My Happiness Project Update 11: Parenthood is All About Angles, Even If Some of Them Require 243 Pieces.

26 Aug

You remember the labor pains and profanity, everyone else remembers the miracle. You remember the two, four, and six a.m. feeding wake up calls and diaper changes, your other half remembers a good night sleep. You remember hanging out watching the Wonder Pets for the twentieth time that week, they’ll remember what teamwork means. You remember hearing: mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. They remember having a conversation.

Angles.  Parenthood and Happiness … It’s all about angles.

Image via

Soon they’ll be hostile teenagers wanting to spend more time with their friends instead of with you, and their only form of communication will consist of huh? what? later, yeah, whatever.

You need to add to your memories vault with whatever you’ve got. Fill up the days of your parenthood experience and their childhood with projects, adventures, and traditions, that way it’s enjoyable for both of you. Incidentally it may have a positive effect when the hostile teenage years hit. They still might be hostile, but they’ll want to spend time with you.

Want.  This is the key. You may hear things like … “I want to,”  instead of  “do I have to?”  It makes a difference.

According to Gretchen Rubin part of infusing happiness during the parenthood phase of life is being able to “squeeze out as much happiness from every single event.”

According to Rubin happiness contains four stages. “You must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.”

Now I have little field trips, traditions, and projects with my son at least twice a week, but after reading that part of the chapter, I decided to take it up a notch. I realized that even when you’re exhausted, got piles of laundry to fold, and a sink full of dishes, squeezing out some happiness can still happen.

Take for instance the Legos. I’m a fan of building blocks. I’m a fan of creating, but when it came to the Lego 4×4 Firetruck with 243 pieces that he got as a gift over a month ago, I thought eh … maybe I’ll save this for another time. I put it on hold for a while.

Then came the day when I picked it up a notch. So on a random Wednesday out came the 243 pieces and plenty of patience.

I placed the box on the table during breakfast and laid out our mission. But before we could build our project we went out to do some research.We ventured out to the fire station and met firefighter Mack, who gave us the tour. My son explored the fire truck, fire engine, and hazmat truck. He thoroughly enjoyed wearing the hat and sitting on the truck, pretending he was driving to an emergency. He was amazed that before leaving he received a coloring book, ruler, stickers, and cards featuring each emergency vehicle. We’d been to the fire station before, but apparently that day we got the VIP treatment and that made for a happier four-year old.

After our little field trip, we drove home and continued our firefighter themed project. When I opened the box, I was hoping that it was partially built so that all we had to do was snap on the pieces and viola!Fire truck. But no … there were 243 pieces. Tiny pieces.

Our Lego masterpiece

It took us close to two hours to build the Lego 4×4 Firetruck … but it was two hours worth of anticipation, excitement, enjoyment, and happiness. We went through all four phases of Rubin’s happiness formula and we had fun doing so.

Now there will be days where projects will not happen. Sometimes there’s not enough caffeine in JOLT soda to help pep you up, so it’s just going to be a day at the park. But considering that we both enjoyed the experience and there was no crankiness from either of us, we’re probably going to try to squeeze as much happiness from every event as possible.

I’m hoping to stick to the formula. I might just get a teenager that rarely uses “Ugh…Do I have to go with you?”


12 Responses to “My Happiness Project Update 11: Parenthood is All About Angles, Even If Some of Them Require 243 Pieces.”

  1. dougsan August 27, 2012 at 5:48 PM #

    I think this is a really nice post, and great advice. My daughter has some crafty things she got for Xmas/bday – you know the kind: tiny little bead bracelet sets full of choke-inducing, fiddly, will-definitely-end-up-all-over-the-floor plastic balls and lengths of string. She’s always wanting to do them but they sit in the cupboard always waiting for the mythical ‘definite’ other day when well get around to them. But one day shell be too old for making bead jewellery – shell be an icarly-watching, makeup and boys motivated nightmare and I’ll look in that cupboard and kick myself. This feeling nags at me but your post really put it into words. This weekend I’ll do both bead making and my sons Lego helicopter. Thanks, sensei 🙂

    • The Guat August 28, 2012 at 1:48 AM #

      I feel you on all those tiny pieces. Those bead necklaces are killer. But I’m sure she will definitely LOVE the fact that you made time for a bead jewelery day. Good luck with that Lego helicopter, too. So glad I could inspire some awesome projects. When dealing with small parts that spill everywhere … patience my friend. Patience and chocolate. 🙂

  2. lameadventures August 27, 2012 at 10:39 PM #

    I think that visiting the fire station before returning home to build that Lego firetruck might be a keeper memory for your son. That was really cool. How did the Lego project turn out? Any chance you’d share a picture of it with us?

    • The Guat August 28, 2012 at 1:44 AM #

      I hope so … seems like it was a good field trip so far. He still has those cards. OH! The picture. You’re right! I should post that up. I knew I took plenty of photos to commemorate our awesome building skills. I’ll definitely look for it and post it tomorrow. Thanks!

    • The Guat August 29, 2012 at 1:32 PM #

      Just added a pic of my 243 piece Lego masterpiece … but you’re right I should have added it in the first go-around. I know it doesn’t look like it’s a two-hour project … but it was … it’s got all kinds of hidden compartments.

      • lameadventures August 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM #

        If I recall correctly you built this with a four-year-old while a one-year-old was near by. Under those conditions, it could have easily been a week long project.


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