All I Need To Know About Life I Learned From My Toddler
I have a toddler. Her name is Daisy, and she's adorable. Of course, on some days I'm reminded why the expression “The Terrible Twos” exists, but on many others, she blows my mind with her inherent wisdom. Her actions, if not yet her words, have given me so much peace and insight. I have captured a few of her brilliant bits here and I am sharing in hopes that they might inspire you as they have me. Enjoy.
1. Twirling outside in the sun is way better than Facebook and Instagram combined.
I'm an avid user of Facebook and Instagram. I use them to promote my classes, retreats and workshops, and while they can be an incredibly valuable tool, I'm also guilty of overusing them. My daughter has taught me to put the phone down and go outside to play! She'll walk up to me and gently draw my chin away from my phone. She’ll babble something and smile sweetly. Eventually, I follow her lead and realize she just wants me to join her.
2. Work can wait.
There's always more to do. When the laundry is folded, the dishes need unloading. When the lawn is mowed, the flower beds need weeding. When the blog post is complete, the workshop needs planning. It’s an endless cycle.
We'll never complete every task before us. It is incumbent upon us to step away from the work periodically so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labor. If not, we miss some of the sweetness of life. My little angel will quite convincingly crawl into my lap as I stare at the screen, writing, replying, creating. Gradually, she draws me into another task, such as finger painting. Yes, it creates a mess. But it’s also priceless time well spent.
3. High heels can be worn in the kitchen.
When I left my corporate job in 2008, I wasn't sad to leave fancy shoes behind. I have a graveyard of stilettos. I was happy to create a life for myself that revolved around being barefoot, wearing flip-flops or sporting boots, depending on the time of year.
Enter my wide-eyed daughter. Whenever she can raid the closet, she gets into my shoes. Shortly thereafter, she brings me high heels. Every time. I’ll be sautéing broccoli in the kitchen and she’s pulling my feet out of my flip-flops and coaxing them into the royal blue satin high heels I wore under my wedding dress years ago. I used to attempt to dodge her efforts but one day I said, "Why not?" When I put them on, she squealed and giggled with glee. So now, it’s not uncommon to see me dancing in my kitchen in a pair of ripped up jeans and high heels, with Daisy by my side.
4. The word "no" can be your friend.
We need boundaries, and my toddler definitely knows how to say no. Granted, it’s not always done with grace, but she can certainly stand her ground. When she says no, I admire her. Yes, I still require her to take a bath when it’s necessary. I also listen deeply. Using the word no without guilt is a skill not everyone possesses.
5. Love can tickle and that is a beautiful thing.
When I cuddle with my daughter, and she's well rested, she gets so giggly and happy and full of shrieking glee. As adults, we can sometimes lose that joyful reaction to simple cuddles. We lose that feeling of exuberance deep inside, and how that feeling can bubble up and spill over into everything. Witnessing this and participating in the exchange is a source of ecstasy for me.
6. When you fall, you can get up and keep playing.
Life isn’t meant to be easy. We're meant to be challenged, and often that will come with a righteous wipeout. When you fall on your butt, get up, dust yourself off and keep on trucking. There's still so much to see and do. Incorporate the lessons, but don’t get bogged down. Move on to the next experience. We aren't meant to close down and hold onto the shame of wiping out.
7. Helping is a privilege and an honor, and should be regarded as such.
As we become responsible, we sometimes dread pitching in. My toddler just wants to be of help. She's so thrilled when we allow her to help clean the dishes or mop the floors. I feel like with age we forget that helping is a form of contribution, and we're lucky to be able to participate in the family or community at that level. We take this ability for granted. Being an active participant in creating something we love is an honor. We could regard it with great joy.
I hope you've enjoyed these lessons as much as I have enjoyed learning them from this all-too-wise creature with whom I'm so grateful to share time.