Her Mysterious Way (Consciousness, Happiness, Learning from your child)

The mystery of her irrepressible happiness

This evening, I was frustrated for a bit with the communication of someone; an adult with whom I’ve done business with for over ten years. I thought he was cold and rigid, and it ticked me off. Truth be told, I was a little hurt. Am I just a business transaction after a decade? I tried to let it go and see the greater blessings in the situation, but it still annoyed me. For about ten minutes, it affected my communication with my girl as I got impatient with her delaying on brushing her teeth. So, I explained myself. “Honey, it’s not you. I’m a little frustrated with someone’s communication.” She asked questions about the person as I told her, “It’s just a tiny thing. What’s important is you, that you’re safe, and…” Oh, I was trying to put it into perspective. Maybe she saw that. As she climbed into bed, she handed me a note she had written many moons ago and said, “Read this, Daddy.” It was one of my favorites from her, and, of course it made me smile.

While snuggling her to sleep I had to inquire…

Me – “When you get angry, do you hold onto it, you know, stay angry?”

I thought I already knew the answer, but maybe she is just very good at concealing it

Her – “No.”

Me – “You just let it go?”

Her – “Yes.”

Me – “You just let it go and get back to dancing and feeling good?”

Her – “Yeah.”

Me – “How do you do that? How do you do that so fast? Do you tell yourself to focus on getting happy again or do you just do it?”

Her – “I just do it.”

Me – “Yeah, but how? How do you let go?!!!”

Her – “I don’t know. I’m tired.”

And so this mystery of her seemingly indefatigable and irrepressible happiness continues.

Me – “I want to be like you when I grow up.”

Falling asleep…

Her – “You’re already grown up.”

Me – “Well, I learn from you.”

Thinking back on seven years with her, I’d have to say that I’ve seen her do two things to get back to happiness. One, she comes from love. She’ll reach out with a hug, say she’s sorry, write a note – some expression of love. Second, she puts herself into a physical state of happiness by jumping on the rebounder and singing, dancing or even being silly. And, just like that, she’s back in the zone. Her frustration, ninety percent of the time lasts only a couple minutes. The cloud blows on by and her sunny disposition is shining again.

Maybe it’s not a mystery.

Unexpected Abundance (Humor, Being powerful)

Recently, we were going through our normal evening routines, and in response to me asking her to hurry up, she flashed me a look- the kind of look that says “Whatever!”

I chuckled

Me – “You know, if you use all of those looks up during your childhood, you won’t have any left when you become a teenager and really need them.”

Her – “Yes, I will.”

A friend was nearby, and we both laughed.

I like to think I’m teaching my daughter an abundance mindset. However, it was not expected that this would extend into this area.

Promoting Fascination (Curiosity, Tolerance)

Yesterday morning, she was getting ready for school, and I posed an open-ended question. Not sure what prompted it.

Me – “Isn’t it interesting how adults believe such different things?”

Her – “Yeah.”

That was it. Just a question to think about how differently people think.

Minutes later we were in the kitchen, having just had a discussion about Labor Day

Her – “Why do we have holidays?”

I gave her the best off the cuff answer I could about people celebrating the passage of time or important events related to what they believe or cherish. The important part, though, was her questioning not me answering.

Hoping to keep that curiosity going and to nurture it through her childhood…

Trust is a Treasure (Identity, Honesty, Core values, Consequences)

A week ago, I decided not let her go on a trip to Orlando with one of our good friends for a jam-packed weekend of fun. The reason? She had looked me in the face and lied about brushing her teeth.

It may seem harsh, but it was not the first time. Lectures obviously had not done the trick. While I’m not a big fan of taking things away, there needed to be a consequence. Our friend, who now has three grown adult children of her own backed me up on my decision. She said, “Since you don’t spank and getting angry only gets you hot, you need to do something that teaches that it’s not okay.”

Fast forward to yesterday

Me – “You’re going to Delania’s next weekend for Labor Day weekend.”

Her – “Yay!”

She jumped up and down and cheered, then added

Her – “Shouldn’t have lied to you because that was bad, right?”

Me – “Well, not if you want to have trust between people.”

Her – “I do want to have trust.”

Me – “And, what you put out in life tends to come back to you.”

If I had taken more time to think through my responses I probably would have started with

Me – “It depends upon what kind of person you want to see when you look in the mirror. The first reason to be anything, including honest is because that’s what you’ve decided you want to be; that that’s what you stand for as a person. You want to stand for being a person people can trust and count on, starting with those closest to you.”

Then I would have added the other things.

But she’s getting the message. Taking that trip away clearly did impact her, as honesty was the first thing that came to mind after a quick celebration. It’s not about raising a child who is perfectly honest, as I wasn’t and don’t think most kids are. It’s just about coming to value honestly strongly. It’s a process, and it’s a value that is challenged, obviously, lifelong. Best to be clear on it early on.

Lessons from Burping (Humor, Creative thinking, Resolving conflict, Handling teasing)

On the way home from picking her up from school, I was feeling a bit silly – speaking in odd accents to her, making various sounds, including a glorious Daddy Level 7 burp. She interrupted…

Her – “You know today during snack, I did a (makes long burp sound) next to a kid.”

Me – “What did the kid say?”

Her – “Ooh, gross!”

Daddy chuckle.

Me – “Hmmm… what did you tell him?”

Her – “My Daddy taught me that.”

I laughed. Oh, great! Well, it is a good way to pass the blame. And, I guess I can’t disagree, though, she has gone on with her normal determination to turn it into an art form that would make world-class belchers envious.

