Thursday, August 20, 2015

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.

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