The human body is a perfect creation, and yet, if God had a suggestion box, I would scribble him a note about shortening the length of toddlers’ arms. Timothy’s arms are the perfect length for reaching down into the ‘diaper area’ and complicating the diaper changing process. (note: probably not a blog entry you want to read while you’re eating). TRBL has a sense for when it’s a really messy diaper, and that’s when he decides to be ‘helpful’.
Having too many cooks in the kitchen is nothing compared to too many hands when changing a very dirty diaper. It gets even more exciting if the visiting hands leave the backstage area – what I like to call ‘when Mr Brown gets out of town’. That’s when your small fire could quickly become an out of control wild fire, as Timothy waves his (now dirty) hands like he’s wielding sparklers on the 4th of July.
He can also tell by the suddenly panicked look on your face that this could be a really fun game. And hopefully you’re not dressed for a night out, because chances are good that you’re going to need a change of clothes. But that’s the least of your worries. In trying to apprehend and clean the offending and dirty hands, you’re just hoping to avoid a larger cleaning bill for the nearby carpets and upholstery.
Although we live in Minnesota, we’re not the biggest hockey fans in the world. But I was following the recent Stanley Cup playoffs recently and was admiring the goalies’ ability to react quickly and stop the puck from going into the net. Maybe I appreciated these goalies because of the skills I am developing during Timothy’s bath time. Once the water is in the tub and T has gotten undressed, but before he’s plopped himself into the tub, he often decides that his discarded clothes would enjoy testing the water temperature. And so he tries to fling a sock or a onesie into the tub, which is when I use my goalie skills to try to block the article of clothing from the deep blue. Naturally, any scoring by him is followed by a small celebration (‘Goooooooooooooooooool’).
My Dad is one of the kindest, most personable and helpful people that I know. But it is another of his traits that I’d like to mention on Father’s Day.
I was 15 years old, and I was starting to learn to drive, but for some reason I had been driving very tentatively. So one day my Dad goes out driving with me and says, ‘You know, driving is just about being a good athlete and you’re a good athlete, so I know you’ll be a good driver.’ From then on, it clicked. I looked at driving differently and I quickly became a good driver.
As in my driving story, I always knew that Dad loved us and was there to help, but I also knew that he had confidence in our abilities and he also challenged us to do well — to work hard at school and to do a lot of work around the house. And we grew from it.
Challenging kids is a delicate topic these days, and is often associated with parents who push and overschedule their kids.
But I believe that challenging our kids – in a healthy way — to work hard, to stretch to their potential and do their best is one of the greatest things we can do for them as parents.
My Dad’s Father grew up in an orphanage and left at the age of 14 to move across the country, and he ultimately rose to be a successful chiropractor and a leader in his community. And so I’m sure my Dad heard stories when he was growing up about the importance of good, honest hard work and self reliance.
I’m certain that the words and lessons we heard from our Dad were watered down from the stark stories he probably heard from his Father (I can imagine that my Grandfather might have had less patience and used saltier language to get his son to drive with more confidence). But the message sunk in with me, and whatever success I’ve enjoyed personally or professionally, my Dad’s lessons of hard work, ethical behavior and self reliance have played a very important part.
My Dad is one of those guys who downplays his role in helping to raise four reasonably well adjusted kids — he says, ‘that was mostly thanks to your mother’s good work’. But Dad had and continues to have a very positive influence in my life and in the lives our family members. I know that I am extremely, extremely fortunate to have him for a Dad. And I’m grateful for him.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.