Monday, June 20, 2011

Physics of Fatherhood & Ghosts of Daddy's Day Past

A good friend, and  fine mommy/Army wife-blogger recently queried how people handled their always playing two-year old (and really is there any other kind?)

I dashed off my suggestions (play-dates, play-dates, play-dates)... let a couple kids wear each other out and earn cred with another parent. Also, use the TV.  I personally think that TV is the equivalent of junk food, but occasional ice cream won't kill you and if it helps you get through the day...  Don't have any illusions that anything on TV makes a kid smarter - it doesn't, but if it buys a parent some quiet time, well - sanity is important too.

My post was followed by about a hundred of her fellow moms with various, wise suggestions.  But my friend noted that there was something funny in the fact that I was the first to respond to a post that began "Okay Mommies."

It is Father's Day and I am going to give myself some credit, I'm not bad at this.  I am not Mr. Mom and I am not a house-husband. I am an abysmally bad cook (although I can crank out a grilled cheese sandwich or omelet when need be) and MamaGoof simply does not trust me to do laundry (I'm not good with machines.)  I also can't fix stuff, while MamaGoof can.  But I know a few things about kids.

My parenting philosophy (since you asked) is simple.  It is the Conservation of Energy.  Children have enormous amounts of it - we don't. We need to design activities that wear them down, without wearing us down.  On that theme, when my son was little I would take him to the playground and referee "World Sliding Championships." I would pretend to be the announcer the my son and any other kid who was willing raced up and down the slides.  They had to do it quick.  They tied a lot, which meant they had to go again. Keeping up a patter took some energy, but not as much as climbing up and down took for them.

I don't like stuff where we build things together because until they are old enough to help they just wander around offering to help.  Think of your brain like your computer.  The more programs that are open the less computing power is available.  Same with parenting - your kid talking at you eats up bandwidth - you've got to pay attention because if you just grunt affirmatively they will eventually catch on and ask for something they know they shouldn't have and you'll agree without realizing what you are doing.  You can agree or disagree at random to reduce the likelihood of this happening, but that could really mess them up. The point here is if you are trying to concentrate on building something having a kid wandering around making random statements (a redundancy) will only tire you out.

Ghosts of Fathers Days Past
Another treat I am going to give myself is to just link to some old stuff.  This is a letter of advice I wrote to my brother when he became a dad, I honestly think it is one of the best things I've written. I'm not sure the advice is any good - but it is honest.

Here are all of my posts from past Fathers Days, I would like to think they show my growth as a person and a parent - but I doubt it.


Robin (noteverstill) said...

I always liked that letter, too.

Father Goof said...

Thanks, thanks. Praise from my favorite mommy-blogger is always welcome.