March 30, 2009

Parenting With Wild Abandon

The weekend was good for Mia and I. She's needed some daddy time and, frankly, I've needed to hang out with her. On Thursday night, I came home with a box. Mia followed me down to my music room in the basement and helped me put the contents together. The thing, once assembled, was a set of shelves with drawers. These are your drawers and you can put whatever you want inside them, I explained. Even tiny things that you can't leave out upstairs because they'd be bad for Owen. Because Owen can never come in here. Just you and I, I explained. And she loved it. We spent half the weekend in the basement playing Legos.

I kicked the weekend off early, by taking Friday off. Given the stress of the last several months, it was the least I could do. I thought it was an outstanding idea. So, to celebrate we went to what Mia calls Mickey Mouse Cheese. The rest of the world calls it Chuck E. Cheese's. Parents call it hell. Turns out hell isn't so bad on a Friday morning. We ran around, played all kinds of games, got our asses kicked playing Mario Kart and won more tickets than you could shake a stick at. By the time Owen was wiped out, the rest of us were too. We went home, caught lunch, played and rested.

Saturday brought about two Special Missions (code for Mia's going to spend some time out on the town with daddy). We left the house early, hit Target for a few choice items, then went to the grocery store to get the preparations for a Special Dinner For Mommy For No Apparent Reason. We were out most of the morning, shopping, and returned later in the morning with flowers for Beth and lots of food. After lunch, Mia and I began cooking. By 5:00, we'd whipped up a pretty decent spaghetti sauce full of fresh sweet peppers and basil. Sunday was equally busy between birthday parties and dinner at my brother-in-law's place. By the end of the day both kids were exhausted and in near-meltdown stage. Beth and I were only slightly better off.

Fatherhood is funny. It's a lot like I'd imagine acting to be as a profession. I mean, you get out of it exactly what you put into it. If you half-ass it or you're distracted, you put in a mediocre performance. But if you give it your all, every fiber of your being - parent with wild abandon - not only does your kid benefit from a kick-ass parent but you take something away from it that's very cool. It's a pretty profound experience.

And what did you do with wild abandon this weekend?

Posted by Chris at March 30, 2009 6:14 AM

OMG, I was at Chuckie F&*%%ing Cheese too this weekend. I agree, it is hell. Hope I go to heaven when I die......

Posted by: Dawn at March 30, 2009 7:32 AM

Oh let's see, nothing as kick ass as you my friend but...
I was in a cooking mood. I did venison stew one night, baked French onion soup the next and even Mexican egg wraps for breakfast.
I pulled out all the tax documents for Hubby, did laundry, walked dogs and built fires in the hearth both Saturday and Sunday.
And all weekend I missed my own Dad.

Posted by: Maribeth at March 30, 2009 7:37 AM

I think I had a tiny insight into just how knackering parenting can be, we hung out with some friends who have a 2 year old girl that we played, laughed and sang with. We were worn out and that was after just a few hours, nevermind doing it 24 hours a day, going to work, looking after the house...

Posted by: Katherine at March 30, 2009 8:05 AM

Read philosophy and wrote summaries. I have 46 book summaries due by Friday...last Wednesday I had 16 books to read and all of the essays to write. As of today I have 5 books to read and 38 essays to write...

Nowhere near as fun as your wild abandon weekend!

Posted by: Krush at March 30, 2009 8:48 AM

We did the opposite, as we sent the kids out for a sleepover adventure to the grandparents.

I'll spare you the details, but do I want to mention that your "Special Assignments" remind me of an idea I heard years ago where dads take daughters out on "dates" (and mothers & sons as well). The purpose is to (a) spend special, quality one-on-one time with them (d'uh); (b) teach them how to expect to be treated on a date. You do it often enough (I think the family I read about was once a month from age 6 on) it will become natural. Any doofus who does not treat your daughter with absolute respect will get the heave-ho before you get a chance to say "where's my shotgun?" (vice versa as well, but we're talking daughters here)

We had always thought that was a great idea, but now our middle daughter is seriously lacking in attention (comparitively) and it's time to step up.

Acting: that's a good analogy!

Posted by: harmzie at March 30, 2009 9:01 AM

The stress is kicking my ass right now. I may take tomorrow off.

I worked from home for a few hours this weekend and then I did chores with wild abandon.

I did make a kick ass alfredo sauce yesterday. :-)

Are you still awake?

Posted by: MariaV at March 30, 2009 9:02 AM

My weekend was quiet but good. I ran errands, worked out, did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, read a book, watched TV, read the paper, talked with my husband and snuggled with my dog.

Boring all around, but it made me happy.

Posted by: bad penguin at March 30, 2009 9:40 AM

I drank with wild abandon...on Saturday night...while my Mom was in town helping with Felix (who had been sick all week).

And I remembered (how could I have actually forgotten) that drinking and parenting DO NOT MIX. Not at all actually!

Other than a wicked hangover, I had a good weekend though, complete with lots of cuddling, chasing of babies, walking of dogs and watching of movies.

Posted by: wn at March 30, 2009 9:48 AM

I coughed and blew my nose. And then I slept and coughed let my nose drip all over my pillowcase because I was too tired to reach for kleenex. And then I woke up because I couldn't breath. So I coughed and blew my nose again - with wild abandon.

Maybe next weekend I'll try the legos instead.

Posted by: SassyPants at March 30, 2009 9:55 AM

Reconnected with the love of my life in a bed and breakfast in a small town out in the middle of nowhere.

