Anyone can raise 4 daughters. Some of you may have. But only I could do it the way I did.
My wife and I are blessed to have 4 beautiful girls who have grown up to be great despite everything I did. And the lord knows I challenged these girls toward success in everyway and repeatedly.
I will address some areas of child rearing that I excelled at. I believe that these areas of child rearing are worthy of sharing with each of you.
There was this period of time when our oldest daughter was born that we tried to use cloth diapers instead of the newly developed disposable diapers.
Now for the younger generation here, let me tell you about these things.
You have to fold them to fit the area that you’re trying to cover. That was hard for me to do because when Jessie was first born, the area the diaper was covering was smaller than my hand, but the diaper was large enough to cover her from head to toe.
The biggest problem that I had with these diapers was the Pin. This thing was dangerous. More times than I care to remember – I ended up leaving a large dot of my blood on the diaper, a scream on my lips and tear in my eye. Ok, the truth – the scream escaped my lips and echoed thru out the room freaking out the kid who then screamed and sometimes caused me to jerk and stick myself again
It did not take long for us to decide that the new-fangled disposable diapers were a good idea. We got rid of those dangerous pins. And when the little plastic tape fails to work properly, duct tape works just fine.
Another important aspect of raising kids is to make sure they know the rules.
We all know it’s sometimes easier to follow the rules of big business instead of Dad’s rules.
When we would go to a store I told them to always hold our hands.
In Wal-Mart I would say – “Hold Daddy’s hand – its Wal-Mart’s Rule”
OR – “Ride in the shopping cart – its Harris-Teeter’s Rule”
OR – “Don’t touch the stuff – its Sears Rule”
Rules from big businesses always seemed easier for the kids to accept. I kept this up for years and consistency it worked.
As teenagers, when we were in these stores the girls notice some younger kids not following the rules and when they would point this out I would have to try to explain that the rules could have changed. They still don’t understand.
I tried often to share my child rearing wisdom with other young parents. Some of these parents were not eager to accept my ways. I prayed for these parents. A few were open to my great ideas. My wife prayed for these people. Every now and then Becky and I would go out and leave the girls with another family member. I made sure that they knew my rules.
We always got asked, “What did you do with the kids?”
I would always reply, “The Closet – Isn’t that how you do it?”
Some parents thought I was joking. Others wanted to know more. I knew there was hope for these parents.
I would explain to them that the heavy duty hangers fit really well into the clothes that the girls had on and they could hang in a closet for 2-3 hours if we fed them a really heavy meal. We did learn the hard way to put the girls in different closets. They would help each other get in trouble once they got down.
Usually one or two parents would gasp in horror. Every once and a while one of the parents would look at us with wonderment as if they were going to try it soon.
Unlike my little brothers with names like “Dang It”, “Oh-No”, “Not-Again” and “God-No”, my daughters have typical Anglo-Saxon names: Jessie, Rachel, Megan & Lauren. We knew this would going to be a problem early on. When you’re in a store or mall and you yell out for Jessie, Rachel, Megan or Lauren sometimes 3-4 different little girls or boys will call back. This made it hard sometimes to find our wandering children. It was really difficult at the schools and sports events where their little friends were.
I figured out how to fix this. I started to call all of my girls “Myrtle”.
If you yell out “Myrtle” in a mall, school or at the football game or basketball game, generally no one would answer except maybe someone’s great grandmother. But as soon as I yelled it, I could tell where my girls were because they would be the ones who would be running away from me.
I know the girls love the little pet name I have for them. You could tell by the cute little faces they make when they hear it. And I know they only want me to call them this because I saw one of my girls beat up her boy friend when he called her “Myrtle”. She had that cute little smile and he seemed to be crying. He never called her “Myrtle” again.
I have a grand daughter named “Amanda” – I plan on calling of the grandkids “Baby Myrtles”.
No matter what my wife says – they’ll love it, I’m sure.
Speaking of Grand-kids – Now that I have successfully raised 4 daughters and having done it my way, the best way, I’m done.
I have spent the past 21 years raising kids and I am sure that everyone agrees that I have done my share.
I turned 4 runny nosed, whiny little kids into nearly productive members of society.
A few months ago my daughter told me that she was pregnant.
I am very happy for Jessie & Oscar. I wish my daughter and her husband well and lots of luck raising their own children.
I offered to provide all of the guidance that I think they need raising their baby via phone or email. Preferably email. More specifically a weekly newsletter titled – Raising kids the Right Way – Teddy’s Way. You can get this newsletter by signing up at http://www.teddys-way.com.
Now, I’m proud of my current role in my family. The Grumpy Old man. This is a much easier and less demanding role at my age. And Grumpy Old Men have no time for cooing little babies.
I told my daughter exactly what I expected from her regarding this baby.
I invited her to bring the baby over any of our 9 celebrated holidays. And, Thanksgiving is not a 2 day holiday. And furthermore I did not want this baby to cause any interruptions during the football games.
I promised her that her baby could go home with her every night – since I had no plans of spending my nights with a little baby.
I also assured Jessie that I would not feed or change her baby incorrectly, since I did not plan on doing any of these baby tasks.
I assured Jessie that eventually her daughter would have the utmost respect for me as an elder. Every time I see her I ask her to say just one thing – Grandpa – You DaMan! One of these days she will be able to vocalize this respect.
Years ago I painted the word “baby” on an old 5 gallon bucket. I showed the bucket to Jessie and told her to place the baby in the bucket when she came over. Anything in the baby had to stay in the baby or in the bucket during the short visits. I kindly asked her to please wash the bucket before she leaves.
The bucket always sits by the front door.
When I told Jessie all of this, she made that cute little face she always makes when I call her Myrtle.
I’m sure she appreciates my offers of help.
Any way, since I am sure that Jessie and Oscar will follow all of my advice, I have no doubt that her baby will also grow up and benefit society just as she has.
Now many of you may feel that my child rearing skills are somewhat different than what you experienced as a child or what you were comfortable using with your own children.
If you could meet my kids I’m sure you would agree that Teddy’s way works.
Ask my wife – I’m sure she will tell you.
If you are looking for any further guidance raising kids – feel free to ask me for help. I’m there if you need me.