Jan 19, 2011

There's a chicken in the fireplace

Below is a blog post I put up at work on lessons from an 8-year-old, and how those lessons can be applied to improve relationships with co-workers.  Reposting here since some of you have not yet read it.

Bawk bawk
Early Saturday mornings, Pigtails would slip into my bedroom and use her tiny fingers to pry open my eyelids, just 'til she could see the whites.  Then she’d jump with excitement and yell, “Daddy, your eyes are open, time to get up!”  I’d shoo her out, begging her to pour a bowl and park it in front of Clifford and leave me be. 

This particular Saturday a couple years ago, as she was methodically working her clammy fingers into my eyeballs, she yelled, “DAD, WAKE UP!  THERE’S A CHICKEN IN THE FIREPLACE!”  I rolled over and thought kids and their imagination…until I heard a bird flapping in the fireplace mesh screen.  I tailed it to the living room, and, sure enough, a small bird had worked through the exhaust and fell down the chimney.  Pigtails was right, but she had the wrong flavor of bird.

Lesson:  Even if an idea sounds weird at first, it might have merit.  Keep an open mind on the job, and don’t immediately shoot down a proposed solution that goes against the grain.

A little help from a friend
Being a single dad is tough.  The burners are loaded with working full time, maintaining a home built in 1950, being a good parent to Pigtails by balancing discipline with love, cooking up healthy meals day after day and carving out time at work to exercise.  And although I do my best to hide the burdens from her, she at times senses the weight.  When she does, she runs over and parks it on my lap.  We talk about our day and what transpired in second grade.  Soon, I forget what was troubling me.  We play a round of Skip-Bo, the reset button is pressed and life is good again.

Lesson:  Every person has something difficult going on in their life.  You may not know what the worker in the cube next to you is struggling with.  But each of us has the ability to help another.  A small note of appreciation or chatting a few minutes with a co-worker about their weekend may be enough to give them a boost and let them know you care.

Tooth fairy…busted!
What are you supposed to do with the tooth after stealing it from the pillow and replacing it with a coin?  I didn’t want to pitch the thing, so I did what every good dad would do:  I zipped that gross, sticky thing in a Ziploc and buried it in my sock drawer.  Which worked fine until Pigtails was helping put laundry away one day and ran across her tooth.    

“Dad, why is my tooth in your sock drawer?” 

“Oh…that silly tooth fairy, she must have set it down to use the bathroom and then forgot about it.  Maybe you should leave a note with your next tooth and ask her.” 

So now we have this pen pal thing going on, where I have to grab the tooth and note, write a response (disguising my handwriting, of course), then tuck the note and coin without waking her.  Thankfully, most of the baby teeth are out now.

Lesson:  Creativity and imagination are important for kids and adults alike.  Have fun on the job and strive to find better ways of doing things.  Oh, and the sock drawer is a rotten place to hide baby teeth.

Meatloaf machine
While skating a few years ago, a Zamboni emerged to scrape the ice.  Pigtails recognized the machine from a recent hockey game we attended, but was having trouble remembering the name of it.  “Daddy, there’s that thingy, what’s it called, it rhymes with meatloaf or something.”  Puzzled, I could see her gears turning.  She continued, “No, not meatloaf, I think it rhymes with baloney...”  It made for a good laugh at the time, and we still smile when I bring up the story as we pull out the skates.

Lesson:  It’s okay to make mistakes.  Tomorrow, you may laugh about something that you goofed up today.

1 comment:

  1. It's now almost 1:30 in the morning and here I sit, well lay actually . Snuggled down in bed reading about the life and adventures of a fabulous daddy and his sweet girl . I must say pigtails has a long road once she starts to date and realizes that men like her daddy are few and far between! I think it's incredible how you are raising her . You are so blessed to have each other. And I'm blessed to know there are Dads like you out there. Inspiring to say the least!


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