Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘children’

So, in case you were wondering, it is difficult to be a parent.  I think the biggest mistake that parents make is the effort we place on how our children should be.  Before my oldest son was born, I received the greatest advice that I ever received regarding parenting.  I was told, “You can decide what kind of parent you will be, but you can’t decide what kind of child you will have.”  Almost everyday that I have been a parent, this statement has been true.

Despite that great advice, I find myself on a regular basis trying to “mold” my children in, not necessarily “my image”, but at least a close facsimile of “my image”.  Scratch that, not “my image”, but the image of what I think they should be.  In other words, the advice that I find to be so true, I break all the time.  So why is this so difficult?  Let me put it this way, I think there is a fine line between molding your child and wishing the best for them.  Some time what we think is best and who we are as people mix together like a bad bowl of oatmeal. The reality is that I love my children as they are, but I love them too much to let them stay that way.

So, my goal is NOT to change my kids, but to help them be the best “them” they can be.  Which is what inspired a pretty big fight between my oldest son and myself.  Like so many parent/child fights, it began with ‘good intentions’.  My son is my research assistant this summer.  We work with an animal known as a marmot.  We spend several weeks collecting data for my research.  Luckily for me, he is with me voluntarily.  I am sure this will not be the case forever, but I am thankful he is with me now.

The research does not take all day, and we have many ‘free’ hours in the cabin, and the cabin has Wi-Fi.  So, instead of him being plugged in for hours per day, I suggested a study schedule of his more difficult subjects, French and Biology.  He begins high school next year, and I wanted him to do well.  This of course would be in addition to his assignment of reading a book (assigned by my wife) during the summer.  Well, let’s just say that he was not impressed with this plan and was quite upset at the prospect of his father destroying his summer.

I don’t have time to go into all of the details of our heated discussion, but suffice to say, it was heated, and if you were in the room, you’d think I was threatening to take away his food and make him sleep outside.  But you know the real kicker? At some point during our discussion, it became clear to me that he thought that I wanted him to study because I did not think he would be able to handle High School.  He felt I had no faith in his abilities.

How many problems in relationships are caused by miscommunication?  Hurtful words as a result of insecurities?  What if we could lead with love and support rather than change and criticism?  I love my son, and I know he can do well in High School, and I really want to help.  But it is clear to me, that in my desire to help, I must lead with love and support.  He needs to know that I am his biggest fan.  He needs help not because he lacks the ability, he needs help because we all need help to be the best we can be.  The fight calmed down when I shared my own areas where I need help.  I am not a perfect parent, but a parent that I hope to be.  To do that, I need lots of help.

Today, we discussed a chapter of ‘Catching Fire’ and answered French questions on the app, Duolingo.  He read without being asked, started telling me about the chapter without prompting, and we did Duolingo together.  I can’t decide what kind of child I can have, but I am very lucky to have the one I got.

————————————————————

One way to get your kid interested in going to college is having them hang out with college kids.  My son and I eat dinner surrounded by college kids.  Between the swear words being used as naturally as breathing, sexual innuendos, and stories of college escapades that no 14-year old should hear, you’d think I would be warping my son.  He laughs on a regular basis, and I am pretty sure he can’t wait to be ‘one of them’.  Who says that there is no value in crude crass college kids? I’m just sayin …

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

So, my son bought a fedora.  I don’t know where he got it from, or why he bought it, but when I picked him up from his mom’s house yesterday, he had it on.  Don’t get me wrong, he looks great, but is a fedora something that a 5th grader should wear?  Or more specifically, should he wear it to school?  I can honestly say that I want my children to grow up independent and secure in who they are and  I don’t want them to worry about what other people think or say.  They should be themselves and not let anyone dictate who or what they should be … in theory.

