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Friday, January 17, 2014

Mrs. Mom: He Is Learning From Me

Any teacher will tell you that it is pretty much impossible to turn off your inner teacher.  So, I'm always finding ways to teach.  There are some situations where I have to engage my *filter* and restrain my inner teacher...but let's be honest:  sometimes that's just difficult!

Monday through Friday from 8:00-3:00 I teach 6 year olds.

But the rest of the time, I teach my 15 month old.  He is at that perfect age where his little brain is a sponge.  He absorbs everything we show him and is determined to figure EVERYTHING out.  So, indulge me and let me brag on my baby boy for a minute.

He can sign lots of everyday things {which makes it SO much easier to figure out what he wants and needs} like: more please, all done, where is it?, hi, bye-bye, thank you, eat, water, milk, yummy, sleep, outside, train, airplane, read, no, bath, *kisses*, and I love you.
He can say, "Mama," "Dadda" (when he wants to) and the first sounds of things that start with m, b, p, s and y.
He can follow one-step directions.
He can point out most body parts.
He can make animal sounds for: cow, duck, cat, dog, fox {what does the fox say?}, baby, and sheep.
He can sleep 12 solid hours at night and nap for 2-3 hours during the day.
He can put himself to sleep and has been since he was 9 weeks old.
He can use a spoon to feed himself.
He can tell the sounds the letters A, B, and C make.
He can work anything--ANYTHING!--with buttons.
He can dance to music.
He can point out everyone in our family, including, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents and great-grandparents.
He can turn a book the correct way to read.
He can turn pages independently.
He can point out characters and objects in books.

I'll stop there for now...

I love this stage.  But, frankly, I've loved every stage.  He is constantly learning from me and from others around him.  Seeing your baby grow through your "teacher eyes" is an awesome perspective.  I was obsessed with child psych classes in college. {I always wanted to go back and get a second Masters degree in Child Psychology...still considering that one.} So, everything Cooper does gets "psychoanalyzed" by Mrs. Mommy.  I know, I know.  I'm a nerd.  But I just love that kind of stuff.  Even Mr. has learned what "object permanence" is. And, God love his heart, he plays along with me.  Bless him!

I take teaching seriously.  But I take teaching my own child seriouslier...or more seriously.  Whatever... While the signs, animal sounds and concepts of print he's learning are amazing to me, it's not eternal.  What an awesome responsibility God has given me to equip my child to be a productive contributor of our society.  Cooper is learning from me.  My in-laws gave us this sign for Cooper's nursery.  It was in Mr.'s nursery when he was a baby.  It's a simple reminder everyday that we are his first teachers.



In college I read that 80% of the brain is fully developed before a child enters kindergarten.  80%.  That's hard to believe.  But then again, it's not.  Right now, Cooper is learning something new every day--every minute--about his world from me. And these are the things that are forever.

He has learned to trust mommy and daddy.
He has learned that we will keep him safe.
He has learned that we will comfort him when he is upset.
He has learned to smile.
He has learned to laugh and be silly.
He has learned that it's ok to fail, but to try again.
He has learned to be creative and find ways to play with things around him...even if it's not a "toy."
He has learned to interact positively with other people.
He has learned that going to church is important, but fun too.
He has learned to pray. {He even folds his hands when we tell him we are going to pray.}
He has learned to appreciate others by saying signing, "thank you."
He has learned to help people.
He is learning to be empathetic to others through hugs.
He is learning flexibility and the ability to adjust easily in all situations.
He has learned that, like our heavenly Father, his parents' love is unconditional.

While academics and cognitive development are important to me and I'm always proud to "brag" on his new discoveries, every now and then I like to stop and think about all of the "LIFE" things he's learning too. After all, parenting is a divinely appointed task.  To think that my Creator entrusted me to teach my baby about being a life-long follower of Jesus is flattering and nerve-racking all at the same time.

Psalms 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

What a blessing Cooper is to us.  He is truly a gift from God.  I didn't earn the right to have a child.  God freely gave me my child as a gift. I hope I never forget that.  Even on those worst of the worst days that are sure to come.  He is what we wanted.  He is what we prayed for.  I will spend my life parenting him like the perfect gift he is.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.

I have seen this truth already in just 15 short months.  Teaching Cooper makes  my heart happy.  Seeing him learn brings me joy.  Witnessing his loving personality that we have tried our hardest to cultivate has given me peace of mind about his future.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

These verses convict and choke me up every time I read them. 

Am I being a good example for Cooper and doing the good works God created me to do? Because he is watching and learning from me

Am I instilling God's truths into my son enough? Because he is learning from me.

Do I repeat God's love over and over, again and again to him? Because he is learning from me.

Am I comfortable enough with God's Word to talk about it at home, around others, on the road, during the day, and at bedtime? Because he is learning from me.

I am doing my best.  But, so help me God, my best today will not be my best tomorrow.  I will be the best Mrs. Mommy I can be to my child.  God expects my best.  And Cooper deserves my best.  Because...he is learning from me.