Posted in Fatherhood

Living in Disney Hell

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Disney Hell is a very real place.

It’s not filled with villains, or kidnapped princesses, or evil magic. Rather, it’s a song. One song. That your child keeps asking for over…and over…and over…and over…

The make-up of Disney Hell varies depending on the family and child. But in the Siebert house, Disney Hell is this “I’ve Got a Dream” song on a constant loop. My two-year-old will specifically ask for, “Dream Song?”

And no, “I’ve Got a Dream” does not feature Martin Luther King Jr.

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

Posted in Fatherhood

So, What Did We Learn Today?

chaos is how i learnBy Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

When my oldest daughter was a baby, she had a t-shirt that read “Chaos is How I Learn” (shown right). I actually found an adult-sized version of it over at Box Lunch.

She’s two now. This morning, I wound up chasing her around the house as she held a digital thermometer in her hand, and had a Target gift card stuck to her foot.

So…what the @#$% did we learn from THAT?!?

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

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.