Posted in Fatherhood, Toys

Don’t Touch Daddy’s Toys!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m a toy collector. Action figures in particular. That shouldn’t be too hard to ascertain, given some of the stuff I post. I used to have a lot more shelf space in my office to display them. Be warned, collectors. Once you get a house and a family, shelf space becomes a rare commodity….

I have a vivid memory from a day years before Baby Primary Ignition was born. We had a two friends, a married couple, over with their young son. They knew I was a toy collector. Apparently word had trickled down to their boy, as right when we opened our front door, the little guy made a mad dash for my office. He proceeded to make his way in and out with Ghostbusters (shown above), Power Rangers, superheroes, etc. Our friends looked at me apologetically. But I said something to the effect of: “You can’t have a room full of toys, and then have a kid over and say he can’t play.”

I look back fondly on that moment. That felt like a good one for yours truly.

Now if only I could be as understanding today with Baby Primary Ignition. She’s almost two, and as one might surmise, she’s gotten very grabby…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood

Getting Your Kid a Spoon

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ahhhh Calvin & Hobbes. So timeless. So perfect.

Baby Primary Ignition has this electronic toy shaped like a little soccer ball. It rolls around, plays music, annoys her parents, etc. This morning I noticed her playing with it, but no sound was coming out. I figured the batteries were dead. So I did what I imagine most dads would do. I got a screwdriver out of my little tool kit in the closet, opened up the ball, swapped out the batteries, and low and behold the ball was back in business!

In one of my favorite episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld recounts something Matthew Broderick told him about, of all things, getting his kid a spoon…

“Matthew has this great line about when you get your kid a spoon. You think, ‘What a great dad I am. Look at me getting my kid a spoon.’ That is what we think.”

He’s talking about a certain kind of narcissism that comes with parenting. But there’s a sweetness to it too, I think.

When they’re older, we won’t be able to solve life’s big problems for them. But for now, the small ones will suffice. Because those small problems feel big to them. So they feel big to us too.

Oh, my Baby. Feel free to take all the time in the world growing up.

(In truth, part of me now regrets fixing the ball. The damn thing is currently rolling around our wood floors making more noise than ever.)

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood

Dory, Sesame Street, and Why Characters Matter

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Baby Primary Ignition is slowly but surely learning to talk. Two of her favorite words are “Dah-wee” and “Mo.” Which are apparently baby talk for “Dory” and “Nemo.”

The older she gets, the more I’m starting to realize just how much mass media characters matter, especially when kids take to them so early in life. They become a big part of how they discover and relate to the world around them.

I couldn’t help but compare Baby’s love of Dory to my love of Sesame Street when I was about that age (she’s one and a half). In the mid ’80s, Bert and Ernie were it for me. Bert specifically, for some reason. I had these little stuffed Bert and Ernie dolls, and my mother tells me Bert went everywhere with me. Perhaps even at that young age I realized I’d one day, like Bert, be a nerd with a nasally voice.

Actually, those Bert and Ernie dolls have ended up in Baby’s toy chest. I actually get a pretty big nostalgic kick out of seeing her play with them.

The wife and I haven’t exposed Baby to Sesame Street yet, largely because we don’t subscribe to HBO Max these days (I guess the Justice League “Snyder Cut” didn’t draw us in.). Full episodes are available on YouTube, though. So I imagine it’s only a matter of time before Elmo’s voice echoes off the walls of the Siebert house for hours at a time.

I don’t want to dislike Elmo. He was around when I was a kid. But too much of anything, and I tend to turn against it…

Maybe we’ll reach a compromise with Daniel Tiger. He’s the stand-in for Mister Rogers these days, right?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood

Baby’s Pal Superman

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Baby Primary Ignition has a favorite action figure. That should come as no surprise to those who know me personally, as I’ve got an office filled with them. So there’s a thrill that comes with her being attached to one.

Even more thrilling? It’s a Superman action figure. (For the geeks out there, it’s based on the Bruce Timm design from Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited.)

There’s a certain warmth and comfort that comes with associating my daughter with Superman. I’ve heard it said that every girl wants to date Batman, but marry Superman. That’s a pretty poignant observation, even from the male perspective. Every guy would love to be cool like Batman. But I think most grown men want to be Superman for their spouse and children.

I think that’s where that warm feeling comes in. Because right now I can be Superman for her. I can fix owies. I can read to her when she crawls to me with a book in her hand. I can even pick her up in my arms and make her fly.

So maybe it’s not about the thrill of her liking a Superman toy, so much as it’s about the feeling the toy drums up in me…

Incidentally, I don’t plan to be Superman once she starts dating. I fully intend to turn into the Hulk.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood, Movies

Intro to Tarzan

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

At one and a half years old, Baby Primary Ignition doesn’t see a great deal of TV. But she has been exposed very selectively. We have a Disney+ subscription at the PI household. She loves the Frozen movies, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, and as we very recently found out, Tarzan.

Released in 1999, Tarzan came down the pipe a little late for Mrs. Primary Ignition and I. But she recently turned it on for Baby, and was amazed at how responsive she was to the opening sequence. So much that she showed it to us this morning.

The sequence that’s pretty dramatic even by Disney standards. Baby Tarzan loses his parents to a leopard attack, and we see blood next to their shrouded corpses. This is after said leopard kills a baby gorilla. So of course, the gorilla’s mom adopts baby Tarzan, and we’ve got ourselves a movie.

