1. INSTANT FEEDBACK
Imagine (or remember) getting up late (single, childless), literally running through the Monday morning routine, rushing with bags and keys and coffee in hand to the car, then speeding off to that 9 am meeting.
For me, I’d reliably burn my bagel, stub my same two toes on that same couch leg - twice, and watch in disbelief as something precious (hopefully just the coffee) went flying off the roof of the car as I sped away; all a result of mindless distraction.
My toddler is like that squishy yummy bagel, my sensitive toes, my precious cargo, and then some (times a million, of course). When I’ve got my eye on a prize other than her (the clock, for example), there is always a proverbial stubbed toe reminding me to slow down. It reminds me to consider her in her full human personhood and center myself so that I can beneficially guide us through each moment.
Whether the wake-up call is in the form of my disappointment or her flight into a loud flailing objection, being with her, offers a vivid reflection of my state of mind.
This goes for the joyful bits, too. When I am present and available, whether focusing solely on her or getting things done with her alongside me, we both have a really good time. Her face beams my love back at me, and mine, hers. When I’m in the moment, giving her full consideration, it’s a pleasure to be where I am, with who I am.
I adore my toddler’s instant feedback because it reminds me to be present.
Click over to Three Keys to Staying Present with Children for some tips on how to TRULY be there with a toddler.