Sunday, June 21, 2015

Top 5 Most Random Parenting Moments

Father’s Day, 2015
In honor of Father’s Day, Sara posted a series of pictures over the years of me with my girls; sometimes tender, sometimes humorous, they were all sweet and left me thinking about the stories we’ve accumulated over the years. In honor of that, I offer five completely entertaining parenting moments.
How do I teach this move?
Surviving the inches-deep water and fighting the urge to pee!
Our first canoe trip caused some panic in both girls, still pretty young. They worried for a while about the risk of tipping and the potential to drown, and brief panic set in every time the canoe wobbled, which was pretty often. My attempts to alleviate their anxieties took a while to work, despite pointing out that the unsteadiness was because we were bottoming out and they were unlikely to drown in slow-moving water only up to their ankles. Eventually, they relaxed, but anxiety crept up again when they had to go to the bathroom and discovered there were no port-a-potties stationed periodically along the river.
Eventually, I headed off with one who was desperate enough to relieve herself. Finding a secluded spot, she was about to just stand and pee, and needed instructions on how to appropriately relieve herself. Suddenly, I realized I should have switched with Sara, as I am not knowledgeable enough to teach this technique! Alas, too late, and now I had to quickly figure out a reasonable technique and explain it. She was mostly successful, and comfortable enough to go again later. In fact, she declared her abilities as we were landing the canoes at the end of the day – and everyone else pulling their canoes out of the water were quite clear on her newfound skill!
Aah, the bliss (and sand) before we all realized
some critical clothing had been misplaced!
We took a road trip to the beach one year for a daughter’s birthday. We opened presents and enjoyed the time at the beach all day, and everyone had a blast. Late in the day, the goal was to change and go into town for dinner before heading home. In the bath house, we all changed out of sandy bathing suits in favor of dry, clean clothes. Only, we discovered that one daughter’s underwear had somehow gotten lost! No amount of searching uncovered the missing underwear, and we pondered our next move. So began my daughter’s first “commando” day. Upon arriving at the restaurant, we first ducked into a Gap store across the street, where my daughter went from commando to wearing the most expensive underwear she’d ever owned. Problem solved, and on to the birthday cake!
Does gravity still work?
Enjoying the beginning of a birthday celebration,
a moment before the crash.
“Camping for your birthday? Sure honey, sounds fun!” So began my older daughter’s birthday plan when she was seven. We stayed at a campground not too far away, with a nice site and nearby bathrooms and showers. We formally celebrated her birthday at the picnic table, with presents and dessert. Well, we tried. Unfortunately, right after the beautiful, wide smile, her birthday took a turn for the worse when she fell off the picnic table. Oops! While I am not sure what her birthday wish was, a reasonable guess would be to spend the rest of the day ouchy-free!
A timeout? Or chance to recover?
It’s unfortunate when your daughter acts up and needs to get a timeout. It’s even more unfortunate when she won’t go on her own volition and needs be carried. It’s terribly unfortunate when you’re carrying her to the timeout chair and accidentally bang her head on the doorway. OOPS!
Distraught and in a tutu. Oh, the humanity!
Revisionist history
On a glorious summer day, my mother and I drove my girls down to Newport, RI, for a tour of one of the mansions. We elected to take a self-guided tour, in which we wore headphones and started our recordings at the same moments so we’d hear everything in synch with each other. We were enjoying ourselves and laughing periodically. However, as we worked our way further and further into the bowels of the mansion, my smallest daughter became increasingly uncomfortable and we couldn’t figure out why. Later, we realized that the atrium-like set-up of the servants’ areas left her feeling as if the mansion would come crashing down on her. At the moment, I tried to reassure.
One daughter hugging the other, presumably because of finishing the tour!
My efforts proved to be in vain, as my mother subtly hid behind a wall in the next room, and sprung out at my youngest. She freaked her so badly that my poor, innocent child was left trembling. I both laughed and cursed my mother over my daughter’s head, as she hugged me in a death grip. She recovered quickly enough, and Nana and I continued giggling.
My payback was to continually misconstrue the story and how genetics work. Now, my daughter is convinced that Nana repeatedly traumatized to her and anyone related to her must be into scaring people because of Nana’s genes. The stories no longer bear any resemblance to the reality, but hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
Cheaters Never Prosper
It’s important to be active, to experiment with different sports, and to pursue the one you’re passionate about; even if that is feet-never-lift-off-the-floor hallway races. However, even if you’re good and if you have a competitive streak, you should never cheat. If you do, you never know how the joy of defeat can turn into being hauled away by a crazy man for some dastardly torture.

All of these moments were unexpected and minor. But the little moments, whether in the midst of a bigger adventure or on an inconsequential evening, often make for the most beautiful memories. So, happy Father’s Day to the dads out there, navigating big and little events, and hopefully enjoying the ride!
See you on the trails,
Jay Bell, AKA RockHopper