Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Underestimating Your Children

By the time I had become a father, I had not seen my own childhood in nearly twenty-five years.  Growing up in a divorced environment, other than while visiting my friends homes, I never really got to see how a mom and dad worked together as a team to deal with the many things “try” to get away with.  I put “try” in quotes, because later in life, we would find out, we got away with nothing.

Prior to becoming a dad, I spent many years as a youth group leader.  It was a program that enveloped all ages of children from kindergarten to high school at our church.  This is one of the more proud things that I have done in my life, filled with so many rewards and so many memories.  It was also a quick reminder, that becoming a parent, I would personally have to deal with many of the issues that these kids were facing.

I am not going to get all sentimental here and go through all of the things that we did.  My point is, while I learned a lot, I also learned there is a huge difference not only between someone else’s kids and your own, but a huge difference between you as a child, and your own children.

This group of photos is from a video GIF that I had been personally sent.  A little girl, playing on her phone in bed, hears her parent come in, springs from the bed, turns off her light, and jumps back in to bed.  Her father walks in, tucks her in, and seems to walk out of the room, closing the door behind him.  The little girl jumps from the bed to turn her light back on, and is surprised to see her father standing in the corner of the door, and pretends to sleep walk, realizing she has been busted not going to sleep.

We parents have all experienced this one time or another.  Our children do not realize we can hear the noise, or better, see the glow of light under the door.  But the quick improvisation this child used just automatically shot me back to the many talents that both of my daughters possessed to get out of “gotcha” moments.

The first warning I had, involved a non-slip door knob cover similar to pictured above.  My older daughter’s hands were too small at the time to be able to grip the squeeze tabs on the side, which meant that in theory, this product would be successful in accomplishing what was desired, her staying in her room once she was out of her bed.  In just two years my daughter well established how determined she could be when she wanted something badly enough.  And so, she learned that by sliding her tiny thumb and finger inside of the hole, she could get enough of a grip on the actual door handle, and make her great escape.  Very much like Harry Houdini.

While funny, and at the same time, proud of her ingenuity, a problem did come up from this lesson.  The door lock was on her side of the door, and if she would accidentally turn that lock instead of the door knob, in an emergency, we would not be able to get into the room.  Problem solved, I flipped the door knob around so the lock was on the outside of the door.

There are plenty of incidents like this, from both of my daughters.  But now, as teenagers, they are more like chess players with their thoughts.  They have learned for every action there is a reaction, and therefore, not only will they trap every word that is said to them by me, but will make sure they are at least two steps ahead of any discussion, completely prepared for any push back.

At one time, we all laughed when we watched children feeding dogs from the table on television or movies, and how they were not caught.  In our youth, many of us had done things as extreme as sneaking out of the house from second story windows.

I am thankful to my friend for sending this video.  It was a much needed distraction that led me down so many paths of fun memories with both of my daughters and their many shenanigans.

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