You see, in my mind, when he arrived to school wearing a fedora, kids were going to point at him and laugh.  They were going to tell him that he looked stupid wearing that hat, and then spend the next 20 minutes making him cry.  The scene finishes with him eating alone in the cafeteria working really hard to hold back tears.  Or there was the other version, the version where kids take his hat, rip it up and beat him up for being a pretentious little fedora-wearing panzy boy.  He arrives home with a bloody lip and runs to his room crying.  What I have just described to you is the real thoughts that ran through my head this morning as I contemplated keeping the fedora at home.  Instead, I simply asked him “You sure you want to wear that hat to school?”  He responded simply, “Yup.”  And that was that.  I said nothing else.  he got ready for school, which included his gym shoes, backpack, violin and fedora.  Him playing the violin, in my mind, did not help.  As he leaves the house, about to close the door, I say one thing, “You look great in that hat.”  He said, “Thanks” and walked to school.

He is wearing that hat. You go boy!

I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I knew one thing, my son was going to leave the house knowing that I thought he looked great in that fedora.  And he did look great in that fedora.  My goal for my kids remain the same.  I want them to be independent and not worry about what other people think.  But I added another goal to my parenting list today; I want my kids to know what I think.  I think my kids are awesome, and he looks good in a fedora.
——————————————–
I wondered this morning, “what crazy thing would I do if I was filthy rich?”  When I say rich, I mean light your cigar with a burning $100 dollar bill rich.  Here is what I would do: I would purchase a barber style chair, I would make a special room with a HD television on the wall, and wall speakers connected to my voice activated i-pod that is connected to the internet and automatically downloads any song that I request.  Blu-ray with surround sound of course.  I would hire the most attractive woman I could find.  She would be paid $50,000 a year to wear high heel shoes and a nice low-cut black dress, and at least once a week, using tweezers, pull the white hairs from my beard one by one.  Happy ending would be optional.  I’m just sayin …

He is very good at the violin, and the fedora completes the ensemble.

Read Full Post »

So, once again I am preempting my scheduled blog for a blog about my son and being a parent.

I am divorced.  My oldest son is almost 11 (October 24).  He has a three-year-old brother and a nine-week-old sister.  I am sure in his mind he had eight glorious years of being an only child.  Now despite having to share his home with two other young siblings, hs has always had the escape of visiting his mom on the weekends to have a place all to himself.

Yesterday, he received the news from his mom that she is going to have a baby, and he was not happy about the news.  Now, if you are an avid reader of this blog, I hope you have garnered that I take parenting seriously.  I am not a perfect parent, but I do the best I can.  I mention this because I have thought long and hard about the lessons that I must teach my children, more specifically, my son who is getting closer and closer to becoming a man.

As my son becomes more and more independent, I want to make sure that he has the tools to be prepared for what life will bring.  For example, we preach healthy eating in my house.  We know that he will be in many situations in which the food will be presented in large amounts with many unhealthy options.  My wife and I have had multiple conversations with him to talk about what it means to be healthy and hope that he will choose to make healthy choices whether we are there or not.

Last week we talked about tithing.  We talked about how we believe that all we have is a gift from God and He only asks for 10%.  Brett does not attend church with us, so we have made it a point to at least discuss some of the things that we feel are important in regards to our faith.  He has a lot for a 10-year-old, and we want him to not take it for granted and appreciate all that he has.  I also think it is a good lesson about finances, something that I think many of us were not taught by our parents.

So, when my son came home last night and made it very clear to me that he was not happy about his mom having a child, I knew it was time to have another talk, and this is what I said (Thanks to my friend, Doug, for his inspiration of this chat):

Isaac was in the stroller as Brett and I walked and talked around the neighborhood.  “Brett, first of all you are a great big brother.  You have handled the arrival of your brother and your sister very well.  You have done great.  And I know it is hard dealing with so much change, but you have done an excellent job.  What I want to talk to you about today is what it means to be us.  We are Woods men, and that has meaning.  I want to tell you about two things that I believe is something that we do.  One, we do our best in everything that we do.  Whether it is school, violin, football, or Taekwondo, we do our best.  That is why it is important to practice, read or study, we do our best.  Do you know what pride is?  Well, we have pride in everything that we do.”   And we talked about this for a while. 

