The five lessons my toddler has taught me

This is not a mommy blog, but sometimes I write about mommy-related things…

 

In the past year and eight months, I have learned so much from being a mother. Diaper changing and bathing and all those other things aside, really spending time with my child and watching her grow has taught me and reminded me of some important life lessons we forget as we grow, lessons we have to relearn as adults.

#1 Live in the moment

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Babies are so zen. No one lives more in the moment than a baby. Perhaps because they don’t have much of a past and every moment is new, but they really know how to just be, to take in all their surroundings, observe the world for what it is, and enjoy the present moment.

 

#2 If you work hard, you will get somewhere

No one, and I mean NO ONE on earth has the work ethic of a baby. I have watched my daughter wake up every day and get right to it. Every day she is learning and trying and failing and trying again. She is tireless in her pursuit of success, and she—of course—gets there. Whether “there” is learning how to grasp something, learning to roll over, learning how to walk, learning how to speak… no matter how frustrated she gets, she tries until she gets it right.

#3 Be you

There is nothing easier for a child than to just be themselves. I had read somewhere that it is important to let your child make small decisions every day. This will help them feel independent, and their feeling so will lead to fewer tantrums. So I started by letting her choose her own clothes. That led to some really interesting—quite unfashionable—combinations, but I let it be. Especially when she insists. The time that comes to mind is when she really wanted to wear a blue espadrille with a pink aqua-sock. After trying to explain to her that it did not match, and after she kept showing me the same combination—blue on the left foot and pink on the right—I let it be. And she was so happy.

(On the right: When she wanted to go everywhere with a purple polka-dot balloon.)

#4 On occasion, it’s okay to barrel through life

Shortly after my daughter learned that if she walked faster she would get to her destination sooner, she started running. What worried me was the way she would run. She would ball her hands into fists, bend her elbows so that her hands were on either side of her, put her head down, and just go. This, of course, meant that she could not fully see where she was going. It led to a lot of falling down. But she didn’t stop. And I realized that much like #3, it was about having the eye on the prize, “putting on blinders” and letting nothing else distract you until you reach your goal.

#5 Smile at everyone you meet

I am blessed to have a child that is happy and cheerful all the time. She literally smiles at everyone. It’s such a lovely trait, and one that we can all emulate. It doesn’t cost you anything to smile at people, and you never know whose day really needs that little bit of kindness.

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And to think that she and I are not even two years into this! I can’t wait to continue to learn from her. I know it will be the most wonderful experience.

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