Friday, May 11, 2007
Have you ever had one of those moments in parenting where you feel like all of your hard work is really paying off? I have those moments when my mom offers Landon candy and he asks for carrots instead--or when he uses manners without being asked. A few nights ago, though, I had a different kind of moment with my son, one that showed me a reflection of myself and how I treat him. Andy had just given Landon a bath and we were going through the usual routine of brushing his teeth and putting his pajamas when he told us his rocking horse, "Spooky" was sleepy, too. We watched, in amazement as he went through our entire bedtime routine with his little wooden horse, sharing those "He's so cuuuuute!" looks when he wasn't watching us.
He started by putting some of his own pajamas on Spooky. (Notice the socks on the horse's "feet"--We always put socks on Landon before we put him to bed.) After Spooky was dressed, he got his Thomas the Tank Engine musical toothbrush and brushed his horse's "teeth" for the full two minutes that the music played.
Then, we watched as Landon ran to the bathroom and came out with one of the Pooh rinse cups we use when we brush his teeth. He placed Spooky sideways on the floor and then put the cup to the horse's mouth. We asked him if he was rinsing Spooky's mouth and he told us he was giving Spooky milk! Landon put a pillow under the horse's head and lied down beside his buddy on the floor, petting him and kissing him and giving him milk. He took care to be very quiet and attentive and gentle--and I could see that even though he isn't yet two, he is very aware of our actions and reactions toward him and around him.
Finally, after he thought his horse had had enough milk, he sat Spooky back up and covered every part of the rocking horse in blankets. We kept trying to help him by taking the blankets off of the horse's face (old habits die hard!), but he was adament that the horse's face MUST be covered in order to rest.
It's good to have a reminder every once in a while that your child is a product of his surroundings. If he is yelled at or punished every time he moves a muscle, parents will see this reflected in his actions toward others. Likewise, if he is treated with love and patience and compassion, he will certainly grow to be a loving and compassionate and patient adult...(And don't we need more of those in this world!) It's amazing to me what a responsibility we parents have. We really do have the hardest and most significant job there is!