Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Baby #2 on the Way

So long before G was our son, my wife and I decided to adopt a little girl from another country. Many people asked us why? I would say, "Because our planet is already overcrowded" to which my wife would say "you can't tell people that". So then I'd say, "because we want to open our home to child in need of a home" to which my wife would say "you can't tell people that". Then I would say, "I'm selfish and didn't want my wife to go through 9 months of uncomfortable pregnancy, a grueling laboring birth, and the physically and emotionally exhausting burden of a new born baby" to which my wife would say "you can't tell people that".

You notice the pattern here. My wife talks to me like I talk to my 2 year old son. "No we don't nose dive into the couch", "No the chalk isn't for drawing on the cat", "We don't say Ta-Da after sticking the landing jumping off the toilet, it's not the balance beam".

So 4 years later, we now have baby #2 on the way, a beautiful 1.5 year old girl exactly a year younger than Gunner, what can we say? Well....

First we can say preparing a 2.5 year old for the imminent arrival (there will be 3 months from when we received the referral notice with the name age and sex to when we bring her home) of his little sister's arrival is a funny thing.
Dad: G, you excited about Gray (her name) coming home?
G: Yes.
Dad: Y'all going to play with together with all your toys?
G: No. They my toys.
Dad: But don't you want Gray to have fun and you can teach her about all of your toys?
G: No. I don't want to have fun.
Dad: You don't want to fun? Ever again?
G. No. No more fun for GG.

So after we pushed passed this horribly apocalyptic view of becoming a big brother, we continued the prep work.
Dad: G, come help me set up Gray's room.
G: Okay Dad.
Dad: Thank you. This is your old room. Now that you're in the big boy room with the big boy bed, Gray is going to sleep in here.
G: No this is GG's room.
Dad: No you are in the big boy room. This room is for a baby. See the crib.
G: That's GG's crib.
Dad: But you have the big boy bed. Let's let Gray use the crib.
G: No that's my crib.
Dad: Maybe we should share with her since you have two beds.
G: She has a lot of stuff.
Dad: Okay good talk. Let's just go to the playroom.

Of course, when I overhear my wife coaching up G for the arrival of Gray, I hear...
Mom: So how are you going to play with Gray?
G: We going to play with the phone, bingo, the slide. Make her happy.
Mom: That's right. And when she is sad?
G: I get a bottle and a blankie and be silly. Make her happy.
Mom: That's right. Are you going to be the best big brother?
G: Yes.

Clearly, she is having the more effective communication with him at the moment on this topic.

Either way, this is the last blog post with us a parents of only child. In a little over two weeks, we will have returned home with our new daughter and be parents of a two child household.

A pirate for Halloween....with a tattoo....Heart Mom....
 Making da pizza....
That's how you watch soccer, on a levee at sunset in city park....
 We are all excited for Gray's arrival....

Friday, October 21, 2016

Generation Y Parenting

I was born in 1982. My wife 1983. My brother 1980, sister in law 1981. In looking at our characteristics and those of our friends, relatives, and co-workers with similar birth years to those in Generation X before us or the infamous Millenials after us, we deserve our own generation as we share more with our predecessors than our successors. I don't care what modern anthropologists are saying, Generation Y deserves to stand alone, the 1980 to say 1986 window. Once you get a late eighties birth year then you really weren't old enough to truly value what the 90s had to offer. Saved by the Bell, Fruit Roll Ups, Duck Tales, Nintendo and Super Nintendo, AOL IM, Tupac vs. Biggie, Baseball before steroids, Basketball before defense, Football before concussions. We set the foundation for which the Millenials would explode upon.

My point on the importance of our Generation Y status is that each generation, with their unique and beautiful nuances, will also have their own majestically poetic style of parenting.

G: (extra fidgety while playing in the playroom)
Dad: Do you need to go to the bathroom?
G: No I don't need to go to potty.
Dad: It looks like you need to go potty.
G: Yeah, I need to potty.
Dad: Okay good. Let's go potty.
G: (starts running excitedly to the bathroom) YEAH! LET'S GO POTTY! AND GET TREATS! GREAT IDEA DAD!
Dad: (shaking my head with a giggle)

A Generation X parent will appreciate the positive step in potty training. A Millenial parent will appreciate the transition from calm defiance to the funny enthusiasm in avoiding the mess of a potty accident. But then there's us Generation Y parents. What do we enjoy the most? The brilliant inclusion of getting TREATS. It's Seinfeld meets How I Met Your Mother. Witty and clever and teasing our playful humor as a generation of parents. How dare we discourage the excitement of an action we appreciate while also how are we to promote the self-determination of a reward for that behavior that will become a normal expectation for situations moving forward? Classic Zack vs. Slater dilemma.

