Tag Archives: daughters

To My Six Year Old – Happy Birthday!

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My Goo-Goo-Pop.  My Monkey. My Little Sweetie.  My Stinker. My Cutie Pie. I love you so much, and I am so thankful you are my daughter and I get to be your dad.  I pray for you every day that you know the love I have for you is the same love God has for you. His Love is even more bigger and better than mine, though.

 

Watching you grow up has been crazy.  There have been some hard days, because I don’t know how to handle someone so smart, and someone like me.  I want things my way, and I know you do too. I wish I could just give it all to you. But more importantly, I want you to know God and know His purpose for you.

 

There have been some awesome days too that are so much fun, like when I make funny noises or faces and make you and your sister laugh non-stop.  Or when we go to the store and we have fun goofing as we walk around the store. Or when I carry you to some other part of the house and you want me to do it again and again.  

 

And, of course, there are the days I get to watch you be so focused on your karate katas that you take home trophies or medals.  I could not be prouder of how hard you have been working this summer at karate camp and getting your belt promotions. I am glad you are excited about karate, and I am proud of your accomplishments.  I am always going to be proud of you, but I am glad you found something that you enjoy and makes you happy.

 

Always do your best, and always do what you love.

 

I love you just the way you are:  how silly you are, the crazy, silly things you do and say, how hard you try, how you play with your sister or yourself, how you don’t like putting away your laundry, how you talk to your turtle in the morning, how you snuggle with me before falling asleep some nights.  I love to hear you act and play with yourself. Your messy room drives me nuts, but I love that you love it just the way it is.

 

I love how much you love your sister and your friends.  I am glad you are so loyal to both, and I hope that continues through your life.  I pray that both your sister and your friends know how much you love them.

 

I don’t remember much of your baby days, unfortunately, but I remember your days from two years old and on.  I remember the scowl on your face just about anytime someone took your picture. I remember how impressed I was to see you use my iPhone at such a young age.  I remember some of our fights, but I also remember some other times of love and kindness and peace we had. I remember the times I would be squatting down to talk to you, and you would turn from facing me to trying to sit on my lap knocking me down.

 

I try my best to not get too mad and tell you to stop and obey, because I don’t want you to shy away from your feelings and keep your mouth shut.  I want you to speak up and speak your mind when it is necessary. I want you to fight for what you believe in, and I want you to fight for others and what is right.  I want you to fight for God, and follow His purpose for your life.

 

I can’t promise you good times.  I can’t promise that I’ll always agree with you.  But I promise to always love you. I promise to always be on your side and choose you.

 

Thank you for letting me be your dad, and thank you for being Haley.  Thank you for being a silly monkey. Thank you for being an awesome six year old.

 

I love you.

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Dreaming Of Girls, Girls, Girls

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I have a dream.  I’m stealing that line from a great man.  My dream is different, though; a little more personal.  It is still important, and it can still change the world.  That seems to be my goal for the year and possibly for the rest of my life.  This dream I am writing about here has to do with my daughters.  I want to give my daughters the tools they need to change the world.

 

My girls are awesome and that includes my wife.  She’s awesome and is a great role model for our daughters.  She often finds herself as the mediator between my daughters and I, and my relationship with them is better for it.  We are all lucky that my wife is a coach with part of her job is managing people’s emotions.  Very helpful when it comes to strict and cranky dads and, well, kids.

 

This doesn’t even include the fact my daughters got their cute smile and nose from their mom.  

 

In previous posts, I have talked about how I believe in my kids and want them to be the best at whatever they do.  I want to empower them.  I want them to have confidence.  I want them to feel they can do anything they set their minds to, and they are capable of doing all things through God and for God.  I want them to stand up for themselves.  I want to give them all the tools they need to be successful, whatever that means for them.

 

The charge to change the world is not something I am hoping they take on for selfish gain that makes them rich so they can hoard it.  My wish for them is they change the world for all girls, so that all girls know they are loved and are valued.  Change the world for girls who don’t have choices, or don’t feel like they have choices, or are enslaved in one way or another.  Change for all people.

 

Change the world so that all girls may grow up thinking they could become the president.

 

One way this plays out in our house is the mantra to never give up.  Not in the way the early-round American Idol contestants never give up but should.  More in the way skateboarders or figure skaters, for example, keep practicing and never give up.  

