Mandaris Moore

So for the last couple of months I've been carrying a large spiral notebook that I got from staples. I had planned on using it to capture ideas and as The One Tool1 that would change all of my disorganization into a simple constantly productive life. As will all my new tools it was great for getting thoughts down and being able to read them over.

The only major problem I had was that I could put it in my pocket and just leave right away, I had to have some kind of bag or give up a free hand in order to carry it.

Another thing is that my daughters see it and think "Hey, it drawing time" and now it's halfway filled with their little snippets of stories and artwork.

Personally, it's made it even easier to keep around.

  1. I'm a recovering productivity porn junky. I think a log of perfectionist/procrastinators are always looking for that one thing that will wip away all her or his problems away. The should all look into Ü. 

My oldest daughter has fallen in love with our iPad. She has gone from being an avid reader to coming home and asking for it as soon as she steps through the door. Sometimes she even asks for it as we drive up to our home.

Part of me is proud about how she has mastered moving around on the device. I've sometimes seen her start a movie in Netflix or watching things on YouTube. My wife loves telling her co-workers how our daughters can do things that some adults have difficulty doing.

But that is part of the problem. My daughter can do things other adult have trouble doing. Things like place an item into an Amazon shopping cart and proceed to the check out, find "special" offers on Disney merchandise and then place her personal information in one of the forms.

Honestly, I've been lucky that she hasn't ordered hunders of books and horse toys.

Another aspect of this problem is that she's grown rather fond of a series of fan fiction trailers about the Lion King. Although at first glance there isn't anything wrong with seeing how people can take something and make it so much more. When she run over to me and says that certain characters share a different relationship and lineage that I feel is kosher that's when I got to step on the breaks.

Maybe, part of this is my fault for pushing technology and all it's wonderful whizz bangs without giver her some kind of limitations. But the geek in my wanted to see what she could do if she were to explore on her own. The part of me that says "you must always be a vigilant parent" lost to the part of that wants to let her be free and a kid.

That is what makes this part bitter sweet. I know the world isn't filled with magical talking animals. My daughter knows this too. But there is no need to disillusion her to the good in people and the good of moral character. She doesn't need to worry about wether Simba and Nala are really first cousins. She doesn't need to worry about a whole bunch of books showing up that she needs to pay for. She shouldn't worry about meeting some stranger on the internet. She needs to just have fun and be a kid.

Today we took my oldest to her karate class and it was entertaining. When she first started she would spin around and dance when the instructor was giving the lessons. I was tempted to pull her out of class until I felt she was old enough, but my wife insisted that if we just give her time and reminded me that we honestly couldn't beat the price for entertainment. I couldn't argue against it because the alternative would be to trying to find something else to do during that time and I didn't like my wife's idea of cruising through the mall.

So, we kept going to class and I found myself getting more and more frustrated as she danced and pranced around while all the other kids tried hard to making it through the lessons. I became one of those over baring parents that you see in the movies (constantly telling my kid not to do this or that). Then one day, something happened... she asked me not to watch her.

My daughter...

...didn't want me to be part of this.

At first, I was upset. I mean, I was trying to help her get it right!

It took a while to dawn on me. Was I really helping her by constantly correcting her? She's four years old, she shouldn't have to worry about being perfect. As a parent, I only get one chance to experience these things. I was forcing my own perfectionist views on my daughter and if I wasn't carefull I'd plant a seed doubt in her that would nag her for the rest of her days just like me.

So, one day. I set her down (as best as I can) and told her that I love her and would always be proud of her. I stopped trying to "couch" her and now she asks that I come to her classes. She smiles when I tell her that I saw what she was doing in class. And most important to me, she's proud of herself.

Well, I don't want to say that the honeymoon phase is over, but I will say that things have become a lot more... hectic.

I guess the first day had a lot going for it since I only saw them for 4 hours before it was time for them to go to bed and we were lucky to be able to take them all to the park followed by the library where they can run off a lot of energy.

Yesterday, was different. Thankfully, my mom took the older girls out to the museum and to go eat and when they got back they had cookies and cake. I -in my infinite wisdom- then told my wife that she should go out and take a break from all the kids and although it took a lot of convincing she (although she did take our youngest which I was grateful for later).

After that, things weren't as bad as you would think, but it wasn't perfect either. I was running around breaking up little fights over toys and turns. The kids screaming "NO! It's my turn" and running to the other side of the room because someone is doing something they shouldn't: Spilling things, taking things, eating things, thankfully not breaking things, but I'm sure something has disappeared into that magical land that missing socks go. I even attempted to go over letters with very poor results. I could tell that the oldest one was frustrated, but I hope that I'll be able to get her to recognize most of the alphabet before she leaves.

