Parenting From the End

What will your children remember about you when you’re gone?

While most parents may not spend much time thinking about that, I actually think about that a lot!

I probably think about that too much! Maybe I even obsess about it. Because sometimes it seems that I am growing older faster than they are growing up!

In my previous post, Lucky and Blessed, I expressed the blessing of raising children the second time around. This post is a follow-up and, perhaps, illustrates the dark side of being an older parent.

Most parents are young adults when they have children. They expect to live long enough to watch their children grow up, graduate, start a career, get married, and have families of their own. And, they certainly don’t recognize their mortality as much as an older adult does.

But, my second-time-around parenthood is being performed nearer the end of my life than the beginning or middle. You might say, I’m parenting from the end!

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The Blessedness of Being Little

“His overthrow heap’d happiness upon him;

For then, and not till then, he felt himself,

And found the blessedness of being little.”

(from Henry VIII by William Shakespeare)

My father was an English teacher and among the courses he taught during his career was English Literature. Unfortunately, the ability to read and understand Shakespeare was not a skill that he passed on to me.

So, if you are a Shakespeare illiterate like me, let me quickly explain the context and meaning of this quote and then I will get on with my story.

This declaration is made in reference to Cardinal Wolsey, the main villain in the play. Wolsey’s intrigues included attempting to keep Anne Boleyn from the king. When his downfall came, the cardinal recognized the futility of his ambitious pursuit for wealth and power and found an inner peace he described as a “fortitude of soul.” The character in the play who spoke these words described the cardinal’s transformation as “the blessedness of being little.”

I’ve been home recovering from an illness for most of a week. My recovery didn’t allow me to take care of the kids, so Conner picked them up at daycare, fixed them dinner, and got them to bed in the evenings. Then she came back in the mornings and fed them breakfast and got them ready and took them back to daycare.

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So, How’s That Working Out for You?

WillyWonka-HowsThatWorkingOut-2

On this blog I talk a lot about my bad parenting strategies and experiences, those things I’ve tried with the toddlers that seemed like a good idea at the time but didn’t work out like expected.

The results of my bad parenting techniques become embarrassingly obvious when we’re around parents that are the age parents should be when they have young children like I do and you compare my kids behavior to theirs. And it becomes even more embarrassing when it’s your own family!

My grown kids have always maintained that grandparents are not good parents. Whether or not that’s true (read this blog and find out), I maintain that I’m one of the best grandparents around. As a grandparent my job is to tell my grandchildren “Yes” and it’s their parents’ job to tell them “No.” And, I’m extremely good at my job!

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Clever Comments: Bath Wars and Liberated Toddlers

I have mentioned on previous occasions that on this blog we don’t really have any good advice to give about raising children.

And, we don’t seem to have great insight into being a great parent or grandparent.

Instead, we’re asking for your advice!

We need your suggestions for being a better parent and grandparent!

You know, if you have read many of our posts, that we have plenty of stories to tell about what not to do in raising children, but very little useful information is provided about how to raise children correctly.

So, I’m always appreciative of comments that give good advice or provide some creative solutions to some of the problems I tell you about.

And I’m especially appreciative, when you you deliver it with cleverness. Good advice shrouded in wit!

So, in this post I want to share with you a couple of clever comments we pulled from the Comments Box (either from Facebook or the Comments at the end of each blog post).

I got a hearty laugh and some good ideas from both of these comments.

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May I Help You?

It seems that almost everywhere I go with the toddlers people are offering to help me. I have to wonder, though, are the offers because I appear to be an unlikely, incompetent, or incapable parent?

And it’s not that I don’t appreciate the offers of help. I do!

It just makes me wonder who it is that people are feeling sorry for, me or the toddlers!

Here’s an example. The other evening we were at McDonald’s and the toddler’s were playing in the play area. This is a fairly regular routine, something we do most Friday nights.

While the toddlers were playing and at the prodding of some other kids, mine attempted to crawl up on the top part of the tubular slide. I told them to come down and warned them not to do it again.

Later, Kenzie again attempted to crawl on top of the tubular slide in the same way as I had earlier warned her not to do. As she was crawling up (and before I could tell her to get down), she slipped and bumped her mouth in some way that caused it to bleed.

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Cute, Cuddly, and Coy!

If you didn’t see the movie or if you have forgotten what it is about, the movie starred Mel Gibson playing the role of an alpha male-male chauvinist.

By an accident of nature he is given the ability to read women’s minds. Because of his female mind-reading skills, Gibson’s character grows from being a contemptible, insensitive jerk to becoming like one of the girls.

His life-altering ability allows him to reach out to his daughter, stop taking women at his office for granted, and discover that monogamy and love are for real.

So here’s my story and as I tell it, I think you will see how it relates to this movie:

We have a problem with naptime on weekends around our house. I want one and the toddlers don’t!

Sunday afternoons are especially difficult because I haven’t had a chance to wear them down with outdoor play before naptime.

This last Sunday we got home from church, ate lunch, and then I started trying to get the toddlers settled down for a nap.

Kaleb had caused some problems in the nursery at church. And so the nursery workers had taken away his play keys that I had allowed him to put in his pocket and take into church. (The children aren’t supposed to bring toys into the nursery, especially something like keys, and I was stupid to think he would actually keep the keys in his pocket.)

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I’m Leaving, Does Anybody Care?

Arriving at daycare in OKC Thunder outfits

Each weekday I drop off the toddlers at daycare on my way to work.

The normal procedure is that Kaleb and I first take Kenzie to her classroom, then I take Kaleb to his classroom.

Each drop off is usually accompanied by a certain amount of pleading for me to come back and give them another kiss or another “I love you” and from time to time grabbing on to one of my legs and begging me not to leave or not to leave them.

Admittedly, there is a certain amount of drama being played out in this routine. And, admittedly, I like it because I like them to need me, even if expressed somewhat disingenuously!

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Jellyfish, Brick Walls, and Backbones

A few days ago I attended the monthly meeting of a support group for grandparents raising children and the topic of discussion was the discipline of children.

Now you might think that because one is a grandparent raising grandchildren that he and/or she knows everything there is to know about discipline and parenting.

You might also assume that because grandparents have already raised children and this is our second time around, we already know how to do the parenting thing.

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The (Daycare) Class of 2012

Don’t cry Poppy, it’s just daycare!

The daycare sent home a note the other day announcing they were having a graduation ceremony for all the children that were promoting to pre-Kindergarten school next year.

What nonsense! Having a graduation ceremony for toddlers? Why, it’s just ridiculous!

Besides, in my profession in higher education we don’t take graduation ceremonies lightly. They are serious business.

But to have children that haven’t even been to school yet don the cap and gown is practically an insult to my profession!

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Once Upon a Time

At our house the toddlers have lots of books. Nanna always bought books and constantly read to them, even when they were infants. So they love books and I try to read to them often, but don’t do as good a job as Nanna did.

One thing that hinders me from reading to them as much as I should is technology. (Sure, Poppy, blame it on technology!)

But you can download children’s books to the iPad that are animated and read themselves! iPad books do a much better job than I ever could. In fact, the toddlers would rather watch We’re Going on a Bear Hunt from the iPad because it animates the artwork on the pages of the book. No matter how enthusiastically I may read the book to them, I can’t make the pictures start moving around!

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