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    Parents of the year

The sun’s rays are absent during these early November mornings, making it difficult to manoeuvre in the dark. However the distinct smell of stale jelly candies and mini chocolate bars fill the morning air. I stumble around in the darkness and find myself tripping over something. It felt like a dog, but we don’t have one. Oh, wait. It’s Camden, our three-year-old, passed out on the floor, lying amidst a cornucopia of empty candy wrappers.

Yet another successful Halloween has just passed at the Burgos’. (At the time of writing this article, Halloween hasn’t come and gone yet, but we indeed found the youngest Burgos boy sleeping amongst many candy wrappers, and a guinea pig, after he found the candy stash). He always seems to be hungry – the boy, not the guinea pig.

You can’t help but feel sorry for the boy. Times are tough during this worldwide recession. Budgets are tight and one place where you can save a bit of money is with groceries. We at the Burgos household decided that we could save $30 a week by not eating on Wednesdays. If you really think about it, I have a good plan here. Saving $30 a week, $120 a month and over $1,400 a year, that’s considerable savings! I tell my kids the reason we don’t eat on Wednesdays is because they want to go to Disney World next year. I think it is an even trade, right? Trust me kids – it will be worth it. On a side note, never trust anyone who starts a sentence with “Trust me”, unless it’s your dad.

The talk of recession has been lingering for some time now. However, it seems that the Manitoba economy has been able to buck the trend. Our jobless rate is among the lowest across in the country. We continue to spend money generously at retail stores and our house sales continue at a steady but modest rise. How could that be? What makes us immune to the drastic downturns in economy? I am not an economist by any means, and I am quite certain that I cannot give you the ins and outs of Business 101, but there is no mistaking it, Manitoba is on the rise. Just like the Turtle and the Hare, slow and steady wins the race.

Where am I going with this? Well, we at the Burgos household go against that very saying. We surely do not do things slowly and by no means go by the book. Yet I always feel like we’ve come out on top just like our economy.

Case in point: Five kids by the time my wife Lizabeth and I are 32; house, cabin, kids sports and one guinea pig to take care of. We don’t like to move at a turtle’s pace. It also seems we like to go to the extreme. For example, every month, I call the kids into the kitchen and ask that they sit nicely for their haircut. Most times we can all get away unscathed – except for the time son #3’s ear lost out in a battle with scissors. I won’t say who did it, but her name rhymes with Smizabeth.

This particular weekend, the kids asked for a haircut like Daddy’s. For those of you who don’t know, I shave my head and have been doing it for 3 years now. It is much easier to manage in the mornings. My boys have full heads of hair, very healthy and very cute. Why would they want to look like me?

I quickly realized that I should take the compliments while I can get them, because soon enough they’ll be more concerned with borrowing the car and looking nothing like me. So, we shaved their heads! It was easier than answering the question, “Why can’t we have the same haircut as Daddy?”

It’s called lazy parenting for those of you who don’t know.

Dale manages the communications department in a Winnipeg school division and doesn’t really let his kids starve on Wednesdays – he does it on Fridays.

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