Letting Your Toddler Fill Your Heart

gogglesThis is one of those crazy weeks where I feel like I’m being pulled in every direction at once. Busy with writing, busy with clients. Busy with kids, hubs, the house. Busy with the blog. Busy with our business. Busy, busy, busy. I’m thankful to have a lot going on, and to have everything moving in a positive direction. But if I’m honest, it does get a little overwhelming sometimes.

On weeks like this, I try really hard to balance my time so that the kids don’t lose out on quality time with mama. Wherever my day takes me, I try to shut it all down at 4 so that we can go to the park, play outside or just hang out together.

This usually involves me bribing myself to go downstairs and work for an extra hour or two after Ricky’s in bed. Which is exactly what happened tonight: after dinner, Ricky took a bath. We read books with “bay-be ChrIS-to-fer” (yes, that’s how he says it) and Ricky went to bed.

I came downstairs, helped Rick finish cleaning up, fed Christopher, and went downstairs to finish up some planning for a client’s strategic retreat. Finally, we made our way back upstairs. Of course, my little five week old wanted to eat again.

These days, I’m pretty exhausted by the end of the evening, so I was focusing on just feeding him, grabbing a quick shower (cause mama’s also pretty stinky by the end of the day) and crashing.

Of course, my two year old had different plans. Laying in bed, giving Christopher a bottle and attempting conversation with the hubs (discussing what Storage Wars had taught us tonight. Married life is really glamorous.), I heard a familiar little giggle from the end of our bed.

That’s right: my two year old woke up AND THOUGHT IT WAS MORNING.

He wanted to get into bed with us, and wanted to know why we weren’t dressed for the day yet. “Where are your pants, daddy? Why are you wearing shorts? But you don’t have pants on. THAT’S SILLY.”

I just kind of sat here, in awe of my little guy. He never gets out of bed on his own at night. Or in the morning, really. He’ll cry for us, but he doesn’t get out of bed. All of a sudden it hit me that he’s growing up. Way too fast.

So instead of reinforcing the fact that it really is night time, putting him right back into his own bed, and continuing on with my night, I gave into the mommy instinct and just decided to take advantage of the fact that I could spend quiet time with both my boys at once. I asked if he wanted some cuddle time. We all hung out in mommy and daddy’s room for a little bit, watching the end of Storage Wars, like it was a totally normal Wednesday night thing to do.

I tried to rub Ricky’s back. And of course, my grown up two year old told me, “No mama, I ok. You just let me be.”

It was as if he knew that dear old mom was trying to convince his little body that it really was time for bed. Of course, Rick and I were both looking the other way and stifling giggles with the grown up words that seemed to run rampant out of our toddler’s mouth.

Finally, I put Christopher down in the bassinet and escorted Ricky back to bed. He went down without a fuss, as though the thing he really needed was just a few more minutes with mom and dad before he officially went to bed for the night.

So, friends, my point. When this happens to you, and your little one throws a hitch in your plans, don’t crumble. We’re all pushing ourselves to the limit. It’s easy to fall apart when your plans go awry and all you really want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep for a few hours.

But this time with your babies….you don’t get it back. That little smile that appears at the side of your bed as you’re about to drift off to sleep, or head off to take a much needed shower – that little smile needs you to just offer some cuddles, and a few laughs, before he heads off to bed. And when you take advantage of those little moments, you’re left with a full heart. Because you gave your baby a little extra piece of you, which was exactly what he needed tonight.

And isn’t that what parenthood is all about?

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