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Archive for June, 2010

“No! He wants the OTHER binky!”
“That diaper is too tight!”
“The bath water is too warm!”
“You can’t take her outside in that!”
“What do you mean, you forgot the giraffe?”
“Here, let me do it!”

Sound familiar? In the stressful and overwhelming throes of new babyhood, moms often tell dads the “right” way to do everything from soothing the baby to prepping for a walk around the block. It can be an urge that is almost impossible to resist, especially if she is the primary caregiver and a first-time mom who wants, desperately, to do everything for her child in the best possible way. Moms, we know you mean well and you’re just trying to help. And of course, you have oodles of knowledge to share, especially if you spend more time actively parenting than he does. But be warned of something I’ve seen happen time and again: after being corrected repeatedly, week in and week out, many dads simply give up trying and let you do all the work—because after all, you know best. Soon you might find yourself doing every single bath, meal, and bedtime routine on your own. And more importantly, you might unwittingly keep your partner from the essential experience of finding his own way with his kids (and yes, they do have their own way—different from yours—and it’s okay). And that would be a shame.

Hey, if you’re lucky enough to have a partner in this whole parenting venture, you owe it to yourself and your family to take advantage of it. It’s not only good for you and your partner to each get 1:1 time with your child (and solo time when it’s the other person’s turn), it’s good for the baby, too. If you’re still in the middle of the newborn era, believe me, the time will come when you realize with all your being that it’s much better to share the parenting load—even if you hate the outfit he picked out or don’t think a trip to Home Depot during naptime is such a good idea. In honor of Dad’s Day, maybe try to have that time be now. Let go a little bit. Let him have his own parenting successes and his own disasters, just like you do, and his own chance to bond during all those moments. Left to his own devices, without anyone hovering in the background, dad will probably find his own funny bath time song, his own way of holding junior to calm the crying, his own system for getting the baby’s shoes on in a snap. And get this: YOU might even learn a little something from HIM.

Rob & the girls


To all the dads out there (and the moms who love them), Happy Father’s Day!

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You’ve got to love Seattle, a town where a four-year-old can make 37 bucks (!) in one day at her very first lemonade stand–because it was for a good cause. Piper, my oldest, decided that all proceeds were going to save the snow leopards instead of into her piggy bank. Rather than naming a price, people were asked to pay what they could. In our fair city that meant folks shelled out up to five bucks for a cup of lemonade and an oatmeal chocolate-chip cookie in front of our house. (Thanks, neighbors.)

Lemonade for Leopards


Now, if I was slightly more diabolical, I would use this tactic repeatedly to fund all sorts of household and personal desires. Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind. But I’m in the throes of proud parenthood, and I couldn’t possibly. Tempting as that jar of cash has been when the Thai delivery guy comes, it remains safe for the preservation fund.

This enterprise began when Piper read the word “endangered” in a book, which sparked an in-depth discussion and a little research. After determining that snow leopards were her favorite on the endangered list (though honestly, she has previously shown zero interest in them) we talked about ways to help . “I WANT to give them some money…” she said cautiously, “but NOT out of my helping jar.” Fair enough. The lemonade stand was born.

Granted, Piper is a little young for the business side of things. Money flew about, she spent much of her time dancing around the sidewalk, and when she was reminded of her purpose, she screamed “SAVE THE SNOW LEOPARDS!” so loudly that people crossed the street to get away from us. But still. My heart nearly burst.

Now, I don’t claim to have a kid who is any less self-absorbed or greedy for material things than the next. But I felt like this lemonade stand was not only a personal parenting milestone, it was one small step toward something good growing inside my daughter: a glimmer of the idea of a larger world, where other people (and animals) have needs, too.

For more information on helping snow leopards, visit
http://www.snowleopard.org/
http://www.zoo.org/Page.aspx?pid=276

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