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Six life-lessons gleaned from the Petulant Preschooler

Posted Aug 03 2010 1:00am

photo taken by aforementioned ‘schooler notorious for chopping off heads.

After a jam-packed, nonstop, hotter than the proverbial mother f*cker July spent with my Tornado of a pre-schooler Ive learned a few things.

Stuff which is New!Different!Shocking! (Perhaps not.)

Tidbits which left me thinking GoodGoshINeededThatReminder? (Always.)

I give you what is pretty much an outgrowth of the Mindful Eating guest post she did for us.

6 life lessons as taught by the Tornado:

1. See the world as a jaw-dropping, wonderful place.
I’m a writer by day and, in a cringeworthy way, I’d employed this trite phrase more than a few times prior to having my daughter. My characters’ jaws oft “dropped in amazement” without my giving much thought to what this action would look like were it to actually happen.

Then our daughter arrived.

Then she grew old enough to notice and take part in the world around her.

Then her jaw dropped, LITERALLY, in amazement.

I saw it drop at the deer sleeping on our front lawn. At firemen spraying the fire hose across a gaggle of melting toddlers. At a whole watermelon being sliced in half. At my new tattoo.

We grown-up types may need to employ a gratitude board to remind ourselves of the jaw-dropping, wonderful world in which we live, but if you need quickfastandinahurry attitude adjustment, few things work better than time spent with a small child.

2. View strangers as friends you’ve not yet met.
Nothing tugs at my heart more than when my 3-year-old sees a flock of kids she doesn’t know and announces: Look mama! Friends!

I won’t lie: my jaded tender MamaHeart immediately thinks/prays please be nice to my girl. But 90% of the time her new “friends” welcome her with open sandbox-sharing arms.

Why? I can only assume that since she views the world through the lens of I’m only here to have fun–not fight! I bear no ill will or maliciousness. I already like you, People, and we’ve never even met! the other children pick up on that vibe and an afternoon of fun* ensues.

(*If by fun you mean with intermittent moments of reminding them about the tremendous benefits of sharing — which I do.)

3. Be in the moment. Always.
‘Nuff said.

Three year olds, while prone to tantrums, don’t tend to ruminate much.

Did someone else snag the last tater-tot?

Are the swings all taken at the park?

Those scenarios might be cause for severe heartbreak for my toddler – but only for a minute or two. Then she’s on to the next thing. Life is too exciting for her to waste any of it focusing on whether she was slighted in the morning’s game of Duck Duck Goose. She, in her inimitable child-way, realizes if she’s living in the past she’s guaranteed to miss a whole lot happening in the present.

(Suffice it to say I wear the shirt seen here a LOT to remind myself of this trait she displays naturally.)

4. Imagine.
This post
was sparked by watching my daughter play. I smiled as I saw her pretend to be a princess who was also an airplane pilot who could fly her plane down the streets of our neighborhood and pick up friends/pets along the way. In her child-mind there exists no limitations – let alone fear of failure.

Whether I’m following suit and using my imagination to problem-solve real-world problems or taking a life-break and gazing at the clouds in search of animal shapes, my daughter is a daily reminder to me to let my imagination soar.

5. ZERO Multi-tasking.
When my 3-year-old plays with her stickers, she’s not simultaneously watching television and pondering when she’s going to take a bath. She, unlike her multitasking mama, doesn’t eat her ice cream whilst drawing a picture for her dad and making a list of what she needs at the toy store. She is, 100% of the time, solely focused on the task at hand.

As a busy grown-up, I know I try to jam-pack too many things into my day. My to-do list is pages long and, as a result, I multitask, rush through my day, and end it completely exhausted and frequently with not much accomplished.

Multitasking sounds great until, at least if you’re me, you give it a go and realize nothing ends up done to the best of your ability.

6. Love yourself nekid.
Yes, I said it, but I dare say that all of us (parents or not) have watched in awe as a naked, happy, entirely-comfortable-in-her-own-skin toddler frolics past us.

I adore how my daughter would spend her entire day naked if she could, as nothing feels more comfy to her than just letting everything hang out.

I know this life lesson isn’t necessarily one that would work for us grown-up types to put into practice literally – but I can’t help thinking a whole lot more “getting nekid” emotionally might help this grown-up type experience life in a much more open fashion.

What about you?

What life lessons have you learned from childish minds lately?

Please to hit us all up in the comments.

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