This is what my Dad-brain thinks about after marinating in a vacation week stew of trampoline parks, turnpike traffic jams, and puddle jumping…
Our kids like broccoli. We’ve trained them from an early age that a meal includes a fruit, a vegetable, and a main item. Most often they choose broccoli or edamame as the vegetable. This training, however has had an unintended consequence. They only like a very specific kind of broccoli. Microwaved frozen florets. The only thing worse is frozen cuts. Fresh broccoli or steamed broccoli or roasted broccoli might as well be a different thing altogether.
I’ve tried reasoning with them but you can guess how that went. I’m not sure why this bothers me. Feels like an insult to broccoli though.
Like I said, vacation week, Dad brain.
Dark rooms, music, fog machine, lasers. Nope, we were not desperately reliving our clubbing days in a weird post-40 crisis. We were doing the Espionage escape room in Foxboro. This was our first experience with escape rooms. How did it go? Was it better than clubbing? Should you take your kids?
If you live up here long enough you end up with a story or a connection to the marathon. A little over ten years ago, we were nearing Michelle’s due date and had one last wellness appointment with the doctor. As we were checking out, a nurse handed me a photocopied sheet of paper with hieroglyphics on it. It might have generously been called a map. It was mostly boxes, arrows and a few squiggles.
“They close the roads.”
“If you need to get to hospital during the marathon you’ll have to use the fire road.”
Thankfully, Cecilia missed the marathon by a couple days. Her birth was stressful enough without adding an off-road adventure. The map wasn’t needed but every time marathon monday approaches I think of all the parents nervously sweating out the start time for reasons that have nothing to do with running.
So Chelle-bration week has wrapped up. Cake has been eaten. Presents opened. Friends have stopped by. It wasn’t the original planned karaoke blowout, and while I did re-learn all the lyrics to ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire,’ I’m not complaining! Food, friends, and dominoes worked out just fine.
It might be all the champagne this week but we’ve both turned a bit reflective now that we are in the 40 club.
What exactly have we learned? A couple things, I hope. This is for the girls. Maybe they’ll read it one day. Or maybe Alexa will project it directly onto their brain. Too bad flash cards don’t work like that, huh, Ce!
We had a good set of report cards this quarter. Cecilia especially showed measurable improvements since Christmas. This gave me the perfect opportunity to give all the credit to flash cards. Cecilia was a bit more skeptical. I was only half kidding.
One my biggest learnings in the past fews years is the best performers, whether it’s sports, school, or career have the basics down cold. How? By constantly doing reps. If you don’t repeat the simple foundations of whatever you are trying to achieve you’ll never reach your full potential. End of story.
This is what I told Cecilia. To stay great, to keep improving, you need to keep that curious beginner’s mind. If you ever find yourself floundering, go back to the basics. Ask the simple questions. Do the reps.
“So I have to keep doing the flash cards?”
I kept the answer simple. “Yes.”
The big fourth grade project is a report on Canada. This includes research, a typed presentation, and an artifact. One of the things I like most about Cecilia’s teacher is how she gives the kids the time and space to do things on their own. For better and for worse. Sorry, for better and for learning opportunities.
Watching Cecilia ‘type’ her slides was almost viscerally painful. Until she discovered dictation! We thought about stepping in but if we are going to let them figure things out why can’t she use all the tools on her Chromebook.
The toughest part for me to witness has been the design of the slides. I worked for almost 8 year as a consultant. I spent a lot time using PowerPoint. A lot. I would sometimes dream in PowerPoint. People would open their mouths and a perfectly formatted slide would pop out with their dialogue.
Cecilia’s slide dialogue would have been…difficult to read. She enjoyed different fonts. Explored different font sizes. Discovered rainbow fonts. She discovered Comic Sans. We had to have a chat.
As a designer, I will not let my child submit a report using Comic Sans. Time and space has its limits.
Mid-March in New England means a couple things to me. First, I start arguing with the kids that temperatures in the mid-40’s still means you need to wear something with long sleeves. Second, I need to consider chiseling out some furrows for planting the first peas. Finally, it marks the unofficial start of the spring road racing season. I’ve never met a competition I didn’t like!
5 reasons I still like running 5k’s:
Budget They’re not cheap, but they are cheaper than most other races and you typically get the same snacks for running a lot less.
Competing Many longer events are about enduring your way to the finish. 5k’s are about racing.
Fitness The 5k requires strength, speed, power, and endurance. You can effectively train for a 5k with a variety of workouts not just long runs. It will not only help you run better but also improve your overall health.
No Chafing The risk of nipple bleeding is very low.
Beer & Naps It’s just long enough and takes just enough effort that it totally justifies at least one beer and one short nap when you are done.
We totally took advantage of the beer and nap clause yesterday.