Let’s face it; kids aren’t going to be little for too long. In fact, Baby G is already growing up too fast for my liking and I’m not ready for it yet. I know, I’m always saying I want her to grow up so that she eats her food without a fuss, talks non stops with me and starts to write in a little cute book of her own. But at the same time, I look at her and my heart sinks a little.
I can already tell she’s an independent little person – wants to do everything herself. The day is not too far when she might not need me (gasp!) for tiny little things and it break my heart. And this is why, I always find myself looking for ideas to make every minute worthwhile and memorable while she is still young. Here’s my list:
Late Night Play Session
I know, I know there’s a schedule to follow and I’m always complaining that Baby G doesn’t sleep enough, but if she is awake past her sleep hour for some reason, and isn’t one bit sleepy – there’s no use getting stressed about it. Late night play sessions are incredibly cool. The child is tired (a bit?) after the long day, the house is quiet and it’s dark outside. Sitting cross legged on the carpet and playing games at this time is a great way to spend time beautifully.
No matter how young the child is, tell her stories. Tell her fairy tales, folk stories, stories from your childhood, stories of legends or even stories that you make up as you go. This is a great bonding exercise, as it is your precious exclusive time with the little one. Stories expand your child’s mind, they make their tiny brains delve deeper into imagination which later results in creativity. And in a world of TV dominance, isn’t it great to raise a kid with an exceptional imagination?
Mud, Swings and Dogs (also, Cats)
So, Baby G likes to dig a hole in the garden and bury a stone or something. She likes to pick hand full of damp mud in her fists and throw it around. She loves to arrange the fallen leaves under park benches, she loves to sit on swings and climb up and slide down giant slides, and she likes to run after Dogs and pets them lovingly. Also, she loves my friend’s cats and though both the cats are shit-scared of her because she pets them a little too enthusiastically, she seems to love them. During all this, I try and let her do it. Try is the main word here. Of course it scares the hell out of me – the mud that might give her infections, the giant dogs that might jump on her, the giant slides and the swing that might make her fall off – but I try. I try my best to let her enjoy and while she’s at it, I try and soak in all the giggles, the hugs and the running after me in joy. It’s a lovely time, you just have to keep your protective self in check.
Pro tip for parents with kids who love water (that makes just about everyone, right?) – block the kitchen sink drain, fill clean water in it, make the kid stand on a small chair or bench, stand by her side and have some major fun together. You can let the ducks and other bath toys float, or maybe add some bubble bath gel. The kids go crazy and though you have some massive cleaning up to do later, you’ll not regret it. Infact, when you see the glee and sheer joy on your kid’s chubby face, you’ll soon be planning the same activity for next week. Take my word for it.
Baby G is just one and a half right now, but I ask her a lot of questions about everything and I am told by a lot of people that her observation power is pretty good. When you ask questions, the kid looks for answers – it’s only natural. And in the process of finding answers, the kid notices, absorbs and discovers a lot of things. And this develops a different kind of bond between you and the kid – the bond of knowledge. What’s not to love?
Kids ask a lot of questions and we all know that. Even when Baby G isn’t speaking in sentences yet, she still asks me a million questions by gesturing and wondering visibly. Answer every question. Explain every doubt. At least, try the best you can and the best that’s possible at the given point in time. Apart from acquiring knowledge, inquisitive kids tend to be more aware of their surrounding and the world around them, and that’s a good thing, no? And this is also a bond of knowledge; the kid will always come to you asking for more.
Books and Cuddles
Books are very important to me. I have made books a routine in our lives. I wrote my book when I was pregnant with Baby G, and I think this is the main reason she loves books, haha. Picture books, story books, bath books, puppet books, touch-and-feel books, flap books or activity books – we love all kinds! Reading a book with your child, while cuddling her warmly, is probably on the list of top ten beautiful things in the world. This is your time, this is precious time. I plan to continue with this ritual till she wants to read books of her own choice, in her own room. And much later, when I’m not around, and she sits in her house to read a book, I hope she remembers our time and our books.
Lights, Music, Dance!
Dim those lights for some dramatic light effects (yes, yes, I mean pub-like-lights, what the hell!), play some good music and dance with your baby. No matter how small or big she is –just dance. Doesn’t matter how the kid does it – in your arms or standing on your toes, just have fun moving to the beats. Music is more often than not, a cultivated taste, and it binds the souls tighter than anything else. Well, after love, of course. Love binds two souls the tightest, but music (and dance) comes in a close second. When Baby G is little older, I hope we sing our favourite song together till late in the night, and eat buttery popcorn.
Forget about the schedule, about the half eaten apple or the dirty white shirt. Forget whatever is worrying you, and laugh. Kids make it easy, really. Look at their flushed faces after playing in mud, see them jumping up and down on seeing a dog, and see them giggle when you tickle that tummy – everything makes for a good, heartfelt laugh. There will be enough time to wash those hands (yes, to put sanitizer too), to clean that carpet and to wipe that table, but there is never enough time with kids because they are growing up faster than it is okay with us parents. So, stop stressing out on the wrong things and laugh with the kids. Help them learn that laughter is important. That life will be hard sometimes, but to laugh is to be courageous.
That’s all folks, these are my ways to ensure that, the time doesn’t go by before we take full advantage of it. Parenting is tough, I’m still learning. I fail every day, I make mistakes and at the end of every day there is always something that I’d like to change as a mother. But I also learn every day, and I want to share what I’ve learned about time while the kids are little. I hope it proves helpful to some of you who read it. And now, share your own secret, quick!
Aditi Mathur was born on Feb the 14th and since then it has all been awkward for her. A strong believer of “Whatever!”, an ex-advertising girl, a once-upon-a-time blogger, an out-of-place Army Wife and a real-life social person, she has now given up everything for her adorable almost-nine-months old daughter Gauri (Um, also for Twitter, actually). Stalk her at http://damonologue.blogspot.com or @adicrazy on Twitter. Or Not. Whatever.