I am the mom of an amazing trio. We laugh, we play, we explore, we learn, we argue, and we are loud. I love it and would not have it any other way. Life is busy and chaotic. In the midst of that busyness there are times when some things get lost as we try to manage our day-to-day. The thing that gets lost is one-on-one time with each of my kiddos. We do things to try to combat that and give each of our kids quality time.
Our youngest does everything she can think of to make herself heard. She has also always been content to sit back and take it all in. She has always loved just watching and observing. She has met her major milestones later because she simply was fine not to do them. Why would she, when older brother and sister could bring things to her, talk for her, and dictate when and what she should play?
Shortly before her second birthday, that all changed, because our older two started school. Our oldest, who is a first grader, is in school every day and our middle is in preschool every morning. With the new school year in full swing, I am learning and getting to rediscover who my youngest daughter is. And she is finding her voice. She is learning and I am learning more about who she is. I find myself forgetting what it is like to only have one child to care for. I am also finding that just as much as I am teaching her, she is teaching me.
She is teaching me to be more present.
As a busy mom, I feel like I am constantly running around packing school lunches, making sure backpacks are ready, clothes are laid out, laundry is done…the list goes on. For a few hours each morning that all goes away, because it is just her and me. We can do whatever we want. We can take advantage of a lighter schedule. And take advantage we do! We spend our mornings at parks, the Children’s Museum, a music class, and even mornings at home playing and reading books. She is forcing me to put my phone away and to focus on her. Lord knows the other 21 hours of the day, it is all a balancing act!
I am teaching her to love reading.
My most favorite pasttime with each of my kids is reading. We love reading and have come to love so many authors. With my youngest, I love when she will bring me a book and come plop down in my lap. And even better, she is getting better about sitting through an entire book. Reading is something that can instill a love of learning, and it warms my heart to see my kids get lost in books.
She is teaching me to engage her in conversation.
As a new two-year-old, my daughter’s vocabulary is ever-expanding. I find the more I engage her and ask for her input, the more she gives her input. I am amazed each day at her growing vocabulary and her desire to tell me what she sees and feels.
My daughter loves music. Our music class is absolutely amazing to foster that love. Even more than that, my daughter loves to dance and sing. She will dance when she sees Elmo dancing on Sesame Street. She will dance when we play music on our devices. She loves to engage in song and dance. When I dance with her it makes her laugh and dance even more. The best part is when I hear her start to sing in the back of the car. I hope she will always have the confidence to dance like nobody’s watching.
She is teaching me to enjoy the little things.
In a fast-paced life sometimes we do not stop to enjoy the little things our kids do. When I am in a store nothing melts my heart more than to hear her precious little voice tell a random stranger, “Good morning!” It makes me smile and I know it makes them happy, too.
Parenting is hard and sometimes we feel run down, frustrated, angry, and at our wits’ end, and we fall short. If we can slow down, take a step back, and try to view life from the perspective of our kids, it might make those stressors not seem so bad. I know I am guilty of being busy that I don’t always take the time to enjoy the moments.
My youngest child is teaching me to do just that.
She is teaching me to enjoy her and to realize these years go by in a blink of an eye. She is teaching me that even on those days when we are not at our best, we have been given and are called to one of the greatest gifts possible–that of motherhood.