Lessons I'm learning from my toddler6:00 AM
Michael has taught me a lot. When we were surprised with his pregnancy, I wasn't sure how it would go. I was just coming to terms with working on some of my "big issues"... I wasn't ready for a baby. I was just figuring myself out.
But God thought otherwise, and so we did what we could do to "prepare".
Like any parent will tell you, Michael changed our lives. And, admittedly, in the beginning I didn't appreciate the change so much. The stretch marks, weight I couldn't lose, long nights, and some different sort of marriage tension weren't all things I had dreamed of when I dreamed of being a Mom. So, in the beginning, I fought all the change. I made lots of excuses, and I kept wishing for the days when Michael was older.
As you can imagine, I'm now wishing he'd stop growing.
These days I'm learning to pay attention. He's learning and growing at a rapid rate-- one I have a hard time always keeping up with. But now, instead of wasting time fighting it, I'm embracing it and rolling with all he's teaching me. Because, really, right now I'm pretty sure he's teaching me more than I'm teaching him.
Here are some things I've noticed the most as of late.
1. Leaving my phone behind is not the end of the world.
Ever since I got a phone my senior year of high school, it's been attached to me. I love people, especially those closest to me. So when I had this technology gifted to me where I could call and text and communicate in countless ways, it became a part of me. IT really used to bug some of my friends, and now I'm certain it annoys my family from time to time.
Well, it definitely annoys Michael.
When I'm playing with him, it needs to be about him. While he may self entertain really well, I shouldn't use it as an excuse to be on Facebook or Pinterest while I have a great source of entertainment in front of me. Not only that, but playing together can present so many learning opportunities. If I'm stuck on my phone, I'm missing out on some amazing moments with Michael. While I may always want to have it handy to put moments up on Instagram or whatever, I've learned that some I should really just keep for me, because that makes them all the more special.
2. It's OK to have some messes//dirt.
I used to not want to have people over unless my house looked spotless, even with a baby or toddler. I wanted everything cleaned up, and sometimes would interfere with Michael's play or routine to make it just that for other people. But I've learned that scattered cars in the living room are just the way it is. Sometimes a snack on the couch is needed for quality time. And, of course, sometimes the laundry can wait to be done so we can play basketball in the backyard or walk to the park.
Michael is the priority.
I don't want him to have memories of me not playing with him because I HAD to clean the windows. I mean, what is that? I'm working on balancing the housework with Michael, and not just turning on the TV or whatever so I can get things done. As long as the toilets are clean and there's nothing unsanitary about, I'm perfectly fine with friends coming over and my house not being picture-perfect. Because, really, it isn't magazine ready every single day.
What goes with that? Some dirt. Boys are drawn to it. I don't know if girls really are, too (I only had a small phase from what I recall), but boys are drawn to it. While Michael may start noticing when things are on him and ask for his hands to be wiped, it isn't always the case. So, a little dirt never killed anyone... but a lot does require a bath.
3. Pick your battles // Don't worry about other people.
This doesn't just apply to Michael. He has taught me that every battle isn't worth it. Making Michael stand still while we wait at the restaurant because I'm afraid people are thinking he's a wild-child isn't worth giving him chocolate or shoving the pacifier in his mouth so he doesn't scream. But I've also learned now what's worth fighting and what isn't even more with the hubs, because (if I'm being honest) my hot headedness and temper used to rule all my emotions and there were many arguments that just shouldn't have happened because they weren't THAT important.
If Michael is throwing a fit because he wants a candy bar at seven in the morning, though, that's worth sticking to my guns and telling him no. If he wants a toy at the store and is throwing an absolute fit, I'm not going to give in and buy him the toy just for the sake of other shoppers ears.
In the beginning I did many things to keep Michael pacified that may have started bad habits already because I was so worried about what other people thought. Being young parents is so intimidating because, well, other people look at you "that way" even worse because no only are they judging your parental decisions, but they're putting the blame to your age. It's not that we're THAT young, but we are viewed that way. And it's not just my imagination.
4. Slow Down.
I don't always enjoy napping with Michael. Sometimes I regret our co-sleeping decision. I get annoyed on days when I feel like I have a to-do list a mile long, or just things I personally wanted to do and Michael refuses to let me up from nap time or go down to bed without me.
Then I think about the days that will come where he doesn't want to snuggle. The days where he'll even refuse hugs. And the days where he will be too old to ask him for a kiss on the lips because it won't be adorable anymore.
I hold him a little closer, take in his deep breaths, and allow myself to rest my cheek on his head and rest. It's all I need sometimes and I just don't know it until that cuddle-bug shows me so. I'm so thankful for the slow days now, even if I'm not always enthusiastic in the moment.
What has your toddler/child taught you?