Monday, February 23, 2009

Games Daddy Plays

My Hubby (DH) isn't a rough and tumble Daddy. He's not a sports Daddy. He won me over with his patience and his sheer determination and endurance. The night we met, a fun cousin had helped my two year old to twist a comb in his, very 80's, beautiful blonde bowl cut. He ended up looking like Pebbles Flintstone. I took a look and assumed that I'd need to go home and give my baby a buzz. However, the friend my brother had invited to his Eagle Scout court of honor, patiently took the time to gently work each hair free of the comb until he'd preserved my baby's surfer-do. That night he made at least two conquests.

The things he does with our children aren't big and obvious. I'm the one who the neighbors get to watch running down the street behind a bicycle as five year olds learn to balance and pump their legs at the same time. DH is the one who holds the babies while he eats and coaxes them to try new foods.

He takes the time to dress a toddler on Sunday mornings and always remembers to play right foot/ left foot, and teach eyes, nose, ears, and belly button.

He likes to read them the books that his Father read to he and his brothers each night while Mom made dinner. Our little ones, and the big ones before them, are all well versed in the adventures Thorton W. Burgess created about Old Mother West Wind and her Merry little Breezes, Mr. Toad, and Happy Jack Squirrel.

At church I give the little ones a bag of fruit snacks to keep them busy, and quiet. Daddy always makes it a game. He hides one in his hand and has them peek under each finger until they discover their treat.

Years ago, when the older boys wanted to start having rowdy tickle fights with Dad before bed, he instituted a rule that has saved many tears and misunderstandings; they can laugh, and scream, and holler "no, no, no" as much as they want, but when they have really had enough and are ready for the game to stop, all they have to do is say the magic word "Please" and play instantly stops. The safety and comfort they get from knowing that they are in charge of the game has had immeasurable benefits.

One game Daddy plays has always bugged me though. I'm a stickler for accuracy, so Daddy's silly game of holding a child's hand and then asking why their foot is stuck, or talking about their red shirt when they were wearing blue, really drove me crazy. Until I read I Love You Rituals by Becky A. Bailey, PhD. Besides creating strong attachments these little games give children positive interactions, and even Daddy's silly game gives our little ones the opportunity to show their knowledge by correcting Daddy's silly statements.

Daddy's games accomplish exactly what Dr. Bailey suggests and "demonstrate the difference between responding to the physical needs of a child and bonding with the child by responding to his or her emotional needs" creating secure attachments that enable a child to "feel that the world is a positive place"! When children have these secure attachments they become "equipped with enough confidence to explore, to develop healthy peer relationships, and to rebound from adversity" and they see themselves as "being loved, loving, and valuable."

So, what games and "I Love You Rituals" do you have at your house?

Want to learn some other ways to give your children confidence, encourage resilience and teach optimism in your family? Click on the Fishful Thinking Link on my sidebar or just click HERE :)

Photo credits: Darling photo of DH holding tiny BittE (6 weeks early, 4 lbs 8 oz) by my Amazingly talented friend Debe, Babies in blue are Bronson and his 2nd cousin, Sarah, taken by me 1990, and Mom and Dad M. circa 1990.)

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devri said...

You definatly have a keeper!

Hey go read my blog!

Are You Serious! said...

♥ Very nice post!!!

Jen Sue Wild said...

This as a very sweet post!

Our I love you games is slap on the bum..

I know that sounds strange it all started when they were little when we were done saying prayers my Dh would hug kiss and and tap there little hinny before the went to bed.

Now years and years later my Kids do the same to each other . When they see each other the sweetly tap each other on the bum and smile. It's like a silent I love you.

Mamarazzi said...

wowzer...this is a FABULOUS post!

one of our i love you games is
1 4 3

we throw up 1 finger, then 4 fingers then 3 fingers and the person on the other end throws up 2.

1= I
3= YOU

and the 2= i love you too

EVERY morning J turns around as she gets to the school drop off and throws 1 4 3 at her daddy before he drives away. we will do it from across the room at a gathering etc... it melts me everytime.

MY daddy sounds a lot like the silly daddy in your house. he use to ALWAYS do silly stuff like that. I remember in the 80s when "GUESS?" clothing was soo popular and i had a hooded sweatshit with "GUESS?" across the front and he would ALWAYS start 'guessing'..."ummm let's see, you have a new crush? ummmm you goan an A on that test?...." and on and on it would go...sometimes it was funny...UNTIL he would do it to a friend or stranger in the

Holly said...

What a great post - I love all the things your husband does with/for the kids. It is a great example for your boys as well.

Lucas has a new ritual in our house each AM before school - he loves to go to the driveway, then run back to the to give me one last hug and kiss.

But more games would be fun - we've gotten away from it and singing, we used to sing all the time - my we are sounding like pre-maria von trapps!

Cecily R said...

Ah, certainly have a way with words. This is perfect.

I don't know if we have rituals so much as we have moments. Things that aren't really tangible but completely and totally recognized by us (and probably no one else). I don't know if that makes sense. :)

oda41143 Missy said...