 

We have a plaque with “Family Rules” on it, and one of the rules is to never give up.  This played out recently at Legoland when my oldest daughter wanted to try one of the carnival games where you pay $10 for one chance to win the giant stuffed animal that won’t fit in your car if you win it, so you end up carrying around the rest of the day.  She wanted to try a game where you climb a wobbly ladder across a padded mat to the other side without falling off.  If you make it across, you win.  Since our kids are young, the game operator let them both go for the price of one.  My four year old didn’t want to try it, so my seven year old got two turns.  She got maybe one-third across the first time, then two-thirds the second time, but trying a third time meant more money, which we parents were not willing to invest in.  This led to a giant fit of disappointment, which I automatically assumed was about disobedience for not wanting to leave.

 

After being calmed down by my wife (both my daughter and I that is), who took the time to listen to her rationale, we discovered that she was trying to live by our family rule and never give up.  It made sense: first time, one-third across; second attempt, two-thirds; if she was given a third try, victory.  Can’t blame her for having persistence.  It will serve her well in the future.

 

My oldest daughter is also a school nerd, and she loves it.  She totally embraces it.  My wife found this shirt for her that says “I’m a Nerd” on it, and it is covered with math equations and geometrical shapes covering it.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she field of study she decides to pursue.

 

My youngest is not so much of a nerd, but she is certainly smart.  She’s crafty, so we’ll just have to make sure she uses her powers for good and not evil as she gets older.  She’s headed to kindergarten soon, and we’re curious to see how she’ll handle it since everything is boring if it’s not watching TV or playing pretend.  There have been times my wife has made volcanos, or slime, or putty with household items.  This leads to her filling up tupperware with water and stirring it up pretending to recreate these crafts.  The only two problems with this is, one, she’s sometimes carrying the water across the house not keeping all the water in the container, or, two, I have found she has poured something solid down the bathroom sink.

 

Again, after getting some clarification from my wife, she informed me she is trying to do science experiments.  The light bulb in my brain went off (it’s only a 30 watt).  Since I am a scientist myself, I thought I should encourage this behavior but in a controlled environment.  One of my new projects I need to work on is clearing out some space in the garage for her to do some kid-oriented science experiments.

 

Something that I want to do as a parent is to encourage my kids’ interests and not stifle them regardless of the level of my interest.  Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean my kids shouldn’t do it.  I grew up skateboarding in the 80’s and I watched a Bones Brigade documentary somewhat recently.  One of the skaters featured was Rodney Mullen, who was one of the premier freestyle skateboarders of his day.  By age 14 he had turned pro.  However, his dad did not support his skateboarding interest and that hindered their relationship.  I decided then that I wasn’t going to do be that kind of dad.  It doesn’t mean I’m going to like it when my daughters decide to start their goth or emo phase, but it does mean I will be as supportive as I can.  So don’t be surprised if you see in 5-8 years at a My Chem concert, or whoever the hot band is at the time.

 

More importantly, though, more important than what my dreams are for them, is what God has planned for them and for them to seek that plan.  I can have all the dreams I want for them, but they need to tune their hearts, ears, and minds to Him.  I hope to do what I can to guide them to God.  Whatever I dream they do is pointless and worthless if it isn’t part of God’s plan.  That is what I dream for them the most.  That is what I pray for.  That is what I hope they seek.

 

And I dream on…

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5 Things That Prove I Have Daughters

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I am outnumbered. We thought we would have one boy. We kind of hoped for it, but we didn’t really care that much. We just wanted our kids to be healthy. Happy and healthy. Well, healthy-50% of our wishes coming true isn’t bad. My dad wanted a boy to carry on the Smith name, but I have so many “cousins” in professional sports carrying on the Smith name I am off the hook (see because everyone has the last name Smith).

No we’re not going to try to a boy.

That is already out of the question, so no need to ask. The plan was always to stop at two. My wife hated being pregnant and cringes at the thought of being pregnant again. We’re happy with our girls. My wife tells me I am happy with three girls running my life, so I must be happy, right? Right. No, really. I’m happy.

So here are the five proofs I have that I have daughters running the show.

1. It’s a brave pink world.
The grandparents are happy with girls too as well as the one great grandma that the girls have. They all love spoiling the girls with clothes and toys. My mother-in-law, in particular, likes having two girls she can dress up in dresses, both American/Western world and Indian dresses like saris or lehngas, since her daughter didn’t like wearing dresses. We thought we had a clone in Zoey not wanting to wear dresses. Before she was two, most of the time Tasha and I dressed Zoey in pants or shorts. She didn’t have many skirts or dresses. Well, she had them, but we didn’t put them on her, and she wasn’t really asking to wear them. So at Christmas time, my mother in law had a Christmas dress she wanted Zoey to wear, and she kept trying to put it on her but Zoey refused. She was kicking and screaming and she ran away as grandma just barely put the dress over her head.

