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The cycles a Daughter goes through

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Every once in a while my daughter will go through what I call a cycle. It is a stage of development previously undetected.
One such incident occurred the other night. My three and a half year old daughter claimed to know something and refused to budge in her answer. I asked her, rhetorically, if she knew everything, briefly forgetting that children take everything you say literally and not figuratively.
She told me that sometimes she knows things and sometimes she does not. Forget the simplistic answer and delve into what she meant.
First off, realize that she took the time to think about what I asked her. She could of responded with a yes or a no.
Then she realized she did not know everything and articulated it whereas my wife and I realized what an excellent answer, albeit diplomatic, it was. I praised her for her understanding and answer.
Children need to be praised for simple and complex things they do. Her confidence level soared after we praised her. It will probably help her in future discussions with me and ultimately with her friends.
When it comes to children taking things literal instead of figurative… She always wants to sit next to me when my wife, Caris and myself want to go out and eat.
But she sits so close to me sometimes it makes it difficult to eat and enjoy myself. Again forgetting the literal aspect to children, I asked her nonchalantly if she could sit any closer to me. She looked over at me and then moved next to me even closer.
The cycles children go through are entertaining and exciting. I thoroughly enjoy my daughter’s company because I never know what will come out of her mouth and through that process I get to know my daughter.
The Literal and figurative aspects to her challenges me to think the best way to ask questions. However, giving her blanket questions whereas I am talking about general topics, it proves interesting how her thought process works and grows as she gets older.
I wonder what she will be like when I am older. Will we get along? Will her views coincide with mine? Will our diversity help our father and daughter relationship? Time will only tell.

Capturing the thoughtful gaze.

Capturing the thoughtful gaze.

Caris has grown

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Caris has grown by leaps and bounds! She is now three and a half going on ten.
She takes ballet in her preschool. She has her own Tutu for school and one she wears all the time at home.
My wife bought her matching gloves. Now she looks the part too.
With Caris growing up I have notice her vocabulary has increased and her speech
has shown a marked improvement.
Of course her sentence structure is poor.
“Daddy, him is bald.” She said that right in front of a bald person walking by us in a store.
Her social skills are interesting to watch. She does not have a care in the world when we go out.
There was a woman at a store the other day that had a bad hair day. Caris looked at her and said (loudly) “Daddy, she has crazy hair.”
That is what we tell her when she first wakes up in the morning.
In the same store she saw a man walk by with a lot of tatoos.
“Daddy, the man has a lot of tattoos.”
There is never a dull moment when she is around.
God only knows what she will say next out in public.
Additionally, she loves to be read to. We read three books to her every evening.
When she gets into trouble our first recourse is to give her a time out. If she fails to listen, we know by telling her she loses one book we read to her, she usually takes the hint and listens.
I have no illusions that she will not listen all the time but taking away her reading priviledges provides an avenue to help thwart her sometime unruly behavior.

Caris and her funny antics

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The other night while my wife, Caris and I were eating dinner Caris said something totally out of the blue that made me spit up the water I was drinking. She told us when she gets older her boobies are going to grow big like an egg, open up and then she will have boobies like mommy. After the initial shock wore off I asked her if she heard that at school or did she just make that up. She claims she made it up but I find that hard to believe. Despite the fact that Caris is smart and inquisitive, her analogy seemed out of place for a three year old to make up. Perhaps an older girl at her daycare told her that. Either way, my wife and I laughed out loud for a few minutes.
The next day I got called into work and did not get home until late in the morning so I missed seeing her all day. My wife told me that Caris missed me. I was appreciative that I was missed by her. When she awoke for school or daycare, same thing, she told me that she “missed me so much last night” and she also told me, “I cried when you weren’t home last night daddy.” It tore at my heart but sometimes I am gone for long periods of time with my job.
Additionally, Caris hates to lose. She has to win at every game we play. I will accept that she wins, but eventually she will have to learn that losing is part of the process of life too. No one likes to lose and a lot of emphasis is placed on winning. I understand that concept, but a tell tale sign of maturity is if you lose at something, a grateful exit shows maturity.
One particular game we played she kept on wanting to win. Finally I asked her why she had to be first in a race or beat me in play fighting and any other games we play and she told me it was because she has to win.
Talk about control issues. Then I asked her if it was tough being a kid and she said yes because she wanted to be the boss. And then she told me she was going to be the boss later. I put my foot down on that one.
Hopefully she will learn the merits of playing to win but losing with style and grace because sooner or later even Tiger Woods loses

