Typically when I post an entry here, I have a particular topic to discuss. Lately, the holidays have left me a little scatterbrained. They’ve also left me with some good stories to tell. Today I am going to skip the single theme and share some completely unrelated anecdotes.
Previously I have discussed how my parenting experience has been so different from my boys to my little girl. Since then, I have run into two textbook incidents that illustrate that difference. Both involved shopping, and they were also completely different experiences.
The first one came within a week of the above-linked post, and was more indicative of the differences in me as a dad. I was shopping for school clothes for the boys – the inconsiderate lads won’t wear the same size for any reasonable length of time – and I was doing well picking out jeans, cargo pants, and t-shirts on sale.
As I moved through the aisles deciding on ninja turtles vs. Spongebob and to camo or not to camo, something a few aisles over caught my eye. Something that wasn’t in the boys’ section. Something immediately conjured up a joyful scenario.
That something was a white “fur” coat sporting pearlescent buttons with silver rims. Before I really knew what I was doing, I was over in the girls’ section looking at it, already picturing how excited Kathryn would be to have it on. I was caught – hook, line, and sinker – by this adorable little coat and didn’t even know what hit me.
When it comes to the boys, I have all the restraint in the world. Cool Batman toy? Awesome! They can have it… for Christmas, or their birthdays. This little coat? There was no restraint. I didn’t even register the disconnect until I was already being rung up. It was so worth it!
The second shopping experience I had was the polar opposite. Shopping for Christmas gifts for the boys is a breeze. I wander down the aisles and decide what I want to play with this year. If I think it looks cool, it’s a cinch that it will be a hit gift.
Shopping for Kathryn was, to put it mildly, not the same.
I wandered dazed and confused through the pink boxes of dolls that cry, sleep, eat and poop. I looked at strollers, hairbrushes, tea sets, toy kitchens, princess shoes, princess dresses, princess pajamas and a thousand other things that made me go “huh?”
How was I supposed to figure out what was the right toy for a little girl? I’ve never been a little girl! This shopping stuff is hard! HELP!
I did finally get some things that turned out to be big hits, so some insight must have penetrated all my slack-jawed confusion and dithering. Next year I’m bringing my sisters with me!
Earlier this year I talked about having extra sets of grandparents to celebrate Christmas with. This year was no different for the Warshaw children. They had Christmas with their mother on Christmas Eve, then stayed the night with me. On Christmas morning they had presents under our tree from me, and from their grandparents and aunts in NJ. Then, they had Christmas presents under my mother’s tree from their grandparents, aunts and uncle here. Finally, in the afternoon they went with their mom to her parents’ house for one more bout of gift giving. I am exhausted just typing all that. Unlike Thanksgiving, there was no expectation of eating multiple Christmas dinners though!
Any regular readers will remember when I taught Seamus to shoot a gun earlier this year. Well, we hosted a few shooting events on my folks’ farm over the last couple months and as you can see, he is staying in practice. We had a Marine Corps firearms instructor from Quantico present at the events, so we made sure to get his form critiqued. He continued to hit the targets with satisfying regularity.
Of course I am skipping about a million awesome moments, like Duncan developing into a walking crack-up with one liner after one liner, or Seamus relentlessly pushing me into a conversation about world economics (still not sure how we got there, but he kept asking cogent, penetrating questions and I kept answering), or Kathryn learning from Duncan how to scare her grandmother (hint: hiding behind the corner works every time).
I guess, in the end, that is my point. Parenting these kids is a fantastic ride, and I’m glad I have tickets!