Well, both girls have come around to see things Grandma’s way. There is rarely a day either Zoey or Haley want to wear pants or shorts. Even if it is cold (about 3 days out of the year here in Southern California), they want to wear dresses and we make them wear leggings underneath. Grandma is also happy that she has someone to pass her jewelry down to. My girls love wearing bracelets, and Grandma was begging us to let Zoey get her ears pierced. She did when she was about two and a half and they fell out after a couple of weeks at school one day and the hole closed. We waited to do it again until just recently, and they have come out twice since. No wonder my wife doesn’t pierce her ears. What a pain in the ass.

Oh, and all these dresses are pink, or just about all of them. I do the laundry, and most weeks there is an entire load of laundry that is all pink or pink-adjacent to wash. Zoey even has a pink room. A book series that the girls love is Pinkalicious. It’s a good series and there are some other colors like Purplicious, Goldilicious, and Silverlicious, but the root is pink. Nature versus nurture: do girls like pink because they are girls? Or do they like pink because that is what grandparents, aunts, and friends buy them? There are exceptions to the rule but it makes me wonder a little (This book answers a lot of that question-Bringing Up Girls).

And what do you need to go along with the pink dresses and jewelry? A perfectly good manicure and pedicure to complete it. Grandma watches the girls regularly once a week, and during most visits the girls request/insist to have their nails painted. Haley doesn’t like to sit and wait to get her nails painted, but she wants them done. She also doesn’t want to wait for them to dry. That’s always fun. There are also the times that the girls are doing whatever they are doing, some time goes by where they are not screaming either at us or at each other, so I go searching through the house to see what is going on. That’s when I find Haley sitting on the floor of our bathroom on a hand towel painting her nails on her own. It has happened only a couple of times, and to be a good dad as well as minimize any further damage of nail polish on the carpet, I painted Haley’s nails. That has only happened once, but I was caught in the act. I was trying to hurry as much as possible to limit the number of witnesses. No such luck.

Got caught giving a manicure to Haley
Got caught giving a manicure to Haley

2. “The hits of the 80s, 90s, and today!”
This is the tag line of most of the bland, vanilla pop radio stations that play the widest variety of hits even though they only really play songs of 10 artists just different songs by those artists in a different order. Pop music is the bane of my existence. I do have the guilty pleasure song here and there-Michelle Branch, Sara Bareilles, other music that sounds exactly the same, maybe Adele-but that is not the primary style I listen to. I’m definitely not so hipster or snobbish to only be into music that no one has heard of or I have to be first on the scene with a band. However, I am a music snob and think all of my music is the best.

But I don’t get to listen to my own music much around the house or in the car when the kids are around. I do get to listen to my own music when I’m driving to work or at work, but if the girls are around it is either Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, maybe Pink (not Pink Floyd), or one of the songs from Frozen. Just pick a song and the girls probably know it and sing along, which is actually kind of cute. Read my post “I Wish I Could Just Shake It Off” and that will tell you about my life with kids’ music.

Again, I wonder if this is a nature versus nurture thing. I guess it’s a nurture: I used to listen to country growing up, because that’s what my parents listened to. And kids eventually develop their own taste in music, but is that also nurtured by what their friends listen too…? I don’t know the answer, but I am sure a One Direction or Taylor Swift concert is in my future in a couple of years.

3. “I’m sorry you didn’t see your mom this morning, but she had to go to work so she could pick you up on time.”
Somewhere along the road of life, I learned that I am responsible for my own actions and choices. I could play the victim, but that doesn’t do me any good nor help me in any way. I also have the luxury of being an adult with the ability to understand that certain things just happen and there is nothing I can do about that. You know, logic and reason come into play at times in life. Now, before I get in trouble, I am not saying women are illogical and unreasonable, I am saying my little girls are. Did I get in trouble just for bringing it up? Then forget I said anything and keep reading. What makes things worse is I don’t have empathy. I’m working on it.

Tasha gets up pretty early to try and get to work early to try and get home at a decent time to pick up the girls from school. Sometimes she leaves before the girls wake up, but it actually is a little worse if they see her. Actually, Zoey is getting better about letting Tasha go if she wakes up early enough. Haley isn’t. She’s clinging to her if she sees Tasha. Zoey is a fire needing to be put out if she wakes up and Tasha is gone. The trouble comes when Zoey wants to see her.

ZOEY: I want to see Mommy!
Me: You can’t see Mommy. She already left for work.
ZOEY: {stomping her feet and sobbing} I want to see Mommy now!
Me: She’s gone. What do you want me to do?
ZOEY: Make her come back!
Me: Sorry, but she can’t otherwise she’ll be late for work.
ZOEY: I WANT HER RIGHT NOW!