You always inspire me and now so has your husband :) Thanks for sharing.

bob marley & lucy liu said...

I love it when men are tender and openly loving and nurturing! Todd is like that, too (much to the shock of many who knew him when...). Haha!

I haven't been on blogger in a while; i've been dealing wtih a house full of sick kids, and now sick me and sick Todd. I LOVE the new design. Janna must be some kind of blog genius!

kay said...

whenever i strap mikey into his booster seat i give him a kiss and tell him "i love you today". it's a ritual and he makes me do it even if i'm in a hurry. i ALWAYS tell my hubby i love him when i get off the phone with him. actually i do that with my mom and my sister too!

have a great day superhotmama!! :)

Bonnie the Boss said...

That is the sweetest thing ever!

Lauren in GA said...

Awwwwwwwww, so, so, sweet!!!

Jen said...

What a wonderfully sweet post. I love that you have such a wonderfully helpful and kind husband! He's certainly a keeper, that's for sure! My hubby is the more patient one of the two and keeps me in check when I get frustrated and overwhelmed. He's generally the one to get the kids ready for bed at night (even after a long day's work) and has his little traditions with each kid that has them giggling up a storm. He usually is the one to get the kids ready for church as well. I'm super lucky to have him and wouldn't trade him for the world! Thanks for the great post! Btw- I clicked on the fishy link for ya :)

Salsa Mama said...

This was sweet! One of our "love you" rituals is to show each other the ASL hand sign for "I love you". It's so cute watching the tiny kids try to form their fingers into the sign.

Jayne said...

wonderful, wonderful,
I enjoyed reading your blog. YOu always do such a nice job

Tiffany said...

Oh what a great post! I love men who are so tender like that!

I just wanted to let you know that you have two 3 enteries into my contest for this week plus how many ever from I guess what I am saying is yes of course you sidelink counts;).

By the way I love reading your blog you post always imspire me to think about my blessings. Thank you so much!

ajoyforever said...

This is a great idea. Loved looking at these games with a different perspective.
Joy Jones

Nikki said...

Aww, what a sweet post! I had to laugh out loud at the part where he plays the game you don't like. I do that to my kids all the time with body parts, colors, and changing words in books that they know. But it has definitely come back to me. Even this Sunday, in the middle of the chorus for "The Spirit of God", Pookie decided it would be really funny to change the words. We'll scream and we'll shout was just part of the revised chorus.

Crazymamaof6 said...

joy does this thing every day. points at her eye, crosses her heart over her chest and points back at me. then she blows kisses. and runs off to class.
i ♥ U

i don't know where she got it but she does it DAILY.

i have a friend that would give 3 squeezes when holding hands for 3 words - I Love you.

julie said...

I always enjoy reading your posts whether I leave a comment or not. Your wonderful!

Becca said...

Our kids are big fans of blowing kisses, and at bedtime there are only 2 songs they like: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the other one I made up which is called The Bedtime Song. (so generic, I know!) The kids love that one the most because their names are in it.

Chrissy, said...

I admire all the worthwhile things you post about!

vsalono said...

Lovely blog today. You always have a wonderful way with words. You really should write a book. Probably something with humor.... since we have the same sense of humor!

Natalie said...

I don't know what games we have per se, but we have a lot of fun here. Sounds like you have a definite keeper!

Aubrey said...

The I love you rituals are great. I love the "Goodnight Elbow" one where you say goodnight to the baby's/child's various body parts and say goodnight elbow and gently touch their elbow, goodnight foot while touching their foot, etc.

Those little things done between parents and children in regular daily activities are so great for kids. And good for parents too!

onehm said...

Don't you LOVE when your man is so sweet with the littles? It really makes me realize how much we have with these good men.
LOVE this post. You must add this to your journal somewhere. :)

Michelle said...

I think we need to come up with some more "I love you" games. I think after so many years of being a dad, Stephen still hasn't completely found his "thing" with the boys but maybe one day soon we'll get it figured out.

michelle said...

This is such a sweet post.

Cindy said...

Wow, you certainly found yourself a keeper. I love it when fathers interact with their children.

My husband lets Evan wake him by turning on the light in the bedroom. Evan just thinks it's hilarious, because his Dad will act all bothered by the light. Or, Evan will pretend to have put super glue on his Dad's chair and then his Dad acts like he is really stuck. Just silly little things can mean the most.

Steph said...

What a great hubby you have!

I'm sure we have more than one, but the one I can think of right now is,

When I tuck my girls in to bed at night, I tickle them and say "Out of all the little girls in the world, I got the very best one!" to each.
Daddy does 'dead bear' where he lays on them like he is a 'dead bear' until they are giggling and screaming for him to get off.
We also do the sign language 'I love you' sign (pointer, pinky and thumb up and the two middles down)
And we always, always say 'I love you' to each other every day!
OK, so I thought of more than 1. :)
(Oh and 'please' is our magic word to stop the wrestling too!)

Mother Goose said...

why have I not come to visit your blog more often! kicking myself and slapping myself!!! I truly loved this post. What a great man you have!

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