In the picture above, that’s my daughter at 11 months old.
Her birthday was coming up and I got this fancy new camera to take an amazing invite photo. I was struggling to get the elusive perfect shot, while she was having a ball running around our condo.
Having a child has been one of the most life changing events for me. It pulled at all my insecurities, challenged all my beliefs, forced me to face myself whole and question what I truly wanted out of life. Having a child is a spiritual experience. It calls you out to step it up in life.
Too few of us actually hear that call.
I have learned plenty from my little one! Even if you don’t have a kid, it’s wildly absurd to believe you cannot learn from a child.
Baby girl now three years old and has unintentionally shared these life lessons with me. Here’s how I interpreted them.
Leaning into Fear (six months old)
Whenever my daughter got sick with a cold, I would use a nasal aspirator to get the mucus from out her nose. Picture this, a plastic bulb coming at you to be stuck in your nose and pull out your boogers. I’ll pass. She hated this thing.
I would hold her in my lap and steadily approach her with the aspirator. Instead of baby girl pulling away from my arms, which is the usual reaction when you don’t want to be near something you fear, she actually would lean into my arms towards the booger sucker. It was genius!
It was much harder for me to reach her nose, if her head was in my chest as a opposed to away from my chest. She dived towards the direction of her fear. At six months old she knew the trick in conquering it. Lean into fear.
Persistence (eight months old)
Learning to walk, is one of the hardest things we’ll ever have to do in our lives. Thank God we did that already! Watching my baby girl learn how to walk was an amazing event. To be honest, anything babies learn how to do is amazing. They are seeing the world for the first time and its magical to them.
The countless times my baby girl fell down and got right back up after her attempt to try out her legs, priceless. She saw the possibilities from all the other people around her doing it. She knew, if she worked hard at it and never gave up, she too, could walk around like an adult.
The Bounce Back Ratio (12 months old)
I have gotten stern with my daughter around certain things I feel she should not do. She would climb on everything in the house. If a cupboard door was open, if a chair was pulled out from around the table, if the TV stand was just there minding its business—she’d climb on it. Most of the time, I let her be. I didn’t want to instill my fear of her falling to her demise onto her.
One day though, she decided to tackle my office desk and attack my laptop. My laptop is pretty precious to me, that’s where I get all my work done. I quickly ran over to her and pulled her down. I sternly reprimanded her for climbing on my desk and reaching for my laptop. She cried. As she is not use to mama being so tough with her. About, literally 30 seconds later, she dried her tears, asked for a hug and ran off to play again. If only adults could let things go that easily.
Reckless Abandon to Life (18 months old)
If there is anybody who knows how to have fun, it’s my baby girl. Her dad takes her to the park. She loves the playground and her dad loves taking her ( and I love having mommy time). This one time though, baby girl wanted to try out the big kid side. Bigger things to climb, longer slides and taller objects to play with.
On the big kid side there was winding bars for stairs to climb to get to the longer slide. She went for it. The other parents looked on, worried. At 18 months, the usual parent would be. She looked more petite than her actual age. Her father, let her go for it and still kept a close watch on her as she climbed the winding bars. As she went up, she missed a step and slid down. Her dad caught her before she hit the ground. She whined a bit, then got back up.
After circling the bars to plan her attack, she went back after it. Her dad circled in closer this time to help her out. Baby girl was not interested in his help. She pushed his hand aside. This time she climbed it with ease. She paid closer attention to the step she originally missed, got to the big kids slide and laughed with glee at her victory.
We will all fall down at some point, but its how we get back up after “defeat” that counts.
Speak Your Truth (24 months old)
Whenever I asked baby girl anything, she gives me a straight answer. Every time. I was giving her a bath and usually she can bring in her toys. But today I just wanted to quickly wash her off and that would require no toys. Here she comes, strutting in with her dolly baby. “Baby girl, you can’t bring Sofia in the tub today.” She boldly looked me in my eye and calmly said “Yes I can.” Walked right past me and went in the tub.
I was too floored to respond. She was so sure of herself. Who was I to tell her differently. If she felt she could, as she always brought her toys in the tub before, how could I take that from her now? I allowed the dolly baby and kept my dignity intact.
Authenticity (2.5 yrs old)
You ever notice how children do not care how they come off or look. If it feels good to them, they do it!
Baby girl is a loving, playful person. She is the definition of joy. No matter what situation she is put in she will always be her loving, playful self. She likes to pull pranks and give hugs. If you’re not down with that, she’s not down with you. You will not enter her zone or kill her vibe. She’ll walk away and do her own thing. I can truly appreciate that about her.
She reminds me to not let anybody kill my vibe and stay true to my most authentic self. That’s where we shine!
What about you?
What life lessons has your child or a child unintentionally taught you? Share in the comments below.
Author: Tennile Cooper
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Author’s Own