We give incessantly to our children in so many ways. We all want feedback whether good or bad. There is an obvious wish to have positive feedback, but we’ll settle for honest. Kids are famous for being honest or at least saying (blurting) what they feel. We offer our love and support. We post most of it up on the fridge. Sometimes they reciprocate, sometimes not.
“I don’t like you, you’re mean to me every day.”
AJ says this to me today after I denied him a piece of Halloween candy or as he calls them, “tricker treats.” As parents, we hear this type of comment all too often. The first instance I recall, AJ quoted what Nemo said to Marlin in Finding Nemo, “I hate you.” If your kids have watched it as many times as my boys have, you may have heard that and it hurts. We need to be strong. Easier said than done. I had to have him sit on my lap for a heart-to-(shattered) heart talk. He gave me a hug and apologized. I did hold my ground though and he did not receive any tricker treatsuntil after he had a good lunch.
After a little playtime with his brother, since Mom was home, she tucked him in for nap time and he came back out. The younger one actually goes to bed for a nap voluntarily. I thought AJ was just playing the daily game of “how many things can I do/say to avoid taking a nap?”
He actually grabbed my hand and kissed it 3 times and said, “I needed to kiss you good night so I could take a nap, 3 times because I’m 3 years old.” He then ran back to his bedroom and took a good nap.
He’s a clever boy. I’ve taken him shopping for Christmas gifts a few times and he has told me that he wants to buy gifts for his brother. He knows that whatever he chooses for his brother is something he can play with himself. He can get away with that as even though he has an ulterior motive. He is starting to understand the spirit of giving, which is especially important this time of year.
You can’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing something about the current state of our economy. Actually, probably half of my blog posts may make some mention of it. After recently going to a doctor’s appointment, they asked me about my employment status. I hesitated to answer “unemployed” as I felt I needed to explain my personal situation. I knew better. Usually when I meet people and they ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I am a stay-at-home Dad with pride. Most everyone reacts the same way. People have stated numerous times “there’s nothing wrong with that.” I know there’s nothing wrong with that. I do it because I can. I know there is nothing that makes me feel more needed in this world.
I heard an interesting story that prompted this post. It was in regards to Santas in the mall and how they prepare for the kids that tell them what they want for Christmas. I encourage you to read it,
What I learned from this story was that most kids are caring, kind and giving. Not that I didn’t already believe that, but it was heart-warming to hear some of the selfless things that they asked for from Santa. This is so important in our house. Now I’m not the most spiritual person in the world, but I do believe in goodness. I am thankful for what I have and I want to teach my kids that we must be appreciative for what we have.
Each Christmas, my boys learn a little more and we try to instill traditions. We love Christmas at our house but we have some adjusting to do. Last year was our first without a real Christmas tree. We actually spent it in a condo on the beach in FL during their coldest day of the year. It was down to almost 60’. Blah! We bought a fake tree, appropriate in size to that of the condo, about 3’ tall. It was pathetic. As sad as that little tree is, it’s now a reminder of our first and last Condo Christmas. Condo or not, it was Andy’s first Christmas and we did spend each day with family and friends in Florida. We now have it decorated outside on the front porch. We have yet to decide for a tree for the inside this year as we will be out-of-town again for Christmas, this time in Wisconsin, staying with family who will have their own (likely Packer themed) Christmas tree with room for our favorite ornaments. We will also be very fortunate that while we are away, one of our friends will be able to stay in our home.
Something new for our family in an effort to create memories is to give to those less fortunate. With toddlers that is difficult, but if we start now, they will begin to understand why it is so important to know that giving gifts is just as important as receiving. Andy may not comprehend quite as well yet but we did start with AJ last year and asked him to give up 2 presents of his choice to give to someone who may be less fortunate to give to a charity and even choose some toys that he does not play with anymore. He is a very giving boy and although he has that selfishness that all little boys have, he also knows how to make people feel important, just like his 3 kisses for Daddy.
My Wife loves to do things for others, so much to that although she works 80+ hours a week at 30 weeks pregnant, she still finds time to bake cookies (for AJ’s class), make Irish Cream, her family’s signature recipe (for her co-workers at a meeting this morning) and do laundry today before work (to help me out). All of this done before 9am. Anyway, you know how much I am in awe of my wife, but her actions make me want to be more selfless and want to see my kids do the same and embrace giving as a way to make themselves and others feel love and loved.