One of the great reasons to get away together as a family is so that you can spend extended time together. Sounds obvious, right? But, extended time together, days on end, allows for a different type of bonding than the time in the morning before work, and the time when we're all together for dinner and bedtime.
Nate and I see very eye-to-eye on parenting strategies as well as the goals we set for ourselves and Griffin. We want him to be challenged and learn how to act in structured environments and routines, but also want him to have the freedom to explore when it is appropriate.
With every stage of development, certain new challenges arise and others disappear. In his current stage, he is so verbal and vocal that he is very strong at communicating, something we try to use to our advantage. 18 months can also be a very whiny phase. He wants to play until it's too late. He's too hungry, too tired, too thirsty, and then he struggles with communication and the whining comes out.
Back to the Adirondacks. We asked and expected a lot of Griffin throughout this trip. He did it, like a champ, but definitely struggled along the way. Traveling was long, meals were loud and hectic, sleeping was rough and in general it was a very new environment and schedule for him. While we did everything we could to try to simulate his normal schedule and environment, it was very different. And he whined about it. A lot.
As a teacher by trade, this is what you call a "teachable moment." However, I was not the one to recognize this teachable moment, Nate was. Nate was incredibly patient with Griff and used the entire weekend to instill that communication comes before whining. In fact, by the end of the weekend, Nate would say to Griff when he was getting flustered, "What did dada say?" and to that, Griff would respond, "No whining."
Upon returning home, we changed, "what does dada say?" into "What's rule #1?" and Griff still knows, "No whining." Now, I bet you're wondering, does he just say it, or does he really understand what it means. He knows. He stops. Most of the time. It is definitely harder to get through to him when he's tired or hungry, but for the most part, it stops him, allows him to think and he's able to re-direct his whiny-ness into communicating what he needs.
I sometimes find myself wanting to correct how Nate is doing something because I do it differently, but I was so humbled to see Nate get through to Griffin so quickly and effectively, it reminded me that while we may do things differently, it doesn't mean that one way is right and the other wrong. I'm so thankful to have a partner in this parenting journey, because wow it would be frustrating to have to do it alone.
Nate is an amazing father in so many ways. He's so good at playing with Griffin, rough-housing with him, teaching him how to play golf, throw a ball, learn colors, reading books with him and just enjoying his company. But our weekend in the Adirondacks reminded me what a great teacher Nate is of important manners and life skills that will help shape and mold Griffin into the kind of man Nate is, respectful, loyal, honorable, and sweet.