasn’t doing the trick for her.  I told her that it might not be ready to come out and to give it a few days.  A few minutes later as she was brushing her teeth she showed me how far she could push it back.  It didn’t look ready to come out yet, especially since there was a decent amount of blood and I told her to give it some time.  The next time I looked at her – no more than a few seconds later – that bloody spot on her gums had grown quite a bit and on further inspection I confirmed that the tooth was out!  We found it in the bathroom sink…Lila had been pushing on it with her toothbrush and didn’t realize she had pulled that sucker out and spit it into the sink.  I immediately went downstairs and hid the pliers…ha!  The Tooth Fairy bestowed the same treasure upon Lila as she did upon Jack – 2 crispy dollar bills.  And Lila danced!  And Lila also sang!  She sang and danced and showed everyone the treasure; and she showed us all the joy of being a kid who believes in magical fairies……

Three children, three teeth, three temperaments.  It is such a joy to discover the the differences between our children when life’s experiences draw them out!  Jack:  patient to a point then focused on the task then surprisingly and blissfully generous.  Brooklyn:  patient almost to a fault, perhaps a little timid, but good things happen to those who wait…and especially to those who wait contentedly.  Lila:  hmmm…impatient maybe??  Excitable, eager, and ready for the next big adventure.

Three children and two more to go.

Three teeth and 110 teeth to go (give or take a few when adding in Eliot’s).

Three uniquely crafted temperaments (plus three more when their siblings are included)…………..And untold joy to discover in each.

The Creek, the Crawdad, and Apparently, the Competition

Good Times

The Creek, the Crawdad, and Apparently, the Competition

43 Comments 01 July 2013

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The kids are getting bigger and more independent, as 4-1/2 year olds are prone to do, which is great for a whole lotta reasons.  But there is one reason in particular about the kids getting bigger that excites me most of all – the opportunity for adventure!!  Babies are cute and cuddly and all of that fluffy stuff which is why we love them so much, of course.  Toddlers are funny and fun and challenging in their own special way.  I love all of the different phases of early childhood for various reasons.  But I can’t wait until the kids get old enough to really do things – toss the ball in the yard, climb a tree, row a kayak, swing on a rope swing and let go over a crisp, cool lake on a hot summer day – those are the adventures I am ready to discover with my kids!  Eliot has been in adventure mode with me for awhile, but the little ones are just now beginning to touch their toes into those unknown waters…and I am ready!!

So we found ourselves on a little adventure – just me and Casey, Jack, Brooklyn, and Ryan.  Eliot, Britton, and Lila are spending the week at the grandparents’ places so it was just the 5 of us…an almost normal-sized family for once.  Summer is in full swing here in Texas with upper 90 degree highs the standard for the day and that means that you must find water if you are to be outside for any length of time.  And that is just what we did – headed off to the creek for some fun and, of course, adventure!

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Our chosen destination was Bull Creek and it is awesome!  It’s about 10 miles away from downtown and the water is always cool.  There are huge areas where the water is ankle deep and there are other spots where it is over your head, but it is always clear as can be.  The creek runs through some limestone cliffs and cedar-choked hill country and is one of the most picturesque spots in all of Austin.  Oh, and dogs are allowed so we took Lilly along with us.  The kids had a blast swimming, hiking, and spotting sunfish and other creatures along the creek bed.  One creature in particular really got our attention though – crawdads!

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Have you ever heard of a crawdad?  You might know them as crawfish or crayfish – they look exactly like lobsters, but they are little, about the length of a credit card or maybe a pen.  You can find them in the creeks and rivers around Texas and other southern states, usually hiding in the mud or under a rock.  I remember spending a good bit of time in my youth combing the creeks around our house for those little mud bugs…good times for a little boy on the loose!

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Back to the story!  Like I said, Bull Creek is crystal clear and we’re walking along when all of a sudden, Jack yells out, “Look!  A lobster!”  I got there first, just in time to see the “lobster” right before it scuttled under a rock and out of view.  It was a crawdad, for sure, but I couldn’t get him to come out of his hiding place for everyone else to see.  So I gave the kids a little lesson about what Jack saw – a crawdad, not a lobster, but it looks just like a lobster and they live in the creek so be on the lookout for more – and off we went again.  So we’re on the move once more, everyone keeping their eye out for crawdads when I see one and this time it’s out in the open, walking along the floor of the creek.  So I called everyone over, keeping Lilly under control by my side so she wouldn’t scare off our little friend.  “Look everyone – it’s another crawdad, just like what Jack saw!”