Father’s Day

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Yesterday was Father’s day. It used to be that Father’s day meant nothing to me since I grew up without one. Once Caris was born it took on much more significance. I now look forward to it as it represents recognition that we, being dads, are acknowledged as being an important factor in a child or children’s lives.
I received breakfast in bed that my wife had prepared. Caris came into the room and sat down beside me while I ate. She wanted to sample my breakfast despite having eaten her own. Of course I let her eat some of mine!
My wife left the room and came back a few seconds later with a brown paper bag. The brown bag was the kind you put lunch in it for your child to take to school. Inside it was a card that Caris had made at daycare with her signature scribble on it. Then I took out a small birdhouse she had made me. She had painted it, sort of, with a few different colors. I thanked her and gave her a big hug and she told me that she took the hug away.
Normally that would of upset me but I remembered that my wife and I play that game with her before her bedtime. We each give her a hug and kiss and she takes the hug away and wipes the kiss off her cheek. We have to do that two times and the third time is what my daughter calls a super hug or super kisses, whereas you cannot take it away or remove the kiss.
After she took the initial hug away I played the game and gave her two more hugs.
Despite it being Father’s Day, I still mowed the lawn while my wife and little girl were outside tending to the plants and small garden that had made. Caris loves the outdoors and likes to help water the plants, flowers and anything in between. We recognize the importance of doing inside and outside activities as a family unit. Caris has her own small yellow water jug that she helps water with.
Being a special day for yours truly, all I wanted to do was mow the lawn with no honey to do lists. All I wanted to do was snuggle with my wife and little girl since once a year, it is all about me.

Father’s Day

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Yesterday was Father’s day. It used to be that Father’s day meant nothing to me since I grew up without one. Once Caris was born it took on much more significance. I now look forward to it as it represents recognition that we, being dads, are acknowledged as being an important factor in a child or children’s lives.
I received breakfast in bed that my wife had prepared. Caris came into the room and sat down beside me while I ate. She wanted to sample my breakfast despite having eaten her own. Of course I let her eat some of mine!
My wife left the room and came back a few seconds later with a brown paper bag. The brown bag was the kind you put lunch in it for your child to take to school. Inside it was a card that Caris had made at daycare with her signature scribble on it. Then I took out a small birdhouse she had made me. She had painted it, sort of, with a few different colors. I thanked her and gave her a big hug and she told me that she took the hug away.
Normally that would of upset me but I remembered that my wife and I play that game with her before her bedtime. We each give her a hug and kiss and she takes the hug away and wipes the kiss off her cheek. We have to do that two times and the third time is what my daughter calls a super hug or super kisses, whereas you cannot take it away or remove the kiss.
After she took the initial hug away I played the game and gave her two more hugs.
Despite it being Father’s Day, I still mowed the lawn while my wife and little girl were outside tending to the plants and small garden that had made. Caris loves the outdoors and likes to help water the plants, flowers and anything in between. We recognize the importance of doing inside and outside activities as a family unit. Caris has her own small yellow water jug that she helps water with.
Being a special day for yours truly, all I wanted to do was mow the lawn with no honey to do lists. All I wanted to do was snuggle with my wife and little girl since once a year, it is all about me.

Dropping Off Your Child at Daycare

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On occasions, such as this morning, my daughter went ballistic when I dropped her off at daycare. After the triad was done and she knew she had lost the battle, she gave me such puppy dog, baby blue eyed expression that it could have melted the polar caps.
I always feel bad when she does that because it looks as though she is in a prison and has no means of escape.
On Fridays it is easier to cope with her temperamental ways. I say to her, “Guess what? No school/daycare tomorrow!” That usually brings a smile to her face. She likes the weekends where it is all about her coming into our bedroom on Saturday and Sunday mornings. She gets up on our bed and usually comes within centimeters of my face and asks if I am awake. Well, now I am! Then she does the same thing to my wife.
We turn on the cartoons, which enables us to get a little more sleep time in.
However, if Dora the explorer is on and Swipper the fox is shown, she screams and yells for us. “Mommy, daddy, its swipper!” Geez, when she does that, sometimes I think my heart just stops beating.
Sorry, I digressed. When I pick her up from daycare, she is a completely different person. I see first hand what true love is. She runs toward me yelling, “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” until I swoop her up in my arms and I see the huge loving smile on her face.
While on the way home she always wants to visit where I work. As a matter of fact when we pass my workplace on outings she tells me that she and I work there and mommy works far away.
Initially, when we are en-route to my work, she will not stop talking. When we get into the building she clams up. She hugs my leg and refuses to look at anyone. That lasts five minutes or so and then she is like a wild woman. Caris runs through all of the rooms and finds what she is looking for. The refrigerator which houses the popsicles.
There is never a dull moment with that child!

Stubborness

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Caris tends to be stubborn to a degree that I find perplexing, amusing and annoying all at the same time.
If she does not want to do something, nothing short of letting her know that she will get into trouble, will fix it. And even then she will still pout, cry and whine.
I know she is just three but I try to explain to her if she cries, cry for a reason. If she gets hurt or something that is legitmate. I can not stand whining of any kind. If she is tired and whines, I tell her she needs to go in her room and either go to sleep or stop the whining. While that may seem mean, I really do not care. Whining eats at me. I am nice, but firm about it.
I know my opinion will be less than popular, but she has to learn that some things will be allowed and somethings will not be tolerated.

