If you try to call me after 7 p.m., especially on a weeknight, you’re short. Leave a message cause that’s when I am in the thick of things. Wrapping up dinner, washing dishes, making night time bottles, preparing bed time snacks, running bath water, pulling out school clothes for the next day and the list goes on and on. The routine is on auto-pilot and some nights run together or become a blur. But then there are those special times that capture your attention and force you to take a breath and enjoy the scenery and the moment.
Last week, I experienced one of those times. The bath water was running and the color changing tablet was taking effect and the bubbles were making a mountain near the faucet. I sat on the edge of the tub and grabbed an outdated copy of O Magazine and began to thumb through it. Of course my children believe their sole purpose is to make sure I never have a moment of peace and tranquility so not to be outdone, my toddler princess barges in and asks to read my book.
I pass her the magazine and give up on the thought of a quick escape through reading and reach to turn the water off. She flips the cover page and instantly gets excited. “Mommy, I see the continents.” You do I reply, not really listening. “Hmmm mmm,” she says, “this is Australia.” Okay so I stop and decide to look at the page, just in case this chick knows something unexpected.
And low and behold, there is a world map, including Australia staring at me in bright yellow and red print. So, I am amazed. I mean she is 3-years-old and I know I didn’t learn the continents until about the 4th grade, so I call to her daddy and I ask her to tell him what she just told me. She points to the picture and repeats “these are the continents and this is Australia.”
So here’s when it gets interesting. He says, “wow baby girl, that’s great. What other continents do you know.” Without hesitation, I lie to you not, this girl, repeats all seven continents.
Are you freaking kidding me, why didn’t I think to ask the follow up question? I was so elated that my bright little baby could recognize a world map, continents and correctly point out Australia that I didn’t think to ask her what else she knew. So believe it or not, I am not telling this story to brag about my child, but to highlight how I sold her short. I mean, even if she didn’t know any of the other continents, what a wonderful teachable moment I would have missed.
How many times has she told me something and I let it go in one ear and out the other? How many times was she expressing herself and her excitement about learning something or seeing something and I dismiss it? I have no idea how many opportunities I have missed to investigate the world she lives in? But I do know I will try my best to seize more of those moments even in the midst of a mundane routine.