And that’s when something happened, or rather, when something was said.  And I knew in that moment that Jack and I had officially entered another phase of our relationship……………..

“The one I found was BIGGER than the one you found, Daddy!,” Jack said proudly.

Huh.  Oh, really, Jack?  You measured the crawdads, did you?  You, my little Rainman wannabe, knew in an instant of seeing two different crawdads from 15 feet away that the crawdad you saw was bigger than the one I saw and, even if this were the case, you believe this is something that is worth pointing out to the entire group there assembled?  So that’s how it’s gonna be, huh?  Didn’t realize we were competing or that we were on that level now, but I guess I was wrong.  Ok, yours was bigger…I’ll let you have this one, it’s cool…….noooooo problem……

Alright, I’m a big boy, too and two can play at this game.  I’m in, I’m ready………and I can’t wait!!  Let the games begin!

I love you, Jack-Jack, and I am excited about all of the adventures and, of course, competitions (friendly, loving, teaching, learning, growing, big, and small) that are in store for us!!

God Bless,

Ethan

Jack William

The Fab Five

Jack William

14 Comments 16 May 2012

When it came time to pick names for the Fab Five we found it to be much easier than we had expected.  We simply wrote down all of the names that we even remotely liked then went through making various combinations with the names on the list until we settled on those we liked best.  After a few name-choosing sessions, we had it all figured out and had settled on the names we loved.  In hindsight we reasoned that it was probably so easy because we needed so many names and we got to choose all of our favorites.  Piece of cake!

Except for when it came to name the boy.

There was a lot of pressure in this call – knowing that we only had one boy in the mix and knowing that there was almost ZERO chance of bringing another baby boy into the world in our future, we knew we had one chance to get it right.  And so it was a really, really tough decision…at least we made it that way.  He was our only boy and we wanted him to have a strong boy name.  But not overly strong.  But it couldn’t be feminine at all, no way, not our style.  But it had to have a nice ring to it.  And it had to work with “William” because that is a family name and it was a must that the full name included it.  And it also had to sound good with Jones and it had to work when you said the first, middle, and last together at the same time.  But it couldn’t be too trendy or…….did I mention it had to be a strong name?

Set that aside for a moment and rewind with me back to March 2004.  Casey and I are in our doctor’s office for a regularly scheduled sonogram, but this time it was the big one – we were going to find out the sex of our first baby.  And as you of course know the results, it was a girl.  In a few short months she was introduced to the world, our little world at the time, as Eliot McKenna (we had a hard time deciding on her name as well) and I experienced firsthand the very real feelings of love at first sight! Casey of course already had a nearly-nine month relationship with Little Miss E by the time we first met her and so the maternal love was already deeply connected by that time.  But for me, a head over heels heart explosion detonated the instant I looked into her eyes!!

I don’t have a sister, just one older brother, and was generally pretty shy around girls growing up until I got to know them.  I didn’t really know a whole lot about the mysterious ways of the opposite sex by the time Eliot was born.  I think Casey would even admit to you that in spite of her steady influence over the prior 10+ years, I was pretty clueless in all things girl/woman/X-chromosomed.  But when Eliot was born, something inside me clicked and I can honestly tell you I never once feared her “girl-ness”.  I feel like I always knew just how to love her, how to interact with her, and how to teach, discipline, and nurture this crazy little force of estrogen that had invaded our world and I still feel like I have a pretty good handle on things with her today.  (I know, I know…check back with me when she hits the teen years, has a real crush on a young punk, I mean boy, wants to study abroad, blah, blah, blah…I’ll probably be a complete wreck in those situations, but we’re dealing with the present here people!!)

Alright, fast forward back to Jack…that’s who this blog post is supposed to be about, right?  Well it is and there is a point of telling you all of this about Eliot and the names.  The point is to illustrate for you a contrast:  whereas raising Eliot and the rest of the girls has come as natural to me as breathing, raising Jack has been as challenging as it was picking out his name.  At times, it has been as confounding as you would think it would have been for me to raise 5 girls.  And as natural as it has felt for me to raise Eliot and her four followers, raising Jack has been every bit as UN-natural.

“Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.” John Wayne

I don’t know what I expected out of my boy when he was born…well that’s not true – I know exactly what I expected.  He was supposed to be tough…and strong…and adventurous…and a little crazy like his oldest sister.  He was supposed to be born with John Wayne’s swagger, Michael Jordan’s killer instinct, and Clint Eastwood’s ability to roll his own cigarettes while handling a six-shooter.  A bit much?

Ok, ok…given the fact that I am 36 years old and I still don’t possess the characteristics of the aforementioned American heroes, maybe my expectations were a little high.  So how about this – he was supposed to be born with a hint of their character traits and a strong desire to gain what he was lacking.  Still no good?

I must admit, Jack has fallen far short of these otherworldly expectations, and that is of course a good thing and obviously in line with reality, thank the Lord.  He has been laid back (some of the time), happy (much of the time), and sensitive (way more of the time than I would like).  He’s been funny, whiny, goofy, rough and tumble, shy, gregarious, and loving.  We have called him Big Bad Jack, Happy Jack, and Mr. Giggles, but most often we call him Jack-Jack or Jack Jones…there’s something about Jack-Jack that works for him.  Though lately we have been calling him Jack the Playa now that he has taken to calling his sisters “his girls”.  We have been delighting in (and slightly troubled with) his now frequent, smooth-talking seductions such as,  “Where my girls at??” and “It’s bedtime…just me, my stuffed hippo, and my girls. Out!”  Not sure if he’s been watching hip-hop videos or what, but I don’t think we should let this new language of his go on much longer…

The thing is, it is not easy to define Jack.  He is a mixed bag – emotionally arrested one moment, boyish charm oozing out of him the next; cluelessly rough and tumble with the girls today, helplessly prickly and sensitive tomorrow; happy-go-lucky this morning, as smooth as day old, cheap coffee this afternoon.

What gives??  Boys are supposed to be the easy ones to raise!  Everyone always shakes their heads when they hear about all those girls in my life, but no one…NO ONE…ever…EVER…warned me about any difficulties in raising a boy!  Quite the contrary as a matter of fact.  Aside from the “warnings” that come with toothy-grinned laughter about the usual “boys will be boys” behavior, everyone either directly states or implicitly remarks that boys are not just easier, but EASY to raise.   No one……again: NO ONE…warned me that there would be days when you swear your son is going through menopause or that there would be times when you would rather deal with a rabid jackal than deal with your son’s intractable disposition!

With six kids under the age of eight running around our home we know very well that every child’s temperament is uniquely their own, but surely we are not the first and only family to experience first hand the trauma of a male child’s first few years of life.  Surely someone else out there and more likely many more people out there have experienced similar difficulties with their bouncing baby boys.  Tell me we are not alone in this!!!

Hold on a minute…I think I need to dial it back just a little.  It seems I have maybe laid it on a little thick.  No, Jack hasn’t been that tough to manage.  He has his moments and he has his moods and he is way more touchy about things than we would like, but then again he is only three years old.  For the most part, he is a happy-go-lucky, silly, funny, little boy with a charming smile, a classic little boy giggle, and a loving and happy constitution.  He is an awesome little man who in no way compares in temperament to a rabid jackel…most of the time.  He is my son and I love everything about him!

Can you see how conflicted I am here?!!?

So why the angst and the anxiety about his behavior?  Why do I get so twisted up when Jack rips off an ear-piercing scream at the prospect of putting down his pink (yes, pink!) stuffed puppy so he can come eat lunch with the family?  Why the frustration in watching him fall to a heap in a fit of tears when one of the girls bumps into him??  Surely this is normal behavior for a boy of his age and surely this is a thing that will pass soon enough.

So again, what gives?

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I’ve given this a lot of thought and I am fairly certain I know the answer.  I have come to the conclusion that the biggest challenge I have faced in raising Jack, the one thing that I can undeniably blame for my frustration and relative agony is this:  me.

