First, I’d like to clarify that I am not an endorser of Sony, Sega Genesis, gold rings, rapid spinning, or anything else associated with the weird blue character with shoes and no underwear. And is it wearing gloves or loose-fitting wrist bands? Either way, I care not to mention Sir Sonic again in this article. No, I don’t need to, considering I have my own personal rip and run, bounce-off-the-wall-and-everything-else version in my home. He hibernates beside me as I type. And by hibernate, I mean he’s chewing on chips that he likely finagled off of the kitchen counter, while watching TV and humming the theme from a very popular train cartoon. That’s about as close to sleeping as my wife and I will get out of our two year, nine month old son, Charlie. If you’re a parent, you probably already chuckled to yourself imagining your children at that age, or shook your head as yours just went spinning by. If you’re not a parent, then sit back and enjoy. Enjoy, both, my fatherly miscues, as well as the fact that you don’t need to attempt to tame the untamable: the energy of a child.
Okay, I understand there’s a such thing as Ritalin, but this type of zeal, vigor, enthusiasm for life is the sort that needs to be encouraged. My fireball is a two-year old boy, who thrives off giving my wife a near heart attack every hour of the day. Whether he’s intentionally falling head-first off of the couch, running with his blanket draped over his noggin, or dancing on the part of the tub that doesn’t have grip padding, Charlie impressively finds new ways to keep his mother in a panic. I, too, was the same way at first, but now I realize that kids are just wired that way, most especially boys. I’d be more concerned if he didn’t do all of the above. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see my son hurt and if I can prevent it, I will. Well...for the most part. Now, before you go calling Child Protective Services, please allow me to explain myself.
For some odd reason, Charlie loves to spin and spin and spin some more on the absolute worst part of our home: directly next to the corner of our TV stand. My wife, Erica, hates it. “Stop, Charlie! Oh my goodness. Kel, get him.” The truth is, he doesn’t listen unless we hold up the iPad. He just loves twisting, turning, and spinning. So when Erica isn’t around, I let Charlie twirl til his heart’s content. Of course, I don’t want him to come in contact with that certain edge of the table. So when he looks like he may fall over in its vicinity, I’m there. All the same, I don’t let him twist just because he looks so happy while he does it. No, I let him do it hoping he’ll get dizzy enough (on the safe part of the living room) that the floor jumps up and hits him from the side. Spinning until my feet couldn’t find the concrete was how I learned that not having equilibrium is no es divertido.
I’m constantly recalling the many valuable lessons I’ve learned the hard way, as I observe Charlie on the dining chair, playing on the iPad, sitting on his knees two centimeters from falling to the laminated flooring. I don’t tell him to move. I just watch. I figure it’s the only way he’ll learn to stay in the center of the seat. Now, I won’t let him stick his finger in a socket to understand that electricity on skin sucks, but I’m learning not be overprotective to the point where my son won’t learn on his own. In a single episode, I found out that wearing underwear and not turning on the cold water both are not suitable when taking a bath. I also learned that Fruit of the Looms tighty-whities do nothing to prevent third degree butt burns.
On the brighter, less painful side, one of the other things Charlie will discover naturally is the beauty of communication through the examples of Erica and I. As an introvert, I’m not much of a chatter box outside of the home. I’m convinced it was due to the fact that conversations were far and few in my household growing up. So, instead of telling him he needs to talk to me or begging him to confide in me when he’s older, I plainly talk to him now, in hopes that as the years go by our line of communication will be clear. I want him to come to me about any and everything with confidence. It’s one of those things that are of major importance to me as a father. My PhD (Pfft...Hardly a Doctor) says that I only have experience, the Bible, and a few parenting books to help me, however, I’m holding on to the theory “the earlier the better”.
More than all of that, I believe starting a family is more about the readiness of the parents than the behavior of the child, which is majorly affected by the former. SO, here’s the TOP 3 of my two-cent list on how to effectively raise Sonic th....a child:
Learn about, follow, then trust God.
Aside from the Bible having Scripture on disciplining, loving, and caring for children, all of it gives us great insight on how to treat people, our spouses, and ourselves. These are the things that our impressionable children will pay attention to and mimic. More than anything we say or demand, our actions are likely what they’ll listen to. I believe for some it’s normal to doubt their parenting skill at times when kids are just being kids. The sad truth is that some of those opt to stop trying all together. I’ve fought the lie of being an inadequate father time and time again. That’s when my trust in the Lord comes into play. Believing that my heavenly Father won’t give up on me helps me to keep fighting as a father myself.
Know when to spank, know when to talk, know when to give them the eye.
I’m a strong believer of delivering a swift, firm thwap on the backside (Proverbs 13:24). However, I’ve learned that it’s not the answer to everything. There are times, as irritating or angry we might be, when we need to try the best way possible to teach them the proper way to behave. There are times, once its established, when you have to take a deep breath and give them the temple-piercing eye gaze. Then there are times when we have to do all three simultaneously. As a parent, it’s important to find the healthy balance.
Play pranks on the children, collaborate with them to prank your spouse, make jokes, have a food fight, whatever it takes to make home a place where your family loves to be. And there’s nothing like having a genuine laugh together as a family. The fun helps you, your relationships, and most importantly, your children.
Erica just recently our second baby boy. And although little Roman mostly just sits still, swaddled in his Blue’s Clues cloak, I watch him, imagining the day when he’ll be flipping off of the washing machine or diving into a waterless tub. Until then, my wife and I will take shifts making sure Charlie doesn’t fall onto, drop a Lightning McQueen on, or sneeze on our newest hedgehog. Sorry, I know I said I wouldn’t mention it again.
Finally, I am accepting helpful tips on how to keep Charlie on the potty without his grandma having to hold him down with one hand while flashing the iPad with the other. Good day.