Time to Talk About Time (Balance, Structure, Life skills)


Made a weekly calendar with my girl this morning. It’s a stretch for me to do this, as I have always made sure to not talk much about time as she grows up. But I’ve decided that if she’s going to advance on the things she and I talk about, we have to build a schedule and not leave it to chance. That is just not working as she’s so in the moment, and I have so many pulls. We planned tap dance, Curiosity Book (research and draw/build something she’s curious about), Italian with Nonna, sports (tennis/soccer), Brain Quest workbook, Friday ‘Family Clean Up’ for an hour, dinner and bed time. We’ll use it until school starts and then make a new one. I think she’ll maintain her free and happy spirit and feel good about following through, especially as she sees it pay off in results and more ease for us with a clean home. Worth a try, anyway…

Time Never Sleeps (A child’s time-space relationship)

Love it when she has little observations of her own.

Recently, she and her pal who was sleeping over were getting ready for bed, and she made an interesting comment-

Her – “Isn’t it strange how fast time passes when you’re asleep?”

Her eight year old pal agreed.

Friend – “Yeah, I know. It’s so strange!”

A Gross Title (Humor)

Forgive me, but yesterday, I corrupted my daughter’s brain by teaching her the diarrhea song. If you don’t know it, I won’t teach you. Suffice it to say that my sister, brother and I enjoyed untold laughs making up rhymes to it when we were little. Can expressly remember the three of us all sleeping on the floor at someone’s house in Germany whom we were visiting, all of us laughing late into the night.

I digress. I usually do. It adds to my point at the end…

So, she listened last night while we played in the pool and giggled as we did, making up her own rhymes.

Fast forward to today. We’re in the pool again, and, while we’re goofing, my subconscious brings up the idea of naming my page about the two of us… ‘Diary of a Smitten Daddy’ or ‘Tale of a Smitten Daddy.’

It was the outgrowth of the way I ended a post about her with the words – ‘it’s the plight of a smitten Daddy.’

Me – “Do you like the title ‘Diary of a Smitten Daddy’ – ?

She gave me a face

Her – “It’s kind of gross.”

Couldn’t understand why she would think it would be gross. Only thing that came to mind…

Me – “Why? You think it’s too girly for me?”

Her – “No, it’s just diarrhea…”

I bust out laughing.

Me – “No, DIARY! Not diarrhea. A diary as in something you use as a journal.”

She laughed.

Then the play on words hit me, and I bust out laughing again only harder and longer

Me – “You have no idea how funny that is- ‘Diarrhea of a Smitten Daddy’ – because some people must surely think that with all that I write.”

I then explained the idiom ‘diarrhea of the mouth.’

Admit it, even those of you who enjoy my little ‘My Girl‘ posts… sometimes you think, “This guy has diarrhea of the keyboard.”

My defense is always the same… a quote of Mark Twain: “If I had more time, I’d write something shorter.”

Anyway, it felt good to have a good laugh a myself.

Needless to day, though, the title won’t be ‘Diary of a Smitten Daddy.’

That’s gross!

Proud and Satisfied (Self-initiative, Order, Perspective)

Not sure what prompted it. One dreams of such times. She bops into my office…

Her – “Daddy, come look. See how good I cleaned.”

Me – “Okay.”

In the Great Room were little piles of dirt.

Me – “Nice! What prompted this?”

Her – “I don’t know. I just feel like making the floor nice.”

The arm-chair psychologist in me wondered if she was cleaning as a way to feel control. Maybe I’d been too hard on her. Nope. Maybe she felt like her life was uncertain, lately. Not at all. She just got in a cleaning mood.

This went on for another hour.

Me – “Honey, I think you’ve done plenty.”

Her – “I’m not done.”

Finally, it came to an end. She walked into my office again to tell me and then walked into her room beaming

Her – “I feel proud of myself.”

Well, that was music to my ears. That’s what you want to hear your child say in life, right? She had done something for more than just herself out of her own initiative, and she had done it with excellence.

Me – “Well, because you did it without me even asking and because you did it so well, here you go.”

I pulled out a $5 bill.

Her – “Really, Daddy? This?”

She wanted more, the little Princess.

Me – “That’s five dollars! Guess what I get paid for cleaning the house? Zero!”

She smiled and accepted it happily and went off to her room to count her savings.