Yeah, I think that’s it.  No, I don’t just think it, I KNOW that’s it.  In fact, I alluded to it about half way up this page – you know, the whole thing about John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and handling a gun and all that.  That was kind of a giveaway, don’t you think?  I admit it, I am the problem here.  Jack is awesome; I am so not awesome that I hereby renounce any and all claims I have once made, continue to make, or may make in the future about my level of awesomeness being above the level of awesomeness assigned to dead fish.  Not cool, Ethan Jones, not cool at all…

“Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.” C.S. Lewis

Alright, dramatics aside, I will cautiously and hesitantly maintain that there is at least a tiny bit of justification I can muster for my total not awesomeness.  Like I said, I’ve given this a lot of thought so there is a possibility, however remote, that my justification may actually hold water so stop rolling your eyes, bare with me a minute, and keep reading.

So here is how I see it.  I have heard that life is tough, unfair, and sometimes unbearable for girls and women; I’ve read it, discussed it, witnessed it, fought it, and taken various stands against it.  I believe it to be true just as I believe the earth revolves around the sun.  And just as I cannot feel the earth move on its orbital path, I cannot feel it when little girls are mistreated and women are disrespected in the workplace or classroom.  I cannot feel the undoubtedly gut-wrenching frustration girls and women feel when trying to live up to impossible ideals put forth by magazine covers that depict impossibly thin models,  or by “child advocates” who criticize working moms for not staying home to raise their kids, and by political elites who claim that career stay-at-home moms have “never worked a day in their lives”.  But the fact that I don’t feel these injustices doesn’t mean they aren’t real and for girls and women in today’s world, I believe them when they say that this life is hard, sometimes impossibly so.

But when it comes to men and boys and the life that they face, I know it’s real – life is hard for boys and men, sometimes impossibly so.  I know this because I’ve lived it; I’ve faced the challenges and the struggles and the unfairness, and the impossibly high standards that boys and men face in today’s world.  I have faced them and succeeded at times, but much more often I have faced them and failed.  Too many times than I care to count I have failed to live up to the standards of boys and men as set forth by:  1) society at large 2) Hollywood 3) preachers 4) magazine covers/articles 5) the ‘ol boys club 6) women 7) other boys and men 8) teachers 9) coaches 10) bosses…….I could keep going if you like………..

So there it is, my excuse.  My excuse for being frustrated with the capricious nature of my son’s interactions with life is simply that I know intimately well how tough life is going to be for him and I want him to be ready.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that life is at least equally if not more challenging for girls and women and I want no less for my girls what I want for Jack – success, happiness, balance, fulfillment, joy…and I’ll work no less for their success as I do for Jack’s.  But when it comes to Jack and boys and men, I know the unrelenting pressures of life; I feel them everyday, I’ve lived them for 36 years, and those experiences make me acutely aware of all that life is going to exact from him.

And so I micro-analyze everything about him and about his readiness.  I want him to overcome.  I want him to be prepared; I want him to be well equipped; I want him to be able to handle life at its toughest;  I want him to live up to the impossibly high standards set for him by others in spite of my understanding that those standards will be impossible for him to achieve…

And that right there is exactly where I have gone wrong…

Jack is not John Wayne.  He is not Michael Jordan or Clint Eastwood and he never will be.  He’s just Jack and he is just a boy.  And although he was fearfully and wonderfully made, knitted together in Casey’s womb by his perfect and loving father, he is not perfect.  And just like his dad, he never will be perfect and he never will live up to the standards set for him by others.  In fact, if Jack tries to live up to any standards other than those set for him by the same perfect and loving creator who made him, he will fail.  This isn’t something I’ve been told or read about and it isn’t something I believe; it is something that I know because I have lived it.  I’ve faced the challenges and the struggles and the unfairness, and the impossibly high standards that boys and men face in today’s world…and I failed to meet them.  And it wasn’t until I stopped trying to live up to those impossibly high standards and began to live for the standards set forth for me by Christ that I experienced real success, real triumph, real joy, and real fulfillment.

So Jack, consider this my letter of apology to you.  I’ve fallen for the world’s traps so many times before so I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t and for that I am sorry. God has a design for you, a plan, and a mission for your life and it is my job to help you find your way, to guide you, if needed, over and through the obstacles that will cross your path, to help you become the man that He designed you to be, and to get out of your way when the time is right.  This is the one and only standard that I hope you live up to – the standard set forth specifically, intentionally, and willfully by God the Father.  Follow the path that He has laid out for you and your success, happiness, fulfillment, balance, joy, and peace are guaranteed………I know this, I’ve lived it.

