Monday, February 3, 2014

Big and Strong

My toddler is very attached to my husband.  I'm not sure if it's because my husband helped a bit more with him (read: I actually let him help with the second baby) or if it's just their shared personality traits.  For whatever reason, he is able to see all the wonderful things that I see in his Daddy.  And perhaps a bit more.

My toddler and I were playing in the garage the other day (The Floridians alternative to a basement on a rainy day) and he was busying himself with various sports equipment.  First, he grabbed a golf club and started hitting a tennis ball.  He picked out targets for himself and would say, "Me hit that and you say, 'Yeah!  Score!  Okay?'"  Since I am perfectly happy sitting these days, I accepted my role with great enthusiasm.  He missed the first few tries and started feeling a bit disheartened.  "Daddy hit ball hard!  Daddy hit spot.  Say 'Yeah!  Score!' for Daddy.'"  He said this slowly and deliberately as his little mind tried to find the exact words for the situation.  I told him that Daddy had to practice lots and lots to be able to score like that.  I tried to encourage him to not be so hard on himself.  He could always try again, right?  Not so much.

He decided to try is hand at baseball instead.  He grabbed my husband's aluminum softball bat and said, "This heavy!  Daddy big and strong!  Hit ball hard and they say, 'Whoa!'"  I realized then that he wasn't comparing himself to his daddy.  He was simply telling me all the things he admired about him.  The stories of his daddy's athletic prowess continued as he explored soccer, hockey and tennis.  By the time my husband got home, he was ready to watch my husband in action.

"You show me how you hit baseball?" my son asked as soon as my husband walked in the door.  My husbands hands were full of groceries and work he had brought home.  He had the look on his face that we all have when we've worked an eight hour day.  I watched to see what my husband would say.    "Sure buddy.  Let me put this stuff down and we'll hit a few balls," he told our son.  And that's exactly why I admire him so much.

We always have a choices to make as parents.  Do we clean up or play the 30th game of Candyland this week?  Do we look something up on our iPads as our kids tell us stories or stop to look them in the eye?  Or, in my husband's case, should he have put away the groceries or stopped to play?  We don't always have to choose our children - We have needs, too.  But sometimes, I think that our children are asking more than our attention.  I think, perhaps, they are looking for validation.  So the next time your child asks to do something that sounds like the last thing on earth you'd rather do, take a moment to think if saying "yes" might make a lot bigger impact than you may think.

Carve out 20 minutes a day that you can spend real, quality time with your kids.  Let them pick the activity - You might be surprised at how much fun you have when all distractions are kept at bay.


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