Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me

Remember that poster all teachers used to have hanging in their classrooms..."Everything I Ever Needed To Know, I Learned in Kindergarten"? I have a new version of that poster. I call it "Important Things My Kids Have Taught Me". Ok, the title needs a little work, but the lessons are there. Here's my list...this is just stuff I learned in the past 24 hours. Imagine if I kept track for an entire week!

1. Naptime can NOT be skipped. Never ever. Under no circumstances, can a two year old miss her nap. I learned that the hard way today. We had appointments until 2:00, then decided to run to Target. Bad idea. Worse idea...let's keep Lizzy awake until we go pick up Jake at 4:00. She couldn't do it. She zonked out on the short drive from Target to home. At that point, I gave in and let her sleep for 45 minutes, then loaded her back into the van to go get Jake from Lego Camp. She went right back to sleep until we got to the other side of town. And, she was a much happier little girl than she was before her nap. Lesson learned. Naptime is a must, every single day.

2. Parmesan cheese needs to be hidden. No lie..I caught Lizzy digging in the fridge for the parmesan cheese, open her mouth, and take a shot of cheese. She was very thirsty after her "cheese shot". I hid the cheese when she left the room.

3. Keep clean underwear on hand at all times. See yesterday's post. Apparently if there are no clean underwear in the dresser drawer, an eight year old boy will just go without. He now has a well stocked underwear drawer. Make that a well stocked laundry basket, full of clean underwear, waiting for him to put them away. We'll be waiting awhile.

4. Don't wear black pants to a two year old's hair appointment. It's a given, she will not sit in the chair without you, so you'll end up sitting with her on your lap while the stylist cuts her bangs. Even if you have a cape on, it doesn't matter. The hair will still make it's way to your pants, and blond hair really, really shows up on black pants. Lexi assured me it didn't look that bad...just like I had a dog that was shedding. Lovely. We went to Target anyway. And as you've already read, that trip did not go well.

5. When throwing food in the garbage can, make sure it's buried at the bottom. Do NOT leave food at the top of the garbage. If you do, two year olds will find it and eat it. Lizzy was trying to be helpful this evening by throwing a paper towel away. When she lifted the lid of the trash can, she found a hot dog she had been eating earlier. She pulled it out of the garbage, exclaimed "my hot dog" and finished it off. Yuck.

6. Lego camp rules. I don't understand Legos. I can not look at a pile of plastic bricks the size of my pinky finger and figure out how to turn them into a ship. But Jake can. Jake is the Lego king. He has drawers full of them, and this week, he went to Lego camp. It was a dream come true. He spent three hours the past three days with other kids just like him, and a cool instructor who loves Legos just as much as Jake does. They built bridges, ships, cars, and much more. When I picked him up today, Jake hugged his instructor. His instructor told me Jake is destined to be a mechanical engineer...he said Jake's a smart kid and will redesign simple objects to make them work better, like a broom and dustpan. That made me so proud. And so happy that something as simple as Lego camp could have such a big impact on my son. We will definitely sign up for this again. My lesson here: just because I don't understand something my kids are interested in, don't write it off. I need to let them explore their interests, not just my interests. There is more to life than basketball camp!

7. Take time to lay in the grass and study the clouds. Lexi did this tonight, and although I didn't lay my fat pregnant body in the grass (I was scared I wouldn't be able to get up!) I did put my head back in my chair and study the clouds with her. We saw a snowman, a deer jumping over a fence, a dragon (there's always a dragon), and a teddy bear head. And, I remembered how much fun it is to be a kid.

8. Fresh air fixes things. Today was not a good day. My kids were on my nerves all afternoon. I did not get anything accomplished. The house looks like a tornado hit it. My to-do list is untouched. But, in a moment of desperation, I went outside with all three kids after supper. It was either that, or someone was going to get hurt. Turns out the fresh air was great for all of us. The kids blew off some steam, and I relaxed in the sunshine. We came back inside and had a wonderful evening.

No doubt they taught me more than just these eight lessons today. These are simply the lessons that stand out in my mind. Tomorrow is a new day, filled with even more important things my kids need to teach me. I can't wait.

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