One of my favorite times with Glen is story time. I’ve been reading to him since he was inside my belly. And now, his little face lights up every time I open a book. One of our favorites is Winnie-the-Pooh. For being a bear with “very little brain,” Pooh’s words have impact. Every time I read them, I find yet another nugget of wisdom that I tuck straight into my parenting cap. These are my favorites:
“It is hard to be brave, when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”
Our babies are figuring out this world one lullaby, one Cheerio, and one game of Peek-a-boo at a time. They are fearless one moment, then not-so-much the next. It is our job to guide them through their amazing adventure, and to be patient as they explore. Crawl around with them for awhile and gain their perspective. Everything is so BIG when you’re on the ground and looking Up.
“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”
This is one of my favorites because it can apply to so many ideas and facets in life – writing, striving, mothering, personal image, and so on, and everyone can interpret this quote differently. For me, it means that no matter how much I plan everything to go oh-so perfectly, it won’t. This quote is a good reminder to be okay with imperfection and to go with the flow.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
Thank goodness for close friends and family. When your stress-level is about to go BOOM, these are the people to call. How else are they going to know that your meeting ran late, soccer is at 4pm, Girl Scouts starts at 7pm, dinner is still thawing in the fridge, and your boss is texting that they need you on a call ASAP? Forgive yourself for not being perfect (it really is okay!) and do not be afraid to ask these people for help.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
This is a hard one for me because I am the go-go-go type. I surge through every day like a steam engine, checking off to-do’s left and right. I start every morning with work, then Glen and I play peek-a-boo (he loves peek-a-boo!), we sing songs and clap our hands, I quickly toss dishes in the dishwasher and sweep the floor, we read some books and practice walking, he naps while I work, we take his new push-car out for a spin, I fold laundry while he knocks down blocks, he naps again and I work, and so on and so on. Sometimes I must remind myself to slow down and be in the moment with him. Because it’s in these moments that he will do something amazing and new, and I don’t want to miss it.
“Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?”
I had read about babies who handled teething really well – as in, you’d have no idea they were teething if you didn’t feel around for yourself every now and then – and to my delight, Glen has been one of those babies. He now has 4 teeth on top and 2 on the bottom. But this week, for the first time, he has woken up an hour after bedtime, drenched in tears and clutching his ear. My poor little guy. His top incisor is poking through and giving him horrible pain. His cries have never sounded like this before. For the past couple of nights, I’ve wiped his face and felt him nestle into my shoulder, and I sing him a special song that has always calmed him. In this moment, nothing but a comforting hug or soothing snuggle from mommy or daddy will do.
“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.”
While there are some really great learning apps and activities on tablets, Mike and I value our outdoor time, as well. My youth, for example, was filled with hide-and-seek and backyard tag. Friends and I played baseball in the cul-de-sac and had water balloon fights. I don’t think there was a summer evening we didn’t return home drenched in sweat, and Mike’s childhood story is the same. Even now, we like to go for long walks and swim at the lake. We hope our kids will, too.
Which brings me to…
“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”
Playdates! While working through the daily grind, don’t forget to make friends – for both baby and you.
“Love is taking a few steps backward maybe even more…to give way to the happiness of the person you love.”
It began when Glen learned to crawl. Soon, we’ll have to release his hands as he takes his first few steps. Someday we’ll let go of his bicycle seat. Then several years later, we’ll toss him keys to a car. Eventually, we’ll swallow back tears as we unpack his dorm room, hoping we’ve done a successful job raising him. He’ll be so excited to take on this new adventure, and Mike and I will shower him with love and support. And I promise to at least wait until we’re in the car, possibly out of the city, before I unleash – what I know will be – an absolute mess of emotions. Because I’m a parent now, and that is what parents do.
“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
Sometimes I feel like I am the one with fluff in my ear. My brain darts in all kinds of directions when others are talking. I mostly think about what I have to do and when I will get to it (and only sometimes about the Walking Dead season 6 finale, which still has me on edge), or it has fallen into a resting state from all its flitting about. But this quote is not about me – well, not only me – it’s about everyone. We all have very busy, tired brains that are in dire need of rest. Please be a dear and have patience with us. We’ll come out of it in a small moment.
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
Whose heart wouldn’t melt when reading Pooh’s most lovable quote? Hug your family, dear friends. Hug them every single day.
And hugs to you all.