Plight of a Smitten Daddy (Quality time, Time is precious and fleeting)

Was watching Anderson Cooper interview Donald Trump, procrastinating getting in the pool. She approached me by the TV-

Her – “Daddy, are you going to watch this or are you going to go out there and enjoy life with me?”

Me – “Just a minute. Go get ready.”

I finally left the TV and headed over to her bedroom, calling out…

Me – “Of course, I want to play with you. Where are you?”

Her – “Getting dressed (for the pool).”

Me – “Great. Let’s do it!”

She was excited to play and have connection time.

Her – “I wish I could stay seven forever.”

I picked her up and looked at the two of us in the mirror, my eyes moistening

Me – “Where you’re young like this and growing up with me?”

Her – “Yeah.”

Me – “Part of me does, too.”

Her – “Daddy, it looks like you have tears.”

Me – “They’re happy tears, grateful tears. Come on, let’s get in the pool.”

We had a blast playing together in the water until it was very dark.

“Daddy, tell me the funniest joke you can.”
“Daddy, look at my handstand.”
“Daddy, let’s race.”
“Daddy, let me stand on your shoulders so I can do challenges.”

Seven is a wonderful age for a child. We can’t stop the clock, but we can make sure we enjoy each turn of it as much as possible. It’s bittersweet. It’s the plight of a smitten Daddy.

Both Feeling Rich (Presence, Quality time, Gratitude)

This afternoon, we had our first adventure on her new bike – a two-mile ride to a local island grocery store. She settled on a popsicle, and we sat down outside. She’s had so many playdates lately that I haven’t been able to connect with her as much. But, today, we sat and talked calmly. In my estimation, nothing feels more loving to a child and perhaps a person than one’s loving presence. Not that I’m a master at it by any means, but that’s what she was getting. Out-of-the-blue…

Her – “I’m rich.”

Me – “You’re rich?”

Her – “Yes.”

Me – “Why are you rich?”

Her – “I’m rich because you’re my Daddy.”

Me – “Honey, you always say such sweet things to me. I appreciate that.”

A short while later, we headed home. She expressed pride in herself for not taking a spill on her larger bike. Moments later, she slipped on the raised edge of a sidewalk and crashed to the ground in tears. I raced off my bike. She was startled and had a few scrapes on her knees but okay.

She biked it in, and I was proud of her for that. It’s important to have that inner grit to be able to pick yourself up, a little anxious and bruised, and try again.

Obviously, I’m the one who is rich to be her Daddy.

I’ll tell her tonight at her bed time…

Dancing with Life (Moments, Spontaneity, Making each day count)

We were about to go to bed around 11pm, and I said, “Let’s go in the pool.” So, we did it. Heck, it’s summer, why not throw in some spontaneity? Incredible under the star lit sky. She was excited by the opportunity to play. You wonder what memories stick out as a child. Maybe this one fades into the fabric of what will hopefully be a fantastic journey into adulthood. Maybe she remembers. “This one night, it was bed time, and my Daddy said, “Let’s go swimming.” We played some games, raced and shouted out things about living a great life under a beautiful sky. I can still see the moon. That was a fun time with him.” Well, you just never know. You keep doing things and hope the balance of your parenting is peaceful, loving and enlivening. All I know is she turned on music and danced her way through her shower, through getting dressed and on the way to bed. Gave me my best laughs of the day.

Because It’s Childhood (Creating memories, Adventure)

Had considered getting her a new bike after she completed a near three hundred page workbook ; a workbook she actually enjoys doing. But I never mentioned it. Just mulled.

This morning, it became apparent she really needed something bigger. So, I went for it. Just because. My childhood bikes, after all, weren’t rewards, though some did come at Christmas. That’s fine.

As we walked out of the store having understood that it cost a good bit…

Her – “This is a very special gift.”

Me – “No, honey, it’s not a gift. It’s just what a Daddy does.”

There are some things that are just a must in childhood, and having a nice, new, bigger, shiny bike to enjoy is certainly one of them. Of course, it’s not just a Daddy. Her last bike came from Nonna and Papa. It had a very good life. This new bike will, too. Those times together biking will be the gift to both of us.11180636_10153449016185903_8716162590214147778_n.jpg

Earning Peace Symbols (Peaceful parenting, Consciousness, Emotional well being of child, Joy of learning)


One of our shared goals for the summer is to complete a workbook called Brain Quest. She enjoys working at it, and I like it as it adds an academic thread to our activities until school starts. So many topics are covered that will help her going forward – from punctuation, cursive, grammar, story construction, basic math, time, and money. Originally, we were going to do seven pages a day, but we got off track, as one does in the summer with mega-playdates. Imagination takes precedence.

