7 Things I’ve Learned From My One-Year-Old
As I rocked my son into nap time, I realized it would be the last afternoon I held him as a one-year-old. A flood of memories wrapped up in my arms, and I thanked God for each happy tear that slid down my cheek.
He is our firstborn, and we have learned so much along the way. In moments of uncertainty, of struggle, of accusing myself of doing everything wrong, he has been there with a smile sent from above, reminding us it would all be okay.
Even now as my mind juggles a to-do list and Pinterest and how I can possibly dust our entire house before his second birthday party, I am taking a moment to stop and savor. I am telling my 90 mile-a-minute mind to slow down and to “hushhhhh,” like he says when he ever so sweetly copies me.
As we anticipate his “terrific” twos with joy, excitement and prayers for patience, I think of what big lessons our little guy has already taught us since his first fingerlick of cake frosting this time last year. I’ll share what comes to mind below:
1. Show him the way he should go. This one is no surprise, as Scripture tells us:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
We read Bible stories, talk and sing about Jesus, pray to Him. It is when he sees us “living” our faith, He is learning it is our faith that makes us come alive. His little eyes take it all in. This morning, he brought me his dad’s deodorant and lifted his arm. He sees. As we lift our hands in worship, his raise up. He has led us into prayer more than five times before his nap today, bringing his hands together like we do. He watches closely.
2. Protect his eyes. The Holy Bible speaks of how character is often determined by what we choose to see. It is the contrast of light and darkness, lust and even neglect of the helpless. As one of the two primary role models and protectors in his young life, it is my responsibility to help guard him from harm. This means, I am hiding the Hardee’s commercials; I am turning off the television when it’s inappropriate for his innocent eyes. I am DVR’ing shows too grown up for him. I am not removing him from reality, but while I can, I am silencing the storm that wants to wreck our lives. We will teach him about this world and that it is not our home.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18
3. Say what you need to say. He is not only watching; he is hearing. I ask him questions and am often amazed how he can answer them. He can make animal sounds; he lets us know whether he wants more to drink or watermelon for dessert. As I think on what his little ears are hearing to one day repeat, I want to keep my words in check. As time passes, I want to hear him say more “I love you’s” than “oh no” or “uh oh.” I am not rewarding him or myself based on his number of words recalled or sentences structured; sometimes, I smile most when it’s not at all correct. I’ve noticed recently, he’s started to call all books “Bible.” I tell my husband this is a good thing, because we read so many Bible stories aloud to him. I want Him to hear the truth.
“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17
4. Find the fun in small things. His hands are little; his little legs can run so fast. He is easily entertained. I watch him line up his blocks on the windowsill like a choo-choo train, and I chug and chug right along side him. It doesn’t take a big bank account to take a once in a lifetime adventure; it just takes some playtime and a little imagination.
5. Chase him. Now, this one is not always by choice, but given the opportunity to take part in a spontaneous game of hide-and-seek, do it. Some of the biggest smiles I’ve seen come when I’m on the heels of tagging him or finding him in his favorite hiding spot. Sometimes, he runs so much, I have to scoop him up to rest and get his breath. He loves it. It is also great exercise for those of us who can’t remember what the gym looks like.
6. Let him go pant-less. As we’ve become better acquainted with temper tantrums, I am learning that everything is not a fight. I am starting to realize what battles are worth wresting for, and if his little heart desires to spend the morning at home in just a t-shirt and diaper, that’s okay. It will not always be this way, so for now, go for it.
7. Wait on cleaning the floors. I admit it. If you walk into our kitchen right now, there are crumbs everywhere. At one time, I was a little obsessive compulsive over this problem, but not anymore. Our son is learning to feed himself and for that, I couldn’t be more pleased. Instead of picking up every bean to splatter the hardwood after it falls, I wait until supper time is finished, and the entire family gets up. I would rather spend our time being together than be bent over scooping up the bites that got away. Also, he enjoys trying to sweep, so it’s playtime built-in.
There are many more lessons learned that I have tucked away for bringing up his baby brother. Even so, I am far from an expert. I am making my own messes to clean up, too. However, I am loving this precious time and know that however fast it goes, I am thankful for each day. So at midnight, Sweet Baby Boy, when the clock spins around a new day, we will celebrate. We will thank God for the gift you are and the joy you bring. Our lives are so much brighter, because God gave us you.