The little (kid) things


As my kids grow up, I know I’ll miss some of the little things. In fact it’s happening already.

As childlike wonder and unabashed curiosity, a lack of shame, and genuine love are characteristics of their toddler and preschool years, I know these are not lasting. Whether the world drags it out of them through exposure to school, new friends, or age simply matures them in necessary but simplicity stripping ways, they will lose much of what makes them so preciously childlike in these first 6 years.

Some of what I know I’ll miss and what I currently so much admire:

-When Eli wants to go outside in the mornings we often have to remind him to put on clothes and not run out the door in just his underwear

Eli and Andi love to talk to lifeguards. They see lifeguards as friends, confidants, and sources of information (I see lifeguards as obtrusive, fun-stopping, pains in the butt)

-When Andi starts a race, she says “Ready, Setty, Go” instead of just “Ready, Set, Go”. There’s no good reason to correct this adorable semantic slip.

-PLAY. They play alone, with each other, with neighbors, with good friends, with sticks, with baby toys we’re cleaning off and setting out for an infant, with blocks, paper, water bottles, and their imaginations.

Pretending. I am terrible at Barbies. The stark difference between Andi’s ability to pretend that a plastic chic is doing something and my ability to feign conversation and activity for such a chic is vast. I mostly use Barbie playing time to teach a life lesson such as  “Don’t forget to wear your helmet when you ride your bike Princess Barbie” or “Let’s play what’s the healthiest food.” It’s poor, I know. Drew’s ability to pretend is much better- he’ll jump right into a role of Lego dinosaur, Nerf gun defender, or Superhero on the move. May they never lose this access to their imaginations and we as adults seek to reclaim some of our imaginations in work, play, faith, and family!

-Andi wears leotards and princess dresses daily. We often find her dancing, singing, or adorning herself with jewelry and plastic high heels and checking herself out in the mirror. A lot of days she’ll wear the leotards out and about and lots of people ask, “Did you have dance class today?” Andi just looks at them like, “No. That’s an odd question. This is just my outfit!”

-They freely sing. Andi makes up her own songs and sings while coloring or doing a puzzle. I’m often in the same room as her but can plainly see she’s in her own world, so free to feel, express, release and enjoy the moment. Eli sings loudly and proudly, usually off-key but still using a wide range of vocal tones, songs from the radio, church, and mostly Castaway.

Tenacity. When they are ready to do something on their own, they pursue it with focus, strength, and risk. Eli was disinterested in learning to read for most of last Spring. However, when he decided he was ready, he’d set himself down with a book, give it a once over and come out of his room ready to read it aloud to us. The progress and success were amazing when he owned the interest himself. Just last week, he figured out how to ride a bike with no training wheels. Same deal, I was present but not pushing him. When he decided he was ready, off he went! Andi does cart wheels and forward rolls about 10 times daily- often in small and hard surfaced spaces (ie: the entrance to HyVee on that nasty rug every cart and foot transverses!). Her body must tumble, never mind where or whats on the floor!

Eli’s initial ride!      -14 sec video here

Their lack of concern with the shape of their bodies, the stylishness of their clothes, and the size of our house, what other people have etc… Comparison and keeping up is not a part of their life. Equality, self-confidence, and simply living in the moment characterizes their daily image, activity, and joy.

Wandering. The pace of a child is so much more winding and slower than that of an adult. My kids are always sidetracked as we trek towards the garage to go somewhere. It’s often a speck of something on the wall, a toy they haven’t seen for 5 minutes, or a mislaying piece of carpet. Sometimes, it’s an arresting sunrise out the front door I might miss in my hurried pace or a very interesting bug that has the potential to show us all God’s intricacy in creation. Often I get impatient, rather, I should slow my pace to theirs and live a less hurried life!

I recently came across a journal entry from a solitude day I took around my 30th birthday. I wrote, “Gods word to me today was: ‘Linds, You missed fully appreciating the magnitude of the mountains until you left Colorado and moved to Missouri…DO NOT miss noticing and appreciating your children while they are so preciously young.'”

I want to have eyes to see, steps that slow, patience that piles up, and a heart to fully appreciate each moment. The new baby (less than 2 weeks from due!) will show us all newness, the power and and the awe of what it is to be little, brand new, awake for the first time, and in wonder of life’s most simple gifts: air, light, warmth, family, feet, being held, opening up to others, and most of all love. We can’t wait!





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