As parents, we feel it is our job to teach our children about the world. We are careful to spend each day imparting some of the wisdom we have accumulated in our wise, old years. We explain, we nurture and we educate, and – if we're doing a good job – we might learn a thing or two ourselves.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #1: Fun Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
As adults, we look out of the window and grimace when we see grey clouds or, even worse, rain. For a toddler, rain means wellies, puddles, splashing and jumping. Toddlers can find interesting things to explore pretty much everywhere, and though this may be slightly frustrating on the walk home from town, it's a great reminder that we make our own joy. Life is for the living, after all, let's not spend it indoors moaning about the weather.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #2: Never Give Up
There was once a time when my baby couldn't walk, but after months of training in the form of cruising and standing, she graduated to toddlerdom. There was a time when she couldn't get to the top of the climbing frame at our local park, but after weeks of perseverance, she made it all the way to the top (and has never looked prouder). My toddler taught me that there's no excuse for giving up – you just need to try that little bit harder.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #3: It's Easy To Forgive
Holding a grudge against someone can actually be quite draining. You have to remember that you're annoyed with them, and why, and carry that anger with you the whole time you hold a grudge. I have seen my toddler get hit, kicked, pushed and slapped (not all in the same incident!), and burst into tears only to graciously accept an apology moments later and forget the whole thing. If we are going to claim to forgive something, then we really must so that we can move on with our lives.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #4: It's Ok To Ask For Help
When my toddler struggles with putting her shoes on, she sees no shame in asking for help. She will even then dismiss me at the last moment so that she can then claim credit for the shoes being on. Having a child helped me to realise that, no matter how grown up we feel, we are all still learning and there is no shame in asking for help.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #5: Honesty Is The Best Policy
My toddler is always honest, she doesn't know anything different. She will tell people they are fat, explain that the dinner I've made is disgusting, and tell her grandparents when she wants them to leave. Those are the downsides (apart from the grandparents one, sometimes I think she can read my mind), but the upside is that she will tell me how she is feeling and why. It's so much easier to help soothe her now that she can tell me exactly what is wrong, and that made me realise that I needed to be open and honest about my feelings too.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #6: Fresh Air Is The Best Medicine
Whenever my toddler is starting to get restless indoors, or when her witching hour is approaching, we head out of the house for a good dose of the great outdoors. During the day, we might wander down to the woods, walk to a country park or find a stream to paddle in. In the evening, we'll go out into the garden and have a run around. It makes all the difference. All of a sudden, my pent-up little ball of anger becomes a fun, inquisitive toddler once again. Now when I find myself feeling stressed, I apply the same rule and haul us all out of the house for a bit. It's surprising the difference it can make to my mood, even when it's raining.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #7: Pay Attention To The Details
As I stride ahead, worrying about train schedules, meeting times and the weather, my toddler is dawdling behind me noticing all of the beauty that I fail to see. She notices (and introduces herself to) all of the insects we pass, she comments on the colours of cars and front doors, and she stops to say hello to people. She enjoys the journey as much as the destination, and this is one of the things she has taught me. To slow down, to take it all in, and to enjoy it all.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #8: To Be Myself
My toddler sometimes goes out wearing pyjamas. She wears crowns to the park. She likes to carry a fake, plastic worm with her when she visits friends, just so she can share it with them. None of these things are normal, but she doesn't care. She's just happy being herself. I've learnt to worry less about what other people think about me, and to focus more on my own happiness.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #9: Love Unconditionally
There is nothing better in life, than having a toddler wrap their arms around your neck and announce, “I love you, mummy.” Having a child helped me to realise how important it is to love people unconditionally, and to let them know that you love them as often as you can.
Life Lesson From My Toddler #10: Live For Today
My toddler doesn't regret falling over at toddler group last Wednesday, she's not beating herself up about a fight she had at the weekend, and she's certainly not worrying about whether she'll be able to conquer the monkey bars anytime soon. She's living in the moment. She's enjoying this very second, whatever it is she might be doing, and she's putting all of her efforts into now. I have learnt to worry less about the past and the future, and instead to fully immerse myself in today. To put down my phone, to stop moaning about things I didn't do, and instead to just soak in the here and now.