Miss Belle has recently become obsessed with reading. If I sit down on the couch at any point in the day, I can be assured that she will be at my feet holding a book up in the air for me to read. My "quick" facebook and e-mail checks have been seriously interrupted.
One day, as I was holding my daughter on my lap and trying to read "Go Dog, Go!" for the BILLIONTH time while simultaneously checking my e-mail, it hit me: "What am I doing!?!?!" Do I think this 15 month old girl is dumb? Do I really think she doesn't see me looking at the computer screen instead of at the book (because I have it memorized, ya know)? Miss Belle may not speak, but at such a young age she already understands non-verbal communication very well. And what I was saying was, "this e-mail and computer is more important and interesting to me than reading to you."
This new reading obsession got me thinking about all the other times in the day I scream of being disinterested in my children without saying a word. I started to notice all the times my Peanut would be telling me his very theatrical stories or ask me questions, and I would be doing something else instead of looking him in the eye with interest. Or all the times he tells me, "Hum ear mama, I need show you someping" (come here, mama I need to show you something) and I make him wait, just one more google search, just one more dish, just one more load of laundry, just one more fill in the blank. How many times do my children call out my name and get a half serious "yes, sweetie?" while my eyes and attention are turned a different way? How many times have I shouted across the room for them to do something or stop that instead of getting up and showing them how? I tell them often how special they are and how much I love them, but often my actions don't coincide with my words.
I am happy for Miss Belle's new reading obsession. It has forced me to looked at how present I really am to my children. I know the days where she climbs up on my lap to read will be over in the blink of an eye. I need to cherish these moments when my children are small and I am their world. After all, if mommy and daddy don't treat them like they are God's greatest gifts to them, how will my children ever believe that they are valued, special and important in this world? I am focusing on putting the computer aside, the dish down and the project away and being present to my children. There is no task in my life more important than that. How do you make time and efforts to be present to your children throughout the day?
Alive not Dead: an Adventure through Life
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