"Being a good dad starts with presence not presents"
'What do you want to impart to your children as they grow up ?'
This was a question I was recently ask. I answered that I hoped to teach my girls to be strong and confident and not to be held back by other's perceptions of limitations. That night and for the few days since I have thought about the question and my answer and if it could be boiled down to one words. Finally last night I realized that the word I was looking for was adventurous. I would like my girls to be adventurous.
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
"bump, bump, whooaa, hahaha" Lucy laughs as she rides around the garden center sitting on the flat cart pretending to fall over. It's a beautiful summer day and as we stroll through the plants looking and smelling lavender for inspiration Lucy pipes up 'A Butterfly' and points to a small glass butterfly on a stick. She is memorized and the decision is made. This year we are planting a little butterfly garden.
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.
Tilley wanders around half in her pj's as I sit on the floor holding Lucy on my lap, tears stream down her face. It's so strange, she has never been a big crier and she is breaking down completely over not being able to zip up her onesie. 'Whats wrong Lulu?' and her answer makes everything clear. 'I miss mummy' she chokes through her tears. For the last three weeks the girls and I have been going it alone. Sheena's taking some schooling in India for the month and we plan to fly out after three weeks, spend a week traveling around and meet her in Goa for her last week of school. Now for the first time in three weeks, I feel completely lost. All I can do is hug her tight, console her and reassure her that I miss mummy to and we will see her in a weeks time in India.
Having two girls (3 and 1.5) that love to be read to is great. They will listen to so many different stories about far off places and amazing creatures. However as a dad it plays on my mind the type of message i'm sending to them if I read to many princess saved by hero or girl as the damsel books. So last year I set about on a search for some books that I felt, sent the message to Lucy and Tilley that they can, be happy, do anything they put their mind to and achieve amazing things under their own steam...............Prince not required.
So here is my list, it is by no means comprehensive and only my opinion but when I read them to my daughters I get a good feeling in my heart about what the books are saying. Although they may not realize it yet I hope subconsciously its empowering them now and for down the road in later life.
Tug tug, Tug tug. I wake up to a small hand holding my bread and pulling gently but firmly. My eye's open and I follow the hand, then arm down to find its attached to my youngest daughter, who's still fast asleep. I release her grip and place her arm back down by her side, check Lucy who is sleeping against a pillow on the far side of the bed then fall back asleep.
Since Lucy was born we have been co-sleeping. To be honest it was almost completely unplanned (the co-sleeping not Lucy). When she was first born she slept on my chest then this transitioned into my arm then between us and she kind of never left. Now at 3 and half she has her own bed and sleeps in it 50% of the time. When she does start in her bed usually at around 2 in the morning she will climb up between us and snuggle under my arm. When we found out we were pregnant with Tilley we actually up sized from a queen to a king bed to accommodate co-sleeping with both girls. The thought never crossed our mind that one or both would be sleeping in with us most of the time.