Chatterbox

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photo_61.jpgMy daughter’s nickname is chatterbox because sometimes she will talk incessantly or she will repeat the same things over and over again.
While she talks a great deal, she does manage to convey what is on her mind.
We were in a restaurant the other night and a woman walked by and Caris shouted, “Look mommy, that lady has crazy hair!”
Crazy hair is what she has in the morning and we often kid her about it. We had to tell her that some things that are spoken at home are to stay at home.
Another interesting development for my three year old is that she is deciphering accents. Since I am from New York, I pronounce her name differently than people that reside in Indiana, or who are commonly referred to as Hoosiers.
About a month ago Caris, my wife, and I were driving home from the supermarket and I started to ask her a question but first addressed her by her name.
I was interrupted by my daughter, who indignantly informed me that her name was not Caris, the way I pronounced it, but rather Caris, the way my wife and everyone else said it. I tried, in vain, to explain to her that I grew up over a thousand miles away and talked differently than her and people that lived here.
She would have none of it. “Just try daddy, try to say my name right.” How do you argue with that three-year-old logic? I tried it and it sounded so funny that I immediately stopped. My wife looked at me and bursted out laughing. She said it sounded strange for me to talk with a southern accent.
For her to be acutely aware of the way other people talked and sounded really amazed me.
Now, if I could get her to be a little quieter sometimes…

Surgery

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pict0126.JPGMy daughter had surgery to remove her adenoids because she kept getting sinuous infections. We would give her antibiotics and she would respond well. After being off the medication for a week or two, the symptoms would develop again. We tried the healthy route by giving her more of the healthy foods and limited her exposure to what we could.
After two independent conclusions by different types of doctors we concluded that the surgery would be necessary.
It was difficult to hear her labored breath during the night. She would wake herself up from her inability to breathe. It almost appeared as would stop breathing and realize it and gasp for breathe. It pained us to know that the only recourse was to have surgery to help her breathe easier.
After the surgery she was hysterical. Blood dripped from her nose freely but the doctor warned us it would occur for the following couple of weeks.
After the second week the swelling had gone down until she was playing outdoors and fell off her swing onto her face. We panicked but were relived to find out it did not cause any damage.
Of course being a three year old she did not understand why she had surgery but she loved the attention. She is the youngest of my family which includes brothers and sisters so she receives copious amounts of accolades too.
The surgery was three weeks ago. No more blood and, so far, no more sinuous infections. I ask her to breathe through her nose and she is able to. She sees me smile when she breathes well and she smiles back. Priceless.
After seeing the doctor for the last of the follow ups he gave Caris a thumbs up and told us she responded extremely well.
While my wife and I were reluctant at first to have the surgery, we are now both grateful that we had it done. She now is able to play and run and have fun. That is all that we hoped for.

Another Note on Me Versus I

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A while back I wrote on my daughter’s confusion discerning me versus I in a sentence. I have taken a slower approach toward correcting her every single time she chose the erroneous one. I decided she would start to dislike me correcting her all the time. Now I do in on occasion, when I think it has been a while. I want to gently reinforce her correction. I know it will eventually come naturally, but a little help goes a long way.
However, something I did not expect came into being the other morning. Last weekend I decided it had been a while since I corrected her me versus I in one of her sentences. She floored me when she told me that the I’s were “All gone.” I was taken aback that she was smart enough to understand the concept. I, of course, let it go until the following day. I wanted to see if she would say the same thing. She did and I blurted out, and I had no idea where it came from, that the I’s were not all gone. I told her that I went to the store and bought all the I’s she needed. She asked me where they were and if I had more money. The concept of money is not lost on children!
I told her that the I’s were in a special place and when she needed them to use them all she wanted.
While she does still use me versus I a great deal, I do see a slight change. I do notice, after telling her a few times, that she has a lot of I’s, that she uses the�? I�? word more.

Your Symptoms, Her Symptoms

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Did you ever notice that when something ails you, your daughter tells you that it ails her too? This morning I reached down to grab the newspaper, without bending down and using my knees, and felt the regret almost immediately. I felt a slight twitch and then it was all over.
I have had back problems before when I delivered furniture in New York. But, in recent years my back has been well.
I could not lift her like I do every morning and she did not understand why. I told her I hurt my back. She asked if her mommies back hurt. I told her no. Then she proceeded to tell me her back hurt. “Daddy and my back hurts, not mommies” was her reply.
Additionally, when I dropped her off to daycare, it was bitterly cold. Usually to expedite time, I carry her so she can avoid being in the cold for too long. Today she had to walk.
When she got in the door of the daycare, and took a few steps, there was water on the floor and she fell. I could not pick up my little girl as she was crying. I had to call for one of the aides there. She had her hands outstretched for her daddy and I could do nothing to placate her. Finally an aide came and picked her up. I gave her a kiss goodbye while she was still teary eyed.
Boy, did I feel bad not being able to console my child because it went against all my beliefs. My father was not around to help with his nine children and I swore when I had a child or children, I would take of them to the fullest extent possible so they would not have to go through what my family went through when we were children, kids, teenagers and young adults.
Despite it being an isolated incident, it just made me realize the importance of being a good father.

