10 August 2016

Through Their Eyes

In the midst of the hard parts of parenthood, take time to enjoy things through their eyes...

I shared earlier this week through an Instagram post that people often say to me, "How in the world do you take all 4 kids to _________" (the beach, the park, the library, food shopping, the dentist, the mall, shoe shopping).  My answer is always the same, "I just do it.  I have to!"  If I didn't just take all of them then we wouldn't do anything.  We would just be couch potatoes.  And I don't want to live like that.  I don't want to live in fear of doing things just because they might be hard.  To me, it's a "good" hard.  Meaning, although it's tiring, sometimes frustrating, and usually difficult I would still rather spend time with my kids and go on our mini adventures not only to create memories but because I enjoy them and I want to be with them.

Have you ever taken your kids somewhere and looked at what they were looking at and realized just how cool or fun or amazing something was that typically was no big deal?  For example, we recently took our kids to a photo shoot at Sayen Gardens in Hamilton...between takes the kids could not stop looking at the pond because they could see fish and frogs and turtle inside the pond.  It was really annoying because we needed to get the pictures done before we all melted (it was already 90 degrees at 8:30 am that morning).  But finally I walked over and peered into the pond and saw the big gold fish, I heard the loud ribbit of the toad and I could see the turtle swimming in the water and it really was amazing watching it all...no wonder they could care less about standing still and smiling for a photo.  Seeing things through a kid's perspective is so cool.  Everything is larger than life and new and amazing.  Nothing is dull or ordinary.

Today we took our 4 kids to Sesame Place for the first time.  This place was AMAZING.  The water rides, the parade of Sesame Street characters, the lollipops we bought, the Elmo the Musical show we watched, the rides we went on.  Everything was brightly colored and happy.  I felt like I was at Sesame Street!  I loved seeing John go with all the kids on the huge raft ride and seeing Micah giggle with delight on the Oscar the grouch rides, and I really loved just seeing the joy on Julia and Mark's faces when they were lifted off the ground like 10-15 feet in the air for the swing ride.  No wonder nobody wanted to leave.

Don't get me wrong, not every outing is a magical Sesame Place experience.  The day before we were at the beach and we almost lost Julia in the strong waves as the tide was coming in.  Micah started screaming because a seagull stole his grape.  The waves washed so far up it covered our entire blanket, sheets and towels, every time we called the kids to come in Mark would go deeper into the ocean.  Amelia decided that that particular day would be the day that she had no fear and she would go right into the crazy waves.  It was a literal 20 minute nightmare!  John looked at me and goes, "How do you bring them here by yourself???"  Honestly, it was never that bad before and most times Micah and Mia just stay close to me and play in the sand.  I think they were all so excited Daddy was home on a Monday that the giddiness got a bit dangerous.  But even that chaos...I enjoyed our time there.  We never get John all to ourselves.  I wasn't going to let anything ruin our day.  Sometimes in the midst of the chaos I just give myself pep talks, "I can do this."  "They are only going to be this little once."  "I want them to love time spent with their family."

A Few Tips When You Are Out

1. Remind your kids you expect EXCELLENT behavior, but know that they aren't going to be perfect.

2. Having a window of fun planned and then a window of down time for EVERYBODY is key.  Kids act like they can handle hours and hours of fun but really after 2-3 hours we all need a rest.

3.  When melt downs/tantrums start to happen its usually a sign to wrap it up. But sometimes a lollipop or a special snack (blueberries, grapes, watermelon) can turn it all around!

4. Always pack extra snacks!!! You just never know if you are going to need them! 

5. Try to make everything a teachable moment, whether it's social skills, or patient skills, or educational.  When you are out try to talk things out with your kids (even speaking to kids on a higher level helps them to rise to the occasion and act better).  Allow them to take part in whatever you are doing!

The Days are Long but the Years are Short

I have promised myself that in the midst of the hard parts of parenting that I will stop and take time to enjoy these moments.  Too many older people have told me that this doesn't last forever, that soon they will grow up, soon the house will be empty, soon I will get the complete sleep I need, soon there won't be finger prints on everything, soon they won't be this needy, BUT while they still do...enjoy it! 

I will enjoy this time. 

I will go on the rides at Sesame Place.  

I will sing through the aisles of Wegmans while food shopping.  

I will pray in the car when we see an ambulance (that's what my son Mark always asks me to do).  

I will read 3 million stories at bedtime for Amelia.  

I will have girl time with Julia and paint her toe nails blue.

I will play hide and seek with Micah even though it might be the first time I've sat down all day.

And I will hug their Daddy in front of all of them even though they all say, "EWWWWW!"

This time...this season will go quickly and I want to see things through their eyes.  I don't want to regret one moment of being their mommy.  


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