Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Welcome to Your Front Yard

I was telling and friend (also dad of two little kids) about my youngest daughter. A few months ago I noticed that she was staying inside a lot. Reading big thick fantasy books, totally getting lost in them, eating them up, hanging out in bed, for toooo long.

I was home alone with her on the weekend and noticed this happening and something felt off, something bugged me about it. It occurred to me that one of my jobs as a dad was to get her outside and connected to nature. I grew up in rural PA where we basically lived outside and only came in to eat and sleep, other than that it was the woods and unlimited adventures.

I basically forced her outside. The first thing I noticed was that she was looking into the corners of the yard. I had the hunch and ask if she was afraid there might be "insects" out there, she said yes. Then I said, "you don't know what to do in your own front yard do you?" and she answered "no."

I couldn't believe that this was my kid. Did I go wrong somewhere? Maybe it was my wife's fault (ha!). How did I get a kid who didn't know how to be in here own yard? I put into action a new house rule - 15 minutes a day outside in your own yard. I could be with her at times but it wasn't about me entertaining her, it was about her getting to know her own yard and figuring out what to do all by herself.

At first she was not a happy camper. But with TV, computer games, email, and even reading coming only available after her 15 minutes, she let down her defenses and went out. Taking the dog with her was a good idea, non-human company.

I sense it was a good call on my part. My wife wouldn't of ever noticed it or thought it important, but since I did she went along with the plan.

Welcome to Your Front Yard.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Uncomfortable About Being Uncomfortable

boy I meet at a chalk drawing festival

I wonder what it would be like to have a son? I have 2 girls, now 11 and almost 14. I was walking with a young teenage boy from our car pool the other day. My teenage girl is cool, she really is, but this young man was also cool, in a guy way. I even told he that I wondered what it would be like to have a son, he said it would be cool!

There is a family vacation in Hawaii happening in June. I wasn't going to go because of work but things have changed and it looks like I am going to go. But going to Hawaii for almost 2 weeks with SIX girls is.... daunting. One girl is my wife, the others are my kid's friends. That would be three 5th graders and two 8th graders just starting summer break. But being a DAD and HUSBAND I figured I should go, make sure everyone is safe and sound before I take off on numerous adventures exploring and not being around so many girls.

Last Sat. night was a sleepover for the teenagers. Two other girls came over who are...shy. I know that teenagers are "uncomfortable about being uncomfortable." My daughter sat down and mentioned that the silence was uncomfortable so I started to talk about a cool creative BMW ad I'd seen at the movies, The Art of Driving. My daughter just started to laugh, almost uncontrollably - hum... now I felt uncomfortable, how odd. She later said she didn't even know why.

And then there are the new shoes and dresses for elementary and middle school graduations. Where is my dog and truck?

I do hang out with lots of men and several of us are beginning to support events that young men are doing - that will be good medicine for this man with no boys.