As she gets old, Baby has started to point to things and say, “What’s that?” (In her own special toddler language, of course.) She was quite responsive during the movie’s opening, as Tarzan and his parents escape a fiery blaze. She also responded to the gorillas. Animals of all sorts are big with her. She’s started to point to different ones and say “Cow,” “Sheep,” etc. She also calls fish “elmo,” which we think is supposed to be Nemo.

But what really surprised us was her reaction to the bloodthirsty leopard. When the tiger leapt out and attacked, she actually called out “No!” She wasn’t afraid for herself, but the characters on screen.

It’s both scary and exciting to think that she’s becoming more aware and responsive to the world around her. That can only mean being a parent is about to become harder, and we’ve got to make more small decisions about what content is and isn’t appropriate for her. My days of watching John Oliver while she plays nearby may nearly be over.

Then again, we just showed her a movie where a ferocious leopard kills two humans and a baby gorilla. So maybe the child psyche is more durable than we give it credit for.

Incidentally, that Phil Collins soundtrack? Highly underrated.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood

Daddy’s C-3PO Impression Wins the Day

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I do impressions around the house a lot. What can I say? I’m a voice actor and a performer. It’s just what I do. When I became a father, I inevitably started doing goofy voices for Baby Primary Ignition. But now that she’s a little older (about a year and a half), I’m starting to get something I never got before: Feedback.

So today out of the blue, she hands me a little plush C-3PO (shown above), and looks at me expectantly. I bust out my Threepio impression, which is in essence a flummoxed British dude: “Oh! Miss [First Name]! Oh! Oh My!”

Moments later, Threepio reported: “Oh my! You seem to have soiled your pants.”

I always told myself I’d never push the things I love on to my kids. If they happen to enjoy Star Wars, that’s great. If they like something else, that’s great too.

But I won’t lie: Seeing her response positively to Threepio made my day. Maybe, just maybe, we have a future Jedi on our hands…

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood

A Mini Godzilla Movie

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We’ve now reached the point in my daughter’s life (she’s about one and a half) where certain days I feel like I’m living in a miniaturized Godzilla movie. I’ve got this screeching creature in my house that’s tearing apart the world as I know it with her bare hands.

And of course, there’s going to be a sequel…

If this kid starts breathing fire I’m REALLY in trouble.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Fatherhood

That Parenting Moment When…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

That moment where you’re sick as a dog, and really trying hard to put your baby to sleep.

You think she’s just about done, so you start to physically put her down.

But then she gives you the look. The look that says, “Nope. We’re not done here. You put me down, you know what’s gonna happen.”

And so, even though you’re fully aware your baby can’t understand human English, you stop short, pull her back up, and actually say the words: “Just kidding!”

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

Posted in Fatherhood, Wrestling

The Rock on Fatherhood and Family

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I think I’ve subconsciously been on the look-out for fatherly role models for a few years now. Long before we found out my wife was pregnant. What can I say? You hear a lot more about the bad fathers than the good ones. And there’s nothing I want more than to be a good father…

I’d never thought to look at Dwayne Johnson in that light. To me, no matter how many blockbuster movies he makes, he’ll always be the Rock. What can I say? I’ve been watching the guy since 1996. You know that now famous photo of him in the black shirt with fanny pack and the ’90s hair? (Shown right.) Yup, I was watching that guy. Then, of course, he became cool. He became the Rock. The most electrifying man in all of entertainment.

So naturally, I was drawn to this article on Fatherly by Donna Freydkin, which peers into Johnson’s family life, and how he raises his three daughters. I’m something of a cynic when it comes to interviews like this. But I’d really, really like to think that we’re getting the real Dwayne Johnson here. The genuine article, as opposed to an actor in publicity mode.

Obviously, I encourage you to read the article in its entirety. But I pulled a few notable quotes…

On Giving his Daughters a “Normal Life” in Spite of His Riches and Success: What we [use with them] constant dialogue and constant reminding of what they have to be appreciative of, and through our own actions. As you raise babies and kids and teenagers, you can say the words. It’s the actions they pay attention to.”

On Staying Playful and Entertaining with his Kids:I will do honestly anything to bring a smile to my babies’ faces. That unique age of, 12 to 15 months, two years, everything is a wonderment and you can make Pikachu come to life. It’s wonderful magic that I really, really love. I’m like a big kid. … Those memories will last forever.”

On Remaining a Good Person in the Face of Such Success: “I try to have a real self-awareness of what’s happening around me. I keep people around me who can have an open dialogue. I don’t need yes people. I don’t have yes people around me. I keep my family very close to what I do. You gotta have to have your partner who can always check you.”

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

Posted in Astonishing Art, Fatherhood

Astonishing Art: Fatherhood Edition, by Pena Nezuki

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Three days ago, my daughter was born. I’m not yet sure what I’ll refer to her as on this site. My wife has been Mrs. Primary Ignition. So…Li’l Primary Ignition, maybe?

Naturally, emotions are running high. I spotted this piece by Puna Nezuki on Father’s Day. It smacked me in the feels then. But now…

What makes the image for me, outside of the quality of the character renderings, is the variance between young Splinter and old Splinter. The former standing up straight and tall in his early days of parenthood. The latter with a bit of a hunch, facing old age, but able to look around at a job well done.

Thankfully, I only have one to look after, as opposed to four. I’m also not raising them in a sewer. Truth be told, Splinter might be the most overlooked father in all of pop culture.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.