5 Unlikely Lessons I Learned from My Preschooler. ~ Brooke Kochel

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My firstborn is a precocious little thing.

She’s a yogini, belly dancer and amateur fairy catcher who aspires to play the tuba.

Pushing four, she’s taught me almost as much as I’ve taught her.

1) She taught me to karaoke.

I don’t sing. Not in the shower and definitely not on a microphone in front of people. I’m totally okay with my voice, just as yoga has taught me to love my body. I wasn’t meant to be a back up singer for Britney Spears (although I’m still shooting for back up dancer), but a few nights ago in an old Hollywood restaurant, where talented young things waited tables by night, she convinced me to get on stage and sing her favorite song, “Call Me Baby.”

2) She taught me to love unconditionally.

When you have a terrible voice and a bit of stage fright and your child looks at you with pleading eyes and asks you to karaoke, you might find yourself saying yes. It is in that very moment that you fully comprehend what unconditional love is. You will jump off a cliff for this person and they know it.

3) She taught me to try new things, again.

I’ve always jokingly said that I would try anything twice, until now. My three year old is as picky as any other preschooler, but here’s the thing—even if she knows she doesn’t like something, she’ll try it again the next time. She has a theory. In her simple words, “You should try new things, they might be good.”

I think this idea comes from her compulsion to not miss out on anything in life. As an infant, she’d fight sleep until she was positive nothing exciting would happen if she closed her eyes. Her hypothesis doesn’t stop there. She believes that with each changing day, your taste buds or preference could shift slightly. So, if the opportunity arises, you should try it again to be certain you’re not missing out on something really great. I can’t argue with that!

4) She taught me to eat seaweed.

I don’t like seaweed. It’s fishy and foreign. I feel like it’s for people that live in Asia to consume or perhaps, snuck into my favorite fried sushi roll.

She’s part of this new generation of children whose parents practice (or teach) yoga and protest against GMO’s. She and her friends prefer sheets of dried seaweed in their lunchboxes instead of chips. So, when this child whom I love unconditionally asks me to try new things because I might be missing out on the best things that ever happened to me…I eat seaweed and you know what? It’s starting to taste a little less fishy and a little more buttery and delightful with each bite.

5) She taught me to practice what I preach.

When I had children, I’d planned on having more responsibility. It’s the accountability I hadn’t bargained for. Not much gets past my daughter. If I tell her she can have a treat in the morning if she’ll go to sleep now, you can bet she’ll open her eyes the next day and ask for her reward before she yawns.

If I eat a piece of chocolate after I brush my teeth at night, I might as well be heading to the bathroom with a toothbrush in hand. When I leave for work, I must hug all family members and tell them how much I love them or she’ll barricade the front door until I do and I shouldn’t even think about starting the car without putting on my seat belt.

She’s like a little angel that sits on my shoulder. I never imagined raising a child would propel me to be that ideal person I wanted her to become.

Because of her, I’m not a hypocrite with cavities.

As we move together into our next phase of life together, past baby and toddlerhood, I shudder to think of what else she’ll make me eat. How else will she raise the bar for me as a person? Now I realize the relationship is mutual and it will partly depend on what I teach her to be true.

She will be holding my hand as she grows, not letting me fall behind morally, hygienically or experientially. It will also make me think twice before I hold her to unrealistic standards.

For, the greatest lesson she’s teaching me is no matter how old, we’re both human.

We’re not perfect and there’s always room to grow.

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Assistant Ed: Steph Richard/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Brooke Kochel

Brooke Kochel is a yogini, midwife and mama of two. She lives with her tribe where the mountains meet the sea in the magical California town of Topanga. She is the CEO of Bendi Baby, a baby yoga mat company giving newborns to preschoolers the love and light they need for the family yoga lifestyle. Get cool kiddo tidbits in her newsletter or share ideas on FacebookTwitterPinterest & Instagram.

