To Infirmary… and Beyond!

With every week — and sometimes every day — offering new experiences in the parental role, one unexpected encounter came when I went in to have my blood taken earlier this week on Monday.

The unimportant detail to this story is it was a routine check-up on the levels of my thyroid (fun times!), but it’s something I thankfully only have to endure once or twice a year. And one simple fact remains…

I hate needles.

This time, with Will being 22.5 months old, it was a much different experience than the last time we brought him along. With his recent obsession with Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear, Will had his Buzz figure in-hand (well, it was mine, but I digress) — a 5 or 6-inch plastic figure that is perfect for a little guy like him to run around with.

When it came time for me to be ushered into a little room, curtain drawn, with my blood also about to be drawn, I sat down in the chair nervously, put my right arm out there on display and turned my head in the opposite direction. Amy sat in a chair positioned in a way where she could hold the curtain closed and block Will from darting out at any moment. So with us all trapped in there — nurse armed with a needle included — Will restlessly, but quietly, was bouncing around the room. At one point, he noticed how uncomfortable I was and he noticed his momma was trying to console me. I was quiet, but my mind was not. Needles. *shudder*

With my left arm laying across the little table on the other side of the chair, and with Amy’s hand resting on my forearm, Will came to a realization. Something was wrong. It was then the toddler decided that it was more important for me to have Buzz than him. He walked over, pushed Buzz into my open left hand, and turned around. It was as if he was saying “I have no idea what in the heck is going on, but I have a feeling you need ‘Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!’ more than I do.”

Once the nurse prepped my arm and gave me the warning of the needle’s forthcoming – and unwelcomed – intrusion, Will paused his frenetic wall-bouncing to stop and watch my blood being drawn. That in itself was a little awkward, but he seemed entirely unfazed by…and all too curious (uh-oh) about what was happening. When all was said and done (and I had finished using Buzz Lightyear as a stress ball), I handed the toy back to my son with my heart a little warmer. The little guy is awfully protective of his favorite toys, so I knew that gesture was a big one for him.

Parenthood definitely continues to deliver surprises when you least expect them.

Will with Buzz from a different day, on July 14 2012 (He would do this motion if you said “To infinity… and beyond!”)


Boy Story

Twenty one (and almost a half) months!

While it’s been a few months since my last blog, these weeks in between posts have been anything but dull. Watching Will develop has been quite the site, as he’s a walking, running, toddling babbler. He doesn’t really speak much yet, although he’s starting to mimic certain sounds (“Up” and “Bob” — as in the Tomato — are his most common ones. But it sounds like I might be “Gah-gah” to him 🙂 ). It’s funny to watch him conduct his learning in a manner that’s … very much on his own terms. It’s almost as though he knows how to say certain words… he just doesn’t feellike it!

And that personality development has certainly been an interesting one to experience. Little tantrums are “fun” to endure and try to learn how to subdue. But we know the importance of getting the little booger to calm down and learn that smacking anything within his proximity (from people to objects) is unacceptable.

At an acoustic concert 6.4.12

Almost everyday reveals something new with him. Today, it was watching him grab a Buzz Lightyear figure (which is… *ahem* mine….) and pretend that Buzz was flying! I’d yet to see him play like that. He loves watching the Toy Story trilogy, so it’s great to see him gravitate toward the characters. When he got his mitts on both Buzz and Woody figures, he carried them around for quite a while — like little trophies! Sometimes he still gets into these fits of throwing things — even things he really likes — so he’s still learning what it means to take care of peoples’ things. I know this stuff takes time.

But it’s also just AMAZING how fast he’s growing! It doesn’t seem long ago that he couldn’t roll over… then couldn’t crawl… then couldn’t walk… I’m sure, once he starts really talking, I’ll feel the same way about this season when he couldn’t!

So until the next adventure…

7.12.12 – running around the kitchen with a Firehouse Subs hat on

The Final Countdown

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of taking part in the conspiracy that was a surprise baby shower for my wife, Amy – marking shower #3  (the first was in Nashville with our friends there and the second was with my family in NJ since my grandmother can’t travel much these days), as Amy’s family, friends, and coworkers bestowed baby-related blessings upon the mommy-to-be.

