As parents, we learn as much from our kids as they learn from us. We teach them not to eat things off the floor, they teach us that our tolerance for disgusting things is a lot higher than we think. Through the vomit and the poop, the lessons and the trials, good and bad, you’re both learning. For parents and non-parents alike, here’s what you can learn from kids, period. Your own or someone else’s.
5. How to Be Silly Again
Grown-ups are usually no fun. We work, we behave, we do boring things like send stuff to the IRS. However, one of the greatest things about being a child is the carefree joy of not knowing that crap. There’s a time and a place for being nicely groomed and having etiquette, but not every moment needs to be treated like a formal dinner with the Queen. Alex has taught me to let loose. Dance in the living room again, make silly faces, run around like crazy, no matter who is watching. Sometimes we get too stuck on how to “act in public” or about “who is watching”, when really that doesn’t matter at all.
4. Having Patience
This is a big one. I’m quick to react. I sometimes react badly, and I don’t like sitting still when I could do something. So, when he’s putting tampons in the toilet or mashing food into the couch, it’s hard not to pull my hair out and scream like a mad woman. However, I’ve learned that there really are more important things to life than the cleanest couch or the cleanest kid or sanity. He’s just being himself and that’s what’s important. As long as he’s not in danger and what he’s doing isn’t going to cause a huge boo-boo on something, I ignore it and do something that I want to do instead.
3. The Benefits of Chilling Out
I used to always be in a hurry. My mornings always felt rushed and, as a result, I was always in a bad mood because I couldn’t get to work early. I’ve learned to accept though the reality that I will not make it to work at 7:00 am, that it will take 40 minutes to get ready, no matter what we do differently, and things just aren’t going to go smoothly. I’m living with a toddler; life is chaos by definition. It’s much better to embrace the circumstances in this instance than try to change them. I roll with the punches now, by choice.
2. The Joy of Discovery
Ever seen a child’s face when they figure out how to roll over? How to push the buttons on something and make a noise? How to take every single thing out of your purse, hide your keys, and destroy your eye shadow? The amazing simplicity of these small tasks are a giant accomplishment for babies and young toddlers. As they learn to do new things, it’s the most wonderful thing for them–and you will find yourself getting so excited about it. I’ve never been so happy about anyone being able to repeat the word “ball” or point to his nose or clap his hands. Basic things to us, but to someone who is learning how to do them for the first time, it reminds you just how fantastic every day life and simple things can be.
1. Loving Unconditionally
As a first time parent, especially before I was even pregnant, I highly doubted my ability to love anyone more than I loved my dad’s miniature yorkie, Toty. Even while carrying Alex for 9 months, I was hesitant about love and bonding. Not to be cliche, but when I first held his gooey, gross, after-birth covered, tiny body and looked into his bright brown eyes, I realized that it’s possible for even me. He was not capable of doing anything but crap, cry, eat, and sleep, but I was going to do whatever I can to give him everything he could ever need or want.
My love continues to grow as I watch him and guide him through what has been the first 2 years of his life. He doesn’t understand an abstract concept like love yet because it’s not a bite-bite or outside or Papa. But he knows what it feels like and he will always know what it feels like. Here’s to love, forever.
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