Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
2 years, 9 months.
I’m going to start paying better attention to the class collaborations hanging up on the walls of your classroom.
Even though I receive your art work and other projects each week from your teacher, I don’t necessarily always see the group work unless I make an effort to look for it.
So here’s your latest contribution:
Your class was asked, “Where do we want to go on vacation?”
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like your answer was a bit different than your classmates’ responses…
While your friends all replied with classic (and by that, I mean normal) answers, you said you want to go to the snow to see Santa Claus.
It’s impossible for me to not think that’s hilarious.
First of all, we haven’t even talked about Santa Claus since… last Christmas?!
So I’m really curious how the thought of Santa suddenly surfaced in September.
Next, I like how “the snow” is simply the location of Santa Claus.
Then, building on that, is the fact that you’re being very proactive about your mission. You don’t have time to wait for Santa to come visit you and bring you toys! No way. You’re going straight to him.
Lastly, I laugh because once you travel to “the snow” and find Santa, then what? How long until either A) he gives what you really came for, which is gifts or B) you just straight up ask him for the gifts you came for?
Forget about the zoo, the beach, or the measly park. You want to go to extremes for our next vacation.
And I respect your plan. It comes across as very… entrepreneurial. That makes me proud, having recently finished the top-selling book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
Well, Mommy just informed me today that for our next vacation, in June 2014, we’ll be going to Lake Tahoe.
For what it’s worth, there’s definitely snow there…
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013
2 years, 8 months.
Last week when I wrote “My Kid Doesn’t Easily Sleep In The Same Room As Me,” in reference to our recent family vacation, I ended by saying, “I just had to ask myself, ‘What would Clark Griswold do?’”
I think that’s a point worth elaborating on.
There is a lot of behavior of the fictional character, first introduced in the 1983 movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, that I do not wish to replicate.
However, he does possess a quality I very much admire. It’s the fact that, with pride as a husband and father, he ultimately remains optimistic and adventurous on family vacations.
Yeah, that’s not necessarily me right now… but I’m working on it.
I’ve said it before, it’s hard for me to not be in control. It’s how I’m wired.
But on a family vacation, so little is in my control, especially when it comes to your sleeping arrangements. And if you don’t sleep well, I don’t sleep well. Then we’re both really grouchy the next day!
This may sound “out there,” but I have recently started practicing the art of meditation. It’s actually been very helpful to me.
I’ve learned to focus on what I can control versus what I can’t.
Turns out, my attitude and my perception of reality are what I can control the most.
And now, I’m applying my meditation principles in everyday life; not just on family vacations.
I find a quiet moment and place at some point each day and “focus on nothing,” clearing my head of un-dealt with concerns.
Then I pray for wisdom, humility, and grace.
In the process, I realize so much of what I let bother me is actually rooted in fear. It’s ultimately fear that I won’t get to relax and have a peace of mind. It’s fear that I won’t get my way or be happy… or get a break.
But if I accept that a family vacation is not a true vacation, but instead, a concentrated effort to spend time with family without the distraction of work and school, then it’s easier for me to have the right mindset.
It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me.
Honestly, this mantra has efficiently helped my attitude as a parent.
I also try to remember this quote attributed to Jim Henson:
“The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
This reminds me of an article I read recently about Shawn Achor, known as “Dolphin Dad,” who promotes the idea that kids learn to focus and react the way their parents teach them; including the frequency of laughter and smiling that takes place in a household, as modeled by the parents.
He believes the attributes of successful parenting are demonstrated in dolphins; because they are playful, social, and intelligent. In essence, happier parents make happier kids.
For me, at least, I can’t be happy, especially on a family vacation, if I’m focused on what will make me happy.
I have to think the opposite: What will make everyone else happy? What will it take to lose my ego and therefore lose what limits me? How can I sacrifice to make this trip memorable for everyone, instead of one we will all later wish we could forget?
Plus, I have to remind myself of the words of Clark Griswold: “This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun.”
We’ll be taking a mini family vacation in October. I think I’m actually ready for the challenge now…
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Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Thank God. We are in the middle of our vacation week and Jack is sleeping all the way through the night.
It’s because of readers who commented on “Losing Sleep Over Where My Son Will Sleep (Part 1)” that we decided on our son’s sleeping arrangements while we’re staying out here in California:
We have pushed two twin beds together. One is against a wall, where Jack sleeps, and it is bordered with big pillows.
From the very first night, this system has worked well. I have no complaints and have experienced no stress in regards to Jack sleeping.
In fact, he almost sleeps better this way. Last night he slept for 12 and a half hours!
The first morning I was so happy that I promised to get him a treat.
We drove by a party store and let him pick out two Made-in-China plastic animals that cost 35 cents each, as well as, a 65 cent mini Rubik’s Cube.
For his animals, Jack chose another horse and sheep that looks like he peed over itself; it has a yellow underbelly. (Pictured right.)
So I haven’t turned into the Incredible Hulk and the three of us are very well rested on our vacation.
Use me as your Guinea Pig. If you are planning a vacation with a toddler who doesn’t sleep well in new environments, try what I did.
Put pillow borders around a bed that is against a wall and stick to your child’s normal bedtime rituals.
I’m not saying that we haven’t had a share of other behavioral issues since we’ve been here, though. Stay tuned for an upcoming post referring to India Syndrome.
But as long as everybody’s getting sleep here, I’ve got no complaints.
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