My husband’s father graduated from West Point. He had a helluva career in the Army and retired as Colonel. Their home placed respect and honor and trustworthiness at the very tip top of a person’s character, and to be untrustworthy or a participant in lying was never overlooked.
As Hank and I parent, we’ve come to two main conclusions so far: 1) you don’t see everything (as in, you decide to let some things go/pick your battles), and 2) sometimes, you do whatever works (as in, we’ve never told the boys that they can’t sleep with us, especially when it means that we all GET to sleep that way). I can honestly say that most parents I know do these same things, although they probably have a much better way of explaining it.
The one thing that is never “unseen” is lying. Imagination is encouraged, and sometimes that includes embellishing your stories, but we all know that those things are different. Lying is a cover up. Lying is different. And we had to deal with some of that this past week, which resulted in our youngest having all privileges of viewable/visual technology suspended for two whole weeks. Fourteen days. To our 4yo, this counts as a huge loss. And as many know, when you take something away from your children, you generally take it away from the family.
I thought that this would be a huge punishment for us all, and to be honest (no lying here :), for me in particular, since I had been relying on the babysitter of a movie or a show or iPad games in order to have time for my work.
I think, instead, that this has been THE HUGEST BLESSING!
Ya’ll…we have done things together. We have talked. We have planned meals and cooked and developed some crazy ice cream concoctions. We have eaten more vegetables. We have learned how to play card games like Memory and Slap Jack. We have discovered that when it snows, the dogs are really funny and they sneak in the trampoline and run around the yard like greased pigs. We have read books, tromped through knee-high snow to get to the reservoir to feed the geese the ends of our bread loaves, found where the snow and wind can’t find us on the trail under the overpass, and the 4yo is reading books. READING BOOKS. WITH HIS OWN EYES AND BRAIN AND LIPS – they form the words and the words are RIGHT.
And in the evenings, as well as every spare moment possible, the boys and I huddle around the iPad and listen to audiobooks. We hang on every word, shooshing each other and then I watch them pick up their Nerf swords to act out the Hunger Games. It’s like going really, really, really old school when families huddled around the radio to listen to shows and baseball games together.
Helmets are good. They protect your noggin while sword fighting.
This particular helmet would not protect your noggin from sword fighting, but maybe a shark.
Discovering oceans at the Aquarium. Food for your noggin.
Did you know that is quite easy to convince a 7yo that he has to stick his staticky hair on the crazy light thing to make it work?
That is…until he figures it out otherwise. Took less than five seconds. ;/
Listening to Mockingjay, Book 3 of The Hunger Games, before school.
Learning that the opposite ends of magnets are very repelling, and they’ll jump if you can squeeze them together for a moment.
Watching a baby dinosaur hatch from an egg; a party favor he received at a friend’s birthday sleepover.
Laughing hysterically at the Night Riders – Hank and Sam (Sam in his safety glasses here – nearly peed my pants) – went out to ride their mountain bikes through the snow at night in really, really deep snow on unplowed trails.
The “Governor’s Handshake”. I think they’ve trademarked it.
Games after dinner – specifically Slap Jack, because you can be loud.
Hero Factory metamorphoses. They are fierce.
And sneaky Agnes, who, after the boys go to bed, siphons off their magic healing jewels one by one as her under-the-table treasures.
All things that I wouldn’t have seen lately, had it not been our blessing in disguise.
So for all of the times that you feel like a crap parent for bringing down the hammer, there’s a silver lining in there. Just look. :)