This morning, I took my daughter to the Halifax Central Library. It is a building that is, for all intents and purposes, the most beautiful building in all of Halifax. It offers a level of beauty that we’ve never seen before in Halifax but there are…a few problems. Recently I wrote about the issues I have with the ipads and video game systems. This time, it’s parking.
I’m in awe of Halifax’s most recent libraries. I was incredibly excited when Keshen Goodman opened. It was such a different take on everything I’d ever experienced in a library. I was used to walls and stacks; narrow stacks of books that were designed for you to get in, get your book and get out. THIS library was none of those things. Wide open spaces flowing with natural light, open concept conference rooms, areas to sit and enjoy a book, wide-aisled stacks that would let you peruse, read, mingle. It was incredible.
Then came the Halifax Central Library. I have never been a fan of it’s predecessor. It was a gloomy place where books went to die. But the new library is a wonder of modern design and aesthetics. You’re not in a library. You’re in a piece of art and culture. You’re in a monument to beauty and luxury. Reading spaces are expertly crafted and conference rooms become a living and breathing part of the library.
And then there’s the iPads.
PS These are NOT my children. Just stock photos. Carry on.
There are, from what I can tell, two scenarios that explain the behavior of my children. I don’t know which of these is more likely but after lengthy consideration, I’ve decided that it must be one. I will lay out these two scenarios for you and you can decide which you think is the predominant theory.
A team of rogue aliens, determined to dominate our planet by molding us into mindless zombies, broke into my home in the middle of the night and injected or installed or inserted (I’m not sure how the aliens are doing things these days, I just know that fewer and fewer rednecks seem to be getting probes in the butt) into my children magnets which have the power to have their poles reversed, at the command of our alien masters.
My children are super intelligent beings bent on destroying the entire planet, one stay at home parent at a time.
You may choose only one theory. Here goes.
Usually, I try to help out as much as possible. Most posts involve me telling you a problem I’ve encountered or that I’ve heard about and how I would approach it. For some reason, people seem to listen and follow my advice. I have no professional designation that makes this true, but I guess people think, “well, he’s lasted this long…he must know something.” This post will prove that I DO NOT have the answers. This post is just me shouting out into the ether “what…in the world…is wrong with these children.”
I raise my voice FAR too often with my son. I get irritated with him very quickly and I go from 0 to 100 like THAT. It’s something that I know I have to work on, and I try, but in my head I just think, “well, I have to do something.” But the real question is…do I?
I was NEVER an uptight person before I had children. I was that guy who was like “I’m gonna be so laid back when I have kids. My kids are gonna be so cool. They’re gonna do what they want and make great choices.” Yeah, turns out I’m NOT that guy. As it turns out, I’m the guy that is worried that EVERYTHING my children do will result in instant death or paralysis. And so I ask them to stop. And when they don’t, especially my 4 year old son, I raise my voice. And here’s the thing. It has pretty much NEVER worked.
This story is not mine. But I hope that my son make these same sort of revelations at some point in his life. I have a dear friend who has a three year old. She’s an incredibly powerful and incredible woman. She brings immigrants into her home for holidays because they don’t have family here. We often talk about the fact that we community parent our kids. I’ve left Chewy with her a number of times and honestly, aside from my own family (well, most of my own family), I wouldn’t trust anyone with Chewy like I trust her.
Earlier today I was reading a story from my son’s current favorite book, Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever. It’s a book that I both love and hate. It has some very cool stories, interspersed with weird short little one-page pictures of houses. It’s basically what I can imagine ADD would be like if ADD were a book. I was however, brought to tears but one particular story and I’m here to talk about two things. The first, is the touching story that I read and the second is crying.
I am a crier. I cry. Movies. Book. Songs. Sporting events. Basically, anything that generates any sort of emotion can and often will cause me to cry. Things I’ve cried about this week include the passing of Doug Flutie’s parents, this story, and episode of 24 and a conversation that I had with my son. Basically, anything can make me cry. While I was growing up, I was told over and over again that I shouldn’t cry and that I was a boy and that boys don’t cry and that if I want to be a man I shouldn’t cry. Crying is a sign of weakness and boys aren’t weak. Boys are tough and strong. My dad taught me that if you want to be tough, you don’t cry. Oh, and I should mention that my dad is kind of a prick. My dad taught me a lot about being a father by doing all the things that I try my hardest not to.
I watch more children’s television than I’d care to admit. I remember before Vader being born, I thought that we’d have that kid who didn’t like TV and instead built small homes in our backyard out of twigs. We’d have that kid who said, “no, I have no interest in TV, I’m writing my memoirs.” It turns out that, as a general rule, kids like TV. And when your darling son wakes up at 5:23am and you can either “watch” Netflix while sleeping on the couch or try to entertain your child silently while your wife and baby sleep, it’s time to turn on Diego. But there is some absolute garbage in children’s programming so I thought I’d take a minute to tell you about the shows “we” love, the shows “we” hate and why.
This week Vader began his 2nd year at preschool. While I am at home full time and am “happy” to have him all the time, we decided that in order to let me grow my business, give some 1-1 time for Chewy and get him acclimated to school life, preschool was in order. We found an AMAZING preschool in Halifax (DM for details). His transition to preschool was good, but not great. He had trouble listening sometimes, had trouble keeping his hands to himself and in general was a boy, which is a terrible catastrophe most days. This summer, he picked it up a notch.
We went on vacation to Calgary this summer. About halfway through our 10 day adventure, Vader made a startling discovery. WE really wanted to go to the Zoo, the science center, the Rockies. He realized that no matter how bad he acted, we were still going to go. This is not a good realization for a small person to make. It was a game changer. He immediately upped his tantrum game and basically challenged us to do something about it. As the summer went on, we had some truly awful days. We were terrified to send him back to school. They would obviously know what terrible parents we were given what a horrible child he was going to be.
I recently stole Pinkie Pie from Vader. For those struggling with the meaning or semantics of this phrase, let me expand. While on vacation in Calgary we found a small souvenir shop that we popped into in Canmore. It had a lot of those really tacky souvenirs that you’re like “who in their right mind would possibly buy this” but they also had some really interesting stuff. While poking around, Vader stumbled across the Holy Grail of small stuffies (ps I’m still not pleased that we’re all just calling them stuffies…they’re stuffed animals…but anyways). This bin featured, amongst others, Frozen and My Little Pony and after much deliberation, Vader chose Pinkie Pie.
This in itself was a real struggle because Vader actually wanted Twilight Sparkle. For those wondering why my 3.5 year old son has such discerning taste in My Little Pony dolls, he has watched a couple of movies on Netflix and while we’re disclosing things, I actually really enjoyed those movies. They’re a hell of a lot better than that whiny sack of garbage, Caillou. When we got outside, one of the people we were visiting/travelling with asked Vader “why he chose a girl’s toy” which of course didn’t sit very well with my wife or myself but after explaining to both Vader and our friend that people can just like whatever they want to like, we made it out of there.
So Vader decided, upon returning home to Halifax, that he wanted to start sleeping with Pinkie Pie. This brought the “stuffies in bed” count to a resounding 12 but we allowed it on the basis that we will allow virtually anything that might lead to an easy bedtime and a good night’s sleep. About a week in, Vader was becoming incredibly difficult to get to bed. He’d get up 10-20 times over the course of 45 minutes and evenings became unbearable. And so I made a decision.