Sometimes I think I wished the last (nearly) 6 years away. Six years ago my daughter was nearly 2 and I had a baby boy on the way. My little boy will be the death of me (but that's another blog post) but since he started school this year, gee I've missed him. I've missed hanging out with him during the day and its made me realise how I wished I could've hung on to those little years a little bit longer. So here's my top 5 list for hanging on to those younger years just a wee bit longer.
1. Never begrudge a trip to the park
We're really spoilt for choice of parks where I live and have a great park just around the corner. The playground equipment is just right for toddlers and I took both of the kids there often. Some days I rathered just stay home and let them run around the back yard but whether it was a reward or a promise to the park, I begrudgingly set off. They thoroughly enjoyed it, playing in the sand, on the swings, being pushed, enjoying that one on one time with me, looking at nature. Now they have homework and enjoy doing their own thing, the local park doesn't hold as much appeal for them anymore. I'd happily take them back just to see their enthusiasm. (They still enjoy the park but they're off doing their own thing.)
2. Let them have a go on the shopping mall rides
Nothing would irritate me more than trying to get the shopping done, with a toddler in tow and them wanting to stop on the shopping mall rides. You know the ones? The Spiderman motorbike or Bob the Builder digger. I hated parting with the ridiculous amount of $2 for the 3 minute ride but thinking back, oh what joy did it bring to my kids. Their little faces just lit up as that ride moved ever so slightly, backward and forward. I walk around the shopping centre now and see the little kids screaming as their Mums walk past, in a hurry. I feel like giving them the $2 just to see their faces light up. My kids never even worry about those rides now. It doesn't last long. Enjoy the moment.
3. A little bit of 'educational' TV won't do them any harm
As my kids have grown older, their tastes have changed and they've become fans of Barbie or Battleforce 5, Lego Ninjago and heaven knows what else. Long gone are the days of counting programs, tv programs that sang pretty little songs about rhyming or doing things with your Mum like "the people on the bus go up and down, up and down..." etc etc. How I miss that. I used to sit with the kids and do all the actions, dancing with them and saying the rhymes. Now I can't keep up with the latest craze or what the latest Lego program is.
|Book week costume 2010 - "a winter fairy welcoming spring"|
4. If they want the same story read over and over again, read it
My daughter used to want us to read the most boring, irritating book in the world to her. It was a book about numbers and counting and 'tin tans' (whatever they are) and it used to drive us crazy. I think we read it every night (sometimes a couple times) for about 3 years. She still has it and we make a bit of a joke about it. Her maths and spelling abilities are outstanding. I'm not saying it's all because of this book but it was a book she enjoyed and it obviously taught her something. (The same could be said about her dinosaur books as well.)
|Note the sand and leaves on the easel. I've had enough sand in my house & everywhere else to make about 10 sandpits!|
5. Let them get messy
Nothing pleases me more then my children being creative whether its with craft or general play. They've always been allowed to play in the mud or with playdough or whatever else it was that took their fancy. (I'm sure my son had the odd go with dog poo as well.) It gave them a great love of play which is still evident today. Dirt, paint, mud or cooking ingredients can always be washed out or cleaned up (well, nearly always). What's a few paint stains on old clothes? Both of my children have great imaginations and create a game out of any thing without having the toys or proper equipment to do it. They may not need as much supervision as they did when they were toddlers but they still get messy. Nothing that a good wash won't fix.
So there you have it. I know I have the benefit of hindsight and me, more than anyone, really struggled through those toddler years sometimes but I lived minute by minute, not planning much and really letting the housework go by the wayside. But I feel confident in knowing that my kids had great times when they were toddlers. I think this is what they call "I want another child" gene. Stop me now!