“The second thing we do is we help people.  That is very important.  When we see people in need, we help them.”  Brett asked, “Just friends?”  “No, everyone.  We open up doors for people.  We help strangers in need if we can.  We help our friends.  And we especially help our family and that is why your job as big brother is so important.  You have been a great big brother to Isaac and Violet, and I know you will be a great big brother to your new brother or sister.  You will help your mom when she needs it, and you will do your best to make her happy, because that is what we do.”  We continued to talk, and he was surprisingly engaged in the conversation, adding his own comments and questions about things.  By the time we got back home, we had moved on to other things, such as Ben 10 Ultimate Alien.

So, I have been thinking, maybe that is our mission statement.  We do our best and we help others.  It makes me wonder if every family should have a mission statement.  It helps with family identity, unity, goals and understanding of who we are as people.  It might make it just a little easier for our children as they grow older having a clear understanding of what they are about.

You see, Brett was significantly more positive after our conversation.  I will never forget the moment and the power of talking and teaching your kids.  It is a conversation I will definitely have with Isaac and then one day with Violet.  I am sure it will be modified, but it will still be our Woods Mission Statement.  The cool thing is that Brett spent the next hour playing and talking with Isaac during dinner.  It was a lot of fun to watch.  Striving to improve and be better, that’s another thing Woods men do.  I’m just sayin …

Read Full Post »

So, I am working on another post that will be ready this weekend, however, I must write a quick post about my son.

I just got back from dropping him off at football practice.  He can walk on his own, but sometimes I enjoy chatting with him along the way and then talking with his coaches to see how he is progressing.

Last week, Brett Jr. missed the football game because it was a later than normal game and he wanted to see his mom.  I totally supported that decision and his team did just fine, winning 52 to 33.  So, while talking to the coaches today, they asked me if Brett would be at the game this weekend.  You see, his game this Saturday was changed to a later time, and they wanted to know if he would miss the game again.  I said, yeah he will be there.  I said, “I talked with his mom today and he will definitely be at the game.”  And they responded, “Great, because we definitely missed him last week.”  You see, until last week, Brett’s team had only allowed 6 points in 3 games.  Last week they allowed 33.  The coaches said, “We missed Brett in the middle.”

I couldn’t stop grinning.  I mean, I was sorry for the team’s struggle, but was extremely happy that it was due to my son’s absence.  He is a star!

So, I am happy, but trying to contain myself.  I have locked and chained up “crazy sports” dad from the first two weeks of football, and I have promised my self to not to ever let him out again.  Nonetheless, I am very proud of my son, for more reasons than success on the field.  He is becoming more and more independent.  He is getting his homework done, he is studying for and doing well on tests, he is playing with his brother, and he is having fun playing football.  I am very proud of my son.  I’m just sayin …

Read Full Post »

So, my baby daughter turned one week old yesterday and she is the third example of a simple truth that I have come to know, babies are boring.  Insolence! Naysayer! He’s a witch, burn him!  You sir are a charlatan and a fraud!  You cad! Good day sir.  I SAID GOOD DAY!  That’s right, you read correctly, I said that babies are boring.  Don’t believe the hype.  Now here is the main point of this post, most people, maybe all people, with the exception of myself and possibly 20-year-old single heterosexual males think babies are awesome.  What’s so awesome about them?

Here is a day in the life of my daughter, Violet:

10:30-12:15 Awake
12:15-12:30 Feed
12:30-3:00  Sleep
3:00-3:15   Feed
3:15-4:15   Awake/sleep/cry unless I am walking with her in my arms
4:15-4:20   Feed
4:20-5:30   Sleep
5:30        Isaac wakes up Violet by poking her in the eye
5:31        Isaac denies waking his sister up, but since she is up, he asks if can he hold her.
5:31-7:00   Awake/sleep/crying
7:00-7:15   Feed
7:15-9:00   Sleep
9:00-9:15   Feed
9:15-9:45   Watch TV with Daddy
9:45-12:00  Sleep

When I use the term “awake” I use it VERY loosely.  She can’t focus her eyes.  When she “smiles” I am quite confident it’s gas.  And she can’t keep her head up on her own, she is basically a 10 pound bobble head.  Of course, if I flick her head like a bobble head I am a “bad” father.  Who makes up these rules?