Eventually, the girls settled and I managed to get them all into bed without the same hassle as the night before. Although, I did have one call me a dozen times for various things until I put my foot down.

One thing of note was although our guest don't seem to get along during the day, the oldest one does show some concern for her sister. I feel sad for them because with all the drama that they've gone through the only one's they truly have is each other. To wrap it up, this time I got to sleep in the bed and had to share it with my oldest.

She threw up on me twice.

Isn't she cute!
A picture of Alex

Yesterday, after a particularly long series of events. My wife and I have had the opportunity to care for two (2) more girls; one aged 3 and the other aged 1. I won’t go into the details of where we got them or how we got them, but they are here and it’s nice to see how they interact with our girls. Even so, my mind is racing with questions of what would happen if the girls stayed with us. How are we going to do lessons? How are we going to transport them? How are we going to do bed time and showers? Easy, you just take it one day at a time.

Things that I noticed so far:

  • When little girls get together it seems to always be play time
    My wife and I did our best to accommodate. We had to take both cars in order to get them to the park yesterday and it then use the baby bjorns to hold the little ones as we ran around chasing the more mobile of the two. It would have been more fun if we could have done it earlier in the day. Baths aren’t that hard Bath time was done doing two by two and it wasn’t that difficult, because I’ve found that kids (or at least the ones I’ve seen) like water. If anything it was difficult making them wait their turns and making sure they don’t drown each other. Dinner Well, it’s a good thing my wife and I have moved away from eating fast food and the like and actively plan and prepare meals in advance. It saves money (2 adults and 4 kids… yikes!) and time (just heat and eat).
  • Discipline This was an awkward subject for me to handle. On one hand, I’m a parent who is raising his daughters in a way I feel is right. On the other, these aren’t my children and I don’t know what they are expecting. I don’t spank, but I expect that what I say should be followed. So far, we haven’t had any big issues other than the older one pushing her sister down and a misunderstanding on what it means to share. Strangely enough, it’s my own daughter who's been giving us the most trouble. It could be because she’s two now and wants to express herself with the word “No” or she’s embolden now that we have company.

Either way, I got my eye on her….

  • Bed Time This is actually, where things get a little more tricky. Thankfully, these girls sleep through the night, but it just begs the question of where do they sleep. We pretty much put the oldest one in my daughter’s crib, her sister has her own portable crib and our girls slept with mommy in the bed. Leaving me on the couch and I have to say it’s probably the best night of sleep that I’ve had in days. Well, that sums up the first day. The second one is today, and thankfully I’m at work for most of it!

My wife and I took the kids to Costco today to load up on some of the necessities (namely toilet paper). As it is now fall, Costco has brought out some of their winter wear and my wife was a beautiful peacoat. My wife loves peacoats and has been saying that she would like something new because she's been loosing weight due to her new found passion for running. Like any husband I would love to get her the dress, but we have already bought her two other jackets in the last year plus a Scottevest that we got on sale two weeks ago.

We can't afford it. We haven't a need nor do we have any money in the budget for it.

My wife tries on a few and then sadly places the item back.

That's when my oldest daughter asks why.

I don't even think about it and say, "We don't have the money to buy it."

Instantly, my wife get's angry. Later on we talk about it briefly in the car and she tells me that I should have told our daughter about it in a different way.

"Should I have said, 'We can't afford it'?"

"No, you should say it in a way so she won't misunderstand and get picked on."

I let the subject drop because I'm frustrated. As far as I'm concerned, I told my daughter exactly why we couldn't buy the coat in a way that shouldn't make anyone feel offended. I think it's one of the most important financial lessons an adult (or any one else for that matter) should know. You don't buy things if you can't afford them. If I had learned this lesson earlier or taken it to heart years ago, I'd be in a different financial situation. I don't want my daughters to go down that path an I certainly don't want them to think that they are less because they can't get everything they want.

It's ok to know our limits.

But didn't I just say that I'm guilty of this as well?

Yes, b-b-but...


I've decided to place myself on a spending diet. I've already paid most of my bills for this month. I'm going to set aside $200 for gas and other expenses and place that in a my new Golden1 checking account and see how things go from there. I'm hoping that it helps me realize that the money my family needs to survive is different then the money I use for wantsies.