10 Things I’ve Learned from My Toddler

vivi11There isn’t a parent out there who knows everything about parenting, which ultimately means there are no perfect parents out there. Reading all the parenting books in the world isn’t going to lead anyone to know everything about parenting. The only real way to learn about parenting is through experience.

At times it felt like Casey and I were sent through some obstacle course without having any kind of instruction manual or guidance throughout Addie’s first few years of life. We were tossed into the mix and forced to figure out the answers we were looking for. Parenting books helped us along the way, but one of the first things we learned was that parenting solutions are not like math solutions. Math solutions are constant. There are no variations. Run a math problem the proper way and the correct result will appear every time. Run a parenting problem through a parenting solution properly and you could end up with a thousand different results. That’s just the nature of parenting.

By the time Casey and I learned that Vivi was on the way, I think I learned to be a bit too cocky. I had already helped a child live through 6 years of life, so there was no way I couldn’t help another child do the same. After all, the second child would be the same as the first child since both came from Casey and me.

Yeah, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Although I’m only 20 or so months into being Vivi’s parent, I’ve learned quite a few life lessons from the little 2-foot, 28-pound munchkin, and I’m sure I’ll learn quite a bit more in the future. So far, here are some of the things I’ve learned from Vivi:

  • The Love Between Sisters 1 of 10
    The Love Between Sisters
    Vivi has taught me about the love that can exist between two sisters. Watching these two girls play together has brought some of the happiest times of my life. I dropped Addie and Vivi off at the Jungle Club at my gym the other day and I watched as Vivi grabbed Addie's hand to pull her into the Jungle Club room and I wanted time to freeze. Vivi wanted to make sure that Addie didn't sneak off anywhere. She wanted Addie right there in the Jungle Club so they could play together.
  • To be Patient 2 of 10
    To be Patient
    Vivi has taught me about patience. When Addie was little I wasn't around a whole lot. I was always at school or work and only had a few minutes here and there to spend with Addie. While Casey was at her first blogger conference, she left Addie home with me. After our three days alone together, I don't think either of us wanted Casey to ever go anywhere again. I just didn't have the patience necessary to handle a toddler Addie on my own. What I've learned having been around quite a bit more for Vivi is that toddlers require a lot of patience and if I can keep my patience in check there are no problems that are too big to fix.
  • To Live Without Regret 3 of 10
    To Live Without Regret
    Vivi has taught me to live without any regrets. I realized pretty quickly how much of Addie's life I had missed once Vivi was born. I've made a major effort with Vivi to try to enjoy every minute of her life. No matter what is going on I try to incorporate Vivi into whatever I'm doing as much as I can. I also try to get on the floor with her and play games with her as often as possible. I haven't shied away from any parenting challenges because I realize that Vivi will only be this age once and she may be the last little toddler I get to raise.
  • How to Fly with a Toddler 4 of 10
    How to Fly with a Toddler
    Vivi has taught me how to fly with a toddler. I only remember flying with Addie a couple of times and she stressed me out beyond belief. She was constantly kicking other people's chairs and made a lot of noise. One time Casey decided to get bumped from her flight and had me take Addie alone on a flight through Baltimore on its way back to Indiana. I was beyond panicked throughout the entire experience. If the same thing happened now, I'm so comfortable taking care of Vivi that I would insist on being the one who took Vivi on the plane alone.
  • How to Feed a Toddler 5 of 10
    How to Feed a Toddler
    As part of my decision to take on all parenting challenges, I've learned how to feed a toddler pretty quickly. My first time staying home with Vivi alone for a significant period of time, meaning for more than two days, I realized Vivi was out of baby food and I forgot to buy some from the store. I grabbed Casey's baby food chopper thingy and began chopping things and it worked. My ability to make food for Vivi has only improved from there.
  • Kids Come with Differences 6 of 10
    Kids Come with Differences
    This one should be obvious for most people, but Vivi has taught how different two girls can be even when those girls are sisters. Addie loved binkies. Vivi hated binkies. Addie couldn't fall asleep on her own. Vivi falls asleep like a champ. Addie loved Pooh Bear. Vivi loves to say Pooh Bear. Addie has curly hair. Vivi has slightly curly hair.
  • Enjoying the Moment 7 of 10
    Enjoying the Moment
    Vivi has taught me how to enjoy the moment. I've spent many, many nights rocking Vivi back to sleep. Getting up to rock Addie to sleep used to leave me bored and anxious to get back to doing whatever I was doing and it made the experience frustrating. There's no difference between how I feel about Addie and Vivi, but I really made an effort to use my time rocking Vivi as a moment to enjoy being with my child. Those moments aren't going to last forever and they'll be over before I realize just how quickly it went.
  • What can be Learned from Blogging 8 of 10
    What can be Learned from Blogging
    Vivi has taught me about how much a person can learn from blogging. There are so many times when I've been thinking about what to write about when I realize what I need to do better as a parent, or what I have enjoyed about being a parent. Most of those realizations would have never occurred had I not decided to blog for Babble. Without Vivi there's no way I would have ended up blogging for Babble.
  • A Love of Sesame Street 9 of 10
    A Love of Sesame Street
    Vivi has taught me the joys of watching Sesame Street. Casey and Addie used to watch Sesame Street all the time when Addie was younger. It drove me nuts. Who was this Elmo character anyway? I started watching Sesame Street with Vivi and I've seen how much that show has helped her learn and grow and I've become hooked. I find myself engaged in the show when I sit down to watch it with Vivi.
  • What’s Important in Life 10 of 10
    What's Important in Life
    Vivi has taught me about what's important in life. This lesson goes hand in hand with enjoying the moment and living without regrets, but I've spent a significant amount of my life focused on and worried about things I should not be so focused on and worried about. Vivi has helped me to realize that it's my family that is most important and is the one thing that will always be constant in my life. School has come and gone for me. Jobs will come and go, but my family will always be my family.

Read more about my family on Moosh in Indy or follow me on Twitter!

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