Being Dad

Being a father is fraught with danger…

“Go to the Naughty Corner!” March 18, 2013

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 9:01 am
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It’s an exclamation many parents have uttered, shouted, hissed through gritted teeth or even commanded, Moses like – to their children.

So what do you do when your child says it to you?

I admit; I was a little naughty. Drinking from the carton, licking my knife, leaving dirty clothes on the floor, putting my feet on the coffee table. Yep, I probably did deserve a bit of reflection time in the corner.

But should my 3 year-old be allowed to administer justice?

Apparently, she thinks so. At her pre-school, her teacher had a little word with us recently. Now firstly, my little cherub is a true believer in following the rules. That’s a good thing. Sure she is as naughty as any kid her age, but she honestly prefers, at least at school, to do what the teacher asks. I will qualify that – because with me, she much prefers to do the opposite of what I ask.

The problem lay here: In her class there are several boys. If you have boys, you will know this: Boys like to be naughty. They like to run around and see just how many things they can break. That’s not a criticism – as an adult boy, I’m the same. It’s most interesting to know whether that square peg can, in fact, make it into that round hole if you hammer hard enough, and it’s fun to see what happens when two things are banged together, repeatedly.

Missy’s problem is she tries to get the boys to stop being naughty. She somehow got the impression she had been anointed the class sheriff. This occasionally involved manhandling the little lads to get them to behave. Not a good idea on many levels.

Firstly Missy is no wrestler, and little boys, especially 3 year-old ones, are tough. They are use to rough and tumble. They don’t think a perfect afternoon involves pretend tea and pretty dresses.  For them, the perfect afternoon involves running at full speed and crashing into something.

Secondly, she is – much to her disappointment – not the sheriff. Classroom discipline is not in her job description.

But like most things, after we sat her down and explained it was not her affair, she reluctantly accepted that the teacher was in charge, and little girls are not dispensers’ of justice.

So it all ended reasonably well. Missy was relieved of her self-imposed title of class gendarme before any damage was done, or any of the boys thumped her (truly, a remarkable level of tolerance from them, I might add).

For me, however, some facts remain: It appears I am inherently naughty, and must still be sent to the corner, on a regular basis.

I hate having to sit on that little chair.

 

Parent/Teacher/Bragging time November 12, 2012

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 6:21 pm
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My wife and I had our first parent / teacher meeting recently. I have to admit; it was kind of strange for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Missy is three, so seriously, what were we there to talk about?

Your daughter is progressing nicely, she is quite the finger painter. I do, however, think her “row-row-row the boat” singing has room for improvement”.

Second, Missy goes to a French speaking school. That’s perfect for her, as she speaks French. Of course, her teacher speaks English, but still, there is a language gap between her and me.

Misseee, is une très extraordinaire student”. Well to be honest, the teacher’s English is excellent – as opposed to my French, (despite my wife and daughter being fluent), which is abysmal. I am taking lessons though. Well, I have done one so far; so unless the teacher simply wanted to ask my name (Je m’appelle Tim), we had little choice but to speak in English.

But go we did, to our first meeting to discuss my daughter’s progress in life. We arrived at her kindergarten, and as Missy wandered off to play, we were welcomed into her classroom. The teacher kindly waved us to our seats so we could begin the meeting.  Now remember, Missy is three, so our “seats” are Lilliputian.  And there I sat – the Father of Missy – knees up around my ears on a minuscule, yellow, plastic chair.

Pleasingly, it was almost all happy news. Missy had not yet displayed any homicidal tendencies; her French and English were both advanced for her age, and she is a “delight” to have in class. OK, this was terrific stuff. Just the kind of thing parents love to casually drop into conversations with other parents:

Oh, Missy is going OK, I suppose. Her teacher is quite pleased. She can sing the French national anthem in German while solving quadratic equations in Latin. Her reading of ancient Greek seems to be a bit slow, but all in all, we are OK with that. How is your little one going?”

Oh the endless bragging potential this teacher was giving me. True, you have to try and say it to other parents as if you’re not bragging, but we all know the truth.

The problem, of course, is there is always going to be something that is not quite as you hoped. The “dark secret” of underperformance is always lurking, somewhere. That’s when the other parent strikes:

Oh how wonderful! You must be so proud. And tell me, how is Missy going with her scooter? Still riding it like a drunken monkey? I see without her helmet she would be spending most days in the hospital accident and emergency”.

And then the knife twists:

Of course, little Alexander is OK, I suppose. We don’t like it, but he insists on riding his scooter while doing a one-arm handstand. It’s quite annoying, but what can you do? It’s either that or he makes such a racket singing the Ethiopian Princess role from Aida. He is quite the three year old opera singer, really”.

Touché.

But really, what’s wrong with being proud of your children? I truly believe Missy is the best little girl on earth, other parents think their little ones are the best, and we are all right.

So teacher time ends with a quiet word; “Missy does have a tendency to be a bit bossy, nothing serious, but she likes to try and organize the class.”

No, Madame teacher, it can’t be! MY little girl is perfect! Do you know she speaks French…?

 

One Small Step for Missy, One Giant Leap for Mum. September 24, 2012

Filed under: Dad Blog,Parenting — Tim @ 8:12 am
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Kindergarten. It might just be a few hours a day, but it’s a significant event. Prior to kindergarten, Missy’s days were the sole domain of Mum. My wife organized playdates, activities, trips and home fun.

Now Missy is going to spend a few hours each day without Mum. That’s a hefty adjustment for both of them.  The early stages of this metamorphosis from home baby to school girl are filled with little pleadings to stay home, or a rush out the door to get there; (well, “rushing” Missy style, which would be termed  “glacially slow” by normal standards.)

Of course, on the occasions I am home to see Missy off to school, it is sometimes easy for Dad to trivialize a child’s fears or apprehension on embarking on a new adventure, dismissing them with a loving but ill-informed “you’ll be OK, darling”.  Mum also needs some tender love and care, as well.

For the better part of 3 years, mums (and dads, if they are the primary carer) who have the gift of not working, spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment with their mini charges. To relinquish that to the wilds of school, even if it is a brief few hours, is a significant change.

Part of that change is interacting with other kids. Now before this, it was possible to vet little friends. It was possible to hang out with parents you like. Kindergarten is the first process in losing control of my child’s choice of playmate, and our choice of parents we want to hang out with.

Still, on the upside, my wife get’s a bit of her time back. Any full time parent, in fact, any parent will know that raising kids is:

#1- the best job in the world and

#2 – the most physically exhausting job in the world.

Just to get a few hours to get your hair done or have a cup of tea without getting covered in cereal (or in my wife’s case, get 3 hours at the gym done) can be liberating.  It does, however, bring on some new stresses – as time in the morning becomes a much more valuable commodity.

Missy is slow. Nope, not slowish – she is slow. She gets out of bed slowly, eats slowly and dresses slowly. There is no urgency in Missy. So getting her to school on time is the old immovable object meeting the irresistible force.  But typically, mum gets it done and so far, no late slips have needed to be issued.

The other upside is mixing with kids we may not necessarily choose to hang out with. Every class has a naughty kid, (never your own) and they can be a bad influence. Why is that an upside? Previously I have mentioned the allegation that I was suspected responsible for a bout of swearing Missy embarked on some time ago (I stress “allegation”, it was never proved), and now I have a much better alibi than just a deer like, wide eyed stuttering denial.

I love school.

 

 
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