Today is a very special day for many of the people at St. Paul Lutheran Church, so in honor of this special day, I am writing this.
One of the top things that I always hear as advice is "Enjoy your little one now, they grow up so quickly"... I can't tell you how many times that I have heard this, and I try to really take it to heart. I love everyday that I get to spend at home with my little guy, and every day is really a blessing.
So, here are some of my favorite things to do with my little guy, and maybe, just maybe, you can get an idea that you might like, and you can be blessed in a new way with your little one.
1) Take a bath with your little one. Bath, shower, it's all the same, just make sure there's cuddling. Bath time is such a special time for little ones. I watched a show once where a physical therapist (who specializes in working with deaf and dumb children) said that bath time is the best time to teach your children. Something about being in the bath is relaxing and helps them focus. Personally, I love the relaxing. I wasn't much of a bath person, before I had Daniel. After, in those first months, where come 5 or 6 o'clock, they are screaming from just being over stimulated, is about the time that we went into the bath. When he was little, he would kick and swim and wear himself out. It was different than in his little bath. It was nice to just cuddle, and enjoy each other again after him not being happy. We just decompressed, together, and relaxed, and refocused on being together. I can't really explain it. And to some, it sounds weird or time consuming, or whatever, but I'm telling you, don't knock it until you try it. There is a small window to be able to experience this with your children, and it closes way to early in my opinion. So, enjoy it while you can.
2)Grocery Shopping. OK~ so before you think I'm nuts, consider this: how often do you have your little one, practically eye level, with nothing else to look at really other than you? This is a great time to talk to them, and make them focus on you. You get to sing, talk, make faces at, play games with them, all while shopping and having other people in public make weird faces at you (but, hey, who cares about them, right?) Instead of stressing over this, cherish it. Enjoy it. It goes too fast...
3) Walks. Or anything else outside. Something about being outside is just magical in the world of little ones. They love the sunshine. They love everything going on outside. They love the animals, bugs, plants, just life that is outside. This was one of Daniel's first words ~outside~ and I hear it everyday. Maybe this started when he was jaundiced when he was first born, and we worked on his "tan" by taking walks outside? Who knows, but anything outside is ok by him.
4) Anything with the whole family. There is just something that makes everything so much better when Daddy is there, too. Don't forget to drag him along whenever possible. When I take Daniel to places, and then take him back with Daddy and we are all together, it is just always so much more fun. Not sure exactly what it is, just the mood changes for everyone. I love it. I'm sure this is going to be the same when we have more kids, and all of the kids get to come too. There is just something about being a complete family that is really cool.
5) Eating. Another time when you have your little one at eye level, and with only you for entertainment. We are guilty of this, but I am really trying to not let TV or other outside things contaminate this special time. I think there was a real reason that Jesus picked a dinner to show us how to remember Him, and to make it a sacrament. It's not perfect yet in my family, but is getting there.
6) Singing. Just sing. They don't care what you sing, how you sing, or any of that. I remember growing up hinking that my mom should be in the choir because her voice was so pretty. She never was. Point is kids don't care, I promise. Just sing. It's really fun when they start singing back at you... simply amazing.
7) Local free stuff. Every city has festivals, ect. that are free or really cheap to go to especially when it's nice out. Young kids in particular don't really care what they do, as long as it's new. Don't be afraid to try going new places with a baby. Worst case scenario, they cry, it's not fun, and you just come home early. Big deal, right? More often than not, though, they love it, you have a blast, and so do they. Point is, don't be scared to try taking your little ones to new places.
Oh, for ideas on local free stuff, there is a facebook site that is called "Fort Worth on the Cheap" that has awesome postings of local goings on...
8) Reading. I remember tearing up when reading "Oh the places you'll go" to Daniel when he was little. They just love to read. It doesn't matter what~ although, we go for books with much lower word to page ratio's at the moment~ they just love to read books. It's time to cuddle, to learn, to experience new things. Not to mention, this is one of the few times that I get to learn just how extensive Daniel's vocabulary is... I would never know that he knows what an owl is or wolf if it weren't for some very cool books.
9)Sleeping/Napping. Last summer, Daniel was sick with his allergies, and teething, and he was reaching a "touchpoint" when learning to walk all at once. These things all together really started to get to him, so he refused to nap in his crib. If I would put him in there awake, he would cry. If I would put him in there asleep, he would wake up after 30 minutes and cry. But, if I would just let him sleep on me on the couch, he would sleep for 2 hours or longer. Now, I didn't get to get alot of house work done in this time. I didn't get my "me" time, but it was only a couple of months that I got to have my baby sleep on me. It was good, also, because it forced me to take the time to relax, too. I just laid there and read, or whatever else you could do laying on the couch. The laundry waited. It's good about that, it will always be there tomorrow.
10) This one is for you. What do you like to do with your little ones? Take the time to spend with your little one, and figure out some cool stuff to do with them today. I have a friend, whom I admire who does crafts with her daughter every Monday, as has since she was very young, like 12 months old. Kudos to you, because that just wasn't happening over here with my b-o-y. But, they had a blast, and still do... so you get to fill in this blank for you. Have fun!
Enjoy your little ones now, because you never know how long that you get to have them.