Herald Journal Columns
May 9, 2005, Herald Journal

Watching our children grow


Mother’s Day snuck up on me, just like it seems everything else does as a parent. Our children grow right before our very eyes, and before we know it, our infant is a toddler, then a preschooler, ready to take on the world.

I marvel at my children’s growth and milestones, and growth is so noticeable when they are just wee little ones – just like for our one-year-old, Delaney. Each day is a new learning adventure for her, and every day she can do something that she couldn’t the day before.

Watching her reach these milestones and take on these adventures is a wonderful experience. I’d like to share some things from my observations as a mother of a one-year-old.

Sometimes, I just sit (well, usually not sit, because I am running after her) and observe her making the most of every thing and experience she comes upon. It’s truly quite amazing what children can teach us – to make the most of each day, and that each day brings something new to be discovered or rediscovered all over again.

Children learn from repetition (just as we all do). Moving up and down steps and stairs, for example, is a feat my daughter tackles time and time again. She has mastered the art of getting down on hands and knees and maneuvering backwards down the steps, to immediately go back up the steps to do it all over again.

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom, Grandma Iris, lives with us. She has her own little “area,” as my children call it. There are just two steps down to Grandma’s area, and Delaney loves to visit Grandma, so there is also more incentive to tackle the steps – to see Grandma, and maybe even get a treat from her.

Children don’t have to be very old to know who has the treats, and Grandma’s treats are always better, even if they are just two steps away.

Needless to say, Delaney now knows what a railing is for, so watchguard duty for Delaney has been increased. She now tries to hang on to the railing to get down the steps, but this is a difficult task for her because she is short, just like her mother. Before we know it, she will have tackled this feat, too.

Speaking of snacks and treats, Delaney knows exactly where our snack drawer is and loves to open it up and help herself. Before long, if we’re not looking (well, even if we are looking), she is sitting in the snack drawer, munching on her crackers, having a good ol’ time.

It seems children love to climb in anything. She loves to climb in baskets, boxes, tubs. The other day, she tried to get herself in her little tub for sorting shapes, but she figured out that it was only big enough for her feet.

Of course, one of the cutest things little ones do is dance to the beat of the music, and that’s no exception for Delaney.  As soon as she hears any type of music, she’s ready to move and groove. She loves an audience and applause, too.

She definitely knows what “no” means, and loves to exercise the power of “no” herself, shaking her head to something – anything she doesn’t like. It is pretty cute.

“Kitty” is one word that is definitely in Delaney’s growing, expressive vocabulary – anything that is living and moves is a “kitty.”

Not only does she love to play with the kitties, she also likes to join them for “lunch.” When outside, she likes to make her way to the kitty dishes and sit right down with them and nibble the cat food. We also have hamsters, which are also “kitties,” that she has shared some hamster food with, too. (Her diapers can be rather interesting.)

Why is it that toddlers love to eat what they are not supposed to, but don’t eat what they should?

And one last thing (although I could go on and on, like any proud parent), she’s found a boy she likes to hang out with at my older daughter’s dance class. The boy is exactly the same age as Delaney. They even share the same birth date.

Delaney loves to follow him around and wants to hug him, or at least, pat his back. He reciprocates occasionally, but, most of the time, he is interested in other things – like a ball. It doesn’t bother Delaney. She moves right on to another little one.

It seems little ones are always attracted to other little ones.  It’s been fun watching her social development.

Well, I’m sure that as I am typing this article, she’s on to some new adventure or on just another adventure over and over again. And that’s good, too!

The mom list

With Mother’s Day just past us, here’s “The Mom List” – sure, tell-signs that you’re really a mom.

• On some days, you’re in the bathroom 12 times, but don’t manage to actually use it.

• Going to the movies is your idea of a $9 nap.

• Your baby is about to spit up and you face him toward you to avoid hitting the new carpet.

• You envy your kids’ time-outs.

• You go out of town and pack an item of your child’s to remember how she smells.

This Mom list is from Parenting, May, 2005, by Lisa Nee

Get caught reading

May is also “Get Caught Reading Month.” Here are some ideas to add to the reading fun:

• Make a beaded bookmark. Tie a bead onto one end of each of three two-foot lengths of hemp thread or heavy jewelry cord. Add a few more beads to each strand, then knot the strands together one to two inches below the last beads.

Braid or knot the threads as you like, then knot them all together again about five inches from the ends. Add more beads to each individual strand, then tie on an end bead, like the first, to keep them in place.

This idea is from Family.Fun magazine, May, 2005.

• Magnetic messages for your fridge. Make a list with your child of words that are used frequently, including names of family members and pets, favorite activities, and commonly used verbs. Also include punctuation marks and word endings such as “s” and “ing.”

Measure and cut out one-half inch wide strips of white paper. Lay the paper strips on the adhesive side of one-half inch magnetic tape. It is easier to line up the paper when you use smaller sections of magnetic tape.

Use colorful markers to write down the words from your list on the paper mounted on the magnetic strips. Leave just enough space between the words to cut them apart.

Stick the words to your refrigerator and start “talking.”

This idea is from Highlights for Children, July, 2002, by Cory A. Derr

• Make a reading tree

Especially with school coming to an end, this is a great idea to continue to promote reading. Your child and you can gather together a tree branch, pail, sand, markers or crayons, string, and construction paper.

Place the branch in the pail, filled with sand to anchor it. As your child or children completes reading a book, have them draw a picture to represent something in the book. Attach a string, using tape or glue, and hang the picture on the reading tree. It’s a great way to bring the outdoors in, too!

Remember to take time to enjoy all your children have to offer as they grow and learn. They always have something to teach us!