IF YOU WANT TO PLAY, JUST ASK
A couple of weeks ago I took my two boys to the playground for a picnic dinner and to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather. I started feeding Little Bro his yogurt and told Big Bro he could play for a few minutes before eating his sandwich. A couple of minutes later, I spied Big Bro bravely approaching a group of kids who were starting a game of tag. I heard my son announce that he knew how to play tag too and ask if he could join in the game. They said yes (thankfully) and when he returned for his sandwich he couldn’t stop telling me about his new friends. I wondered whether I would be brave enough to approach a group of mothers in the playground and introduce myself. As you get older, it can be difficult to meet new people but my three-year old reminded me that if you’re brave enough to ask to be included, you may just find yourself making a new friend.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECTThis is one of those lessons that I repeat all day long to my children, but find I need to remind myself of more. You weren’t born knowing how to do everything to perfection, and it’s important not to give up so easily after small (or big) failures. Both of my children started swim lessons a couple of weeks ago, and neither one was particularly thrilled during their first class. But Big Bro stuck it out in the pool for the entire half hour, and Little Bro only whimpered for a few minutes before giving in and bouncing along with Daddy to Humpty Dumpty. And I smiled as I watched my two children and my husband safely from the dry observation deck, because if anyone made me get into the pool early on a Saturday morning I would be crying louder than any of those kids.
BE PATIENT AND YOUR CHILD WILL BE POTTY TRAINED BEFORE COLLEGEI know it’s no secret that potty training can be challenging, but until you’re in the pee-soaked trenches, you really have no idea what you’re in for. At one point, I started telling myself that not being potty trained before high school graduation could end up being an advantage. After all, my son could write his college essay about still being in pull-ups and that could be his of standing out in the crowd. Thankfully, he’ll have to find something else to write about. And I won’t be so discouraged when my younger one isn’t potty trained after one week.
Toddlers have a habit of saying whatever is on their minds, and sometimes this can be extremely uncomfortable. (“Mommy, I thought you said you didn’t like her!?”) But with the awkward overshares come the uninhibited sharing of whatever emotion they happen to be feeling at the moment, which can be really sweet. We grownups don’t do that nearly enough, so remember that once in a while it’s important to tell someone how much their friendship means to you, or to thank your partner for all of their support.
BE HEALTHYI recently stopped breastfeeding, and while this can be an emotional time for mothers, it can also be quite liberating. I suddenly don’t have to be so vigilant of everything I eat and drink. I can now enjoy a glass of wine (or two) with my tuna sashimi and not have nightmares later that night about how I have ruined my son’s future with alcohol and mercury poisoning. Fortunately, I am now also in the habit of thinking more about what I put into my body, and I may be more likely to skip the Diet Coke for seltzer with lemon juice, or try to incorporate more calcium into my diet. I hope some of those healthier habits stick around.
Your first child is always under your watchful eye and is protected from rambunctious older children. The second child is always under the watchful eye…of their older sibling. But Little Bro never seems to mind being lifted, poked, and accidentally tripped over. Toys can be flying across the room, missing his head by an inch, and he’ll just give me a look that seems to say, “My Big Bro is so silly, but so much fun!” The other day, I walked into the living room and found my one year old and three-year old standing on the couch looking out the window. When I inquired how his younger brother got up there, my older son replied that he had simply picked him up and assured me not to worry, that when his brother wanted to get down he would just lift him off. I almost interfered, but then Little Bro turned around and gave me that knowing smile, assuring me that it was no big deal, so I took his advice and left them both on the couch.
TO ENJOY BEING UP EARLY ENOUGH TO SEE THE SUNRISEWhat can I say? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
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