This weekend Katie got to go up to Minnesota to see Ann Voskamp speak at the Set Apart Conference. I was excited for her to get this opportunity to see one of her favorite authors and I was also excited to have a weekend alone with my kids. I documented a lot of it on Facebook and Instagram, but I collected a bunch of other thoughts and here’s what I learned.
Katie is good
Let’s just get that out of the way. My respect was renewed this weekend when I had full responsibility for when they wake, when they eat, how they play, how they go down. When you see all the little things add up caring for kids 24/7, it’s impossible not to say “kudos” to you. She’s the primary care-taker five days a week, and big chunks of the weekend while I’m in grad school. She’s awesome.
Plan, plan, plan
Taking care of Sorin and Norah is nothing new for me. I was ready for these three days; I’ve done this before. But if my plan for the weekend was to wing it, I would’ve been in trouble. I need a plan. For meals I had a plan, the kitchen was stocked, and it all went perfectly. I even made a quiche! For playing outside I had some ideas but it was rainy and we couldn’t get outdoors. That was a bummer. We still got to do some learning things and some arts and crafts because Katie and I have been trying to add some educational structure to their days. Our trip to Kids at the Rotunda was very successful part of the game plan. The teacher in me was very happy to have a schedule and it seemed to keep the kids going with a perfect amount of free play.
Katie and I parent differently
I don’t play certain games the way she does. My quiche didn’t come out the same way Katie’s does (but it really was good!). And there’s things from a behavior standpoint that I don’t allow where they can get away with it with Katie. I heard, “But Mommy doesn’t….” more than a few times. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was an eye opener that we certainly do things differently and so we need to continue to communicate and collaborate so we can work well together raising our kids and run our family. I really enjoyed the perspective of being the primary care-taker for the weekend so I could see how she has worked with the kids and how I can contribute to the development of their behavior, manners, and growth as learners.
Sorin the Leader, Norah the Lover
Sorin runs the show. This isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows our family. He’s the ring-leader. It’s kind of fun to watch but it also showed me that I need to continue to help him understand great manners and even leadership with his sister and other friends. But he’s got his activities and games that he loves and he’s the driving force. Boy, just writing this and thinking back on the weekend gets me excited to think about my little son. It’s fun to watch him grow and experiment with things.
And Norah, the lover. Full disclosure: she’s got me wrapped around her finger. I don’t think she knows it yet, so that’s good. But she’s just a lover. She follows her big brother around and plays the supporting actress in his play as well as any two-and-a-half year old princess can. She runs after him. She brings her toys to play with him. She pushes her truck and grocery cart right next to her big brother. It’s a wonderful, blessed thing to watch. But don’t think she’s completely innocent or passive. She has these moments of defiance and leadership of her own. It’s all good, it really is! And when I think of my little Norah, I think of a little girl that just wants to soak up everything and everyone around her.
Perspective is Essential
My favorite moment of the weekend was Saturday morning at the Overture Center and Kids at the Rotunda. My mom was with us and the venue was standing-room-only, so I was in the back while she and the kids were in the regular seats. I was looking at my kids and thinking about how I got them here, how I took them to one of their favorite events in Madison, how I was in charge of their entertainment, their safety, and their love. I certainly hadn’t gone above and beyond, but I took a small amount of pride in our morning, and I realized the significance of the moment. So I did what any good dad would do: I tweeted.
I’m guessing (and I hoping!) most dads aspire to be Dad-of-the-Year. But the best thing we can do for our family is wake up every day and strive to be Dad-of-the-Day each and every day. It takes proper perspective to successfully navigate life, especially parenting. I’m no expert. But the most important thing I can be do for my kids is be present and intentional with my kids right now, today, and then tomorrow.