Usually we agree to call Tasha, they talk, and the world continues to spin. It is definitely not a very pretty scene either, especially if I haven’t eaten my breakfast yet or if Zoey hasn’t gone pee after waking up. My empathy and compassion fuel tank is definitely low when my stomach is empty. I only know this because Tasha has told me not to talk to the girls until I have eaten, otherwise I automatically start using my mean-dad voice, which triggers rebellion, which feedback loops to my disdain, which loops back to their defiance. Hmm, I guess I’m not that much different than the children.

4. The Voice and Look of Doom
It seems to be universally known that guys have a “I’m-talking-to-a-girl” voice. I do, apparently, put on a particular tone of voice when my wife calls me at work, and she makes fun of me for it. I have heard some girls do it too, so don’t think you are off the hook, ladies. Guys just usually get more heat about it from their buddies than girls do. Or maybe girls do give girlfriends grief about it, I just, obviously, wouldn’t know about it not being one of the girls.

Well, I have the opposite effect on my daughters. When I am mad, or just slightly agitated because there are too many toys on the floor, my tone of voice changes, and a simple request of, “Please pick up your toys before going to bed,” sends my kids running for the hills for Mommy. As mentioned above, if it is breakfast time and I haven’t eaten yet and Tasha already left for work, The Voice of Doom is more pronounced. If the girls sit in protest to whatever I have asked, I will ask again a little more frustrated having to ask again, which increases the tone of The Voice and The Look starts to come out of its’ cave a little. The more times I have to ask, the more The Voice starts to spike, and the more The Look and The Voice travel together up the side of a volcano that’s about to erupt.

Then it happens.

I’ve asked them to get dressed or brush teeth or eat food or drink milk five times in the last five minutes and everyone is now on time out! I should also be on time out. Everyone is crying, I’m screaming and slamming a door or two, then I try and breathe. It takes some time, but The Voice and The Look of Doom crawl back to their cave. I apologize to my kids for being a monster, and we walk to school like nothing happened.

The Voice is alive but needs to hibernate more.

5. “Huggies!”
No, this isn’t an endorsement or product placement, but if you need to buy some click this (Huggies). This is about hugs, like the physical contact kind. I don’t know about you, but physical touch didn’t happen a lot for me. Not like I was isolated and stuffed in a closet or anything, but when I was a kid, sometimes even now, I would have to greet my parents with a kiss. LIke I would have to. If I didn’t, I was in trouble. This also applied to relatives at family events. I have been in trouble because I didn’t tackle my grandma from behind and greet her with a kiss because she walked past me at a family dinner. Maybe because I was a boy, hugging wasn’t a thing. Or maybe I was indirectly taught hugging was only for family and relatives. Either way, when I got to school, my friends didn’t run up and hug each other.

I see Zoey do this with her friends all the time. There is nothing wrong with it, but I certainly notice it as different than how I would greet my friends when I was her age. I don’t think I hugged any of my peers until I was in junior high, and if I did, I hugged girls. And if I hugged girls, I considered that a lucky day because I had (have) no game (that’s for another day). Now that I think about it, I am just weird. I think it definitely had something to do with what I was taught about physical contact. Anyway, Zoey’s in kindergarten now, and she has been doing this since she was four in preschool. When I would drop her off, there would be a small pack of girls who would run up and start to give her hugs. She would smile but still kind of cower and cringe. I guess that was like the adult version of, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” In her case, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve put my lunch pail away in my cubby.”

I’m glad Zoey and Haley have friends. Haley has her friend Paige. After dropping Haley off at preschool I sometimes see her holding hands with Paige on the playground, another move I didn’t do with my buddies. Now I might. Just kidding, but only because when I do my wife doesn’t like it. Just kidding again. At Haley’s birthday party, Haley and Paige were in friendship heaven. They were running around scream-laughing, holding hands, and just having a blast together.

Then the next week at school they didn’t want to be friends anymore.

Then the next day they were friends.

Then they weren’t.

Guys don’t do that. We just “hug it out bitch.”

There was a period of time I thought I would be single forever, never able to get a girl. I was going to be a grumpy old man who hated people. I am still a grumpy old man who hates people, but I have three amazing girls, two of which run to the door for hugs when they hear my car pull into the garage. Then one who cooks, or “cooks” In ‘N Out or pizza, dinner.

I’m very happy and thankful to have these girls in my life.

What proofs do you have that you have daughters? Or sons? Or both? Or that you, too, have crazy, awesome kids? Leave a comment and share your stories!

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