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1-2-3 Magic Can Suck It!

Well, truthfully…three years ago I wanted to make love to the inventor of 1-2-3 Magic.

It saved our asses from many many a bad habit. But I have to admit…we never actually read it. We just read the title and immediately said, “oh shit we’ve got this down pat. You say one…then two…and if they haven’t stopped by three they’re in time out. Let’s do this!!!!”

And, low-and-behold, with just the quick, yet stern, announcement of the number “one” children within our household would immediately stop the madness.

Then, their tiny little minds started developing. They moved from just barely being able to walk, to flying around corners, to kicking the cat when you weren’t looking, to trying to open your bedroom door while you and the Mrs. were making whoopie.

That’s when they realize, “why in the hell am I stopping at one? I have a whole other second to continue my madness right in front of my parents and get away with it!”

And so we watched as the daughter gave our boy a wedgie as we slowly counted, “one!!!!!.....two!!!!!!” and by then everything she’d come here to do had been accomplished.

So…we did what we imagined the book would strongly recommend…we sped-up our counting. The numbers one and two quickly became one word, “Grayson!!! Onetwo…”

“Daddy you didn’t even pause between the numbers!!! That’s no fair!!!”

Then it dawned on me. My kids are about to be six and eight-year-old. I shouldn’t be 1-2-3 Magicing their asses. They should respect and obey me damn it!!!

So, I downed a beer, slammed the empty to the ground, and called a family meeting.

“Kids!,” I said as I put my arm around the wife to seem as though we were united in this epic announcement. “No more 1-2-3!! From now on, if you don’t do what we say the first time, you go to your rooms without toys. Your mother and I stand firm on this. Now….be-gone and go be children!”

3.8 seconds later the boy was the first to challenge this new rule by standing between his sister and the TV. It was at that very second that I realized how engrained 1-2-3 had become in my life. And it was at that very second I wanted to set a date for my first of a dozen 1-2-3 Magic book-burning parties.

I couldn’t count anymore. I just simply had to lay the law down and end it.

But I catch myself all the time wanting to count to stop things that annoy me.

Behind a slow-ass driver on the interstate – “move damn it!!!! One!!! Two!!!!”

Trying like hell to get my insanely fast and agile puppy to come to me at 11 p.m. at night – “Marty HERE!!!! HERE MARTY!!!! One!!! Two!!!!”

The wife hoping that I last at least three seconds tonight – “OK honey, you ready to start? You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you. OK…GO!!!! One….tw….oh honey it’s OK, it happens to everyone.”

So, yeah! I never read the book. And I used to believe in the awesomeness of its title and what it did for our beloved family.

But now, I’ve come to realize 1-2-3 isn’t “Magic,” it’s a freakin’ “Lifestyle!” And I really really miss it.




Last week I was cruising home soothing my news junkie DTs by listening to NPR when I heard an amazingly touching interview with author Brad Meltzer.

Known for his mystery/thriller books, Meltzer started writing a book eight years ago after his first son was born. He was slowly creating a list of people he felt were heroes.

Miep Gies, Dr. Suess, Meltzer’s mother, Mother Teresa, Dan West, Jim Henson, Roberto Clemente, and more. The book is called Heroes for my Son.

It was heart-warming listening to him discuss the process by which he wrote his first non-fiction book. He took his true talents and applied them to a noble cause…to instill in his children the knowledge that no matter who you are, you hold within yourself the ability to impact lives in a positive, forceful way.

I drove past my home and went straight to the book store. Later that night I started reading the book to my kids.

It forces you to engage them, explain to them why things were the way they were. Why a black man was sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit in Mississippi. Why Anne Frank and her family had to hide for so long from the Nazis. Why giving away everything you have to help others can be so rewarding.

How the simplest act of doing what you believe is right can sometimes impact the lives of three….sometimes millions.

The journey of a parent is always changing, filled with twists, unknowns, and lots of stiff drinks.

When your kids are babies you instill the basics of life…walking, making sure they don’t choke on their food, and the glorious pooping in the toilet trick.

A little later it’s “no biting,” “we don’t use our hands for hitting,” and “it’s not OK to run around the neighborhood naked.”

Lately for me, it’s clear that I’m now entering the phase of molding a young man and woman’s mind. I’m guiding the creation of a person, their beliefs, their decision-making process, and the impact they make on society.

Praising diversity, instilling respect for those who’ve laid the foundation for the spoils of today, and listening to the questions, comments, and responses from my children along the way – that’s what I’ve spent the past few nights doing as we read this book.

It’s why I bought it. Because I was so thankful for the creation of a tool that would allow me to engage my kids in conversations surrounding the ideals and beliefs my wife and I hold so strongly and have always wanted them to learn.

The last page of the book allows you to write the last chapter of the book – a chapter about your hero.

I plan to leave it blank for now. And years from now, use that space to explain to my children why each of them are my heroes.