Me – “That was a good answer – and true. You know, if someone teases you, if you shrink down and show that it affected you, it gives them power. But if you just go with it or play with their teasing comment, it takes the power in it away.”

Her – “I didn’t feel that way.” (small and badly)

Me – “Good. But if you did, you could have said, “Ooh, you think that’s gross? Watch this?” and then smelled it. Or you could have moved your face forward and pretended to fan the burp air on you saying, “Actually, it’s really great for your skin!” and then laughed. It probably would make the other person laugh, too.

That was the end of our discussion.

Granted, using burps as a teachable moment is probably not going to win me a parenting trophy, but, what can I say, I’m a fan of creative thinking.

If I may…

When I was 15 years old or so another kid at school threatened me. He thought I had made a move on his girlfriend, which I hadn’t. In the hallway in between classes, which was packed with kids, he confronted me loudly, ready to fight. I was no fighter and did not know what to do to defend myself except to think creatively, quickly. So, as a crowd gathered around, I edged up to him and then very dramatically said, “OH MY GOSH, YOUR BREATH IS DISGUSTING!” I then started to wave my arms as though the smell was ending my existence. The people around us started laughing, and he shrunk away in embarrassment and never bothered me again.

Hopefully, she doesn’t get teased much in her life. But… if she will be quick to the draw… with creative thinking to diffuse or transform the situation.

Boring Special Days (Quality Time, Enjoying the journey)

We had fun shopping, swam for forty minutes and had a great ending to her day with reading Harry Potter and snuggles. On the outside it’s several things, but on the inside, to her, it’s one thing. It’s quality time where I’m present and engaged with her. It sows seeds into the fabric of her heart, her self-esteem and her childhood. Just another boring, special day, in other words.

Actions Over Words (Humor, Prioritizing)

She’s been doing a lot of home de-cluttering this weekend with me. By early morning, she was aching for a playdate. When all her calls to friends didn’t pan out, she asked me

Her – “Can we go bowling?”

Me – “Well, we could, but first we have to check with (Roger) Federer’s schedule.”

Strike a pose…

Her – “Really, Daddy?”

We had a friend nearby who heard the exchange. She burst out laughing at my comment and her response.

As it turned out, I missed the Final, which Federer won, winning Cincinnati over the current #1 Novak Djokovic, for a 7th Cincy title and a return to #2 in the world rankings. Why? I was out driving her around from setting her up with an impromptu play date.

Guess my priorities were her, after all. That’s why I always tell her that actions count more than words.

Still, I can’t believe I missed it. Oh, the agony. Only for her.

School Begins Again (School, Structure, Daily parenting chores)

Have her asleep 8:15pm. It’s about 30 minutes than later than my ideal, but it’s a fine start given the summer schedule she’s been on. Had to stay on her every moment, but we managed to get clothes ready, a Skype call in with Nonna and Papa, another chapter in Harry Potter Book 1, and to set her intentions for the coming year…

Me – “Okay, I want you to send out big, big, big intentions to Spirit, to the universe.”

She nodded

Me – “To be safe on all your days there. To have fun! To be surprised by how much fun you’re having at school. To connect well with your teachers and to enjoy each other and your class mates. To make wonderful friends and to have many good times with them. To focus and learn things that are of great interest and that connect you to what makes you feel most alive.”

She tried to play a bit more, but I steered her towards sleep as I walked off…

Me – “So safe, so loved. So safe, so loved. So safe, so loved. All is well. All is well. All is well…”

Walked back, gave her a kiss on the forehand

Me – “You are loved.”

And the school year begins. Tomorrow, I’ll give myself that extra half hour, but I’m pleased.

Now to go pack a school lunch. Hundreds behind me in past years. Hundreds ahead of me. And so it is.

Stepping Out of Line (Independent thinking, Creativity, Resourcefulness, Being intentional)

This afternoon, we stopped at a clothing store where we had ordered some uniform dresses for her school a week earlier. A call had come that they were in. Upon arrival, we were met by a full parking lot. The store was packed. Long line. Since it was just pick-up, I figured there was some way to avoid the line. I immediately scoured the store for a free employee, and when I found one said, “I have some three dresses to pick up. How can you help make that happen quickly.” He got the dresses and three minutes later, we were walking out the store, never having set foot in line. Before exiting, though, I stooped down and said something like…

Me – “See that line?”

Her – “Yeah.”

Me – “We could have been stuck in that for thirty or forty minutes, but, instead, we’re leaving here in a few minutes, right?”

Her – “Yeah.”

Me – “I did it by thinking differently. I got clear in my mind that not only did I want the items but I wanted to get them as fast as possible. So I found an employee to help us. You saw that, right?”

Her – “Yeah.”

Me – “Okay, good. You have to think creatively and think for yourself. You can’t just follow the crowd.”

Once outside, I asked her if she understood what I had said about thinking differently, and she said yes.

Sometimes I see her, especially after school is in full swing, getting into a ‘follow the rules’ mentality. It’s important to me that she’s honest and respectful but that she learns to think outside the box, which includes ignoring the expected procedures, at times.

Helping Her Brainstorm (Humor, Gratitude, Bedtime rituals)

At bedtime, as she was drifting off, I asked her, as I often do, for three wonderful things about her day. She was so tired that she was having trouble thinking of any. So, before she could answer…

Me – “Federer winning?”

She laughed.

She had begged to watch a children’s program while he played his semifinal match earlier in the day in Cincinnati. But that was a simple decision. Federer was playing, and the channel does not change when he is in a big match – which is any match he’s playing.

We had a great laugh about it. Then I moved on to helping her come up with a few normal ones.