As the mom of a toddler, I do a lot of teaching. Every day we work on lessons like how to wash your hands, how to get dressed, how to sit on the potty, and how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. But recently I’ve been thinking about some of the things my two-year-old has taught me — important life lessons that every one should learn.
1) Play Hard. Everything he does, he does with abandon. When he’s running, he runs with everything he’s got. When he’s trying to figure out how to do something new, it completely absorbs him. He’s not slowed down by fears or cautions. He doesn’t worry about how things are going to turn out. He just throws his whole heart into whatever he’s doing. He loves to play, and he plays hard.
2) Speak up for your needs. He doesn’t hesitate to let us know when he needs something – and to ask for it again and again if we’re not paying attention. He doesn’t question his self-worth. He’s not held back by fears about whether he deserves what he’s asking for. He just confidently – and insistently – communicates his needs so they can be taken care of. Seriously, how hard is it to say, “This is what I need. Please help me.”
3) Live like nobody’s watching. He doesn’t care what other people think of him. He’s not worried about fitting in or being popular. Whether we’re at home, at the park, in the grocery store, or at church, he expresses himself freely. He does what he wants to do, with his whole heart, no matter who is watching. Mommy might be embarrassed, but he’s not!
4) Never stop learning. Everyday my two-year-old is learning. He practices communication by being a little parrot, repeating everything he hears. He climbs up and down the stairs over and over, just to prove that he can do it. He tests out new behaviors and takes cues from our reactions. He sits and studies picture books, pointing out familiar animals or characters. His little mind is always inquisitive, always seeking, always learning, and always practicing what he’s learned.
5) Don’t give up. Life isn’t easy for a two-year-old. Seriously, even walking can still be a challenge sometimes! Watching the amount of effort it takes just to climb up on the couch makes me tired. There are so many new things to accomplish, and he usually doesn’t get it right the first time. But he doesn’t give up. When he’s figuring out something new, he tries over and over and over again. And the delight on his face when he finally gets it is priceless!
6) Delight in the little things. It doesn’t take much to make him happy. An ice cube in his cup of water, a butterfly on the porch, or a few minutes wrestling on the floor with Daddy are enough to bring smiles and sunshine to his little face. He’s thrilled with a walk through the neighborhood or a candy treat at the grocery store. Even the little things impress him – being able to wiggle your eyebrows, or drawing a smiley-face on a napkin.
7) Sometimes you just need a hug. We all have bad days, and even toddlers deal with tough stuff sometimes. When he’s tired or hurt or overwhelmed, nothing makes life better like a big cuddly hug. And that’s just how it should be for all of us.
This guest post was contributed by Melissa Toews. Melissa Toews is mommy to three little men (ages 4, 2 and 2 months) and wife to the big man they call daddy. She loves writing, curling up with a novel, and sharing coffee with her husband – in all the free time she doesn’t have while keeping three other people alive and happy. Besides being a mom, Melissa is a freelance blogger writing for several blogs, including her own community for expat women at TCKmom.com. Interested in sharing a post on our site? Email Jamie@mamamommymom.com