Time Out for the Ballroom…

Graphic by Chris @ Daddy Doctrines

The other day we went to Ikea to shop for some shelving. The great thing about Ikea is that you can get tons of furniture for cheap, and since this shelving would be situated on the balcony, it would serve its purpose. And, I LOVE putting this stuff together. Feel like a grown kid putting together a cool Lego set! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But, what’s there to do for kids, you might ask? Well, there’s a cafeteria where you could get a pretty decent kids meal for less than $3 and then… There’s the BALLROOM… and it’s FREE! (Indoor Fun for Kids – Ikea – washingtonpost.com). Lucky for us, Malachy met the age requirements and the height requirements! I saw many a sad kid turned away, either because they were too tall or not tall enough. Sad kids = Sad parents… ๐Ÿ™

Basically, you could leave them there for an hour, while you go shop. Was I able to do that? NOPE. After a wait, Malachy was released into the Ballroom. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What separated us was a floor-to-ceiling pane of glass. THICK glass! It was virtually soundproof, so when he tried to scream his delights to me, I couldn’t really hear anything. And that was even when he came right up to the glass! All I knew was that he was ECSTATIC – jumping for joy, tripping and flailing all over, swimming in the balls, lying down and trying to bury himself, and just going CRAZY! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wanted to bang on the glass and tell him (YELL!) not to bite the balls, to not bury himself because the kids might step all over him, and to just be careful. All these things I should have/could have told him BEFORE he went in, but now it was too late. I felt powerless… ๐Ÿ™ But then, I had an idea!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had some scrap paper from Ikea, so I wrote in CAPS, “DON’T BITE THE BALLS!” He nodded. Then I wrote, “STOP LYING DOWN!” And finally… “DON’T GET BURIED!” It was awesome that Malachy could read. Now, I didn’t have to rip my hairs out (the little that I have left), and hover over him like a hawk. He still was going crazy, but at least he wasn’t putting the balls to his mouth or burying himself in them… ai ya!

Now, what if he couldn’t read? I would have had to turn around, walk away, and come back in an hour… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Time Out for The Father 100…

artwork by Chris@The Daddy Doctrines

There’s an amazing movement that I’m witnessing online… Dads. The internet has now allowed us to show how much we love being dads! Very Cool. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I joined the #DadsTalking Twitter Party last night, and it was amazing to see how many dads have entered/are entering the blogosphere.

Brian H of chalkboarddad.com has started some really neat projects on his site.ย  This one is called The Father 100

The rules are simple. I will give you a word. Yes, that’s right A word. As in one. Single. The cheese stands alone…you get the point.
You will have between now and midnight on Friday to write a one hundred word post inspired by that word. Entries can be less than one hundred words, but they cannot be more. Posts must focus on some aspect of parenting. Even though I call this the Father 100, moms are encouraged to join us!

The Word? LOVE

Here’s my entry… Could be read top to bottom or bottom to top! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Loving Dads

Sleepy dads awakened.
working and playing
singinโ€™ and dancinโ€™,
kissinโ€™ and hugginโ€™
thinking, speaking, writing,
chatting, texting, blogging
Finding a voice.
Anyone listening
For all.

Below are the other entries from fellow blogging dads…

Time Out for Test Prep… at Age 4?!?!

Graphic by Chris @ Daddy Doctrines

I gave Malachy a random spelling test last week, just to see how he would do. I used the Livescribe Smartpen, which is quite the nifty geek gadget, which I demoed in a previous post. After the assessment, we started going over all the words. When we came to a word that he misspelled (were should have been where), I told him that he missed just one letter. He immediately wanted to correct it, but I told him it was okay. He started getting misty-eyed. He said he didn’t want to tell Mommy. I told him he did an awesome job, and that it’s okay to make mistakes and that we all make mistakes. I told him we were so proud of him and that we all learn and make mistakes. He calmed down. He was all good as we went over the rest of the words. When we went over another misspelled word, he said, “It’s okay. See?” WHEW! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The thing is I could easily turn into grill and drill mode, and test him everyday. (As a teacher, this is why standardized testing just maddens me.) He’d get better and better at it, and be “prepared” for what was coming. Also, the “gifted” test for Kindergarten is coming up this year for Malachy.