Knowing the summer will pass, though, I got back on the horse, recently.

Only thing is, I have this problem. I get impatient with repeating myself. Now, this is, admittedly, not the best quality when you’re the parent to a young child. Seeing shoes dumped in the middle of the floor for the thousandth time… I struggle with that. Bowls by the TV, clothes on the floor, the back of the car left in disarray… no, Bryon Katie, it’s not my forte to just go, “Oh, it just is.” It’s more like, “HOW COULD THIS BE?!! Haven’t we talked about this FOUR THOUSAND times?!!!”

You get the point. Not that original. Most parents can relate. Those who can’t are either not that involved with their kids, don’t mind living in a pig sty, have another parent in the home to hand things off to when they are tired or frustrated, or just plain annoyingly perfect. Not I.

So, yesterday, I set a goal of us doing 10 pages. It was a bit of a disaster. She continually was not reading the directions well and would start writing.

Me – “You’re just guessing! Read the directions! It’s simple and clear.”

Or, she’d lose focus and just want to guess at things. Scribble, scribble.

Me – “Don’t just guess. Think! Use your smarts. Capitalize the start of a sentence!”

Well, I got into a frustrated, impatient place, and she was feeling off course, even crying, at one point. I thought of a parent I know who told me once, “I realized that I can’t help my child. I just don’t have the patience for it.”

I realized that I just form expectations. My mind is saying, “She should get this. This is basic. She should…” I needed to let go of my expectations and accept where she is with something. Why?

1. She is fundamentally bright and will get it in her own time.
2. What I think should be easy after enough explanation might not be what comes easiest for her given what intelligences she scores highest at. Ultimately, I want her to spend time in her life doing what she does best, so I don’t want to ‘beat her up’ for things that don’t come easily and won’t matter much in her future.

Ultimately, you can only control your own behavior as a parent. I apologized for getting in a frustrated place, and we hugged. Then I got an idea. Instead of just writing the date when she completes a page, she could award me a Peace symbol at the top of the page if I had been peaceful and supportive during that page.

We ended yesterday on a positive note with her wanting to keep trying and me scoring a couple Peace signs.

Today, we did five pages. I got five peace symbols. Only on one page did I feel that impatience bubbling. She noticed and quickly intervened.

Her – “Daddy, breathe. Breathe in, breathe out.”

Me – “Okay, I’m good. See, Daddy can change. I changed from eating a ton of sugar to barely eating any. And, I’m getting good at this now.”

I think it’s important to show your child that you can stumble and that you can make changes.

We were both positively thrilled with our accomplishments today; she with her completed pages and I with my Peace symbol scores. On the last page, she drew a large one and turned it into a person.

I pumped my fist.

Me – “Yeah! Peace symbol city, baby!”

And, I guess she was happy with my shift, too.

As I was writing this, half hour later, she walked by to use the bathroom hands in the air saying…

Her – “Woohoo! Daddy got five Peace signs!”

She had no idea I was writing about it. Nice.

Different Takes on Time (Humor, Awareness, Core values)

My girl isn’t very adept at telling clock time. It’s not her fault. It’s mine. I purposely let her live in the moment and taught her very little about the subject. That has changed recently. Yesterday, in fact, I was helping her better understand one second, one minute and one hour.

Today, a friend of ours was leaving town. She gave a quick hug and then went back to playing.

Me – “Bellina, come with me. Let’s take our time with her.”

Though she was eager to play with her visiting pal, I insisted that she focus on giving more attention to our very good friend. Growing up, my Mom would always stand in the door even if it was a blizzard and see people off. So, she hopped in my arms, and we followed our friend out.

Me – “It feels good to people when they are leaving to have you there waving them off. It shows you care. And, she’s going to be gone eight weeks. That’s a long time.”

Her – “It’s not a long time to the Universe.”

I laughed.

Me – “Well, no it isn’t.”

So many ways to look at time. Guess she has that one figured out.