The rest is basically a blur to me as I try very hard to sleep through the feeding sessions.  Before you condemn me for being a man, know this, I do NOT have mammary glands, and could not feed her if I tried.  My guess is that the inventor of the breast pump was a man, but its intention was not for humans, it was for cows.  The modifier of the milking machine most certainly was a woman.  If it was a man, he was punched by the nearest father once the ramifications of his invention became known.  I am also certain that after being punched and socked in the groin by a man with kids, the inventor got up and quietly said “I deserved that.”  Leah has a breast pump, but plans to breast feed for as long as I can convince her it is best for the baby.

The point is that babies don’t do nuthin’.  So, why are so many people crazy about them?  Ok they are cute, but what else they got?  Now don’t get me wrong, being cute is very important.  From an evolutionary standpoint, it is the one thing keeping the parent from killing their child. If you have children, you know exactly what I am talking about.  But when it comes to being crazy about babies, no one is worse than grandmothers.

My mom and Leah’s mom are chomping at the bit to see their granddaughter.  However, we made it very clear to them that we would not like visitors until September.  We don’t want to start out with craziness and I don’t care who you are, family, friends or acquaintances, visitors, especially sleepover visitors add stress to one’s life, especially mine.  So I assure you that no one was more surprised than me when our phone rang (I did not answer it) and over our answering machine’s speaker I hear my mother-in-law’s voice with many pieces of information, but only one important one, she and Leah’s niece are in a hotel 15 minutes away.  I clearly mis-heard.  My wife comes down the stairs, I say to her,”Hey Love, your mom left a message.”  “Yeah she called me on my cell as well, let’s listen to it.” she said.  They are in Milwaukee.  WHAT!?!?

Later, I made it very clear to my mother-in-law that this was not OK, but here is the thing, she drove SEVEN HOURS, paid for a hotel (didn’t knock on our door in fear of us not letting her in, also did not call us sooner in fear of us saying no to her visit) to see her granddaughter for TWO hours and then drove the seven hours back home.  Crazy!  Baby crazy!  Oh by the way, what was Violet doing during her visit?  Sleeping.  She would’ve got the same impact by holding a teddy bear with a picture of Violet’s face on it and saved the gas and hotel costs.  I know, I know, I can hear you saying it now, but Brett, it is not the same.  Really?  Really?  Would waiting two weeks (when she was due to arrive) make that much of a difference.  Baby Crazy.  It should be classified as a disease.

So, call me an ogre, callous, or say that I do not have a soul, but the bottom line, my daughter is about as exciting as the WNBA (Oh no he didn’t.  Do you know that WNBA games are going on now?  Yeah, neither did I.  Who is funding this league?  Why does the WNBA still exist?  I say play a game between the best high school students, and if they win, they get to stay on TV.  If they lose, we finally get to shoot that broken legged horse.  Am I wrong?)  OK, that was a long digression, I apologize.  Simply, babies are boring.  This won’t be true forever.  For example, my three-year-old provides loads of entertainment.  My son announces to his mom “Babies poop in their diaper and Isaac pees on the floor.”  My wife is despondent as she gazes at the very large puddle on the bathroom floor.  See, comedy gold. 

I am convinced there is a gene that causes people, mostly women, to go crazy over babies.  A gene that I am clearly lacking, but if it wasn’t for this gene, the human race would have probably died out long ago.  I love my daughter, and she is definitely the cutest little girl on the planet, but until she can show appreciation for Star Wars, throw a ball, tell a joke, or start pooping chocolate, she is officially and affectionately B-O-R-I-N-G, boring.  Oh by the way, did I mention that my daughter, Violet, is AWESOME!

———————————————————-

When do feet become ugly appendages and parts of the body that one would never, ever want to be placed in one’s mouth? Unless you have some kind of fetish, in which case you have issues that I would prefer not discuss here, you could place a baby’s foot in your mouth and no one would think of you as weird.  Unless it was a stranger’s baby, and then they would call the police.  But I just find it funny that baby’s feet are super cute and cuddly.  Daddy’s feet?  Uuuggghh, shiver down the spine.  I’m just sayin …

Read Full Post »