I've spent the greater part of 16 years engaged with children. My own children of course but also a string of infants, toddlers and school age wonders who spent time with us during those 'stay at home mom' years. I can hardly remember how many there have been, I lost count somewhere around 35. I do know there have been hundreds of boo-boos kissed along with dozens and dozens of musical ditties composed on situation command. I calculated at one point, that I have changed close to 14,000 diapers without a single bout of E.Coli infection.
It's been a good run.
Even if your entire world revolves around a single child there are things you learn as a parent, caretaker or guardian.
The first thing you learn is that the word "gross" is a verb. Secondly you learn that you cannot master your gag reflex. Evolutionary generations of children have perfected bodily ooze yet to be revealed.
Thirdly you learn that children are the human equivalent of that jelly crystal stuff they fill diapers with, which absorbs 90 times its weight in fluid. Essentially children are sponges that will soak in whatever they are exposed to.
Number 4...Children hear EVERYTHING. If you question this because the 8000 words of instruction you've wasted today have been ignored, try one 4 letter explicative. They will soak that in and spit it out right in the middle of your next parent teacher interview.
Lesson 5: Time-out is for grown-ups. All the parenting books will tell you that time-out is an effective behaviour modifying strategy. Anyone who has ever read a parenting book knows that they are written with language and phrasing meant to empower and instill confidence in the bruised parental ego. (parents only pick up those books in desperation. When things are good we have all the answers and could write our own books)
The one and only time that time-out has had an impactful affect on a child in our home was recently, when Darthvader was banished to "time-out." It was a moment of pure parenting genius on Michael's part. After hours of my attempting to correct an undesired behaviour in our 4 year old nephew, Michael picked up the object of young "Tippytoes" affection, a palm sweat covered Darthvader Lego-man, and put him in time-out.
Tippytoes WAILED! "Uncle Mike... poor 'Vader...(sob, sob)...why is 'Vader in time-out?"
Uncle Mike quietly said "'Vader is encouraging you to make bad choices so he needs a time-out."
Tippytoes, devastated that his behaviour landed his pal in jail did a complete 360.
The sixth thing you learn is that there are very few moments when the caregivers triumph over the little people.
Number 7...when it happens, it's magic.
Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.
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