In all situations ask: what would a toddler do?

Posts tagged ‘birthday party’

Before there was me

Today Maayan said, “After Hashem (God, meaning “the Name”, as traditionally said in Judaism) fixed me, I had feet and hands. Then Hashem fixed my sister.”

 

Although I don’t have the clearest recollection of what my life was like before I was born, Maayan seems to have a pretty good grasp on things. My little 4 year old is pretty comfortable in thinking of life before life and existence before having a body. I didn’t always have what I have, there was a time when it had to all come together and thankfully it did.

 

What is so profound for me is how simple it is for a toddler. It is somehow obvious to a toddler how things were not always as they are. Maayan loves looking at herself as a baby. She is always saying how, “when I was a baby…”

 

Toddlers are cool with change. They see it all the time. They see baby pictures, smaller clothes and shoes without laces. They see other babies and older kids and are able to see themselves in context of consistent growth. Even more profoundly, at least in my own experience with my daughter, understanding what life was like before birth is as clear as a clear sippy cup.

 

Adults are not so fast with change, it’s a hard thing for them. Birthdays, as signs of change, are not fun for adults. Usually their cards are equipped with such phrases as “over the hill” or “it’s all downhill from here” and other references to hills, gravity and falling. Changes in jobs, relationships, presidents and TV shows are not taken with ease. Let alone thinking of life before life.

 

For toddlers however, change is a given. We didn’t always have what we have. Things used to be one way, now they’re another. At one point there was only me, now there are others. I was smaller, now I’m bigger and my shoes have laces. For a toddler, change is always happening and they’re happy with every move.

 

Life lesson of a toddler #22: Change happens, enjoy the ride & appreciate all the many gifts along the way.

 

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Don’t worry, it’s ok

The other day at Maayan’s birthday party was the following incident with a few of her friends. Maayan was drawing with her friend while another boy was a little upset about something. Not sure what it was, but he wasn’t happy. As Maayan was drawing she calmly said to the boy, “don’t worry, it’s ok“. The boy said back, “no it’s not!” To which Maayan confirmed, “no, it’s ok. Don’t worry.”

Then they kept on playing.

I didn’t know what was going on, maybe Maayan did. Not too many details were clear for anyone at this point. What was clear though was the reassurance that everything will be ok. Hey, if a 4 year old says it, it has to be true.

In all honesty, does a 4 year old really know that everything will be ok? Maybe it won’t! Whatever the reason this boy is upset – maybe it won’t be ok. Maybe the boy should dwell on what’s gone wrong. Maybe the boy should put all his energy and focus on how bad everything is, how “not ok” everything is. After all, if adults do it…

For a 4 year old, they might not have an 8 ball or a crystal ball, but intuitively they know everything will be ok. Most children from the time they are a baby until they’re even past the toddler stage are able to quickly forget about something bad. If something upset them, in a healthy environment, chances are they’ll be over it soon enough.

Toddlers are able to change perspectives very quickly. They are able to switch focus almost instantaneously. It is a rare quality for adults to do though. Adults are very fond of circular thinking, dwelling and playing rerun on a host of negative experiences. Go into most therapists offices and you’ll hear tons of dwelling and over focus on the negative.

Maybe all we need is a toddler to tell us not to worry and that it’s ok. Not that it will be ok, but that it is ok. If a toddler can figure out how to switch a negative lens to a positive focus, I’m sure intelligent adults can figure out a way as well. Maybe all we need to do is listen to our inner toddler telling us not to worry, it’s ok. You know what? The more we do, the more our brains will be able to see it.

Life lesson of a toddler #17: Really and truly – don’t worry, it is all ok. Move on, move forward, and keep on playing!

Happy Birthday – Oh Yeah…

Yesterday was the most anticipated, spoken of and hyped up day of the year for Maayan. Yes, it was her birthday.

For the past 8 months, Maayan has been speaking almost daily about her upcoming birthday. When we spoke about my mothers’ birthday, Maayan said, “and then it’s…my birthday!” Everything seemed to be within the context of her birthday, and rightfully so. She’s turning 4!

We had a small but huge birthday party for Maayan: some of her friends came over, we had a craft painting project, everyone 4 and under danced like crazy with music, had cake, presents and play time. When the birthday cake came out, I could only describe her face as glowing, beaming and shining. This was it, this was the big day – we have arrived.

Maayan’s friends were also thrilled to the max. They were just as happy for Maayan to open her presents as she was. It was as if they said, “yeah, this is what we do. This is what it’s all about”. They wrote little cards and were happy as anything to give the birthday girl her much anticipated presents. They each had a bit of the cake, spent 5 minutes opening the presents – and it was time to play something else. They work hard & they play hard too.

By the end of it, after about 90 minutes of birthday heaven, everyone was fairly tired. The toddlers needed to go home. Hey, it makes sense. If any adult were to put that much excitement into something, they would also be fairly tired by the end of it. Cake and all.

As parents, we were beyond happy about the great day and the sweet little-but-huge party. We were happy for our three year old to turn four. We were happy for her goodness, her happiness, her sweetness and purity. Life is one big wonderful when you’re a toddler. On your birthday, the volume of awesomeness is just turned up.

Life lesson of a toddler #15: Don’t settle for less, make your birthday a huge deal. Invite friends, have cake, open the presents with everyone around and dance like you’re 3 turning 4.