The above referenced scenario occurs quite often in many different moments throughout the day with a 2 year old. The only thing I have learned in how to deal with it is: it is always best to just have fun with it and make sure your kid has fun with it also. Don't waste good humor on trying to be a good parent as the most important thing we can teach our kids is how to laugh and make others laugh.


And when we fingerpaint....

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It All Comes Back to Coaching

In business school, you learn early on that some of the best management principles come from sports coaching. These principles also exist for parents; goals, expectations, motivation, reinforcement, dedication, focus, all for the achievement of success. With that in mind, I often allow my parenting philosophy to be molded by some legendary sideline heroes. Do you really think Phil Jackson, the Zen Master, 6 time NBA Champion, revolutionary visionary of the Triangle Offense, would have a hard time getting a 2 year old to eat his dinner? Or put on his shoes when leaving the house? Or not throwing chalk across the playroom? Not a chance. He kept Shaq and Kobe from killing each other and Dennis Rodman out of wedding dresses. It is important to learn from his genius.

Always Maintain Solid Defensive Shape

It doesn't matter if you have Michael Jordan scoring 50 points a game if the opponent scores 130. So focus on the matchups.

1) Identify your best man to man defender. That is usually always Mom, but depending on the situation, it may be Dad. Make sure that defender is aware of their responsibility going in as they will be put out on an island and expected to come out on top. The Bulls unconventionally used Scotty Pippin, a small forward, to mark and shut down Gary Payton, a point guard and the catalyst of the Sonics offense, in the '96 Finals, stroke of genius.

2) Maintain a positive numbers up scenario as much as possible. Ideally, you always have an environment to be able to double team your opponent. Mom and Dad vs. 1 kid is a winning 2-1 formula. It will be very difficult for the kid to break your defense down. If you have 2 or more kids, grandparents can come into to maintain the a positive ratio. The Bulls in '97 and '98 Finals, would double team Hall of Famer Karl Malone and make Byron Russel, yes someone you never heard of, try to beat them, master class from the Coach.

Unfortunately often the double team isn't available. This is where it's important to then to play a strong man to man, 1-1, defense. And don't take it lightly. Sometimes Dad can man up great at the grocery store but get slaughtered at dinner time. Good 1-1 defending is crucial. For families with 2 kids, it's often very often 1-1 so PRACTICE and PERFECT that good defensive technique.

3) Avoid zonal defending as much as possible. This obviously piggybacks on the positive numbers up strategy. Once you as a parent are outnumbered, the zone defense kicks in, 1 parent vs. 2 or more kids, feels like the Raptors surrounding the humans in Jurassic Park. You just sit in fear praying for the T-Rex to smash through the ceiling. Zone defenses are the least effective but necessary to sustain until a numbers up scenario can be achieved. For those parents with 3 or more kids, sorry but you won't lead the league in defensive stats and categories. You can't defend Kobe with Jason Kidd or Allen Iverson but you can't zone them either as Horry and Fisher can hit open shots also, way too easy for the Lakers in '01 and '02.

Conclusion

Parenting a 2 year old is fun but testing. The increased energy and mobility lead to an increased desire to play. This desire is at the expense of listening and cooperating. This is where the solid defensive techniques come into play. How well we defend produces the outcomes of learning we want for our kids and hopefully returns a somewhat sane home shortly.  You can read anything you want to about feelings and coddling, but feelings and coddling don't have 6 Championship Rings and a spot in the Hall of Fame. Trust me, listen to the Zen Master, and when this long arduous season ends, you will be lifting the trophy on center court as the confetti falls!

Loving some donuts....
 Vacation with 9 adults to 1 kid....Making Phil Jackson proud....
 This really happened....just as described....
 Ballon fun lasted 13 days....simple pleasures....



 Modelling....

 No shame....
 How we lounge....
 Da Beach....
 Safety first....