Skip to main content

Things I Learned On Vacation

WATER! They have WATER!
Plenty of deep thoughts - and water - flowing here.
We recently took a two-week family vacation. In part, that explains why I haven’t posted in a while.  I was also busy trying to parent through some rough seas and minor medical things that go along with parenting and will probably be the focus of future posts. And I was being lazy; don't forget lazy.

Vacations can be great.  They are nice for down time.  The mindlessness it can sometimes entail can paradoxically allow for really deep consideration of things.  But as my wife said, vacationing with kids is mostly doing exactly what you do at home, but instead you do it closer to the beach.

Too true.

Still, a couple things struck me.

The first was that the 10-toy plan to parenting on a dime is absolutely feasible.
Vacation is a great time to see how your kids react outside of their natural environment.  Its also a time where you leave most of your stuff at home. And by “your,” I mean the kids. Frankly, the kids have a lot more stuff than me these days. And while most of it is way cooler than the stuff I have, who wants to pack it all? 

Anyway, we pared down from the usual 10,342 toys down to about a dozen or two.  And you know what? They were content.

All that stuff; it isn’t necessary. That mess all those toys create: unnecessary.  Ten or fifteen toys, maybe twenty total, rotated in and out of a play area are totally enough.

That isn’t to say I’m instituting that program. Even having witnessed how well it worked, it still makes me nervous to employ as a strategy. I won’t lie and say I didn’t think about it when we got home. A few toys scattered about rather than 100s. All those miscellaneous toy pieces gone; the room cleaned up in seconds rather than minutes.

How nice would it be? 

A second thing got to me as well.  We were in the pool one day and Sadie saw a little baby waddle by in its awkward, first-steps way.  Sadie says to me:

“Daddy, look, a little baby.”

This is hardly surprising.  Sadie has an empathy and fascination for babies that is both impressive and absolutely genetic. It almost has to be seen to be believed. But it was what she said next that really got me.

“She is walking.  I’m so proud of her.”

Sadie, who had never once met this kid, was proud of her for walking.

And I was immensely proud of Sadie. 

I'm not one for taking accolades. Most of this blog is about my errors and doubts and how genetics plays a big role in how your kid ends up. But this one struck a chord. We must be doing something correct for her to recognize the challenge walking posed to that baby and comment on it. Right? So I was a little proud of the job my wife and I are doing.

But pride always comes before the fall.

You know what else I learned on vacation? If you ignore your water bill long enough, they will send you a shut off notice.  And if that notice comes the day before you leave for vacation, they will shut off your water right after you get home.  

Yep. I did that. Not so proud.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Meditations

A couple months ago I posted about a push up challenge, and at the risk of pushing this blog into a self-help section, I'm going to post something else that I really enjoy that I think might help a reader or two (all two of you!).

Lifehacker.com currently runs what it calls "Mid-Week Meditations," which is a short story on some piece of ancient wisdom.  Oooohhhhhhh, its ancient.  Just so you know, I'm not one to fall for the whole "ancient" is best meme.

But this is legit good stuff.  They take a quote or concept from a philosopher in the past - think Marcus Aurelius - translate what the sometimes mumbo jumboish phrase means, and then kind of detail how you can apply it.

This week, its all about how to train your mind for constructive thinking.

One thing I love about the series is that it doesn't dress up the knowledge too much.  It doesn't make it out to be more than it is, or suggest that its great simply because some Greek guy said it 2,000 years …

The Dark Months

The holidays are over.  It only seems like life is over.

There is a solid three month period where holidays of various degrees are hitting you one-two-three style.  You have Halloween, which takes some of the sting out of the cooling temperatures and the disappearance of summer.  You have Thanksgiving, with rare foods and the promise of Christmas. 

Then you have a month of prepping and joy for Christmas.  You are so busy, you hardly notice how cold it has gotten.  And this year it got pretty darn cold.  And then Christmas itself.  My wife and I take a week off between Christmas and New Years, so we have that. 

Its a period so full of life.  And then the aforementioned NYE - when the cold decided to take it up a notch.

With triplets, its a little like being shot out of a cannon and taking three months to land.

But when you land, you land firmly in what I call the Dark Months.

There are no more holidays.  Yes, I realize MLK and Presidents Day are in January and February, and yes, I know…

Stop Telling Kids They Are Perfect The Way They Are

Parenting is super tricky.

You do a thing you think is great - look, I've set very strict guidelines that will make my kid a super adult and prepare them for the world - and all you do is instill them with the thought that you never let them have fun and kept them from being able to adjust to the world as it is.
OTOH, you give them no rules and be their friend, and they long for you to have given them direction and guidance and pushed them so that they didn't end up with no skills and a habit of laying around on a couch all day.
It is really the ultimate no win situation in a game that feels incredibly important to win.  As a result, I'm hesitant to give hard and fast advice on how to parent a specific child.
But there is one piece thing I think we parents need to stop doing across the board: stop telling kids they are "perfect the way they are."  
This is also a tricky, mine filled field to traipse through, because honestly, self esteem requires that we like who…