Parenting Pass/Fail

I’ve been meaning to post this for almost 2 weeks now.  First I was just too busy (tax season is upon us), and then I wrote the entire post and my computer crashed and saved none of it.  Anyway, I’ll try again (this time I’ll manually save every few minutes….)

So a couple of Fridays ago, my friend T. called my mom to tell her that one of her kids, her 4 year old little boy William, had been admitted to the hospital.  It seems that William’s stepdad, who is diabetic, noticed that William was urinating a  lot more than normal.  Stepdad decided to test William’s blood sugar level – it was over 600.  They rushed him to the Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes, and they were told he had little to no pancreatic function left.  Since T and her husband were going to have to stay at the hospital with William all weekend, Mom and I decided to take Julie, T’s almost 6 year old daughter for the weekend.  Mom and I both thought Julie would have much more fun at my house, since my mom’s houes doesn’t have cool stuff like doggies, toys, walkie talkies, art supplies, or a neat pink-and-white girly room for her to stay in.  I was totally unprepared, however, seeing as how we had practically no food in the house and neither of the guest rooms had clean sheets on the beds.  So while Mom picked up Julie from school Friday afternoon, I rushed to the grocery store for supplies, and managed to get home in time to put new sheets on the guest beds, fresh towels in the guest bath, clean up the kitchen, put away groceries, and pop a roast in the oven for dinner, before Mom and Julie arrived.  (Yes, dinner was served promptly at 7pm as usual.  Yes, I am Superwoman.)

When Julie got here I told her I had a cooking project that I needed help with, if she wanted to help.  I thought it would be fun for her to help me make a double chocolate cake for dessert.  She immediately located the stool in the kitchen, dragged it over to the counter, asked for an apron like mine, and we got to work.  Julie helped stir the batter and add the chocolate chips (her choice).  We had a great time!  When the cake went in the oven, we explored the house and her room, and then sat down at the table and colored while we waited for Mr. K to get home from work.

I was a little nervous about how Mr. K was going to handle a kiddo in the house all weekend.  He’s always said that he is only really interested in kids of his own; he has little interest in hanging out or playing with other people’s children (unlike me, who coos and chats with every child I encounter).  I also know he really really appreciates his at-home time on the weekends to “decompress” from the work week by running personal errands, playing Warcraft, drawing, and going out to play disc golf.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to feel about helping me take care of Julie, especially since I had to work for part of the weekend.  But I decided to just see how things went without saying anything to him or nagging him. 

Julie had mentioned before dinner that she thought our stairs would be a great place for a fort, so I asked Mr. K if he wanted to help her build one.  He immediately jumped on the idea with excitement!  So while I cleaned up he and Julie plotted out their blanket fort on the stairs.  He helped her figure out where to attach the blankets, and she decided where the “decorations” were going to be placed.  By the time I was finished with dinner they had a huge fort built and were still going strong!  They were both having a ton of fun, and I was SO proud of Mr. K for taking the initiative to hang out with Julie. 

Saturday morning we all got up and made bluberry pancakes (Julie stirred in the blueberries), and after breakfast I headed off to work while Mr. K and Julie worked on their fort some more.  My mom said they spent a couple of hours talking on the walkie talkies, playing with the dogs, and hanging out in the fort.  Mr. K showed Julie all his art supplies and let her make a drawing of her own.  He even lableled her creation with her name, date, title of her art, and the mediums used! 

I got home in the early afternoon and Mom and I took Julie shopping while we gave Mr. K some downtime. After shopping, Mr. K wanted to take Julie to the park around the corner from our house, where there was a huge festival going on.  There were big inflatable bouncy houses, face painting, dog races, and pony rides.  Julie was dying to ride a pony, so we waited in line for 20 minutes so she could get her wish.  The ponies were set up on a rotating lead that went around in a circle, and it looked pretty safe, so when it was her turn Mr. K put her up on a pony and we walked around to the outside of the ring to watch.  After about 2 rotations around the ring, we realized we were the only ones that weren’t walking beside the pony with our kid!  I whispered to Mr. K, “I think we’re supposed to be up there with her, should one of us go?”  He sheepishly trotted back inside the ring to walk next to Julie and her pony for the rest of the ride.  Whoops!  Parenting FAIL!  I guess that’s something real parents learn as they go?  It was pretty obvious we were newbies.

When we got home we discovered that Mr. K had stopped at Blockbuster to rent some kid-friendly movies just for Julie, so after dinner she chose a movie and we stayed up late, ate chocolate cake, and watched the movie together.  She probably stayed up later than she should have, but she was such a joy that we didn’t want her to go to bed yet!  Mr. K patiently fielded her questions that she rattled off every 3 minutes during the movie.  I was so proud of him!

Sunday morning I had to work, but when I got home  Julie’s mom called to say William was out of the hospital and they were home, so Julie could come home whenever she was ready.  We packed her up and my mom drove her to meet her mom.  I asked Keith if he was glad for some adult time and if he was ready for her to leave, and he said, “No, I wanted her to stay.  We were going to fly kites today.”  How cute is that??

So all in all it was a good weekend.  Aside from our brief newb mistake with the ponies, I kinda think we passed Parenting 101.  In fact, I think we rocked it.  🙂  So I’ll leave you with some pictures of the fort-building fun:



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