Monday, March 10, 2008

A Few Quick Thoughts on Parenting

...before I get back to work on my graduate portfolio.
  • I wasn't too stressed about FoxyJ going to Davis for two days last week because (a) I was excited for her, (b) being stressed about parenting by myself would show weakness that as a card-carrying member of the Involved Fathers Movement I am not allowed to show, and (c) my future vision is generally too rose-filtered to imagine that any coming situation might be anything less than peachy. Despite all this, Thursday and Friday were the culmination of a very grumpy week for me, parenting-wise, and I noticed the effect Foxy's absence had on my grumpiness when, after talking to her on the phone while the kids took a bath Friday night, I transformed, at least temporarily, from Angry Dad back to the Perfectly Cheerful and Patient Parent I usually am.
  • Interestingly, Foxy and I have been more consistent about having family home evening (almost) every week since I've left the LDS church than we were when I was a believing member. This is due mostly to the fact that S-Boogie is now old enough to remind us. And because we like treats. I've found that I enjoy taking my turn to prepare a lesson, because without the standard religious topics to fall back on I always have to think hard about what exactly I want to teach my children and how I'm going to do so. Last night I decided to do a lesson on the environment and conservation. I found this Happy Earth Day coloring book and printed one of the activities (on the back of a used sheet of paper, of course), then took the huge stack of paper collected from S-Boogie's daily arts and crafts, together with a large piece of butcher paper I had left over from making a scroll for one of the plays I'm in, and we made this papier mache Earth:
    I think she picked up a vague idea of what it means to "take care of the Earth," but the geography teachers of the world should rest assured that I am doing all I can to ensure their continued job security.
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness, and for agnostics that as close as we're going to get. I was babysitting for some friends the other day and I looked around their living room and said, "Hey, they don't have scraps of paper and pieces of tape everywhere. Maybe I don't have to live that way." So yesterday I cleaned up the living room a bit (thus producing the pile of paper that is now part of the Earth), and this afternoon while the kids played I vacuumed. Then tonight when it was time to clean up, rather than rushing through it like I usually do because I'm anxious to get the kids in bed, I actually had S-Boogie find a place for every random thing that was in the living room and then take the floating scraps of paper to the recycling bin. And suddenly the world's a happier place, and Angry Dad is so last week--though that may also have something to do with the fact that the miracle of Daylight Savings gave me an extra hour of sleep this morning.

14 comments:

Janci said...

I like your thoughts about family home evening here. Sounds like your FHE stuff is more meaningful than a lot of fully active LDS families. Having a lesson on the environment is just...awesome.

Mr. Fob said...

Thanks, Janci! To be sure, lots of active LDS families put more thought into their FHE lessons than flipping open the Ensign and reading an article, but the nice thing for me is that I'm forced to put in that extra effort.

Katya said...

How did you gain an hour for Daylight Savings when I lost one? (Or did I lose it to you?)

Mr. Fob said...

You lost it to me. The beauty of springing forward is that children don't know we've done so, so suddenly 8am feels like 7am to them.

Desmama said...

I liked the FHE idea--and the papier mache earth is beautiful. What a fun idea.

Mr. Fob said...

Thanks, DesMama. It didn't turn out as wonderful-fabuloso as I'd hoped--S-Boogie got bored after ten minutes of pasting strips of paper on--but if nothing else it was something to do with all that paper.

Rebecca said...

I'm with katya - I lost an hour. No, actually, I think I lost 2 hours since I can't get to sleep at my normal time since it feels too early, but I still have to get up at 5:30, which now feels like 4:30. This daylight savings thing is crap. The earth sucks. Kill the earth!

Rebecca said...

Oh, and PS - your lesson sounds awesome (even though I am adamantly against saving the earth because it sucks). Our FHE lessons were always Super Serious and straight from the FHE manual - SO boring. And every week I got in trouble for trying to make it fun and laughing and not being "reverant" (God hates laughter. Look dour). Learning about the environment would have been WAY more interesting than hearing the same kinds of lessons we heard EVERY SINGLE WEEK in church.

I'm Rebecca, and I approve this message.

Mr. Fob said...

Rebecca, I'm sure you will be embarrassed to learn that it is not "daylight savings," but "daylight saving time." I mention this only to help you be a better person, and because I'm petty and want vengeance for your oh-so-embarrassing correction of my "WMDs," and because I made the exact same error in this post.

FoxyJ said...

We're just following in a family tradition--when my dad had the lesson for FHE we usually ended up going out for ice cream or having fire drills.

Earth Sign Mama said...

Hey--those fire drills were important. We changed houses so often that we needed them! It's the togetherness that makes FHE important--not necessarily the lessons. Children remember emotional reactions, not facts.

Mr. Fob said...

Foxy: I'm proud to follow in such a great tradition!

ESM: Yeah, I think it doesn't matter so much that S-Boogie still has very little idea of what environmentalism is, but more important that she associates positive experiences with spending time with her family and with talking about things like the environment.

Rebecca said...

I'm sorry to tell you that I'm not even remotely embarrassed that it's daylight saving time - I think that sounds weird and am going to continue to call it daylight savings until everyone in the world follows me and the name is changed.

Mr. Fob said...

Curse you and your strong sense of self! You've foiled my plans. I'll get you next time!