TIP TUESDAY: Pay Attention, For Reals

The other night I was reading T one of his bedtime stories, again, for the umpteenth time (seriously, it’s a story we’ve read on-off since T was two-years-old). Yay for routine, right? Heh.

Anyway, as we were rolling along as we normally do, we got to one of the pages of the book and T points and says, “Hey, there’s the parrot they’re looking for!” And what do you know, it was honestly the first time I’ve actually seen this bird illustration on this page of this story that we’ve read together time and time again.

I asked T if this was the first time he’d seen the bird there, hiding behind a park bench in the picture (OK so that park bench detail is just me trying to qualify why this might have been an astute and original observation). Turns out, no, he’s seen it before, it’s always been there. And he broke out into this silly grin and started just laughing – at me.

Wow. I kind of felt silly, embarrassed really. While in the moment we laughed it off together, later on this experience truly give me a lot of birdseed for thought: Just how much are we parents paying attention?

Sad to say, so much of what we parents do just to “get through the day” gets awesomely overlooked, and what a disservice that is really to both our kids and ourselves. What is mundane to us is a comfortable routine for our kids, that cozy place for them to cuddle into, their safety zone. So much of what we parents set up as a routine to make a safer, happier place for our children oftentimes melds into the background of our days and just become to-dos to check off, much like a grocery list. While this of course at times might be the only way we can muddle through a really, really tough day together with our kids, how sad if this were to become our daily MO in our parental roles, or – worse yet – our regular outlook and approach on life.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go through my days like that, and I don’t want T to think that’s how I WANT to exist. Bor-ing. So I’ll take this brief experience as my notice to pay attention, for reals, obviously more often than I have been lately.