In all situations ask: what would a toddler do?

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Don’t remember?

January 22nd 2011

Last week, while eating lunch, Maayan (3 years old) left the table for a few minutes. When Maayan left, we were still at the table and I was looking for some bread. I could only find one piece on the table and once I did, I enjoyed it with pleasure and gratitude.

Maayan came back to the table and sat in her seat. She began looking around the table until she finally said, “where’s my bread?”

Uh oh….

I didn’t notice that the bread I took was hers. Obviously had I known I wouldn’t have taken it. I felt horrible. Seriously, taking bread from a three year old? My insides were turning & so were Maayan’s.

Maayan was rightfully upset. She was waiting for her bread when she came back and it was gone. I put my hands in the air, walked slowly towards her and said, “Maayan, I took your bread by mistake. I didn’t know it was yours, I’m very very (very very) sorry. I won’t do it again, you can have a cookie after lunch.” Maayan got it, she understood “sorry” and quickly re-focused her mindset to the cookie.

A week later, today, as we were sitting at the table, Maayan had to get up. As Maayan was getting up from the table, she turns her head to me and says, “But this time please don’t take my bread, ok?” I assured Maayan I wouldn’t touch anything.

The thing is that a whole week went by & we didn’t talk about that episode once. A week later, in the same context, Maayan saw the whole thing clearly. So did I, and I was not going to make the same mistake again.

This is an important thing to remember for adults: children remember everything. While adults tend to forget things, toddlers don’t. Adults need post-its, secretaries, phones, computers and spouses to make sure they don’t forget. Like myself and many adults, even all those reminders need reminders. But toddlers don’t, they remember.

Parents, teachers, counsellors, adults: everything that you do, your children will remember. If you get angry, they remember. If you say something not nice, they remember. If you take their bread, they remember.

When toddlers grow to be adults, they talk about what they remember as toddlers. They remember how adults behaved: they remember who was naughty and who was nice, who was encouraging and who was not, who was happy, who was great, who was funny, who was not. Everything you do will come back to you. If you’ve lived your life like a toddler, you have a bright future. Those children will cherish you, love you, adore you and talk about those great days years ago.

But If you lived like an adult – start baking cookies.

Life lesson of a toddler #10: Children do not forget: be your best self today so you can enjoy a sweet tomorrow when they’re grown up.


Walk, fall, walk, fall…

January 21st 2011

Yarden, our year and a half year old, has been walking for about two weeks. So walking is still a new thing for her. It’s beautiful, it’s endearing and it’s absolutely delicious to see those small legs in action. It’s also something to learn from.

Quite often, as with anything we’re new at, Yarden falls. Whether it’s bumping into an unexpected table, an adult not noticing or the floor a little slippery – falling happens. So does getting right back up.

Every time that Yarden falls down, she gets right back up. She even smiles as she falls, knowing intuitively that it’s part of the process. She gets it, she’s happy, she’s real. Adults have a lot to learn.

While Yarden and her nation of toddler-babies smile as they fall, adults seem to do the opposite: they frown and stay down.

Adults refer to staying down as “dwelling”, “worrying” or even “thinking about it”. Adults are past the walking stage, so their falling is more of an emotional, psychological one. Often, adults have a very difficult time moving on, going forward or getting up. Adults are also pained by their fall. Whether it be mistakes, saying the wrong thing, making the wrong decision or any type of adult-fall – they don’t get up as quickly as toddler-babies.

I invite everyone who is a member of the elite adult universe to just get up like a toddler. Smile, because it’s part of the process. Move on, because you have where to go. Get up and get going, because as long as you’re down, you’re not moving anywhere. Yarden, and her cohorts at baby nation, have lots to do – so they can’t afford to stay down. They smile and keep on going.

Life lesson of a toddler #9: Falling is part of an active lifestyle – so don’t stay down if you fall, just get up and get moving.

Hugs are welcome

January 20th 2011

Our year & a half year old daughter Yarden has been on a mission lately. She calls it, “operation-hug-everyone”.

I might be a direct target, because for the past while, the minute I walk in the door, those small little legs come a’ walking over to me with smiling eyes telling me that I’m about to be hugged. She comes up to me, I lift her up and she puts her head on my shoulder, arms wrapped around.

Deep, very deep gratitude. Deep, very deep joy.

Thanks Yarden, that welcome of hugs and shoulder can make a great day amazing and a bad day awesome.

That is the power of a hug and the power of giving one with sincerity. Which is why I’m surprised that the adult world has switched from hugs to handshakes. In fact, I would say that adults are obsessed with hand shakes. Every time you meet someone, see someone, talk to someone – we’re shaking hands. It’s more than contagious, it’s almost an addiction.

The world would be a really better place if everyone remembered that those hands are connected to arms and can be used as well. We should start a hugging campaign. No more photo ops of politicians shaking hands – let them give each other a bear hug. That would really say that change is happening and progress to world peace is imminent.

Even better – let’s say you’re going for an interview. Instead of giving the potential employer a traditional handshake, give them a hug. Even if you don’t get the job, which you likely will, at least you’ve made their day. It’s actually a great story for that boss to come home with. “Yeah, I was giving this interview and instead of shaking my hand, they just hugged me. I didn’t know what to say or do, so I just hugged them back. But I guess I liked it! I think I made a new friend honey.” Right?

We all know we should do more hugging. When anyone comes home – give them a hug. Don’t say hi, don’t ask them to do something – just put everything down and give them a nice big bear hug.

Thanks Yarden…

Life lesson of a toddler #8: Stop giving handshakes and start giving hugs to everyone constantly.