Voices in my Head

30 04 2008

Every time I have to stop my children from doing something from which they can get hurt, or to eat their vegetables, or clean their room, I hear a little I hear a little bit of my parents in my voice. Is this an inevitable evolution? Why can’t I think of something new to say to them? Am I doomed to not being in touch with my children in the future as my parents seemed at times?

In a way, every time I tell my children to eat their vegetables or other good-for-them food, I am like every other rational parent out there. As parents, we want the best for our kids. But, if we remember our own childhoods, we hated the same things our kids hate now. I never liked vegetables. However, as I became older, I found that they really weren’t that bad. All we want is that our children enjoy their childhood as healthily as possible, and eating their veggies is just one piece of the puzzle that will help achieve that.

We have all heard that voice when the time comes to scold our kids. I hear my Mom and Dad in my voice in many of these scoldings. When I hear that, I realize that all these flashbacks are there to keep my anger in check. I do get annoyed by many of the things my kids do, but when I start to hear my parents in my head, my perspective starts to shift from my view to what my kids are seeing, and feeling. Or at least to what I understand the kids are seeing from me.

Growing older, I notice mental changes in myself as well as the typical physical changes. But, the mental changes, at least, will have more impact on my relationship with my children when they start to become more independent and have social lives of their own. I find I’m still able to keep up with trends right now, but who knows what will happen as we venture into the new eras in our lives. Of course, when we’re kids, we all think we’ll never get old, or never be out of touch, but then we all thought the only occupations available to us were: astronaut, fireman, or policeman, etc. Our world grows as we grow; mine continues to grow, and probably will continue well into my old age.  I think it is going to be up to me to be able to balance being a good parent and a good friend to my daughters as we all grow older.

Maybe by then, my children will be hearing the voices of us in their heads…


Annabelle Eats some Salad

29 04 2008

Over and over again, I find myself repeating the same stereotype phrases of parents of yesteryear; and I find it a little disturbing.

Last night at the dinner table, Annabelle was doing her normal thing: eating only what she wanted, and ignoring all the salad and other healthy items on her plate. Don’t get me wrong, most everything on her plate is healthy, but we want to encourage her to eat salads. Her older sister eats them with no issues.

Annabelle, generally will start to chew a salad or vegetable, and then spit it out. Last night was different, but not by chance. As she started to repeat this routine I knew all too well, I, in my fatherly voice, instructed her to finish eating her salad in her mouth. At 2 years old, Annabelle already knows how to play the cute card. I am not immune to it, but any weakness in the “angry armor”, and all that you are trying to do gets tossed aside by a small giggle. As I finished scolding her, she looked at me with her cute face, and just froze. I did my best to be stern, and encourage her to continue eating the salad in her mouth. After half a minute or so, she continued eating her salad. But after that, she started to let her mom feed her salad. Of course, with any food, you have to put a little sweetness in it, and we always try to put some raisins and salad dressing to make it taste better. Amazingly, Annabelle picked up speed in eating her salad, and finished the remaining salad without anymore issues. I was encouraging by moving my stern voice to a more positive tone, so she knew that she was doing what I asked.

In the end, I think Annabelle will still eat and spit out the food she doesn’t find tasty, but this is the job of all parents, and this part of the can not end soon enough.

Turning the Tables

11 04 2008

It’s been a long week for me. I’ve had a ton of work, flew to Portland for a few days, and today, I had to take care of my girls morning routine. This is something that normally is handled by their mother. But, since I was out of town for three days, I figured I at least owed her a little break from the kids.

The morning was as normal, everyone scurrying around trying to get the kids dressed for school. Since Annabelle had a Little Gym class, she had to be clothed as well. I think my mere presence helped keep things on track, as the girls listed fairly well. Then, it was off to drop Eliana off at school. I do this twice a week, normally, so no big deal. It was tough to make sure both of them didn’t wander off too far on the walk across the parking lot at school.

After the first stop, we had about one hour before the Little Gym class, so we stopped at McDonald’s. I have never been to McDonald’s so often in at least 10 years. It is fairly handy to have a place with a play area for Annabelle.  As soon as we walked in the door, she bolted directly for the play area. She had a blast for about 10 minutes; then she became a little bored. At least some other kids showed up to keep her interest while I worked for most of the hour.

Next, we headed to the Little Gym. I’ve been to her class before, and Annabelle is such a free spirit in these parent-tot classes. It’s tough to get her to follow along with the rest of the group, but I do think she is making progress.  The class is very structured, and Annabelle is picking up on the structure. Today, she knew about the bells, and the balls and wanted to take part in those parts of class. She wasn’t too interested in the skill of the day, or with playing with the other kids.

Afterwards, it was back to the school to pick up Eliana. We arrived with a few mintues to spare, so we waited with the gathering crowd of pre-school moms. I was the only dad in attendance. Eliana was the second person in the line today, and something amazing occured when Eliana walked into view.  As soon as Annabelle saw Eliana, she ran yelling “Oni! Oni!” (Big Sister in korean). She gave her a big hug. And Eliana gave her a hug back. Sisters, indeed. It was a short, cute and nice moment to watch. I think those two will have a bond for life as the grow together.

But, back to the crazy morning, I packed everyone back into the car, and headed home. I gave them some snacks their mom had prepared, and everyone was happy, and a little sleepy. I wasn’t too bad; in fact, I thought the morning had gone off pretty well. It was nowhere near the hazard I imagined it to be considering how beat my wife looks after doing this all the time. either way, it was interesting to live the other side of the coin today and see a little of what goes on while I’m toiling away at work everyday.