Caris Turned Three!

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Caris at her birthday PartyCaris turned three on February the ninth and we had three parties for her. One party was held for my wife’s dad side and we went to Bloomington Indiana to celebrate it. The second party was held in Carmel Indiana with my wife’s mom’s side. The last and not least party was held at my house for my side of the family.
I wanted to have one large party instead of breaking it into smaller ones but our house can not accommodate all those people. Last year we had rented a hall and hosted a party for everyone but that was expensive. Believe it or not having three parties for Caris was cheaper, but I still would of preferred all of us together. Birthdays denote family and family unity. By breaking it into increments, you do not experience the full embodiment of the occasion. That is my opinion and there are a lot of variables to consider. One primary thing to consider is if all three sides of the family get along well enough to partake in the festivities. And I can gladly state unequivocally that they do. While there are few commonalties that exist between the three groups, each one is mature enough to recognize that and work with it.
While friends went with to the party with my side of the family, each of our friends are well acquainted with all factions and would of been a great asset if a combined party was held in one locale.
However, that being said, the true winner in this is my daughter. She was asked what she wanted for her birthday and she told everyone she wanted books. My heart swelled with pride. I am an avid reader, as is my wife and any encouragement we can provide for her, we do in that venue. We read to her every night and she looks forward to it. Last night I read to her six books and she wanted more. I had to stop at six since it was well past her bedtime and there was school this morning.
Additionally, we asked people to contribute to her college fund he had set up for her a while back. So she got books, money for college, toys and clothes, and a great deal of attention and love. You can’t beat that.

Speech Therapy

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The throat, ear, and nose specialist had to put tubes in my daughter’s ears close to two years ago. We think her development of language skills had been compromised because she exhibited signs of delayed talking and speech impediment. The conclusion drawn was that, because her difficulty in hearing, she did not learn the basic skills to commence speech right away.
Thanks to a wonderful speech therapist, Caris is now talking a great deal better and mostly everyone can understand her. When she turns three (next month) Caris has come to the point where she was tested and concluded she will no longer need any speech therapy!
My daughter has bonded with her speech therapist and she will be missed. Caris had an affinity with her and we, as parents, had watched her speech development with an initial sense of urgency, to a sense of accomplishment. We work with our child too. It takes everyone involved in the process.
However, one funny incident did occur. A while ago, the speech therapist had asked us to help her with pronunciation. I told the speech therapist that I would be unable to do that. The speech therapist and my wife looked at me suspiciously and my wife’s blue eyes bugged out and asked me why I could not help my daughter with pronunciation. I looked at both of them and asked them if they wanted me to teach Caris how to pronounce ‘walk’ like ‘waulk’, ‘wall’ like ‘waul’ ‘mother’ like ‘motha’.
Hailing from New York, I do not speak like the people in Indiana. My accent would only confuse my daughter. It’s not like I did not want to help her, I did not want her going to school speaking some Hoosier and some New York talking.
The speech therapist looked at me and smiled. She suggested that my wife take on that responsibility.

Caris

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pict0085_edited.JPG

A lot Going On Pre and Post Holidays

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There has been a great deal of things going on. Caris experienced her second Christmas, enjoyed helping put up the Christmas tree, and loved getting presents. However, she was scared to death of Santa Claus. She had met him two times and refused to look at him or acknowledge him.
It is interesting to note that we tell kids not to talk to strangers and then tell them to sit in a stranger’s lap and tell them to tell the stranger what they want.
While Caris does believe in Santa Clause, she did not want him coming to our home despite leaving him milk and cookies.
She made out like a bandit with gifts. One of the most important gifts she received she did not even know about. We had started a college fund and some money was put into it for Christmas. We request monies for her college education on holidays and her Birthday.
Starting a college fund whilst they are young ensures that they will have money for college. They may not have enough to pay for college in its entirety, but she will be better off than someone who did not do it. By the time she reaches college age, the cost of tuition may be doubled or tripled what it is today, so why not start one as soon as you can?
In addition, if she does not want to go to college? I do not know at this point. However, we will instill the concept of going to college in her sponge like brain and hope for the best.
I found that the holiday’s are for the kids and the adults get to watch the twinkle in their eyes and marvel at the happiness that exudes from them.

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