Monday, July 16, 2012

The World Through Your Child's Eyes {Guest post}

If there is one piece of advice that I would give to parents and parents-to-be, it is to take the time to view the world from your child's perspective as often as possible. This small change in perspective is so critical to being responsive, empathetic and for enjoying the baby moments.

I remember when Elodie was a newborn and her cries still sounded all the same to me. There were so many times I felt exasperated and just wanted to ask her "what do you want?" but if I took a deep breath and thought about her point of view, (sometimes even speaking out loud for her) it allowed me to be more understanding and patient with her.

For example, as much as I wanted Elodie to sleep in her cosleeper, she had other plans. I would actually explain to myself "but Mommy, when you're so far away, I don't know where you are and I get scared. I want to be right in the crook of your arm so I can smell you and my food is there in case I get hungry and need to eat RIGHT AWAY!". (P.S. I was incredibly sleep deprived, so, yes, I might have seemed a little crazy.) If I imagined being so new in the world, being alone in a bed in a dark room, away from the one source of comfort and nourishment that I knew, I would cry too. It's completely reasonable.

As Elodie got older, it was useful for me to take the time to stop what I was doing and get down by her and try to see what was wrong when she was upset. Was she too hot? Was the floor cold? Was the stuffed bear just out of reach? I couldn't always figure it out or solve the problem, but usually it snapped me out of my own frustrations and allowed me to be compassionate to my child.

Even when your child is not upset, it is still useful to stop yourself and crouch down by your child and to give them your complete attention every so often, and to put yourselves in their shoes for their playtime. This is an easy way to show your children that you value and respect their imagination, thoughts, ideas and personality. This communicates to children that you value them! Try to imagine the way they see their toys and experiences. Elodie is 18 months old but is truly clever in the way she uses her toys. I get joy out of watching her play and explore the world around her.

This might be the icing on the cake about the child's perspective: having a child means that you do get to be in the presence of someone who is utterly enthralled with the world. Every new place is a journey and adventure for your child. So much of our trips to the beach or the zoo is spent with me just gazing at my precious girl to see the wonder in her eyes. It's living vicariously through your child, in a good way! Seeing the joy on her face brings joy to mine. Her moments as a child are fleeting, so getting to deeply enjoy her first few years of life helps make the years go by as slowly as possible.

About the Guest Blogger:
Kari is Mommy to Elodie, and friend to Jen and Leila. When she's not busy watching her daughter feed cheerios to her dolls and make phone calls on blocks, she blogs about life in San Diego and her journey to find balance and simplicity in Mommyhood.
Thanks Kari!  Great advice, we really do need to slow down sometimes!  My favorite thing about being a mom to a toddler...

"Having a child means that you do get to be in the presence of someone who is utterly enthralled with the world."

This could not be more true!    

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