Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Parenting 101


It's what you create to make sure your kids sleep through the night, eat at sensible times of the day, and hopefully eventually get them to use the potty!

It's also something that just happens by accident with your children. Silly little seemingly pointless and irrelevent rituals become the backbone of their day.

Audrey has one such ritual every morning when I leave for work. As I go to leave I kiss Martha goodbye, then give Audrey a hug and kiss then walk out of the living room to the hall towards the front door. Sure as eggs is eggs you'll hear Audrey squeak "I want another hug and kiss!" and she will scurry out of the living room to find me in the hall where I will give her one final hug and kiss before leaving.

Every morning is the same, without fail....except for today.

This morning I kissed Martha goodbye, and gave Audrey a hug and a kiss in the living room as usual. As I walked into the hall I realised I had stupidly forgotten to get some meat out of the freezer for supper, so I detoured to the kitchen to fix that. Out came the cry "I want another hug and kiss!" and I saw Audrey scoot into the hall to look for me. On discovering I wasn't there she turned around and immediately spotted me in the kitchen and made a b-line. At this point I'd finished getting the meat out of the freezer, so I met her in the hall, picked her up and gave her her second big hug and kiss before leaving for work. I shut the front door, got in the car and off I went.

At 9am Martha called me from work.

"Did you give Audrey her second hug and kiss today?"

"Urr, yes" - I detected there was a problem from her question and had it pretty much figured out already as a result.

It turns out Audrey had thought that my second hug and kiss evidently didn't count, and once I had shut the door behind me, she had come looking for her final hug and kiss from me only to find I had gone. Furthermore she was at the front door pushing her hands through the letterbox crying her little eyes out saying "Where did Daddy go?"

I felt awful!

I explained to Martha exactly what had happened and that Audrey had in fact received two hugs and kisses. Obviously, since it was somewhat outside of the routine she was used to, she hadn't seen it that way and taken exception to me leaving without that all important second hug and kiss.

Whilst routine is a good thing, and gives both parents and children a level of certainty on a day to day basis, I learned today that to waiver from it can be a dangerous thing. I took the routine for granted, even though it slightly wavered from the norm. It wont happen again!

Oh, the poor thing...that's tough!
awww, smart man to learn from mistakes! my favorite book ' the little prince' talks about rituals as being the thing that tames us. i love that idea, love having precious rituals with precious people
I love this post Gabby. What a sweet little girl!
that's a tough thing to miss out on, poor girl
did you make it up to her when you returned?
Lady A - Yep, she's got a tough life ahead of her when her Dad does stuff like that!

Priya - Yeah, like your kids aren't cute too!

Lime - The Little Prince is a great book! I hope Audrey can read it someday.

SS - Well, as much as I hate to admit it, yes she is a sweet little girl! ;-)

Avery's Mom - Of course I made up for it! That's my job!
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