One of the more memorable pieces I’ve read this year was about the fossilized footprints found at White Sands National Park. A set of large footprints and then every so often a set of smaller footprints alongside. What was going on? We have no idea, but then again, of course we do. If you are a parent you’ve done this same walk a hundred times. No matter how weird and dangerous things became this year, it’s oddly reassuring that this has all been happening for a long time. As parents. As humans. We’re all in this together.
It works just as well in the present, too. I get the same relief and reassurance when I start to Google ‘is glitter in the ear canal harmful’ and it autocompletes before I finish. Thank god some other parent has been here before…
Allison recently celebrated her eighth birthday and as is the custom in our house, she got to request her preferred cake. She chose a yellow-layered birthday cake with strawberry buttercream frosting. And lots of sprinkles. A classic, simple choice. Not that difficult, it wasn’t a souffle, but still plenty of places to screw up. No Dad wants to screw up their kid’s cake.
In my ongoing quest to get through 2020 safely and sanely, I’ve decided that when it comes to the girls, it’s better accept the distractions, the interruptions, and the glitter as an stake in their future.
Does Ally interrupt us throughout the day with questions about counting on or trick words? Yes. Does Ce sometimes need help with technology or trombone? Yup. Does the tuition and costume check for dance cause me to blanch? Yes. Did we buy them too much stuff for Christmas. Of course. Am I late to work calls because of it? Sometimes. Do I regret it or get upset at the interruption or expense? I’m trying not to.
It’s an investment in their knowledge and education and I hope it’s making them better. It’s worth what it costs.
Okay, faux croissants, but so simple and easy to make and so rich and chocolaty that unless you’re living in Paris, you probably will forgive the nomenclature miscue because you are too buys chewing these rich, decadent breakfast (or really anytime) treats. Using store bough puff pastry dough (really, who makes there own at home?!), whatever chocolate you have in the pantry, and a little egg wash, you can have these from fridge to table almost in the time that it takes to brew a fresh pot of coffee.
We went to see Elf with friends (Happy Birthday, Ty!) at a rented movie theater this week. It was a great time and spoiled ever going to a theater with strangers again. It also meant that Ally had plenty of sugar after 7 p.m. Her appetite for candy and desserts has been well documented here. She was a hyper Christmas pixie by the time we made it home. Her contagious silliness infected her sister. It was time for bed but they only had mischief on their minds. Giggling, fighting, laughing. Thank god the glitter was out of reach.
It was late. I was ready to pack it in. This was definitely not time for a rumpus. I was teetering on the verge of shutting it down by parental decree (i.e., yelling) and yet…a question popped into my mind instead: who has it better?
Nobody. Nobody has it as good as your own family. It’s a mad, mad world out there right now. Hang on tight to those dear to you. Lean into that craziness. Try to enjoy it.
After Thanksgiving, we kicked off the holiday season by checking out the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Festival of Trees. This annual fundraiser/raffle showcases dozens of decorated trees along with an impressive model railroad display.
Find some good and praise it. That’s my new mantra as we pass Thanksgiving and head into December. I’m trying not to fall into the conflict and criticism trap.
As a Dad, I’m always going to have more success rewarding good behavior than punishing bad behavior. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes there’s just too much glitter on the floor and it goes to my head. I see red. But I’m trying hard not to make that my primary reaction. Parenting is a daily choice: try to inspire or cave in to disillusion. Empower or depress.
I hope my relationship with Michelle is empowering and inspiring. It’s one choice that’s been paying off for over 20 years now and based on the kid’s behavior the other night, I think maybe some of that partnership is shining through…