Same Day Different Year

Occasionally when I check my Facebook I have noticed that it will show me a picture I have taken on the same day in a previous year. Now I don’t post a great deal of pictures so it is possible they have been doing this for quite some time. Never the less it is a new feature for me.

A few weeks back Facebook showed me a picture from two years ago. The picture showed my oldest son and daughter playing with their bikes in our driveway. I couldn’t help but notice that my driveway was completely devoid of snow. The picture gave me a moment of ‘snowdrepressing’ thoughts but little else. More recently Facebook has showed me a same day different year picture and there was my daughter, three years younger smiling at me standing on a small plastic slide in our playroom. The caption read ‘Look where I can get to all by myself Daddy’.

Three Years AgoThis picture took me back for a moment. It was like time itself pounced on me, not unlike the way it does when I remember that no part of the 1990’s was ten years ago anymore. It was like all of a sudden the gravity of those three years hit me at once. Almost three full years have gone by since I went back to work and stopped being a stay at home dad.  The years on the one hand seem to have simply evaporated away. And yet the days on the other hand have seemed so long and many of them were so difficult to get through.

A wiser man than I once said, ‘People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.’ And boy do I ever feel like I have been hit smack in the face with a big ball of wibbly wobbly time-y wimey stuff.

doctor whoNow that my kids are 6, 4, and 2 instead of 3, 1, and hypothetical I am beginning to understand better why so many people kept telling me to; ‘cherish these moments while they are young’. Because there are so many stages that we have closed the book on. In our home there are no more rocking and shhhhing, no more bottles, no my cuddly babies passed out on my shoulders. And there are times when I miss those moments. Times I wish I did perhaps take a little more time to cherish the moment.

However because my kids are now 6, 4, and 2 and not 16, 14, and 12 I can still remember why I was not able to cherish each day. Each day with a newborn, or an infant or a toddler brings so many challenges. Trying to get out of the house to pick up groceries, or trying to get together when friends, or trying just to sit down and watch an uninterrupted movie together were feats worthy of Hercules. Not to mention trying to avoid being buried in laundry and dirty dishes, or trying to get through the day when you just spent most of the night awake. Let’s not mince words many of my precious moments worth cherishing are nestled within days that I would much rather forget.

Maybe this is one of the great paradoxes of parenthood. The days are so long they seem to go on forever. But the years just fly by in the blink of an eye. I’d love to hear about your days that took forever, or about those times when you realized just how much time really did fly by.

Let’s meet in the comments.

This post first appered on Urban Parent. They are a great local resource site for all things parent related in Halifax. 

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Hulk Dance

Ariella has been enrolled in a preschool dance program since September at The Maritime Dance Academy. She is learning tap, jazz and ballet. She loves going each week and of course she looks precious in her dance outfit. And lets be honest half the reason that you put a four year old into a dance program is because they look so stinking cute in a tutu. At least I am fairly confident that is why Meghan signed her up.

This past Saturday was picture day. Everyone in the school gets to dress up in very fancy dance outfits. Ariella’s class got to wear these impressive white dresses that the owner got from Turkey. They had strict rules for the day. Their hair had to be done in a proper slicked back bun. They were not permitted to where any jewelry, or nail polish.  The idea as I understand it was to let the dancers natural beauty stand out.

At breakfast before Ariella and Meghan left for dance we were discussing picture day, and that she was going to get to dress up in something special. Without missing a beat Ariella asked if she was going to get to be the Hulk. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Meghan, and my sister try so hard with all of our kids to bring a touch of class and coolness into their lives. But it seems that the gravity of my geekiness is just too strong. I have successfully turned Simeon into a gamer, and Ariella is well on her way to be a big superhero/comic book fan.

I love seeing Ariella dance as a dainty ballerina but I’d pay a fair amount of money to see her tap dance as the Hulk. Someone should start a program up that offers that.

Hulk Ariella dance

Ariella Smash Gracefully!!

 

Gaming: Power Ups, Winning, And Children

We bought a Wii U at Christmas and have been loving it. I know as an 8th generation console is lacks the power and function of either the PS4 or the Xbox One. Truthfully for years Nintendo’s strategy made no sense to me at all. Then I got married and had children. We were only going to have one console for the foreseeable future and Nintendo because it was more affordable, and more kid friendly became the obvious choice.

Wii U Mario Kart 8

Game On!

The two games that are currently dominating our living room are Super Mario 3D World (Kitty Cat Mario in our house) and Mario Kart 8 (Driving Mario 8 in our house). As we have been playing these games two wonderful characteristics about my kids have become readily apparent to me. Characteristics that I hope to preserve in them, and perhaps even rekindle in me.

Accepting Help Is Not A SIgn Of Weakness

Mario has always been full of power ups. Leaves, flowers, stars, feathers, mushrooms and more all bestowed new powers that help you on your quest to save the ever kidnappable Princess Peach. For the record the leaf that gave you the ability to fly via your new racoon tail in Super Mario 3, and revived in New Super Mario Brothers 2 is my favourite.

Simeon’s favourite power up is also a magical leaf. He likes the Invincibility Leaf. This power up pops up whenever you die too many times on the same level. Once you hit a certain number of failed attempts suddenly there glowing in the corner is a magical block that gives you this leaf which lets you jump further, jump higher, and makes you impervious to all damage.

Penny Arcade captures my feelings about getting this power up pretty clearly.

Penny Arcade
Simeon doesn’t see the leaf this way at all. He is happy to get the help. It occurs to me as I watch him play a level happy in his new ability he has not yet learned the lesson that many adults take to heart, getting help is for failures.

I know I rarely like asking for help or admitting I am not sure of something. This has caused me more than my fair share of headaches and right now that is not a problem for Simeon. He gladly takes help me from, from Meghan, from friends, and from magical leaf dispensers. Perhaps I should as well.

Winning Is A State Of Mind 

Playing Mario Kart is a family affair. For the first few go arounds Meghan, Simeon, Ariella, and myself all played. Neither Meghan or I showed any mercy to the children as we vied for first place.

Simeon had gotten pretty good at the Mario Kart 7 for our 3DS’ so we wrongly assumed he wouldn’t have any issue with Mario Kart 8. But he had a hard time making the jump from the analog controls of the 3DS to the motion controls of the Wii U. He would finish the race eventually, but he wouldn’t beat anyone. Well he would beat once person, Ariella.

Poor Ariella wanted to play so badly. And she was so excited to do so. But while all of the other cars whirled around the track tossing turtle shells at each other Ariella puttered along more often wedged against the wall then anywhere else. Time and time again after the three of us finished the race we would turn to see Ariella twisting and turning her wheel still working on lap 1/3.

Winning!

Winning!

At this point Meghan or I would sit with Ariella and we would drive together. We’d zip along the already finished race so the game would continue. The funnest thing happened every time Ariella crossed the finish line in last place, lapped 3 times by everyone. She would happily declare ‘I Won!’

Despite always coming in 12th Ariella never lost a race.

I wish I saw life the same way. I am always comparing myself to others. My looks/body shape, my parenting abilities, my cooking abilities, my pastoral abilities, and on and on I could go. I am always wondering if I am in first, second, last or lapped. But is that really the best way to live my life? Should I always be worrying about how I compare to other people? I don’t think so. If I know myself, and if I know what I want to achieve the only person I should compare myself to is me.

Video games often get  bad press about their effects on children. There are real concerns to address with screen time. But I also think games can be a fun tool for learning, and playing. In this case they helped to give me a glimpse into the inner workings of my children. I hope they will forever accept help when needed, and declare ‘I won’ whenever they cross a finish line.