Through the eyes of a two year old

I spent some time with my granddaughter yesterday. She is at that age where she has started to think about things, but is not yet able to express all her ideas verbally. She is stringing words together, but most of what she says is delightfully unintelligible.

“Swing and slide?” she asked in her sweet baby voice. So I put her in her stroller with her baby doll and pushed her the mile to the park, a green patch in the city. I wonder what she thinks, as the cars swoosh by, and we pass random people. She puts out her hand to touch some hedges along the side walk. We stop to smell some flowers.

She got restless the last quarter mile or so, asking me questions I couldn’t understand, talking and occasionally singing. I was glad she was happy, and I would point out things along the way, telling her we were almost there. Finally, we were at the green, first passing the dog park, which brought on a stream of dog like sounds from baby, then there we were at the playground. There were a lot of other kids and parents out on this warm February day.

wp-1456191076862.jpegI helped her out of the stroller and she headed for the swings. All but one were occupied, so I lifted her up into it, and “swing, swing” she laughed and sang as I pushed her. She gazed in fascination at the little girl in the swing next to her. “Baby!” she chortled with delight.

I spent the next 45 minutes following her around the small play area, guarding her as she climbed ladders meant for older children, laughing with her as she slid down the numerous slides, pleased that she cooperated with other children. Often she would stop and just stare at another child, and I wondered what she was thinking. Another little girl around her age was not having a good day, and as my little sweetie observed her crying, she said “baby cry? night-night?” Good observation, I thought!

I was wearing out before she did, and, anticipating the trek back, coerced her back into the stroller with the promise of a snack and taking her shoes off. Thus settled, we made the journey home, with her chatter and singing delighting me. She tweeted with the birds, and, pointing out a squirrel, “get nuts?” she queried.

Arriving home, I took off my sandals and sat on the tub to wash my dusty achy feet, which turned into a bath for her!  We splashed and laughed and it was absolutely delightful!

It wasn’t until I was leaving that she had a meltdown. She was trying to communicate something to do with a toy car that looks like “Sassa’s car” and it seemed to be important that she take the car outside but since she was naked Mama and I were saying no. So she threw the car and quietly crumpled and threw herself around a bit. This is when parenting is hard. What is it going on in the mind of a two year old that is inexpressible and therefore frustrating? What is a grownup to do?

Fortunately, her mother practices gentle parenting, and spoke to her gently but firmly. She offered to put a diaper on her and take her outside, which was satisfactory. There was still something on baby girl’s mind, but she was less upset, and was happy to see my car, for whatever reason, and we kissed and hugged and I went on my way.

All this to say, a two year old lives moment to moment, joy and frustration being dealt with as it comes, and we grownups have lessons to learn from it. If you have a two year old, remember this the next time they throw a tantrum. They don’t have the words to express themselves yet, so it’s not a punishable offense. And you? Take life a little less seriously, and enjoy each beautiful moment.

 

 

7 things I learned from raising 7 children

1. Love multiplies

2.Mistakes will be made

3. Spanking doesn’t work

4. Everyone is unique from birth

5. It’s better to minimize toys and “stuff”

6. Pick your battles

7. You have to let them go.

 

Here’s 7 more:

1. Some children bite, and won’t stop til they grow out of it no matter what you do.

2. Some children will do anything to conquer all obstacles

3. Some children are dreamers

4. Some children ask questions about everything

5. Some children are born comedians.

6. Some children are born with heartache.

7. All children are gifted.

image (16)My oldest is 36, my youngest just turned 20. And there are really 5 in between. While they were small, and my life was busy with their needs, I was often overwhelmed. Now that they are all grown, I look back on the years and they flew by. I am very grateful for each one, and for what I learned from having them in my life.

What have you learned from your children?

Dreams

Time Marches on

March is upon us, February now another memory.

Winter is my least favorite month. Having been raised in the south, where snow is a rarity and cold weather a bother, I don’t own very many winter clothes. I think I have 5 sweaters and I only have one coat that I use on a regular basis. Two weeks ago it was up in the 70’s, then the storm that dumped snow on the north brought temps here to the 30’s again. I look forward to seeing the flowers blooming again, very soon.

My baby girl, my youngest, turned 19 in February. Young mothers, take note. Enjoy your babies and your young children, for they grow up very very fast.