Amy’s due Oct. 4, but everyone makes it a point to draw attention to just how pronounced her “baby bump” has gotten. She had a check-up Monday morning of this week (the day after the shower) with a new doctor who gave her an update on how things are going. When she told the doctor that she’d be seeing him next Tuesday, he commented that it probably would be sooner than that…. meaning that little William is looking to make his debut potentially as early as a month ahead of schedule. The little guy’s dad (that’s me, for those of you getting lost here) was also considerably earlier than intended when he was a newborn, so if Will decides to make a September debut… well… like father, like son! (that is, he’d be early. I wasn’t born in September…)

As we get down to the wire, the tyke’s bedroom is getting further primed and ready. As mentioned in previous blogs, his room was originally our “spare room” which had become home to concert photos I’ve taken and a few music-related posters. So where a huge, autographed Audio Adrenaline poster (from 1994) once hung, now displays an arch-shaped myriad of Toy Story wall decals (disguising the framed poster’s nail hole and scratch marks)… further cementing the boy’s room as his. It’s coming along quite nicely… and, if things continue the way they’re going… he’s likely to be napping in there in either a few weeks… or a few days!

Stay tuned…

Toy Story 3

Planet 51

– for not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
Director: Lee Unkrich
Starring: voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Michael Keaton
Theatrical Release Date: June 18, 2010
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Official Site

Plot Summary

Shrek 4Toy Story 3 welcomes Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) and the whole gang back to the big screen as Andy prepares to depart for college and his loyal toys find themselves in… day care! These untamed tots with their sticky little fingers do not play nice, so it’s all for one and one for all as plans for the great escape get underway. (from

Film Review

It’s kind of amazing to ponder the fact that the very first Pixar animated film, as well as the very first Toy Story film, landed fifteen years ago in 1995. The year debuted a new series and film studio that would capture the hearts of children and film fans for a decade and a half. The success of the endearing tale about toys that come to life when humans aren’t watching them spawned the arguably even better sequel in 1999, and the legacy of the Toy Story characters and franchise was made greater. Since then, a third chapter in the toys’ story was attempted at least once before by Disney – actually without Pixar’s team, even! – but thankfully, the original animation studio wouldn’t let the film be made by just anybody and eleven years after the last sequel, we finally are given the long awaited Toy Story 3.

It’s no secret that anticipation is high for a second sequel. Any child who loved either of the first two is eleven years older and the franchise will hold special nostalgia for them. In addition to those already in love with the characters, Toy Story 3 is armed and ready to win over an entirely new generation of Buzz and Woody fans – even to some children of the fans of the original film! But like any memorable trilogy in film history, Pixar takes Toy Story out with a rousing, climactic, and amazingly emotional finish. With each film, the set pieces and action, and even humor have been boosted, and Toy Story 3 wraps it all up in a nice little bow. Whether or not this really is the toys’ last ride remains to be seen, but Pixar doesn’t seem to be nearly as cash hungry as DreamWorks to just sloppily force out one Toy Story movie after another – as DW has done with Shrek – so they might actually do well to let this be it.

When Toy Story 3 begins, time has passed about as much for the characters as it has for the fans of the films. While the toys themselves don’t look as though they’ve shown a ton of aging or wear, we’ve found that Andy has graduated high school and is about to leave for college, his mom has aged accordingly, and even the family dog is old and having trouble getting around. Anyone who’s followed the Story may start to feel the growing pains of passing time as much as these characters do. The toys haven’t been played with in years and when they find themselves in a daycare surrounded by children, [most] of the toys have some renewed hope. But as can be expected, things are not all that they seem to be at Sunnyside Daycare, and Andy’s toys find themselves to be prisoners in their new home. Toy Story 3 is primarily about family, friendship, and growing older, and the plot ends up becoming much like an escape or prison break adventure. It’s also the most thematically heavy of the trilogy, which is not only its strength but possibly its only weakness. Some of the film’s events border on going too overboard with where the toys find themselves, which also leads to some moments that are so unbelievably emotional, you’re likely to be baffled as to how in the world we can care so stinkin’ much for fictional inanimate plastic figurines (and we DO!). But because Toy Story 3 possesses ample amounts of heart and sentiment, it won’t be a Story that fans of the franchise will soon forget.

It’s fun to follow Woody, Buzz and their friends on the adventures they experience throughout this trilogy, and it’s surreal to see them all together for a much different outing. Because the plot focuses a great deal on the prospect of them being discarded and trying to break out from the Daycare, there are quite a few dark, heavy, and even creepy scenes. The two creepiest characters include a worn out one-droopy-eyed baby doll that only coos like an infant (which is a little reminiscent of the doll head from the first film) and a cymbal monkey that screams and is only shown in dimly lit settings. While these moments aren’t quite as ominous or unsettling as some found in other animated films, they’re still likely to give some kids the willies, while other children still may even just have a hard time seeing their favorite toys go through some pretty intense stuff. The aforementioned overtly emotional, potentially over-the-top intense sequence is also so harrowing, it’s almost shocking that the studio let the story go there (i.e. taking our little toys to such dark and dangerous situations). There were a few moments I half-expected to have turned out to be imagined by a child or be a dream sequence because of how unexpected and fantastical they become. At the same time, it’s impressive to realize how Pixar can even make their audience care this much!

