Niagara Gazette

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November 19, 2012

CRIB NOTES: Sometimes it takes cross-country trips to get to know the kids

Niagara Gazette — OXNARD, Calif. — My two-week California adventure has taken me to Universal Studios, Disneyland, the beach and downtown Los Angeles.

But the most fascinating part of this journey actually took place back home in Western New York.

I found out early in our excursion that Penny had been named Student of the Month at her school — yes, that’s right (flipping into Proud Dad mode), the entire school. I gushed to the point Penny shied away in embarrassment.

I had no idea she was in the running, or that her school held such a contest, or that a kindergartner could ever possibly attain such a lofty honor (and Proud Dad mode will shut down ... now). In working nights and weekends, I tend to miss out on a lot of what’s going on in my kids’ lives.

I only get to spend a full day with Penny during the summer on my two days per week off from work — and that’s if she isn’t sleeping over at a relative’s house. So I haven’t had any sustained time with either of them — especially her — since our last vacation 11 months ago.

That’s part of the reason — along with the reduced cost and relative lack of heat — we opted to take vacation in early November, taking the kids out of school in the process. School is definitely important, but the trade-off has proven invaluable, at least at this early stage in their educational careers.

I surely wanted to spend more time with them, but I honestly didn’t even consider “catching up” with the kids to be a major part of this trip. I mean, how much can a 5- and 3-year-old be involved in? 

More than I ever would have imagined.

For starters, Rigby eats pears. I take him shopping when I can and let him have his run of the produce section, but he’d never picked pears. I don’t know where or why he tried them, but I now know he loves them.

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