Two parties arise within me with two voices. One is telling me (okay, yelling), “DON’T DO IT! YOU’LL BURN HIM AND YOURSELF OUT!” The other one says (just as loudly), “WELL, YOU CAN’T JUST SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING, while others are spending hundreds if not thousands on test prepping their kids!” (They say it might even start at age 3 next year! INSANITY!) Yes, I could easily ask people who have proctored these “gifted” tests for insider information, but no way, that’s cheating and just not the way I would want Malachy to “earn” a seat, if he does make it into one. “AI YA!” I say to both parties. What happened to the days of just going to your zoned school, where everyone had a fair share of a quality education?

So, I’ve decided to just give him a taste every now and then (MODERATION), with what materials are available for all parents in NYC, just so he knows what to expect when he does take these tests. The other day we went through that OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test) Practice Test. I told him that this was coming sometime in the future, and to just do his best. As we went over it, I was thinking how crazy it must be for those parents who don’t use these materials out there or aren’t aware of them, and how hard it must be for those children who just take these tests cold turkey. It’s just not right… ๐Ÿ™

Below are links to other fellow blogging dads. Check them out! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Time Out from the City…

We’ve been at Shien’s parents’ house in Illinois for ten days now, and it’s good to get away from the City for a bit.ย  Life is SO different out here!ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  There is so much SPACE here for Malachy to run around.ย  It’s great having a backyard for him to run around and play in, and a golf course to boot… ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Almost every evening, after eating a delicious dinner prepared by Shien’s mom and Shien, we all go to the golf course.ย  We usually get quite a few mosquito bites, but this summer it’s been so hot that even the mosquitoes are too hot to fly! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Shien’s dad and I play 3 or 6 or 9 holes with one club.ย  Malachy will tag along for a couple of holes.ย  Right now, he’s much more in tune with nature than with golf… ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s great fellowship golfing with Shien’s dad.ย  It’s hard to believe that he introduced me to the game 17 years ago!ย  Golfing used to be in my blood (before Malachy ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and not playing well used to upset me so much.ย  Not anymore. I’ve realized playing calm yields a lot more crisp shots.ย  Just being able to play for an hour after dinner feels really good.ย  Makes it feel a little bit less guilty eating dessert.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Lots of great peach pie with ice cream, thanks to Shien and the neighbor’s! (Thanks, Paula!)ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Time really slows down out here.ย  Shien’s mom has always allowed us to really take it easy out here (Thanks, Chiou Ma! ๐Ÿ™‚ )ย  There’s more time for reading and less time watching television for me.ย  I’m really grateful all the times we’ve had out here through the years.ย  After two weeks, though, I’m ready to head back to the City again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Time Out for Education…

Show me the Berries!

I think many people equate education with school, and there is much to be learned in school. But, an education shouldn’t begin with school. Our children shouldn’t wait until age 4 or 5 or 6 to start learning. An interesting Washington Post article/blog post writes about how our public education system is out of whack beginning at age 5, and yet so many studies emphasize the importance of learning from birth to 8. It might not necessarily mean our kids should start school at 2 or 3. I think it means that we, as parents, have a big responsibility in being our kids’ first teachers. Summertime shouldn’t be a time out from learning. On the contrary!
We had such an incredible experience last weekend in the Poconos with Harriet. (Thanks so much, Harriet! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) We spent about an hour walking in a trail in the woods, and it had a great impact on Malachy. I just finished reading Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Men (an excellent read!), which also stressed how boys (children) learn so much better when they are able to use their five senses.

Thousand Legged Worm... a Millipede! YUCK!
In the woods, Malachy was able to see, hear, touch, feel, and taste! Harriet introduced us to huckleberries, Indian Pipes, and minty wintergreen leaves! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Then Malachy found a thousand legged worm… a millipede… EWWWW! ๐Ÿ˜‰ He loved being outdoors with nature.