Posted by: JK at March 30, 2009 10:07 AM

"with wild abandon" I like that! Much more poetic than "being fully engaged".
I would like to think I parented with wild abandon, but I'm not sure. I did take my son to get new shoes and in the process stopped by for him to pick up a game he's saved his money for and has been patiently waiting for one of the parental units to take him to purchase. I stopped by the wine shop with him in tow and the two of us talked to our favorite wine guy about dinner menu for the week and recommendations for wine. It's funny to see how much he absorbs. In the end, we went with his (my son's) choices and they were awesome!!
I cooked with wild abandon. Spent about 3hrs per night on weekend meals. I loved doing it and the results were worth the time spent.
I "princess danced" with wild abandon with my daughter. Until I got dizzy and couldn't twirl anymore.
I connected with my husband with wild abandon, for the first time in some time. It was needed more than either of us realized.
I connected with two friends with wild abandon. One my neighbor, whom I love and respect, we made plans for a spring and summer garden to share. I love that we try to do our own cooperative food share program!
And two with my son's best friend's mom, whom I also love but never get to see. She called while I was trying to find something to wear for school function we are attending. She was having a hard time finding something too. My friend is widowed and has a hard time taking time out for herself. Hearing her say that she didn't feel "pretty" anymore broke my heart. So, I asked her what her favorite color was and what size she wore and I was her personal shopper. I snagged a gorgeous dress and spring coat for her and ran it over to her to try on. The change was immediate. She is going to be stunning...and I was really happy to do it.

Living life with wild abandon is hard...but oh so worth it when you take the time to do it.

I'm glad you and your family got that time together this weekend. You've needed it. Family is everything.

Posted by: varinia at March 30, 2009 10:18 AM

I pretty much was a slug on saturday, it felt fantastic, I even took a nap. LOL

Sunday I went to a show at the Armory, it was all businesses located in NH, it was pretty awesome and found about 5 new winery's that I didn't know about. Looks like this summer will be fun checking them all out.

Posted by: Deirdre at March 30, 2009 10:49 AM

We went to Chuck-E-Cheese for my daughters 4th birthday last weekend... I talked to my mom later that night and told her that I now knew why her and dad never wanted to bring us there as kids. What a nightmare! I think the key is to go early in the day on a weekday... NOT at noon on a saturday.

Posted by: Kim at March 30, 2009 11:05 AM

the trick to chuck e. cheese is to go right when it opens...which on saturday and sunday in my neighborhood is, like 9:30am. no one can get their kids out of the house that early so we pretty much have the place to ourselves for at least an hour. it's PERFECT!

Posted by: ali at March 30, 2009 12:41 PM

We went to Chuck E. Cheese also. Now my daughter wants to live there and keeps asking (every 10 minutes) if we can go back.

Posted by: Donna at March 30, 2009 2:20 PM

Not quite wild abandon but I did get a good solid mountain bike in at Nisene Marks. Lots of climbing, some really fun descents and a good workout overall.

I was pleasantly surprised that the pizza at Chuck E. Cheese wasn't bad at all.

Posted by: Erik at March 30, 2009 2:33 PM

Ahhhh weekend... On friday night my youngest slept at a friend's house. The father of previously mentioned friend said the word, *whisper* "sex" when he thought there were no small ears (or bodies, minds, spirits) in the room. This prompted a weekend of having THE TALK and many questions. Not how I planned to spend my weekend but it was actually quite nice. I have smart kids.

Posted by: Amanda at March 30, 2009 4:58 PM

What a fantastic post! I haven't been around lately. Not that I haven't wanted to. Life has just... carried me elsewhere. I miss this though.

Posted by: Tink at March 30, 2009 7:07 PM

I'm not sure if making pizza with a 3 year old and 20 month old is wil abandon, but it certainly did give the dog a good time. And we did watch enough basketball (while eating said pizza in a picnic in the basement) to be certified referees.

We keep working on the solitary time with each child. It certainly does make a difference, its just challenging to make sure everyone feels included and valued in their own right - at the right time.

Posted by: nora at March 30, 2009 8:36 PM

My boyfriend met the extended family today and he did not run screaming! I'm not sure I did anything with wild abandon (besides not doing a fucking thing all day yesterday - does that count?) but it was still good.

And by the way? Special Dinner for No Apparent Reason? Makes you awesome.

Posted by: Stephanie at March 30, 2009 10:36 PM

I took the kids skiing/snowboarding in Garmisch. I took a million pictures.

Next on my list? Edit pictures with wild abandon!

Posted by: Holly Reynolds at March 31, 2009 5:44 AM

awww, you're an amazing dad, Chris!

Posted by: La Petite Belle at March 31, 2009 7:43 AM

my comment just got deleted... urggggg're an amazing dad, Chris!

Posted by: La Petite Belle at March 31, 2009 7:53 AM

I birthday partied with all-encompassing wild abandon. This, of course, also entailed a wee bit of stressed-out-will-I-get-it-all-done griping at my husband. But, he didn't fault me. The girl turned 3 on Friday, therefore we spent all three days celebrating. It was completely delightful and, yes - you get out of parenting what you put into it and more. The cramped hand and sugar rush I got from creating 2-dozen horse cupcakes more than paid off with the utter excitement/glee/joy of my cutie.

That said, the wild abandon with which I am parenting right now has prevented me from keeping up with my own blog, let alone any one elses'. It's good to catch up with the Cactuses.

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Posted by: LethaHarding30 at March 17, 2010 10:09 PM