"Being a good dad starts with presence not presents"
Lets me honest. We all know those people in our circle of friends who seem to negotiate there way into or out of anything. Maybe it's a better price for a bag of fruit at a market or a pay raise at work, these people seem to have the art of bartering down pat, and they seem to be able to use it to their advantage more often than not. So my question is why aren't we all teaching our kids to negotiate like a pro?
Growing up in the UK there were car boot sales on every weekend, for everyone that doesn't know this is where people all got to the same place and set up stall out the back of their car to sell things. This was where I found my legs in bartering. Going back and forth on a price for an item or negotiating two or three items for a better deal was something I loved doing. Now as an adult u use the same skills set (a little more honed, but the same). While traveling I try to get things like a free airport pick up with my room or a deal on tour if I am booking something else with the same company. When at the farmer market I will bundle items for a better deal. At work I negotiate schedules, time off, even pay, everything is on the table.
Meal Time, Deal Time
Negotiating is and art, the process of listening to what the other person is say and then using your knowledge of past communication, body language and limitations to form a counter offer is almost symphonic. At our house you will regularly hear Lucy my oldest say "Dad I want to make you a deal" this is her simple way of opening negotiations. She knows she wants something that won't come for nothing and she has already formulate a deal to present to me. This process started at the dinner table, the conversation of 'i'm done, no you're not, how many more bites'. I would give a number of bites and she would finish and ask to be excused. Then over time the conversation developed, we split the food up to enable some back a forth, 'Ok, 5 bites of potato, 3 of broccoli and 2 of pie'. This opened a door, the door for Lucy to now negotiate how much of each food she wanted to eat. So after a while with some encouragement she started to counter, less potato, more pie and all the broccoli. Now after a year or more of this process she pipes up with her own a pre-arranged deal to which I have to make her offer to her counter.
Building On The Small Stuff
From this seemingly small meal time start Lucy has moved into negotiating on lots of things, Bedtime, Playtime, toys, treats, you name it and she will come up with a deal. It's amazing to see how her skill set is developing. She already tailors her negotiation to the person she is talking to and you can watch her gauging their reaction to see if there is another round of deals to be made or if this is the point of 'take it or leave it'. She is learning in a very simple way the process of reading people. Obviously, she wont be negotiating for hostages or brokering multi-million dollar deals from her Dora the explorer phone any time soon, but starting now, and having so many years to practice means that one day maybe she will. For now I see the empowerment and pride she feels after 'closing' a deal and it makes me feel good about helping her gain this extra tool in her belt.
I recently saw a post by a new dad (1 month in) who was feeling debilitated by the lack of sleep he was getting. It made me think of my first months as a dad and coping with the combination of little sleep and having to function as a dad and a member of society. So I thought it would be good to put down some the the things I used to help push through, and come to terms with that period of sleep deprivation.
1. Be A Team
You don't have to do it alone. If you are offered help don't try to be a hero. Usually the people offering the help have been in the same position as you and know what it feels like. If no one offers then ask for help. Taking help even for an hour can give you chance to rest and regroup. You will be surprise how much better you feel.
The smell of paint, the whiz of a drill and a sprinkling of sawdust can only mean one thing. Our back yard climbing wall project is going full tilt, and it's excitement all round. As an avid climber and having worked as a climbing instructor for many years obviously I love it that my kids are into climbing to. So this weekend we decided to upgrade a small climbing wall in the back yard to a cool double wall. I though it would be awesome to write this post in case anyone out there was thinking the same and needed a little inspiration or guidance. I also threw in a few money saving tips because who doesn't like a deal.
Step 1: Getting Materials is the first step to any project. We are using two sheets of outdoor plywood, paint, bag of 100 3/8 t-nuts, climbing holds (or things to stick on the wall), screws (to put the wall up), bolts (sized to t-nuts)
Next the tools. In this project I used a tape measure, sharpie, drill, 1/2 inch wood drill bit, small roller, paint spreader, hex key set and a hammer
Home and away its always really important to get lots of good fluids into your kids. Unfortunately sometimes its hard to get the right kind in. With it getting harder and harder to avoid sugary drink I though I would put down some things I use while travelling to keep my girls (1 &3) hydrated and happy.
Scoop, pour, fill, stuff. Click, Click, Click. I snap the tops on the mini Tupperware boxes filled with different foods for the girls lunches. Fruit, one with olives and carrots, crackers, hummus and then a little bigger one for their main lunch. I'm definitely not a nutritionist but I am a dad, and what I pack up plays on my mind like a Rubik's cube of ingredients i'm trying to solve constantly.
'Del Monte Quality, Guatemala, 4011' Lucy switches her gaze between me and the label she has peeled of the banana she is slowly devouring. After finishing she looks back up at me, stuff that last piece of banana in her mouth and with an 'OK' goes back about the business of being a 3 year old.
When Lucy was getting ready to come into the world, Sheena and myself were trying to devour copious amounts of information about child development and giving your kid a good start. From Brain Rules for Babies to The Wealthy Barber Returns we read, or listened to, as much as possible to help plan educationally, financially and emotionally for our kids arrival. When it came to talking it seemed like most places were throwing out 30,000 words a day for a toddler to hear which is around 12 million words by the time they reach the age of three and they are doing well.
As a parent reading this post you are all to well aware of the importance of a solid nap, both for kids and parents a like. Last year we took a trip to Scandinavia and learned something new for nap time. Our children are both full of energy and nap time is a here and there occurrence in our house and most times it is short lived
A few couples we talked to said that it is the norm to leave their sleeping kids out in the cold to nap. Obviously bundled up in the right clothes not just PJ's though. All the couples reported that their children seemed to sleep longer and wake more rested and energetic after a nap in the cold, than if they were to nap inside, in bed.
Needless to say we were intrigued. Armed with this new knowledge we set to work thinking of how we could apply this at home without getting arrested for leaving our kids outside the front door during a Canadian winter.
For our kids the usually time they will fall asleep in the day is during a drive as you can see in the picture above. This gave us an opportunity, we decided, instead of transferring them to their beds post drive we would open one window and leave them in the garage where the temperature is a few degrees colder than the house (our house is usually set at around 17 celcius). After a few months of doing this we saw great success! Nap time had extended and we definitely saw that the girl were very well rested when the woke.
Jump to 8 months later and this is a regular occurrence at our house. In fact as I write this blog both girls are fast asleep in the garage with all the car windows open. I know its not quite as extreme as the Norwegians but a cooler nap time has really worked for us.