Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tool time

Obviously, the kids are spending a lot of time with their handyman grandfather and homebuilder Uncle David. Yesterday the kids were in the yard pounding a couple of pieces of wood with a couple of different rocks.

Me: What are you doing?
Them: Building a strong fairy house.
Me: Strong?
Them: You know, so it won't blow down in the winter.
Marin to Emmy: Get me that special rock.
(Emmy hands Marin a rock)
Marin: No. That's a regular rock. I need a Phillips rock.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I was away on business recently and called the kids around bedtime to say goodnight. Emmy was very curious about where I was and what I was doing.

Emmy: Where are you?
Me: In Chicago in my hotel
Emmy: No, exactly where are you? Are you in your bed?
Me: Yes
Emmy: Is you bed bigger than Mama's bed?
Me: Yes
Emmy: Who is with you?
Me: Karen.
Emmy: Do I know her?
Me: No
Emmy: She's with you in Chicago?
Me: Yes.
Emmy: In the same hotel?
Me: Yes
Emmy: (in a hushed secretive tone) Daddy. Does Mama know about this?
Me: Emmy. It's a business trip. Karen is about business.
Emmy: Oh. Goodness. I though you and Mama broked up and you forgot to tell Mama.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This is the job of a parent

We are spending this week with a family that recently adopted a wheelchair bound child. Great kid, great attitude, great family. The reason for my post is the way the Mom handles well intentioned people.

For example, I found myself wanting to help this kid at every turn. You know, wheel him around, lift him, get him water, whatever. His Mom was constantly reprimanding me (and others) to let him do it himself.

Finally, I gave her this exasperated look. Whereupon she oulled me aside and gave me 'the talk'.

"Listen, I know you mean well. But someday I won't be here to fend for him. My most important job is to prepare him for that day. That means teaching him how to do things for himself and then giving him the room to do it for himself so he can gain confidence and become a problem solver. I know it is hard to watch. I am always catching myself about to jump up and help him. But, trust me on this, every time you do something for him that he can do himself or should be able to do himself, then you are destroying his future. And I know you would not want to be complicit in destroying his future."

Wow. That is one smart parent. When you look at the thousands of spoiled brats walking around today, don't you wish they had a mother like this mother?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fresh Air

Last weekend we had an awesome camping event in NH with about 15 other Eth families. Swimming, fishing, ball games, hay rides, carnival games, campfires, etc. It was a ball!

This campground is quite large and has a number of full season residents - seems like mostly retirees and empty nesters. They were very friendly - too friendly. Telling us how wonderful we are, how kind, generous, etc. I thought "That's weird, why would anyone say that to a perfect stranger?"

Then it occurred to me, these other campers think that our families are hosting"Fresh Air Kids" (see and we're so nice to take them out of the ghetto for a weekend in NH. I took this little theory back to a couple of other parents and they said I was crazy.

Sunday Morning. Lovely, sunny, mild breeze, I am walking on one of the campground roads and a couple of older women stop me to talk:

Them: We just think its' so wonderful what you all are doing.
Me: Thanks.
Them: How did you get involved in this?
Me: Well, we did some research online and met with some other families to ask them about it.
Them: That's all?
Me: Oh no, that was just the start. Then we had to do background checks, home inspections, a financial review, job verifications, references, all kinds of stuff.
Them: Wow, all that for just a few weeks?
Me: Huh?
Them: I mean, you only have these kids for a week or two, right?
Me: Why do you think that?
Them: Aren't you all the Fresh Air program or something similar?
Me: Oh, OK. No, all of these children are our children adopted from Ethiopia.
Them: Really? All those kids are adopted?
Me: Well, not the white ones. Those are birth children. But all the brown ones are adopted from Ethiopia - many of them from the same orphanage - which is why we arrange to have them see each other every now and then.