Summer Blunders in Parenting

Man's arm sticking out of window of moving car

In case you haven’t been drenched in sweat or rain recently, or rain and then sweat, followed by more rain, guess what? It’s summer. June was very dour, but July, my God, July is pissed off. And so here we are in the throes of this unpredictable season and I realize just how much I mess up the little things that make it enjoyable.

Mind you, I mess them up for my daughters.

Take, for instance, the pool, and the need to keep your eye to the sky. We have been in it constantly when there haven’t been ominous clouds. Yet I managed to mess that up by telling my daughters how lightning affects the air around you, especially your hair, right before it strikes (see pic below):


And so both of my daughters sat around a covered table during a recent storm with towels wrapped around their heads saying, “Is my hair standing up?” “Am I next?”

Good thing I didn’t mention how shoes could help if you were struck, or they’d be wearing sneakers at all times, even while sleeping.

Then there’s the classic drive with the arm out the window, letting your hand become a bird, or a plane, or whatever you imagine it to be 🙂 The other night, after picking up my daughters at my in-law’s, after my wife and I had been out to dinner, after I’d had an adult beverage or two, I sat in the passenger seat, letting my hand take flight. From the backseat my eldest said, “Your hand’s like an eagle.”

I laughed and then spied the take-home Styrofoam container with my wife’s pasta. I grabbed it and held it out the window, saying, “Check out this eagle.” I shook it as if in flight, until my daughter yelled, “Ahhh! What is all over me?”

Somehow my wife managed to keep the car on the road while I checked. Yeah, that Styrofoam “eagle” must have fallen apart mid-flight, spilling his innards into the air, only to have them sucked into my daughter’s window and onto her lap. Sorry, Grace.

Farmers’ markets are everywhere here in Upstate, NY. Our town is no exception, setting up shop along the river every Sunday. Recently I wanted to make smoothies and thought it would be a great opportunity to support local and get excellent produce. I convinced the girls to come with me one sweltering Sunday, and we perused the stands and found perfect strawberries and blueberries. The girls stared in mild awe at the farmer behind his crops as I went to pay. Their awe turned into embarrassment when I had no cash. They kept their heads low as we slunk away, my eldest saying, “We’re going to the grocery store, aren’t we?”

Yes, yes we were, and for their own benefit, because those storm clouds, they were rolling in.