Thursday, August 23, 2012

Subtle Reminders

"Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you." -Robert Fulghum 

It's truly amazing how almost every time Peanut and I take Luna for a walk in the park, some sort of magic moment happens. I love these walks and this is why. They're my chance to be one-on-one with Peanut, hands-free, and chat with her. She often provides unique insights. Sometimes her opinions surprise me. This time around, she was riding her bicycle. (She's getting really good at it. But we've still got some time before those training wheels are ready to come off.)

We came upon a series of signs, dotted along the edge of the woods just off the path we were walking/riding on:

"That's nice," I called to Peanut as she rode ahead of me and Luna. 
"What, daddy?" 
"The volunteers who take care of the park put up those signs so Luna doesn't go in there and get poison ivy." 
"Luna can't read, daddy." 
"You're absolutely right. Silly me."
Peanut is doing this more often. Correcting us, providing perspective, making observations, or reminding us of things. Sometimes, like the example above, it's funny. Sometimes it's enlightening, like when she hears the first few harmonica chords of Piano Man as we're riding in the car and says, "Daddy, it's your favorite song." Enlightening because she IS listening to me.

Sometimes it's as harsh as a bucket of cold water in your face. For instance, she now serves as our mediator. My Director and I sometimes often bicker like an old married couple. Wait...what? (10 years in December, by the way.) Whenever Peanut is around and we become engaged in one of our discussions, she joins in as an interested but neutral third party. 

"Work it out," she'll shout from another room.


"Guys, it's ok," she'll offer from the backseat of the car.

And My Director and I will look at each other with those "why-are-we-such-bad-parents-but-you-started-it" eyes. Then we will indeed work it out.

She is even aware of change. Like the other day, when she asked, "Daddy, why don't we hear the songs from Megamind in the car anymore?"

"Because mommy listens to a different radio station and she picks you up from school now." (And when I'm driving, it doubles as your musical education.)

Wow. She really notices everything we do. Everything we say. Everything. That's scary. She has a memory too. Even scarier.

It is the gigantic burden of parenthood. You are your child's example. Their moral compass. The old cop-out adage "Do as I say not as I do" does not apply. It should never have applied. She's watching. A little sponge absorbing. Learning. From me. Through me.

On my 37th birthday: We're so alike it's scary.
This is why she'll put her pajama pants on her head to distract us when she's being difficult at bedtime. Because when she's hurt or sad or crying for any other reason than naughtiness, I will put her pajama pants on my head to get her to snap out of it. When she mimics this hilarious, never-gets-old act of mine, My Director will turn to me and say, "See what you've done?"

Yes. I've created a comedic genius is what I've done. That pants-on-the-head gag kills every time.

We share a fondness for
fabulous headware 
When we're all in a happy mood and we're enjoying each other's company, she'll call My Director "the best mommy" and me "the best daddy" because I call her "the best little girl" and Luna "the best puppy."

But she's also helping me with her reminders. Because sometimes in the frantic rush from place to place, you can forget some crucial things. Like when I put her in her car seat, close the door, walk around to the driver's side, get into my seat, start the car, buckle my seat belt, reach to put the car in reverse and she giggles, "Daddy, you forgot to buckle me."

She thought I was being silly. I wasn't. I was being forgetful. She helps me remember.

Then there's the time we were playing tee ball in the backyard and My Director jokingly hit my butt with the bat. And now, just like the pants-on-the-head gag, it's become a thing to hit daddy's butt with the Whiffle-ball bat. Every time we switch sides from batting to fielding, I hand her the bat, and she smacks me with it. (But unlike the pants-on-the-head gag, this one gets old.)

And when I gave up chocolate for Lent  and she was making pretend-coffee in her play kitchen and she came in and said, "Daddy, it's ok. You can drink it because it doesn't have chocolate."

Not only is she always listening, she's always looking out for me too. She sees my love, feels my love, and loves me right back.

One of the things she teaches me, and reminds me of, is forgiveness. And wouldn't you know, Luna was involved there, too. I wrote about that here.


  1. Nice post! My kid's only two but lately I've been writing a lot about how his rapidly increasing knowledge is causing a lot of problems around our house!

    We've had to alter OUR behavior because of how it affects him; makes parenting a lot trickier once there's a little copycat hanging about, looking to you for tips on how to act.

    This whole role model thing is really putting a cramp in my drinking and swearing.

    1. Yeah... spelling has been key for us. But Peanut is starting to catch on. We're doomed.

      But hey... they make us better people. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Love the observations. " "Work it out," she'll shout from another room." " That is *priceless* Is she a teenager already? lol

    1. I *think* that's what the teachers in pre-K told them when they were arguing with each other. Regardless, she does sometimes talk to us like she's 14.

  3. Sometimes we forget how much they watch us and learn from us! Thank you for this reminder. Wonderful as always and I LOVE the pics. What a truly happy family :)

    Thanks for linking up again, it truly wouldn't be the same without you!!!

    1. Thank you... She's constantly reminding me of the responsibility I have as a dad. Surprise I don't drink more.

  4. They never forget anything, except what you want them to! :-)


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