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anonymous Sep 24, 2013 12:10am

The fact that she wants to have seaweed instead of chips, wow what a kid – love it!

anonymous Aug 23, 2013 3:46am

Great lessons to learn. Your daughter sounds awesome!

    anonymous Oct 3, 2013 10:07pm

    Thanks! I think she's pretty darn special myself 🙂 But seriously, so does her community. She's been asked by the City of Santa Monica to represent "Compassionate Santa Monica" as the a youngest, mindful role model for the city for her recent kind deeds that promoted community. *Proud Mama Moment*

anonymous Aug 22, 2013 8:05am

she taught me to enjoy the smelling of flowers!

anonymous Aug 15, 2013 1:43pm

This is so great what a cute daughter you have!! I know my all four of my kiddos remind me daily of things i should be reminding them! Like saying prayer for breakfast or before bed I love everything children teach you! It always feels like we get more out of them then we give to them!!!

anonymous Aug 11, 2013 5:32pm

Seriously! This is so true! lol! My girls never miss a thing! is amazing what we can learn from our children!

anonymous Aug 11, 2013 9:37am

It is amazing what you cailearn from little kids.

anonymous Aug 10, 2013 1:01pm

it is amazing how children make us watch what WE do everyday

anonymous Aug 9, 2013 2:38pm

I love the lesson of practicing what one preaches. Kids pick up on this very quickly. They will either respect you for being this way, or resent you when you are not. Just my opinion. This was a very well written article.

    anonymous Oct 3, 2013 9:42pm

    Thanks Debra!!! A practical one I'm working on right now is "Don't open things with your teeth or you might break them." Easier said than done 😉

anonymous Aug 9, 2013 11:09am

It’s amazing how wise the little ones truely are.

    anonymous Oct 3, 2013 9:37pm

    Yes, my daughter tells me often, "Its ok." Its hard to get upset about much of anything when the one who is supposed to be throwing the tantrum is telling me to chill out and let it go!

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 9:02pm

This is so true. It makes me really want to slow down in life and see things like this. I take things for granted a lot. 🙁

    anonymous Oct 3, 2013 9:34pm

    Yes, even things as simple as the moon. As glorious and ever-changing as it is, we've seen it every night for some many thousands of years, we take its beauty and wonder for granted. I'm noticing that this week because my 4 year old daughter is learning about the moon in preschool this week and we are discussing it often. Now every night we take time to watch it grow or disappear. So fun to learn and be conscious along side these little ones!

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 9:47am

It's so true. We spend so much time on our selfish wants…and then we have children! After that, it's all about them and man is it humbling!

    anonymous Oct 3, 2013 9:29pm

    Yes, so true! Now that my daughter is 4, we're past the years of adjustment and now on to the sure joy, amazement and honor of getting to teach a tiny human.

anonymous Aug 8, 2013 5:47am

I learn so much from the kids in my life! I have no children but I am blessed to know some wonderful little teachers.

    anonymous Oct 3, 2013 9:26pm

    I have two babies now but even before that I was so enthralled by little ones and especially the magical conversations with 3 and 4 year olds! Thanks for sharing!

anonymous Jul 30, 2013 9:30am

Great article and lessons learned!

anonymous Jul 30, 2013 7:43am

Brooke, I am so glad you got to write again. Once again your writing brings feelings of inspiration and tears of joy. It is amazing how much our kids can affect our lives when we tend to believe it's only one-sided and the other way around. I hope SP goes to another sleepover again soon so that you can write again. Much light & love to the Kochel Tribe! ~Chantel

    anonymous Jul 30, 2013 1:32pm

    Awww. Thanks Chantel! I do have plans to write more soon. I have double the inspiration now 🙂 a 4 year old and a 4 month old!

anonymous Jul 29, 2013 9:29pm

"i love that preschooler and her mama" ~Jeanne M via FB

anonymous Jul 29, 2013 9:25pm

I just read your article and I think it is awesome. If there is one think I understand in this world, it is unconditional love. You are the first one that taught me that 34 years ago!! ~Brooke Kochel's mom via text . Awwwww.

anonymous Jul 29, 2013 9:22pm

great article – reminds me to watch for the lessons from our little teachers. Janabia A. via Goddess Mamas

anonymous Jul 29, 2013 9:20pm

My dad directed a band at a band camp this summer. We went to the concert, and my daughter got to meet a girl tuba player. You would have thought she just met Cinderella. Her picture next to the tuba is one of her prized possessions. The things kids come up with… ~L.G via FB

anonymous Jul 29, 2013 9:17pm

Love it! So true..~ Caley via FB

anonymous Jul 29, 2013 8:41pm

Enjoyed reading it. Annabel is also determined to play the tuba (she mentions it at least 3 times daily), so I had a good laugh at that part. :>) ~ Lacey G via FB

anonymous Jul 29, 2013 8:21pm

I'd love to hear the lessons you've learned from you're little ones too!