One of the best things about my job is that it makes me especially conscious of my own parenting. Doesn’t mean I always get it right or that I always like what I see, but I think I do think about daily things more than I might otherwise. This morning when my 4-year-old O. woke up, it made me think about how ordinary events or habits can become extraordinary.
O. still calls out, “I’m awaaaake!” each morning and waits for one of us to come up and get her. This is kind of funny because it’s not a rule we’ve instituted and she’s never slept in a crib to hold her back from getting up herself, but it’s just what she’s always done and still does… every morning… without fail…
I have to admit that sometimes this is irritating to me–usually when I am on a phone call or in the middle of doing something else. (one of those things I am not proud to note, but I’ll admit it’s true) Usually, though, I get a kick out of this little ritual. I call back up the stairs something like, “Good moooorning! I’m cooooming!” and by the time I get there she’s often sitting up in her bed, crazy hair poofing out and a big grin on her face.
She always wants me to lay with her and “snuggle” awhile before getting up. One of the other perks to my job and working from home is that I get to do this more often than not! This morning she wrapped her little arm around my neck and closed her eyes and I traced my finger around her face, her eyes, her nose, her little mouth. I ran her long silky hair through my fingers and eventually she turned over for a back rub. As she woke up a bit more, she wanted to thumb wrestle.
The worker bee part of me couldn’t help but to think about all the things that were going on besides just a nice way for her to wake up. Here is a short list:
1. LOTS of nurturing and good sensory experiences (we key on this in Because They Waited as it forms the recipe for brain development and SO many other things related)
2. eye contact
3. boundaries (I had to insist that my face not be buried in her neck and pillow even though she was most comfortable holding on to me like that!)
4. language (not just talking, but rhythm and rhyme as we remembered a piece from her Dr. Seuss book from the night before and tone of voice, etc…)
5. All 3 of the “Duh” attachment promoting messages we talk about in Because They Waited
7. emotional regulation
This is just the short list of broad categories. I could go on and on. Can anyone do this? Sure! Do most parents do this consistently? I’m not sure, but I would guess that the answer is “no” because the temptation for me is to often hurry the process and get on with what I was doing. What stops me is this consciousness I was just talking about–being aware and understanding how these little interactions build the bigger picture which makes the ordinary the extraordinary.
I think this one example really highlights what we talk and talk about in Because They Waited, our other courses and live webinars… parenting consciously in light of the science that we know. One of the premises Heart of the Matter Seminars was founded on is that all parents need to understand the why behind good parenting technique and how all of the different pieces of the research fit together. Understanding the research and translating that research into every day parenting is truly what makes the ordinary the extraordinary.