I have been on a self-imposed holiday hiatus (who hasn’t been?) due primarily to hosting my most favorite guests of all: my family. Our son in college and our oldest daughter, her husband, and my adorable 2-1/2 year old grandson, all came home for a 16 day visit (We were missing my younger daughter and husband– boo hoo). Sixteen days of supreme bliss: eating, laughing, eating, excursions, eating, movies, eating, game nights, eating, conversation, eating, playing, eating, staying up late, eating, sleeping in, and did I mention eating? We all had a glorious time.
I especially cherished the time with my grandson. I’ve shared recently on this blog how being a long distance grandparent is the pits so when I’ve got him within my clutches, you can bet I take advantage of every moment. So long chores; good bye obligations. Instead, it is all about spending quality time with my Jack. That is heaven to me.
Since we spent so much time together, I had lots of opportunities to observe Jack and his world: his moods, his habits, his likes and dislikes. And as I watched Jack in his daily routine, I realized there were things this two year old did that could benefit me as I look for ways to improve in the new year:
1) Breakfast Matters- Every morning, Jack woke up, came downstairs, and asked for a bowl of cereal. A simple, healthy breakfast to start his day. I know how important breakfast is, how it helps you concentrate through your day, gives you energy, and jump starts your brain. Yet I still regularly skip this meal either because I am in a hurry or I get side tracked or I use it as a means to cut back on calories. Helping Jack every morning get his breakfast reminded me that a simple, healthy breakfast is a necessary component to starting my day off right.
2) Time for Trains- Jack’s biggest use of his time every day revolved around his trains. Day in and day out, Jack was involved in some way with pushing around his trains on their tracks, making up different configurations and imagining new adventures. When he got frustrated or ran out of patience with what he was doing, he would ask one of the grown ups to join him and help him out. We were all amazed at how Jack never tired of this activity. Then it hit me: playing with trains was Jack’s “work” and the principles he was using could very well improve my daily work ethic by looking forward to my job each day, sticking with my daily goals, and including others to enhance my own responsibilities.
3) “Oh, hi Gram”- Whenever I would enter the room where Jack was, Jack would automatically stop, look right at me and say, “Oh, hi Gram.” He noticed my presence and wanted to let me know he knew I was there and that that mattered to him. Everyone appreciates validation and recognition. Show and tell others they are important.
4) Play at the Park- To break up the day, Jack and I would head to the park to play. It got us out of the house, changed our scenery, and was fun. We ran around, laughed, let it all go. Moving our bodies gave us all kinds of new energy and when we got back to the house, we were revived. Take time out each day for a little recreation.
5) Meet Mickey- During their stay, we took Jack to Disneyland for his first visit. Currently, Mickey Mouse is one of his favorites. He learned about Mickey and the gang by watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When he found out he was going to go to Mickey’s house and meet him, he could hardly contain himself. We had to wait in line a bit to see Mickey. This made Jack both excited and anxious. He got a little impatient and almost wanted to give up. When we finally made it to the room where Mickey was and it was our turn to greet him, Jack hesitated and wasn’t so sure he really wanted to meet him. We coaxed him a bit and encouraged him so that he finally was able to talk to Mickey and give him a hug. For the rest of the day, (and the rest of the trip), Jack was so excited to tell everyone he saw Mickey at his house. It made a big impression on him. There are lots of people whom I admire, who are bigger than life, who are my heroes. They have a lot to offer and can make a positive lasting impression on my life’s journey. Seek relationships with individuals that uplift and inspire.
6) Three Stories and Two Songs- Jack has a bedtime ritual that is observed every single night without fail. He puts on his pajamas and then he picks out three stories for me to read as we cuddle together on his bed. After the stories are read, he gets under the covers and I turn out the light. Lastly, he chooses two songs for me to sing to him (the children’s nursery type tunes). When I am done singing, he knows that that is his cue: time for bed. I shut his door and that is that. A night time routine is very settling. When your body and mind expect the same quiet down activities night after night, you can easily move into slumber land and get the rest needed to be revitalized for the next day. Observe a consistent bedtime ritual.
7) I Am Happy Now- Whenever Jack sensed some disappointment or some frustration in himself– he would break the tension by declaring “I am happy now.” And if he noticed those emotions in others, he would ask, “Are you happy now?” The state of being happy is relative, elusive, and a personal choice. If things aren’t making me happy, I need to figure out why and make a course correction because I know I am more productive, supportive to others, and optimistic when I am happy. Monitor my happiness level daily.
The New Year is always a good time for some personal reflection and to make adjustments as necessary. 2013 has some great possibilities in store for me. How can I assure they happen? Just follow the lead from my two year old grandson.
What new steps are you going to take to improve yourself this year?