Things That Make You Go, “Hmmmm”

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Daddy Stories

I know pretty much everything there is to know about raising children. How do I know? Well, the good folks at Child Protective Services wouldn’t be here every other week or so unless they wanted to learn how to do it the right way, would they?

Even so, every once in a while I get a curve ball that even I don’t know how to handle. Here are a few:

Hmmmm #1- You’re kid might be doing something shady, but he’s out of your hair.

At the park the other day, Malcolm joined a group of other kids running around the park. They eventually stopped running and huddled together on the other side of the park.  This allowed a fellow stay at home dad and I to discuss things like “What TV shows are you watching” and “Hey, the hot nanny is looking at you. Suck in your gut.”

Malcolm does many things. He runs. He screams. He begs for ice cream. One thing he normally doesn’t do is huddle. While I wasn’t sure, I had a suspicion that the kids were huddling around a cell phone supplied by a nearby nanny. Ignorance is bliss, but I wasn’t very excited over the prospect of Malcolm sitting around a nice, sunny park watching TV.

Do you find out whether the kids are watching TV, or do you sit back, enjoy the day with your friend and let the cards fall where they may?

Hmmmm #2- Is summertime for work or play?

I love the fact that Malcolm goes to school. He learns stuff that I could never teach him (math, Spanish, a sense of right and wrong, etc.) When the school year ends, however, parents are left with the decision as to how their kids should spend the summer. Most summer camps out there let kids be kids, offering an endless array of fun summertime activities. They teach kids sports, art, swimming, singing and, occasionally, fart jokes. When children at these camps are asked on the way home if they had a fun day, the kids typically give no answer because they have fallen asleep in the car after being worn out all day.

Raise your hand if you want to graph polynomials!!!

The other option is summer camps that offer educational curricula. Many schools, including Malcolm’s, offer summer programs and there are plenty of camps that pride themselves on making your kid smarter. While they may not say, “This camp will get your kid into Harvard,” science camp, chess camp and, yes, even math camp afford your child the ability to get ahead of the kids who are learning to do the hokey pokey. Children at these camps aren’t asked whether they had fun during the day, they are given comprehension exams and then berated for any shortcomings, “What do you mean you don’t know whether insects are invertibrates?! No candy for a week!!!”

Do you want your kids to have fun over the summer or continue their educational development?

Hmmm #3- Later bedtimes

A child’s bed time is a wonderful thing. Not counting some subsequent minor household duties like washing dishes or talking to your spouse about their work, bed time signals the end of the day for us stay at home parents. It is precisely this reason that we set Malcolm’s bed time at 4 pm for the longest time. As kids become more interesting to hang out with, though, the days get longer, inevitably pushing back bed times later and later. This has the irritating effect of depriving us parents of wine, a quiet house and a second glass of wine.

Do you pack your days and nights with fun activities with the kids or stuff them in gunny sacks and lock them in their rooms as soon at the first sign of dusk?

Of course, there are no right and wrong answers to these dilemmas, (provided you make the same decisions we do!) For the record, I put the kibosh on the Iphone presentation of what turned out to be “Tom & Jerry,” we have Malcolm in mostly sports camps with a few weeks of science camp to ensure that his brain doesn’t atrophy over the summer, (next year, he’ll go to school year round,) and we recently moved his bed time back an hour to 8. Malcolm may not always appreciate my take (“Aww dad, all the other kids get to watch Tom and Jerry!”) but he has been pretty happy, lately.

What do you think? Got any interesting conundrums yourself? (Yes, a blatant request for more of you to chirp in and let me know who’s out there…)

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3 responses to “Things That Make You Go, “Hmmmm””

  1. Amy says:

    Paul – with all of the celebrity eyeballs you’ve drawn to the site, I bet you’ll get some good conundrums!

  2. conrad says:

    have you tried add-to-any’s plugin? It lets you add a facebook “like” button at the bottom of each post. I appreciate having that for situations like this where all I can add is stuff that would get me in trouble with either or both my wife and mother in law. Because the only conundrum I have at the moment is trying to keep my mother in law from screwing up Bayly’s bedtime routine. Again! But she’s taking care of my daughter for a week, so how harsh can I be?

    • Ya, I think the like button was down for a little bit on the site. It should be up now. The guy who manages the site is a complete nimrod, so sometime it takes a while.

      Grandparents who look after your kid for long periods of time get a complete pass. Any retraining is totally worth it, no?

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