God bless,

Ethan

 

Good Times

Meet Mr. Giggles

Comments Off 28 October 2009

Jack William, aka Big Bad Jack, aka Laid Back Jack, aka Mr. Happy now has a new nickname…Mr. Giggles!  Too dang cute!!

Good Times

Baby Belly Laughs

1 Comment 15 October 2009

The picture on this video isn’t great, but if you like the sound of baby belly laughs then this is for you! Ryan and Brooklyn were having a blast…doing what, no one will ever know!!





Eliot and Ryan had some fun together the other day…very cute!





Y’all enjoy!!
Ethan
www.JonesLife.net

The Fab Five

Six Teeth, Hello to Sparkle, Goodbye to Laid Back Jack, and Other Jones Family News

3 Comments 28 September 2009

It’s been an eventful month for the Jones Clan as we have celebrated quite a few firsts with the babies!  We have teeth!  Six to be exact – two each on Jack, Brooklyn, and as of today, Miss Ryan Elizabeth.  All three babies have the bottom two front teeth…so cute!  Jack likes to show his off as he giggles which happens quite a bit these days.  Another first – Ryan can now move from her belly to the sitting up position on her own.  It’s pretty cool that she can do that and I hope the rest catch on quick – along with the greater mobility she seems to be able to entertain herself for longer periods of time.  All of the babies are starting to pull up on chairs and tables and I think it’s possible that Ryan will go from the army crawl to walking without ever doing a real crawl.  She is constantly pushing up on her hands and her toes…really funny!  It’s been busy keeping up with all of the changes, but we’re really having fun with them all now that survival mode is a thing of the past!

The babies have been doing great with their cereal and veggies and have been packing on the pounds.  Here are the latest not-so-scientific weights:  Brooklyn, Lila, and Ryan are all 15 pounds which is surprising to us because Brooklyn is quite a bit longer than the other two girls.  Big Bad Jack is tipping the scales at 19 pounds and Little Baby B, Britton Grace, is still a featherweight at a mere 13 pounds.  We’ll get an accurate count on all of the stats next month when we take them in for their nine month checkup.

It’s official – Laid Back Jack is gone and we have welcomed Mr. Adventure into our home!  He still isn’t crawling, but he’s mastered the army crawl with great speed…and, boy does he love to be on the move!  That kid is everywhere – crawling under the bouncey seats, wiggling his way down the hall, diving into the stacks of wipes, sneaking around behind the rocking chairs, and all points in between!  And, oh yeah, don’t get in his way ‘cuz he’s not changing course…several of the girls have had to learn this the hard way… :)  Check out the videos for Action Jack on the move!  And I have to mention one more of my boy’s new activities – every time I come upstairs to see the babies, Jack wastes no time crawling over to me, climbing up my leg, and giving me a huge, pick-me-up-daddy smile…as you might imagine, I love it!!  There is more to read below the videos…


We have another new addition to announce – we have welcomed Sparkle the Crown Tail Betta to our world!  In the picture above, where Eliot is in a yellow shirt standing next to what could pass as an empty vase, you will see Sparkle if you turn your head slightly right, close one eye, and stand very, very still…
Eliot has been very excited about her new little buddy and is doing a great job of taking care of her (and has held her off from begging for a dog for at least a little while longer)!!

This has been our best month so far since the babies arrived…it’s amazing what a regular sleep pattern can do for your state of mind!  The babies go down no later than 7:30 these days and Eliot is out an hour later, finally giving Casey and I some time together away from all of the demands that come with our new lives.  The babies are much happier and easier to manage during the days, Eliot is absolutely loving kindergarten and doing great, school is definitely working me over, but no more so than I’m used to by now, and Casey has been able to get a pretty good workout routine going (until she fell and hurt herself…bummer!).  Oh yeah, and another cool thing – we get to walk Eliot to school every day and most days we get to take a couple of babies along for the ride…they love their morning walks!  But of course, most importantly of all – college football is in full swing…oh yeah!!!!!  All in all, life is just a little bit easier as a tiny fraction of normalcy has begun to sneak its way back into the Jones home.  Hallelujah!!  October is just around the bend, hopefully along with some cooler weather…exciting times ahead!

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