The potentially objectionable content of Toy Story 3 is limited to some brief, slightly borderline rude humor (mainly the flirtatious behavior between Ken and Barbie, or Ken’s awkward flamboyance), and a great deal of action, toy-related kinds of violence. But several scenes do threaten the very existence of Andy’s toys and include dark, menacingly lit villains which take the film to some pretty intense levels at times. It’s enough to want to consider when it comes to bringing the littler ones.

If you’re wondering whether to see this in 2D or 3D, we did see this in 3D and I found that, while it looks pretty and offered a neat effect at times, it was completely unneeded for the film and its plot. In fact, I got so used to the effect it brought to the look of the movie that it was very easy to even forget it was supposed to be 3D at all. Thankfully, Pixar did NOT gratuitously take advantage of the 3D technology to just feed the gimmick, so it probably won’t make a huge difference whether this is viewed in 2D or 3D.

When all is said and done, Pixar Animation Studios is still batting a thousand, delivering yet another solid feature film to the big screen. It may take another couple viewings to make the call whether it bests its predecessors, but for now, Toy Story 3 is a very funny, welcomed addition to a beloved franchise that will be as difficult to see conclude here as it is for Andy to choose the future of his famed childhood toys.

– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 6/18/10)

Parental Guide: Quick Summary of Content

. Sex/Nudity: None. There is some playful flirting between Ken and Barbie, but nothing explicitly offensive or crude. Bookworm thinks he’s talking to Ken dressed up completely as an astronaut. When who he thinks is Ken turns around and walks away, Bookworm spots that the person is wearing pink high heels (it’s Barbie in the suit), and just rolls his eyes (thinking Ken is just weird or even gay)

. Vulgarity/Language: None.

. Alcohol/Drugs: None.

. Blood/Gore: None.

. Violence: Lots of G-rated action violence. Some toys knock down, restrain, tie up, and beat up other toys. Some toys threaten to dispose of other toys. One toy tries to let some toys in peril possibly go to their deaths instead of save them, and other assorted violence. Children violently play with their toys (SPOILERS: We see some toys narrowly escape a garbage truck garbage compactor. Later we see some toys narrowly escape being shredded. Then later again, we see them narrowly escape being incinerated)

To Infancy… and Beyond!

Amy and I did some necessity shopping at WalMart tonight and found ourselves wandering around our recently renovated local store. While we were shocked to find the stationary where the shoe department used to be — and the wide selection of pens absorbed Amy’s attention — my eye wandered to the baby/toddler section across the aisle. There… in the back of the display was a series of pajama sets for little boys of various ages. And one of the coolest little PJ sets caught my eye… a Woody from Toy Story’s cowboy outfit! “Nah-Uh!” I thought.

I made my way over there and for the first time ever plunged headlong into the world of childrens clothing. I tried to see what sizes the little Woody PJs came in and found the size “5T” first. “Wow… these are for a 5 year old?” I thought to myself. I then discovered that the sizes also showed “24M” and “18M”. Perfect! As I made my way back over to Amy, I saw the perfect outfit that SHE would want to dress our little dude in someday… a set that showed a cartoon shark on the front with the words “JAW – SOME” on it… a perfect play on the title of one of her favorite movies of all-time. I now had the appropriate bait to get her over to the clothes section.

When she accompanied me to the small person’s garment department, I showed her the Woody PJs and asked about the size codes, to which she knowledgeably informed me of my incorrect assumptions and how “5T” is merely a different size for toddler. “Oh.” Oops.

Upon scanning the section for a price (not noticing the huge “$9.50” sign above our heads), I spotted Buzz Lightyear pajamas too! I’m sold. I highly doubt that when our little toy lover is old enough to wear these pajamas that they’d still have them to buy in stores, so we took advantage of the neat selection and snatched them up. And if not for the hope that he’d like them, then for the sheer fact that I can’t wait to see my little man dressed up for dreamland as Buzz or Woody!

Now… where can I get PJs that look like a Ghostbusters jumpsuit? 😉