Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Things My Two-Year-Old Taught Me: Part VIII

My mom gave bug some fruit snacks the other day to lure him into his seat.  He didn't want to leave her house, and I was relieved to find that I'm not the only one who resorts to bribery.  While driving home,  I heard him getting more and more frustrated and encouraged him to use his words to voice his feelings.
“I want some!” he said over and over, and I could hear him struggling with the little bag.  His tiny fingers were not nimble enough to squeeze into the tiny rip and pull out the sought after fruit flavored sugary goodness.  I was driving and, unfortunately, could not help him at this point.  Most of you probably know that patience is NOT really in a toddler’s vocabulary, and bug was beginning to really stress out.
I kept assuring him I would help him as soon as we stopped the car.  Suddenly, he cried in utter triumph (and probably a bit of amazement) “I did it!”  he was so excited, he made up a little song, the lyrics went like this, “I did it!  I did it!  I did it!”
“Great job!”  I awarded him, “I knew you could!”
Such a simple moment, but it made me think of many other times he has celebrated his abilities.
When getting a sticker to adhere just where he wants it  - “I did it!”
When placing the last car in its rightful spot in the car bin after rescuing all of them from the utter chaos in the family room - “I did it!”  
When climbing up into his car seat all by himself (quite a feat in an Escape) - “I did it!”
When taking his shoe off all by himself, after working at it and working at it and exclaiming, “I do it myself!” - “I did it!”
Sometimes his triumphs seem quite momentous for a 2 yr old - counting to 10, saying the ABC’s, putting a puzzle together, climbing into a chair - but most often they are quite mundane to the outside observer - pulling off a sock, shutting a door, closing the child safety gate.  But that’s what struck me as remarkable on this specific ride home.
No matter how simple his accomplishment was, bug took a moment to relish it.  His abilities, large and small, make him happy.
How often do I pat myself on the back when I deserve it?  I’m not talking about being prideful, rather just taking pride in a job well done - whether the task was large or small.  Do I ever focus on the things I can do?  Or do I spend all of my energy lamenting the things I fail at and want to do better?
A perfect example: every Monday food fest when my family is lavishing food items with praise and pointing out all the yummy goodness, I am discussing all of the improvisations I had to make and the things I could have done better.  I want them all to know what went wrong and I apologize for every flaw, no matter how small, making sure they understand that I could have done better, “if only.”
I am not an engineer, a nurse, a teacher.  I generally don’t engage in projects that change lives, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be genuinely happy with what I DO do.
The next time I clean a bathroom, I think I may take a page out of bug’s book and exclaim happily, “I did it!”
Now I’m off to celebrate taking a shower. 


alicia said...

Great job, mommy. Hope you have a great shower.

Veronika said...

What you DO do well, and amazingly, is mother. You are are the epitome of what I want to be as a mom someday. Bug and Mini are such great kids, and you and Mr. do SUCH a great job! Love you.

Unknown said...

Aw, thanks guys! (by the way, I had a wonderful LONG shower, for once, since the kids were all asleep!)
Veronika, you are too kind!! Sometimes I fell like I'm doing ok and other times I want to stand MYSELF in the corner. :)

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