Just call him Daddy O.
Most leaders’ playbooks take at least a page or two from “The Art of War,” but President-elect Obama’s rhetoric seems to be torn from very different kind of text: the modern parenting manual.
The “change we can believe in,” it turns out, shares a lot with the revolution in thinking about child-rearing sprung from the work of Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler, which centers on principles such as mutual respect — or what the president-elect has called “the presumption of good faith” — fostering independence “Team of Rivals,” anyone?, and encouragement “Yes we can”.
This passage from Obama’s victory speech, for example, is a family meeting waiting to happen, complete with attempts to acknowledge his own limits, make room for dissent, make sure the listeners feel heard, and stress the importance of everyone’s contribution:
“There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years — block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.”
via Daddy O brings parenting into politics – Andie Coller – Politico.com.
Grandmama and Auntie M stopped in for a quick visit – just long enough to drop off gifts, pick up more gifts, and then head back to Alabama. It was a short stay, but a fun one.
The children are finally feeling better today, after days of stomach bug nasties. We ventured out of the house long enough to ride the Christmas train and carousel at the mall.
In the afternoon we made cupcakes and watched Lola Gray’s new “TinkerBell” DVD. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Lots to do . . . lots to do . . .
Posted in family, holidays
A few photos from the children’s Christmas programs.
Yesterday afternoon I found Lola Gray putting all the gifts from under the tree IN the tree – like Santa Mouse, she said. Too cute. unfortunately she also put Blue Bobby in the tree! We didn’t find him until this morning – after a long, sick night when we could really have used him around!
The last 2 days have been bustling with holiday activity. First Lola Gray’s preschool Christmas program, then Fletcher’s. They both were wonderful! The tone of the 2 programs, at 2 neighboring preschools, could not have been more different – or more representative of the schools I suppose. Lola Gray’s program was warm and fuzzy, very unstructured and casual, and all the families stayed for snacks after the program. Fletcher’s program, by contrast, was very structured and obviously well rehearsed. Only 1 child cried, everyone sang (except for Fletcher, who only sang his special song and not the group songs) and the older kids all sang in small groups (Fletcher was one of the 3 Wise Men.) Two children even sang solos!
I could not have been more proud of my 2 little stars!
This evening, Raymond and I had a Christmas party for our friends. I made way too much food (though you know I love that part!) but the evening was cut short by Lola Gray’s sudden vomiting. Poor baby girl was miserable, and made all the more so because we have lost Blue Bobby. She is asleep now, and 2 sets of sheets (and 2 sets of jammies – and Mommy clothes too) are in the wash. Hopefully we won’t all be coming down with it in the next few days!
It’s amazing what an hour at the playground can do to change one’s state of mind. Not just for the children, but for me too. Maybe especially for me.
It is almost 80 degrees here in Savannah. Not exactly Christmasy weather. It is frustrating to me sometimes . . . . but it’s hard to complain when the children can run under bright blue skies without so much as a jacket or hat in sight. In fact, Fletcher was wearing a long sleeved t-shirt today and worked up a bit of a sweat! (His cheeks get bright pink when he is hot – adorable.)
We played on the swings for a while, Fletcher finding shapes in the clouds and Lola Gray fluttering like a fairy. I remember that feeling of flying . . .
Friends arrived after a while. The boys drew maps with sticks in the sand. They climbed trees. They had a very physical wrestling match that I was sure would end in tears (or a trip to the emergency room) but didn’t. Everyone went home tired and ready for dinner.
And while we were out playing, it was easier to breathe. I got to talk to my girlfriend a bit – something I am increasingly realizing can not be underestimated. But when I wasn’t talking (venting) I was watching my children’s smiles, I was pushing swings, soaking up sunshine, breathing clean air. And I came home happier than I left. That’s saying something. I could have done without the disapproving (ok – disgusted) look from another mother when Lola Gray picked her fallen cracker out of the dirt and popped it into her mouth – I mean come on! It was HER cracker and it had only just hit the gound! – but all in all it was just what we all needed.
Maybe we need to go to the playground more often.
It hasn’t been an easy week. OK. It hasn’t been an easy month. For lots of silly little reasons that add up and seem bigger than they really are. Today Fletcher’s teacher had bad news about his behavior in school. Same old song – just a little worse this time. And I was angry, and upset, and overwhelmed. I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately.
Then I checked my email and watched this video, forwarded by a friend. And I cried. I am so grateful for my wonderful friends. I don’t know what I would do without you.
Fletcher and I were riding in the car this afternoon, and he told me about a dream he had where the car started rolling away with him buckled into his seat but with no driver. I was running along after the car trying to catch him, and I just kept running and running and running.
As he was telling me this dream, I had a sudden flash to an almost identical dream I used to have as a child. I can still see the door closing on our old, orange VW bus, my mother’s face on the other side of the window slowly slipping out of sight as the car started to roll, gradually picking up speed and going faster and faster and faster.
Crazy. This must speak to some sort of universal childhood fear. It was just so odd to her it coming out of my baby boy’s mouth, when the same dream is still so fresh in my mind. . .
What a day! We started the morning with a yummy pancake breakfast with Santa Claus at church.
Then it was off to Oatland Island for Anina’s birthday party. The weather was a bit chilly – at least by Savannah standards – but it was a beautiful, bright, crisp day. Perfect for a walk in the woods. We saw bison, wolves, deer, farm animals, and the highlight of the day for me – armadillos! The armadillos were a riot. This is the first time I have seen LIVIING armadillos (though they appear on the side of the road rather frequently) and I couldn’t stop laughing at the silly way they waddle and dig int he dirt. Soooooo animated. Two of them had a little battle over some straw one was collecting for a nest – I took some video so hopefully I can post that here as well. I really think there should a cartoon about a silly little armadillo. They crack me up.
After Oatland we all headed to The Crab Shack for lunch. Good seafood, margaritas, excellent dark chocolate cake (Mel promises to give me the recipe!) and a healthy dose of kitch added up to the perfect Saturday! (Unfortunately my camera died halfway through Oatland, so I don’t have many photos of this amazing day. I know that others had their cameras out though, so hopefully I will be able to add some of their photos in to this posting very soon!)
Now we are home, smelling of wood smoke and fresh air and appropriately worn out, snuggled in front of the fireplace in the playroom and preparing for another fun day tomorrow.