Meredith is having a Carnival of Toddlerhood Friday and I hoped to make a thoughtful contribution with all sorts of cutting edge advice. Yeah, well. Life, it happens. (see previous cow entry for this week's excuse ; )) That tends to be considered a con when homeschooling with little ones. Current thinking on parenthood is that we ought to plan each moment of the day with factory precision. We should devise and implement thematic lesson plans for our little people. We should be sure to provide optimum musical, nutritional, social, philosophical, physical, emotional, financial, and educational experiences. Or else.
I have long suspected such obsessive parenting was not likely critical to successful child rearing but dog-gone it you sound downright second rate in the parenting dept if you say so. Dorcas Smucker helped me think about this differently. She shares how she tried heroically to stage memories that would rival those of her own childhood. From thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas candy making she felt perpetually let down by the realities of her life and longed to recreate picture-perfect experiences like those she remembered. Her sister even bought her a 'Lets Make a Memory' book to help her 'send children into adulthood with a stockpile of good childhood memories.' The irony of all this is that her own mother had hazy recall of how those deep seated family traditions came to be. Apparently she had not been a victim of what Smucker calls 'nebulous parenting." Her mom knew that 'memories creep in when you're busy doing something else.'
This is so true.
Sometimes life trumps your best intentions. I believe, like Dorcas' mother, that if you work hard, fear God, and have fun, memories will take care of themselves. Children remember love above all else. I hope to remember this:
My current toddler is on the cusp between baby and big boy. When he sleeps the baby side is most prominent though. Thank God for small favors <g> This will pass all too quickly. Anymore, while I still see the value of early childhood enrichment I appreciate that life itself is education. Bringing up our little people alongside of us in our busy days provides a rich and varied upbringing. Slowing ourselves to come alongside of our little people in these quiet moments keeps us sane.
It's ok not to have every moment planned out. It's ok to let your babies play. It's not copping out to end up doing the dishes, washing the clothes, and making the meals instead of presenting a cross curricular wonder lesson. That is love too. Those things are chock full of opportunities for making memories and teaching our little guys. What is most important is the slowing down part. Don't miss this time. I have said it before, if you blink twice, it's passed.