“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow, for babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep, I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.”               -author unknown

I wrote 4 blog posts in February, and posted 2 pictures.  Not as much as I had been doing, but I feel like I had a turning point in that I quit focusing on stats and writing just for the sake of writing. I journal a lot and decided to return to writing longhand for awhile, to see if it changes the flow. I read some of my journal from the past year, and what kept coming up was – “I want to” – write, paint, study, exercise, eat healthier, travel.  I’m determined to get rid of the I want to attitude, and just do it instead of putting it off.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.              – Steve Jobs

I added 3 pages to my blog – paintings, fav fotos, and my reading list. I read  A Spool of Blue Thread by Ann Tyler, the first fiction book I’ve enjoyed in a long time. I started the year with 5 titles, and now have 10 on the list. I’ve cut back on Netflix to make time for reading!

I’m on the verge of enrolling in a course of study to be an Ayurvedic practiioner. I’m 99% sure I’m going to do it. The only drawback is that I might not get to read as many books as I’ve been planning.

I painted this picture, my favorite so far.

between worlds

I have signed up for Photography 101 in March, so you will see photos here, primarily. I have ideas for blog topics, but they have been getting lost between my brain and my pen!

And I started a facebook fan page. 🙂

Goals for March:    Keep showing up!  Take pictures, read, write, paint.   Practice being nonjudgmental. Follow my heart.

Thanksmas

For the last several years, the gathering with my  seven children during the holiday season has been between Thanksgiving and Christmas, due to the complications that come with adulthood, like work, and relationships. We’ve gotten away from gifts, for the most part, and simply enjoy the presence of family we once shared daily life with.

My five offspring still in Texas, along with a few significant others and one grandbaby, got together for what used to be “Mom’s Black Bean Enchilada Dinner.” That was always a favorite, and favored this time of year because turkey is plentiful at other tables.

This year my daughter, the one with the baby, took over the cooking duties and hosted the gathering. I live in a small apartment, and really didn’t want to do the work of cooking. And Hannah wanted to use organic, non GMO ingredients, as has been her philosophy for at least 2 years. She is a really good cook, and I was happy to turn it over to her and have it at her house.

Great. Date set well in advance, yes RSVP’s all around — a-and — the baby gets a bad cold, won’t sleep, mother exhausted — so I spent half a day at her house “helping”. It involved a lot of baby holding, which was nice, but before everything could be put together, mother and baby disappeared to nurse and sleep and I, along with Robert and another daughter, put the casseroles together and cleaned up. Way more work than I had counted on, and I went home and crashed.

But– yesterday, when we all got together, it was all worth it. The food was good, the company was great, and we all had a good day. Five siblings reuniting, reminiscing about their childhoods.  Hannah says she’s not doing it again, others suggested doing something completely different, or catering. I know a lot can happen in a year, and the most important thing is to keep getting together with family, whatever that looks like.

Here’s my Thanksmas tree.

Christmas tree 2014

I am thankful for my family. And actually, am thankful for the empty nest, because I don’t have the energy it takes to have a full one. I am thankful that my kids are all ok.

And life goes on.

Normal and happy! (empty nest part 2)

“Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality. Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.”
Tara Kelly, Harmonic Feedback

Normal.

It used to be a baby in arms, toddlers clinging to my skirt, school age children’s myriad of activities, and teenagers testing their limits. It used to be that I was not only the nurturer and teacher for my many children, but the referee when squabbles and differences arose, always wanting them to be at peace with each other.

Now – all the children are adults, each with their unique personality and experience shaping who they are, what they believe, and how they live. No longer can I be the referee, forcing them to “kiss and make up” – they are grown, having been loved and nurtured, but also having had painful experiences. Normal now is just trying to keep in contact with each of them, be there for them, and understand that they are responsible for themselves and their relationships with each other.

“Normal” changes with the tides. The person I was yesterday is gone. The circumstances of yesterday are no more. Even the little daily routines I have vary from day to day.

Whatever circumstances I find myself in, I choose happiness.

happiness

“Happiness consists not of having, but of being. It is a warm glow of the heart at peace with itself.”
 ― David O. McKay

Whatever your circumstances are, whatever challenges and changes come your way, know that the place to find peace and happiness is within, not without. Moment by moment, it is easier said than done – so here are a few tips that help me keep my sanity when my thoughts start taking over my brain, and I want to forget to practice what I preach.

1. Meditate, even if it is just for a few minutes a day.

2. Observe your thoughts without judgment, and remind yourself that the past is gone and the future can’t be predicted — so that leaves the now!

3.Realize that life isn’t perfect – whatever that means. There will always be frustrations and failures.

4. If you start to feel down, or disappointed, or if you live with mental illness and life becomes overwhelming, write. Just write whatever comes, for 30 minutes or so. Then don’t read it again, that’s not what its for. Or paint, or draw or dance or wash the dishes. The feelings will pass if you don’t focus on them.

5. Validate yourself. You are beautiful, you are doing a great job, and you are worthy of love!

What do you do to maintain your own peace, happiness, and sanity?