I’m beginning to have an understanding of what my father felt when he came home after working all day, grabbed our baseball mitts, and stepped into my room to ask if I wanted to play catch. He would usually find me on the floor of my room, in the midst of a galactic battle between good and evil, Empire and Rebellion. Now that I’m a father, I find myself with two young daughters who have the same view of their father as their grandfather once held.
I was inevitably drawn into the disagreement. Were they really fighting over who got to use the bathroom first when they got home? Yes. Yes, they were. And they were dragging me into it. Serves me right for only having a home with one bathroom. “Well,” I said. “Who called DIBBS?” Stunned silence momentarily followed.
We’ve lucked out so far in the kid-having world: our son, Jasper, is a reasonably mellow individual. At this point (he turned three a month ago) he speaks easily and can tell us what’s going on with him — most of the time. However, like most kids his age, every so often he flies into what can only be described as preschooler rages and they totally kick our asses.
My daughter, Olivia, came home from her preschool and announced she needed to have long hair to be “pretty” and it wouldn’t hurt if I could put her in a dress for school. Initially I didn’t think much of that comment, but it bothered me. So I shaved my head to show her that prettiness wasn’t about long hair.
My foster son Noah dances like a bedazzled, hormone-charged pop star. His foray into mock super-stardom is very likely the result of being babysat all summer along with his hyper-girlie cousin who is six years old going on 16, and his four-year-old sister who emulates everything said older cousin does. Noah is regularly subjected to marathon sessions of trying to nail down the choreography in Miley Cyrus’s “Hoedown Throwdown” and other tween delights.
My good friend Alexander and his wife Nicole just celebrated the graduation of their oldest daughter from high school. I wanted to know what their tricks and tools for raising such stellar kids were, and what I can learn from their experiences. The following is an interview with Alexander.