2015 goals…for the 4-year-old

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If our children made New Year’s resolutions and goals like we do as adults, I would imagine they would look as ridiculous as ours a few months into the year.

Not because they are unattainable or irrational. They come each year with good intentions, each of us promising and striving and yearning to achieve something we didn’t in the previous year; to leave something behind that may have been negative and hope beyond hope that the New Year will bring only positive growth and outcomes.

As I entered the 2015 with Addy, I started to think about what this crazy kid is going to be “resolving” to do in the future. Not that I want to think about her teenage years…but I know it’s coming. Lord, before I know it, she will be on Facebook. If there is such a thing. And then I will have to answer for all those photos I posted.

So what does my 4-year-old want to accomplish in 2015?

Addy would like to eat less veggies. A lot less. Like, none, would be a great start.

She would like me to stop eating anything green, too, as witnessed by her incessant need to always inform me that she would, indeed, “not eat” whatever she deems undesirable on my plate.

And, like any 4-year old girl, Addy would resolve to: play more, sleep less, watch Frozen, watch Strawberry Shortcake, go to grandma’s house more often, dance daily, eat cookies, eat cake, eat ice cream, eat pancakes, play nonstop.

But here’s the thing: Addy’s goals are real. They’re worthy and honest.

While I want to challenge myself to do more one-on-one volunteerism, be a better father and friend and hit the gym more often, things we “want” to do in the next 365 days should perhaps be a better place to start on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. When we shoot for “what I should become” or “I wish I could have the courage to do this” we set ourselves up for failure.

When I asked Addy what is one thing she would like to get done this year, she said, “Go to Paradise Park.”

Simplicity. You have to appreciate that.

My kiddo isn’t hard on herself. She doesn’t linger on the negative. She’s either always happy or looking for something that she can laugh about.

Perhaps, then, my outlook for 2015 is simple: take more lessons from someone that’s be alive less time than I spent in college.

Oh, and write more. You’ll be hearing a lot from me in 2015.

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Birthday madness

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Perhaps the most amusing part of throwing outlandish birthdays for our children is that we openly complain about the majesty of it all to any adults within earshot throughout the course of the event.

“Can you believe we do this?” we will ask one another. “Back in our day…”

Indeed, back in our day…

Birthdays are, of course, awesome as kids, no matter how titanic or low-key the party.

Cake. Gifts. Friends. Games. I mean, come on, it’s built in fun.

My most memorable birthday as a child was the surprise I had when my mom drove me to one of the greatest places, at the time, a kid could get lucky enough to enjoy – Showbiz Pizza Place. Inside were a dozen of my best friends, my siblings and family. Oh, and wall-to-wall video games (this was the 80s so it was nonstop Mrs. Pac-Man, Moon Patrol and Donkey Kong for me), pizza and those creepy bears and other assorted animals that played in a band behind the curtain.

As an adult, now, we seemingly look for the most outrageous ways to say “happy birthday” to our children. And maybe outrageous isn’t the correct word. Certainly, though, we can agree that our parents and grandparents are most likely snickering at the massive events we are throwing today.

Addy loves a good birthday party. And a good wedding. She’s like her dad in that regard.

In the last few weeks, she’s been fortunate enough to be invited to a “princess party” for a friend’s daughter and a 1-year old extravaganza out at Legacy Park in Lee’s Summit.

The princess party, if I can look at that through the eyes of the 4-, 5-, 6-year olds, had to have been just spectacular to them. The fact that you can “rent” princesses is something that I chalked up to “things John didn’t know.” But these two ladies had captivated the room the entire time, telling stories, doing activities and giving the little girls makeovers.

Since the 1-year old wasn’t quite ready for that, the party at the park was a little more subdued, if not outright fun, still. These parents opted to entertain the adults as well as the kids, offering food and drinks and the built-in bonus of having right there in a park.

When Addy turned 2, we hit up the birthday party wonderland, Paradise Park, for that occasion.

At 3, it was a bouncy castle in my backyard and catered food from Hy-Vee East in Lee’s Summit.

Just around the corner now is 4. I am sure Addy’s mom has some fun plans up her sleeve. And it will probably involve ponies.

I am certainly not bemoaning the new world of birthdays and kiddos. I am sure this isn’t a fad that just started a few years ago. It’s just all over my radar now with a child of my own.

I told Addy recently that one of her birthdays was just going to be cake and games at the house.

She asked, “Can my friends come?”

A gentle reminder about what really matters most to them.