In a texting conversation with my hubby on Tuesday (I had a snow day, he had to go to work), we (in very simple texting terms) somehow got onto the subject of each other's parenting strengths. Eric had texted to see how Cate was doing- she had been a little grumpy when he left for work. I replied back that she was fine and we were making "Penguin Prints" in Play-Doh.
What are "Penguin Prints?" Take some Play-Doh, roll it up in a ball, smash it flat like a pancake and then let your daughter march her small, plastic penguins across the Play-Doh to make tracks or prints. Cate loved it and it kept her occupied for a good 45 minutes that day.
Eric commented that I was such a creative mom for thinking of that...and kind of educational and nerdy too. In fact, I'm kind of known for doing the "geeky" things with Cate. We have fun with Brainquest Cards, games, coloring, reading, playing with stickers, doing puzzles, trying out different things (like dried pasta) in the sand and water table (which really does have sand and water when it's outside in the summer, but it's in the basement right now), playing with letter magnets on the fridge, and now making prints with Play-Doh.
And there were these birthday party favors:
Yeah, chalkboard placemats baby. We've been drawing all kinds of things on Cate's lately. Did I ever mention that similar placemats were showcased in American Baby magazine and retailed for $20!!! The only difference between those placemats and mine? Those placemats had a velcro closure (which I could easily add) and a small chalk pocket. Otherwise they were made exactly the same way. But I digress...back to parenting strengths.
By contrast, Eric is really good at all things musical and imaginative play. He makes up songs all the time for Cate on both piano and guitar and they often have duets together (she bangs on the piano and he plays guitar, like in this post). He is so patient with her and shows her how to correctly play the piano or strum the guitar (hmmm...we might have to look into some sort of music class soon). Eric also has a voice for every little person in our Little People village. He's great at coming up with adventures for them to go on and things for them to do. Same thing with the train table. And don't get me started on the things they build with her Mega Blocks or the many things they "cook" in her kitchen.
And it's not just play-time either. Eric is great at the whole bath-giving, song-singing, teeth-brushing nightly routine. I'm a little better at watching what Cate eats (to make sure we don't repeat too often and that she's getting enough of the "good stuff"). Eric shines when it comes to dealing with stomach bugs (which is great since I'm a sympathy puker) and I swing into action easily when it comes to caring for ear infections and any other non-puking ailments.
I'm so blessed to have such a great parenting partner. And I don't think I praise Eric often enough on his rockin' Daddy skills. I'm trying to be better about that because honestly, I love watching him when he's in his element with Cate. It's one of my favorite things to observe-- the two of them engrossed in some imaginative or musical adventure.
So if you're also blessed enough to have a spouse or significant other on this parenting journey with you, encourage them and compliment them on what they do best as a parent. And I'd love to hear what you do well as a mom or dad.