Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 5 - Character Building

It was many years before we realized the best reason to have children.  At first we thought it was because they were these perfect, tiny, beautiful and innocent little beings that melted our hearts and immediately became the center of our lives.  As they began to walk and talk, we had so much fun showing them new experiences for the very first time, and seeing the world through their eyes.  But it was at the parent teacher conferences in first grade when we realized a whole new side of parenting that would make every poopy diaper, sassy rebuttal, and exhausting homework argument tolerable...the opportunity for embarrassment.

Maybe we are cruel to live for the day to embarrass our children, I will justify it by saying we are thickening their skin, building stronger character, and giving them the ability to laugh at themselves.

Here's how it all began....  For the 100th day of kindergarten, Samantha was required to put 100 things on a poster board.  Our plan was to take 100 pictures with dad, shrink them down, and decorate our poster.  It truly was a fun night trying to come up with 100 photo poses, dad and Sam got pretty creative.  Down to the last minute, as many procrastinated projects go, we were rushing to complete the project, well after the bedtime hour.  Samantha, Ted and I were cutting out and glueing pictures on as fast as we could.  At one point we noticed Samantha quietly pulling a picture off of the board, a picture of dad's kiss lips with scruffy whiskers.  We busted her and Ted teased her about not liking his best picture.  She went to brush her teeth, and we snuck the picture back on her board.  The assignment went to school, and when it came back home, we noticed the picture missing off of it.  For that reason we made it reappear in random places over the next several months.

The rest of kindergarten came and went. As I was flipping thru old pictures the next fall, I ran across those kiss lips again and got a good chuckle out of the memory.  What a shame to let this quality photography go to waste.  I decided to reprint that picture, maybe an extra copy, a few giant copies, a whole page of mini copies, and hey, I could even make a few into magnets.  We went in to meet with Samantha's first grade teacher, had a lovely conversation about her first semester of first grade, and as soon as we were finished, we hunted down her locker.  We decorated it with lots of love, kiss lips from top to bottom.  As we heard later, our sweet innocent little first grader opened her locker the next day horrified to find kiss lips everywhere.  She attracted all kinds of attention as her classmates immediately gathered around her locker to catch a glimpse.  She couldn't open her locker for the entire week without a gathering behind her.  She said she tore the pictures down, but we did find a few of them still there 6 months later.  

And so a tradition was started, each year after parent teacher conferences are over, we sprock the girls lockers with a new surprise.  One year we filled their lockers with balloons, another year we rigged up halloween rats and bats to pop out at them.  They've come to expect it, so I guess it's time to regroup and come up with a new sprock.

I've heard parents say they are dreading the day their daughters start dating.  I think we are actually both a little excited about Samantha and Amber bringing home their first boyfriend.  Imagine the possibilities for embarrassment!

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