As parents, we take ourselves quite seriously. At least, I do. When my first child was born, my sister and I talked about how it was our duty to nurture our child’s heart and mind. We had long endless discussions. We still do. But, recently, I came to realize that my son has taught me more about life than I could ever teach him. If you want to learn how to live life fully, observe and mimic a toddler.
A toddler’s mantra, ‘If you keep asking for that candy, chances are that you are going to get it… in the end’. Toddlers are known for their persistence. They are not generally put off by constant rejection or even the occasional bout of anger. If a child wants something, he finds a way to get it. Usually the first 10 No’s do not register. After the 11th, they just change the tone.
Their persistence can teach us a lesson on how to accept failure. Just don’t consider it a failure, until you succeed. If that is the way we move forward in life, success will follow through.
The size of the fist is no measure of the size of a heart. The smallest fists, often, store the biggest love. The shine in a child’s eye shows through, for the people he loves. Their love is not hidden under their ego and they are not afraid to show it. In a world where it is difficult to find true love, you can always find one in a heart of a child. Their secret: they keep their loved ones few; the parents and the occasional grandparents.
Eat less, exercise more
Sometimes I wonder if that is the secret behind their boundless bursts of energy. Toddlers can never sit still for a long period of time, unless it’s the television talking. Toddlers walk up to 3.5 miles in a single day! Their almost empty tummy does not weigh them down as they go about walking their mini marathons.
Relax, Have Fun
Once my toddler turned two, my most common phrase has been, ‘Quick, do it quickly’ (or rather the Urdu Version, jaldi karo). But for him, there is no fun in hurrying. Whether it is licking toothpaste off while brushing the teeth, or jumping up and down while changing clothes, Azlan finds joy in even the smallest things. Most of the time that irritates me but sometimes, I try to forget what things need to be done and laugh along with him.
Don’t Know? Ask
When I sit writing this, my son sits next to me asking his 125th question of the day; and it is not even noon. For every new piece of information, he has around 20-50 questions. When I don’t have an answer, he casually suggests, ‘Look it up in Google’.
His questions and even their answers are a source of constant information for my age-weary-brain. We have learnt endless nursery rhymes, names of dinosaurs and much mundane information. Regardless, my love for learning has resurfaced.
While I have seen my share of judgmental eyes, I have never seen those eyes in a toddler. A child is quite busy splashing the muddy puddle, licking his ice-cream cup or doing something equally crazy to pass any judgment on anyone.
Trust your parents
Sometimes, we, parents may be the meanest humans on earth, but we are just that, humans. Parents may shout at us, deny us the occasional chocolate bar or even stop talking to us but that rarely means that they have stopped loving us. They make mistakes, they get angry but they still love you. And in some crazy way, children understand this more than adults.
As we grow older, we find it difficult to forgive our parents for even their smallest mistakes. However, children realize that their parents are their main support system and continue to trust them till the time they remain children. After my first child, I realized the extent of sacrifices my parents made for us three daughters and I began respecting them more.
Can’t beat them with muscle?
…then, beat them with passion. My son loves to call out my husband to a fighting match. ‘Dad, let’s fight’ But, Dad is probably 100 kilos heavier than him. This does not faze him at all. He makes up for his lack of muscles and strength with passion. And a few of those passionate fists hit the mark quite well, as my husband is usually the one bowing out of the fight. Believe and passion are often better winners than experience and muscle.
With my toddler at my heels all day long, I find it pointless (and also near impossible) to visit the mid-life-crisis-self-help books in book stores. Rather, we make our way directly to the children section with its boundless bursts of hope and positive energy.