Catch me on any given day, and I'll probably be quick to tell you how busy I am. I know, I know; it's annoying. However, it's also true. My life seems so complicated as a mother, a writer, an editor, a romantic partner, and an adult with bills and other responsibilities, like snaking the drain or going to the DMV. Thankfully, the are ways having a kid makes you appreciate the little things, so I don't get as caught up in the big-but-arguably-unnecessary parts of everyday life. I can stop and appreciate what I would normally take for granted or even ignore, because those things are the only things my son sees.
For example, when walking down the sidewalk my son makes it a point to stop and wave at every single person we pass. I don't take the time to do that, because I fancy myself a busy adult with places to go and other people to see. I'm "too busy" to be a kind human being. I'm "too preoccupied" to say hello to my neighbor or the owner of my favorite corner store. Not my son, though, and I'm when I'm with him I'm encouraged — if not forced — to slow down and really see and appreciate the people around me.
Sure, sometimes it's also somewhat of an annoyance. I mean, I'm all for taking the time to stop and appreciate the small stuff, but I can only wax poetic about an airplane in the sky or talk about how incredible a spoon is for so long. Still, my son reminds me to slow down on a daily basis, and I'm thankful for those reminders. So, with that in mind, here are a few ways having a kid makes you appreciate the little things that adulthood encourages us to ignore.
Counting To Ten Is An Incredible Feat
I don't know about you, dear reader, but the moment my kid counted to ten I felt like crying. I was so excited, and so was he. Every time he hits "ten," he throws his hands up in the air, widens his eyes, raises his voice and smiles. He then follows up his incredible mathematical feat with a few claps and some celebratory jumps. It's adorable.
I mean, he's just counting to ten. It's not that big of a deal, as far as life accomplishments go, but it's a big deal now. This little thing is a huge thing and I make no apologies for treating it as such.
The Boxes Toys Come In Are More Fun Than The Toys
Every time my son is gifted with a toy or trinket, he cares more about the box than anything else. Sure, the toy is "cool" and he might give it a few minutes of his time, but he usually ditches it for the box it came in. That box — that seemingly simple, cardboard whatever — can be a million different things, so that's what he goes for. He'll throw the box, climb in the box, tear the box up, move the box, put things in the box; you name it, he does it, and he gets more bang for his buck out of ht box than he does the toy.
It's somewhat infuriating because, well, we paid for that toy he is neglecting. Still, it's a very wonderful reminder that material things really and truly don't matter. Sometimes, all you need is your imagination.
Airplanes Are Magical Entities In The Sky
As an adult, hearing airplanes overhead is just annoying. I mean, they're loud and you hear them every few minutes or so (depending on where you live) and it's a damn pain. My son, however, thinks they're the most incredible things in the world and he must take the time to stop and point and yell, "Airplane!" for all to hear because, hello, here's this incredible metal tube carrying people from point A to point B, thousands of feet up in the air. That's insane.
Instead of just ignoring this amazing example of human innovation, I stop and marvel at the airplanes, too. Yes, my son insists so it's not like I have a choice, but I'm really thankful that my son makes me stop and appreciate the little things. Things I take for granted on a daily basis.
Putting On Your Shoes Deserves A Parade
It's insane that my son can put his shoes on. I mean, he's just two years old but already he can put his shoes on by himself. Himself, you guys.
OK, so it's not that big of a deal, but it is when you have a kid and you've become so accustomed to doing everything for them. When they finally start being more independent, you are almost forced to realize how incredible it is that human beings can do anything at all. I mean, seriously; how do we do anything?
Not Pooping On The Floor Is Considered A Success
Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I'd be in a position to actively celebrate someone pooping in a toilet. It seems so, you know, simple. Then I stated potty training my toddler and realized that a human being pooping anywhere besides my kitchen floor is pretty incredible. It truly is the little things, you guys. The little things, and the modern marvel that is plumbing.
Saying One, Single Syllable Word Is A Big Deal...
It's said that the average woman says 20,000 word a day. So, yeah, saying words isn't really that big of a deal. Not to me.
Unless, of course, you're my son and you say any word. Ever. Then it's a very big deal. As a lover of all things English and language in general, I really do have to stop and thank my son for reminding me that the ability to speak is pretty incredible. It's so easy to take for granted words and how we've managed to use them to communicate with other people. So, when my son stopped crying when he was hungry, and simply said, "Mom, I'm hungry," I was acutely aware that words are awesome. So, so awesome.
...And A Baby Smiling Is Like A Baby Figuring Out The Square Root Of Something
There's nothing like the first time you see your kid smile. It's such a simple task, but it's so beautiful and wonderful and fills you with a feeling you've probably never felt before.
Something Simple, Like A Fan, Can Keep Them Entertained For Hours
I really don't need to put on a television show or make funny faces or noises or read my son books or buy him the newest, coolest toy, in order to keep him entertained. Honestly, I just need to put him in front of a fan.
My kid will sit in front of a fan for 15 minutes, turning it off and on and off and on, completely content. Wind, you guys. My kid is happy just feeling wind.
Everything They Need Is Simple...
For the most part, your kid just needs the basic necessities to be happy. They want to be fed, they want to be clothed, they want to be protected, they want to be talked to and interacted with, they want to be comforted and they want to learn. That's such simple, easy things.
I know, I know; it can be complicated at times and there are certain things — socioeconomic status or failing political policies that affect public education, for example — that can make those things harder, but for the most part there's no reason to not keep things simple.
...And They Don't Complicate Situations
My son keeps things simple. If he's upset, he tells me. If he's happy, he tells me. If he wants something, he tells me. If he doesn't want to do something, he tells me. He's honest (sometimes, to a fault) and that honesty keeps things easy and simple.
As an adult, I'm pretty great at complicating certain situations or looking over the smaller things in favor of the bigger moments. Having a kid, however, brings me back to neutral and strips my vision of everything we've been told, as adults, we need to care about or associate ourselves with. I get to be excited about boxes, for goodness sakes.