- Live in the moment. Kids don't spend their time stressing out over what will happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year. They enjoy where they are right now. Time to play outside! Time to have video game time with Dad! Time to eat! It's all right now and it's all exciting. Granted, I'm a grown-up (allegedly) and so I do have to think about tomorrow and next week and next year. But I need to spend more time just enjoying where we are right now.
- Tell me what you're thinking. Kids come right out and tell you when something's bothering them. They don't let it fester and stew until it's worse than it needed to be. They also tell you when something's good. My daughter is great about telling me when dinner is really good or she's really happy that I let her do something she asked for. Preston will tell me when he thinks my hair looks nice or he likes my clothes. (He'll say things like this to a lot of girls. He's quite the little ladies man already. One of my favorite memories is of 3-year-old Preston sidling up to one of the older girls - probably 6 or 7 - at church and telling her "I like your pretty dress. Can I sit by you?)
- Have fun! Kids are so much better at having fun. It goes along with number 1, I guess, but seems important enough to have its own number. Take time to have fun and enjoy your life!
- Take a nap when you need one. My kids are usually going 100 m.p.h. at all times. Brekken especially will never walk if he can run instead. (Can you picture that as a grown-up? What if all the people at your office ran everywhere at top speed? Not because they had to, just because life is so exciting! To the copier! To the conference room! To the elevators! Woo-hoo!!) But once they finally run out of energy, they will collapse wherever they happen to be and take a nap to recharge. At work last week I found myself so exhausted that I was nodding off at my computer. I finally just got up and went to our quiet room (a little room with a couch and a locking door) and laid down. I took a 15-minute nap. It wasn't long. It didn't take me away from my work for more than a few minutes. But that short time to just have a little rest made a huge difference. I was much more alert and productive for having had that short break.
- Ask for help. I am very bad at asking for help when I need it. Even when I am overwhelmed and incapable of managing for myself, I hate to admit it and ask someone to help me. I need to take a lesson from my kids in this, because they often ask for my help. And even though sometimes I wish they would do it themselves, when they thank me or give me a sweet hug, I am glad to be there. (Note: This does not apply to 3-year-olds, who refuse to accept help at all costs. Brekken insists that he wants to do everything himself! Oh, how I wish he would let me help with things like getting a glass of water or putting his shoes on the right feet.)
- Stop and enjoy the world around you. Just this morning I was trying to rush out the door to drop the kids at daycare and get myself to work. "Get a move on! Get in the car!" I snapped. To my frustration, they were all crouched in the driveway instead. "What are you doing? Get in the car right now!" "But, Mom, look at this beautiful grasshopper! I think it's the best one I've ever seen! It's so big and it has brown and yellow stripes." I hurried them into the car, because I really needed to be on my way. But I wish that I had paused for just a minute to look at the beautiful grasshopper with them. Next time, I will try to remember to do that.
- Love one another. My kids beat on each other. They fight and shout and call each other names. And it drives me batty! But they are also quick to give each other a big hug. To sympathize over a banged knee or a bumped head. They give great kisses. They say I love you. I wish they would lay off on the fighting, but I definitely need to take a lesson about showing love more often.
- Be comfortable in your own skin. Thank goodness, my kids do not have any body issues yet. I'm sure they will develop some as they head into their teen years, but for now, they're good. Preston is a tiny, skinny little boy. When he takes off his shirt, all you see is his white, white skin (other than the rashy patches from his mild exzema) and his prominent little ribs (we're trying to feed him up, really!). But he doesn't worry about that. This is a little boy who loves to go around without his shirt. When asked why, he tells us it's so everyone can see his muscles. And then he will flex his skinny little arms for us. He's totally comfortable in his own skin and happy with himself.
- Be nice. Last week, Haley called her friend Emily to invite her over to play. She said to bring a swimsuit and we'd all go over to the sprayground to play. It turned out, though, that Kiera was already over at Emily's house playing. When they asked if Kiera could come, too, I had to say we couldn't do it, because I just didn't have enough seats in the van to get everyone there. Haley explained that and invited both Emily and Kiera to come over to the house and they could play in the water in the back yard. Instead, Emily said that wasn't any fun and they wouldn't come over. And more than that, Haley couldn't come over to her house to play, either. Poor Haley was in floods of tears. I was almost in tears with her. And so angry at that little girl for being mean to my precious daughter. "Why does she have to be mean?" Haley asked. "Why can't she just be nice?" I could only answer that I wished everyone would be nice and never be mean to her. But sometimes people forget to be nice. Haley swore that she would always try to be nice so no one else would feel bad like she did. And I try to do the same.
- And finally... a friend of mine challenged me to ask my kids "What has Mommy taught you?" So I did. From Preston, I got a very ordinary answer - "Don't hit each other." But from Brekken, I got item number 10 on the list, which I think is an excellent life lesson. Don't put your fingers in other people's mouths. And don't put their fingers in your mouth either.
Monday, August 15, 2011
10 Things I Should Learn From My Kids
Today's prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop: 10 things that your kids could teach you.