I spend a lot of time teaching my preschooler the little things. The names of animals and flowers. The polite way to ask for something. I am her teacher in life as well as her caretaker. I realized the other day, however, that for all I am teaching my child, she is also teaching me a few things. It turns out that we have so much to learn from each other.
My preschooler can literally spend an hour walking from our house to the supermarket three blocks away, engrossed by every single bug, flower, rock and crack in the pavement we encounter. “Why, Mommy?” is asked a thousand times a day. Why are the leaves falling off the trees? Why are the ants swarming? Why is there a puddle? Instead of rushing her to get our chores done, I’m trying to relax and go at her pace, and marvel in rediscovering what a weird and wonderful world we live in.
Make your own fun
I feel like I need constant stimulation and activities to have fun. Galleries, restaurants, movies. My preschooler loves to pick up sticks and pretend they are fairy wands. She can be entertained for hours with nothing more than a few bit of shrubbery and her imagination. When did we start to need so much “stuff” to just have fun?
Dancing like no one’s watching
My preschooler dances up and down the street. In shops and elevators. In restaurants and car parks. Whenever the mood strikes her, she busts a move and puts on her best arabesque for anyone who happens to be watching. She exudes so much joy in every move of her tiny body, and her lack of self consciousness is a delight to behold. Why should we care what people think of us (and our dancing!). We should be dancing in the streets if the mood takes, not caring if we’re a bit uncoordinated.
Sing like no-one’s listening
I used to love singing! Absolutely love it. Somewhere along the way though, it came to my attention that I was not as good a singer as I had thought, and I stopped singing out loud so as to not offend people with my off-key melodies. My daughter, however, doesn’t care if she’s hitting all the wrong notes when she belts out Wheels On The Bus. She doesn’t let what people think get in the way of doing what she loves. Can’t we all take a note out of her book and sing if it give us joy (even if we’re tone-deaf?).
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Women are the worst at criticizing the way we look. We’re never just happy with what we’ve got, we have to compare ourselves to how we think we should look. Taller, thinner, fitter, better nose, smoother hair. We wave off compliments and joke about how much we need to hit the gym. Our children, however, think we are the most beautiful things they have ever seen. They don’t notice our flaws, they just see the person who loves them more than anything, who is there to kiss their boo boos and hug them when they wake in the night with bad dreams. Preschoolers see their moms as powerful, strong, and beautiful, so why can’t we see ourselves this way, too?
Rock your own style
As we get older and more aware of the expectations of work and society, we tend to tone down our personal style and wear plainer clothes. I can’t imagine my preschooler in anything that could be called “plain”. Right now she is favouring tutus, glittery socks, bright blue Mary Janes and tiaras – with an Elsa braid or old lady bun. She dresses exactly how she feels and has so much fun with her outfits. She’s reminding me of the enjoyment I used to get when I dressed for fun rather than for function, and helping me bring my inner style back to the outside again.
This article was first published on MommyNearest.