Saturday, October 4, 2014

Papa, The Dragon Slayer

Bunny and her papa were not always the best of friends. When she was a wee babe, she was a major mama's girl. As she got older, Papa would try to spend time with her, but it never lasted long and she would come toddling off to find me. When Squirrely was born, it was easy for her to be a papa's girl because he had a lot more one on one time with her every night while I put big sister to sleep. As long as she had a full belly, she was completely happy with him. We kinda just fell into that arrangement. Any time we needed to divide and conquer a task, Bunny was mine and Squirrely was his. After a while however, I started to see that is was not just a preference towards me. Bunny really wanted nothing to do with her papa. She did not like him. At all.

I want to stop right here in my story to point out that Papa had literally no example of good parenting until his teen years. As I watched him interact with Bunny, it became quite clear to me that he was in over his head. Bunny was a little wild thing, and he had no idea what he was doing. If you ask him now, he will completely agree with me on this. He went between taking no interest, to being much to harsh. He was constantly scooping her up to make her obey whatever he thought she should be doing. Bunny didn't respond well, and so they drifted further and further apart.

I watched them carefully day after day, trying to figure out how to remedy this. Finally I came up with a plan. It was totally different than anything we had tried or even heard of trying. For the next few months, Papa stopped trying to parent Bunny at all. It was obvious that he was not good at it anyway. He was doing more damage than good. At 2.5 years old, we completely scrapped the blue print of parenting and started fresh, one day at a time. I am forever grateful to Papa that he was willing to give it a try. It may be the single greatest thing he has ever done for us.

Instead of trying to be a parent, Papa became Bunny's friend. This transition took a while. I stepped back and let him do all the fun parts. He would bring her home treats and build her blanket forts and get muddy with her at the creek. He would never say no unless there was danger (An awesome side effect of this was that he started to see how little the word "no" is really needed). If I came up with a fun idea, I would secretly tell him, so he would get all of the glory for it. I played him up to her, so she would be excited when he was home. He wooed her. It was also during this time that I convinced him that gentle parenting was the way for us. Up until then, we always assumed we would spank and use traditional punishments when our children were older. We didn't set out to parent the way we do now. We came to it out of necessity. We decided we wanted their hearts more than we wanted their obedience. We also learned that true respect comes from love, not fear.

As time went by (months and months, probably closer to a year), Papa slowly stepped back into more of a parenting role with Bunny. This time however, he had her heart. And she also had his. It has only been in the past 6 months that we have fallen into a sweet spot. He is her father and her friend. He has learned (for the most part, because no one is the perfect parent) what makes her tick. But I think the most important thing he has learned is that we are never supposed to stop learning. Bunny, meanwhile, has learned to love him because he treats her like a person who matters.

They still have things that only they do together. They wrestle and target practice with her toy bow, they tickle and chase, and go on outings just the two of them. Recently, they have had an obsession with mythical beasts. Bunny is convinced that her papa is strong enough to take on anything. "He is stronger than a giant! He could kill a dragon!" she tells me with pride. She runs to him with excitement when he pulls in the driveway. She often requests that he be the one to put her to bed. She rubs his beard as she falls asleep. They tell each other stories and whisper I love you.

These days, I am pretty impressed with Papa for the way he loves our girls. I am so proud of him for taking the time to be their friend. We are a much better team these days. We keep each other accountable. When we come to a place where we are not sure what we are doing, we always try to imagine how Jesus would handle the same situation. When we fail, we say we're sorry and move forward. Hopefully a little bit wiser.

Each week I join several linky parties! What a fun way to share and learn!
Mama Reads MondayCraft & Activity ShareMonday Sharing Day on FacebookThoughtful Spot, Natural Living MondayMontessori MondayHomemade MondaysMama Moments Monday {Link Up}The Gathering SpotLittle Wonders' DaysMom's Monday MingleMommy Moments, Frugal, Crafty HomeHip Homeschool HopMom's LibraryTuesday TotsKeep Calm Craft On {crafting on}, Tuned in TuesdayTeach Me TuesdayBackyard Farming Connection HopTuned in TuesdayTuesday TutorialsLife Created Tuesdays, Kids in the Kitchen,  It's PlaytimeWe Made That LinkyWhat I Learned WednesdayKids Co-OpArtsy Play WednesdayHealthy 2Day Wednesday, Wildcrafting WednesdayAdorned From Above Frugal Days, Sustainable WaysKids CraftsLink and Learnneedle and thREADMade U LookTender Moments with Toddlers and PreschoolersNatural Living Link-UpSmall Footprint FridayOur Days Homeschool Link-Up, For the Kids FridayFarmGirl Friday Blog HopKitchen Fun and Crafty FridayRead. Explore. Learn.Creative Learning on FridayPreschool and Kindergarten Corner,The Friday Baby ShowerTGIF Linky PartyFamily Fun FridayCreative FridayFriday Flair Link PartyShine on FridaysFriday FavsOutdoor Play PartyDo Something CraftyWeekend WhateverSaturday Show and TellTot School Gathering Place, Sharing SaturdayShare It SaturdayCountry KidsLink and LearnShow and Share SaturdayStress Free SundaySunday Parenting PointersThe Sunday ShowcaseThe Sunday Parenting PartyThe Homesteaders' Blog Hop, Making Boys MenMade with LoveRaising Memories


  1. Oh, wow--what a story! It is so awesome how you both looked at a hard situation and found a creative way to remedy it--instead of "banging your heads against a wall" for years. Love it so much--good job, Papa and Mama!

  2. What a beautiful story! So glad they were able to connect again!

  3. What a beautiful and heartwarming post. Thank you so much for sharing it with the Monday #pinitparty. Very moving. Have pinned x