Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Using My Wareness

"...when you move me everything is groovy..." —Train, Drive By

I just wanted her to wear something other than than the gray sweat pants. The shirt she had on was fine, the Mama had already told her it was fine, and I had told her it was fine multiple times as a negotiating tactic to get her to change the gray sweat pants and put another pair on. 

She didn't budge, though. She dug in.

"No! I want to wear these pants."

"Beatrice, we're going to be filmed today for Kidpower, and all I want you to do is to change your pants. You can wear the shirt. The shirt is fine. Okay?"

"No, Daddy! I want to wear these pants."

Think, think, think...

"C'mon, Bea. Why can't you wear different pants? What's your idea? I want you wear different pants that are darker. I'm sure Mommy would agree. Something darker. C'mon. What about these?"

We were in her room now. I held up five different pairs of pants, mostly darker ones and some with different patterns on them. Anything but the gray sweat pants. 

"My idea is to wear these," Bea answered.

The what's your idea? framework was from the girls' early preschool days and positive discipline and parenting. Instead of being authoritarian and dictating to your children about any and all things, the idea is to include them in the conversation and decision-making to empower them and literally ask them, "What's your idea?"

And Bea's idea was to wear those friggin' gray sweat pants.

"Daddy, you should pick Beatrice's favorite pants -- the black ones with sparkles on them," said Bryce, trying to give me a hand.

"Which ones are those? These?" I held up something similar to what she just described.

"Um, no, those aren't it."

"Then where are they?"

Both girls shrugged. "I don't know," said Bryce.

Think, think, think...

I picked three pair. "Bea, can you pick one of these, please?"

"No, Daddy! I want to wear these!"

Think, think, think...

"Okay, then we'll bring these three and let Mommy pick one out."

Red-faced Beatrice was either mortified, angry, or both. Probably both. Yeah, that was probably it.

Right?

"Daddy, didn't you know that those are my favorite? I told you I wanted to wear those!"

She pointed to a pair of black stretch pants I head, the ones with stars and other geometric shapes on them.

"You did?"

Does it matter, Daddy? C'mon...

"Yes, those are the ones I want to wear. C'mon, use your awareness, Daddy."

Now that was funny. Why? Because of all the Kidpowering the Mama does (what I lovingly call my wife) -- all the important safety skills she teaches to children, teens and adults alike -- an important aspect is always being aware of your surroundings, who's around you at anything given time, to stand up straight like a giraffe and look, look, look around and be aware, aware, aware.

Use your awareness, Daddy. We use that phrase loosely around the house a lot these days. 

"Yeah, use your wareness," Bryce piled on, dropping the "a".

Well, at least we had the pants thing tackled. 

"All right, Bryce. Time for you to finish getting dressed now and then we've got to go, girls."

Minutes later we're all downstairs and Bryce called out behind me, "Daddy, I'm ready."

I turned around. 

Wow. 

I giggled. Not laughed, but giggled. 

"Oh, Sweetie, I love you, but we can't keep that on your face."

"Ah, c'mon, Daddy. I did it myself."

"I know. But, no." 

I giggled again. Bryce had a big American flag bow pinned in her hair on one side of her head. But that wasn't the funny part. She had also taken it upon herself to put lipstick on. Lots and lots of lipstick. The Joker from Batman lipstick -- like the old-school Cesar Romero version and the Heath Ledger version combined. Swirls of bright pink lipstick around her mouth, with some of it actually on her lips.

Bryce didn't fight it much, because she knew it was too much and yet still very much enjoyed the act of putting it on. We wiped it off and minutes later we were out the door. 

A dozen hours later after a rare late night date night for me and the Mama watching Train in concert, a dear friend who was watching the girls and had texted Amy a picture of the girls hugging and smiling. She showed it to me as we waited to exit the concert parking lot. 

And there was Beatrice, wearing those friggin' gray sweat pants. Because that was her idea. And then there was me using my wareness, because sometimes I can. Right on for Daddy.




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