If you reside in the northeast and you have young children then you likely have experienced the unintended school vacation that has been the result of a ridiculous weather pattern over the past three weeks. While some of the days have been long and I have found myself sighing as the delay or cancelation text(s) came through on my phone, I can honestly say that I am fully embracing this unexpected time away from the regular routine. There have been more pajama days than I should probably admit, yet the time has been unexpectedly magnificent.
The undoing of our regular routine has afforded the opportunity to visit the aquarium, paint Valentine art, play in the snow, play hopscotch indoors, and complete more puzzles than imaginable. I am absolutely relishing in every moment of this unexpected break from reality. The truth is, the past few weeks have reminded me just how quickly the time goes by and how fast these boys are growing up right in front of me.
I recently came across a blogpost from a few years ago that I greatly admire. Appropriately titled "What A 4 Year-Old Should Know" the piece centers around the notion that "childhood should not be a race." I loved the sentiments when I originally read the thoughtful list of what a 4 year-old should know and, likewise, what parents need to know as well. Now, in rereading this article (impeccably timed with the undoing of our regular routine) I found myself stopping for a moment to truly take a deep breadth. I was reminded for the first time in a while of just how much my boys have accomplished and, equally, what I have accomplished as well.
It is the reminder of the incredible bond that has formed between these two amazing children of mine. They have completely different personalities and find their own common ground in everything they do. I love listening to their "conversations" and hearing the banter while they pretend to take a plane to Florida (if only we were all on a real plane away from this crazy winter weather!) or prepare a delicious meal in their play kitchen. It is seeing how they support one another, how they look for one another first thing in the morning and seek out a hug at night before going to bed.
We know that toddlers and preschoolers are eager to build independence and feel a sense of ownership in a task or project. The simplest of tasks can leave a child feeling incredibly accomplished; the opportunity to demonstrate independence does not need to be glamorous. Last week a typical trip to the grocery store left me in awe of just how independent the boys have become and how eager they are to participate in even the most mundane of tasks. After pushing a small grocery basket on wheels throughout the store, the boys insisted on unloading when we reached the register. With trepidation (and slight concern for the more fragile items) I let the boys place all of the contents onto the conveyer belt. The communication, collaboration, support, and pride was fascinating to watch. Not only were the boys proud of themselves, but they celebrated the accomplishment of completing the task together.
As parents we tend to focus on the skills and tools our children will need to succeed in academic settings, thinking and planning years before school placement. It is easy to get caught up in what feels like a competition to prepare our children and I have heard more times than I would like to admit a parent comment on giving their child an "advantage." More recently I have begun to reflect on whether or not we are actually giving our children an advantage by infringing upon their childhood? These past few weeks have been a much needed reminder that the boys are in need of a childhood, that they need pajama snow days just because, and there is just as much learning that takes place amidst everyday tasks.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't looking forward to re-establishing our schedule. At the same time the past few weeks have made me excited to plan for our summer adventures. I will never be the mom who plans Pinterest worthy crafts on a regular basis, yet our adventures are incredible for the simple reason that they are are us. And if a month's worth of crazy weather patterns will help to give more of the precious time I have with these boys, then Mother Nature can send her storms our way any time!
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
Three Q's to Consider Before Redshirting
The Art of Storytelling
How to Foster a Healthy
Making Story Time Meaningful
Can You Teach Creativity?
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.strongtots.com