Sometimes, in parenting, you measure success by the things that seem big, but really aren't--whether your kids are good at sports, come by learning quickly, or out-do all the other kids at the next developmental milestone (for the record, that's usually not us). I'm guilty of it sometimes, too. And as I mark our lives on our family blog, I often make mention of these so-called "big" things, and neglect some of the much bigger "little" things, to which I dedicate this post.
One very big "little" thing is that my kids are learning to set goals and to take responsibility for their lives, a little bit at a time. Earlier this week, I called home from an errand during which I had remembered that Gryffy needed to find a red object to bring to school, and Lorelei had some homework to do. Lorelei answered the phone, and I told her what needed to be done, asking her to remind Daddy to help them. When I got home, Lorelei promptly showed me this paper (above)--she had created her OWN To-Do List! Without being asked. Actually, she's just informed me that it's not a To-Do List, but a "Listening Chart." When she can't remember what she needs to do, she looks at her chart to listen for a clue. (I don't actually know what this has to do with listening, but I was super impressed by her initiative nonetheless.) Here's Lorelei, explaining it to me. Quote:
1. See that #1? That's when we had to pick up a red thing for Gryffy.
2. Number 2 is save my money up for something.
3. And #3 is that I am in a tent.
4. Number 4 is just a picture of Gryffy.
5. Number 5--drive home
6. Number 6 is my house.
7. Play tag.
8. A picture of me.
9. Me on the swing.
10. Ten is to feed Mr. Tubbins.
11. Eleven is another car driving home.
12. Twelve is the Monster (the Gobbler--more about this in a future post)
Some really big "little" things I want to remember are my kids' random acts of kindness, which are frequent and thoughtful and yet forgotten far too quickly. So here are just a few examples from this week:
1. Lorelei reading bedtime stories to Gryffy after they're tucked in... it's so sweet I can't bear to turn the lights back out, and part of the reason I like to have them in bed some nights by 7:30 is so that they can enjoy this reading time together. Last night, Lorelei was pointing out things in an I-Spy Pooh book, helping Gryffy to find them. She was also giving Gryffy a speech lesson, making sure she said words slowly and prompting Gryffy to repeat them. "Okay, so, you say it like this: SSS-M-uuurF. Now you say it, Buddy."
2. The way the kids bring me things without being asked. Gryffy always stops to pick me flowers, and the gesture's so lovely that I don't even bother to save our flowerbeds--I love his purple petunias. Lorelei, big girl that she is, just brought me a glass of ice water because she thought I looked thirsty. And today, when I laid down with Gryffy during nap time, he got up for a moment, found two small blankets, and tucked one around me. "That's for you, Mommy." Then he snuggled up beside me and fell asleep.
3. Gryffy always brings me "Big Baby," a little plastic figure of the character from Toy Story 3 who lost her "mom," Daisy. He always, always makes sure I give Big Baby a kiss because he knows that Big Baby needs a Mommy to love it. Just about everyday, Gryffy finds Big Baby and brings her to me.
4. In the car this morning, after we'd dropped off Lorelei, Gryffy said, "I love you so much Mommy," just out of the blue. Both kids do this a lot, to each other and to me. And I melt every time. I love our morning car rides because we always pray together and have a little pep talk before school starts. It's one of those really big "little" things in our daily grind.
(Gryffy with the blanket he'd wrapped around me, after I'd snuck out to photo my sleeping boy)