How to Really Love A Child


When I became a new mommy 13 years ago, my little sister gave me this

I really loved it and keep my copy close by.  I’m the mother 0f 4 now and I thought it would be a good time to take inventory:

Be There – I am with them 24/7/365!  Although being with them so much I’d hate to think that I take them for granted.  I try to be mindful to really, truly, heart and soul be with them all day, every day.

Say, “Yes” as Often as You Can – I do this as long as it’s safe, does not involve me spending money unnecessarily, and it doesn’t infringe on the safety and/or comfort of others – sadly, to them, this sounds like a lot of “No’s”.

Let Them Bang on Pots and Pans –  Did that until they got bored with it.  Now it’s the Warrior Princess taking up the call of the drums.  The funny thing about that is that her drumming reminds them of the fun they had as baby wildlings.  Their cacophony is a bonding experience that blinding migraines are made of.

If They’re Crabby Put Them in Water – this works for all the Natives including their tribal leader (aka Cowboy).

Read Books Out Loud with Joy – Do that.  Do that. Do that. Every day.  Usually in character voices.  Although, reading about snakes, insects, current events, wars, natural disasters, weapons, the history of weapons (their current interests) is pretty challenging to do, joyfully

Go Find Elephants and Kiss Them – . . . . . . we would if we could.  Until then we’ll kiss Tater.  His chin is very soft, especially if he’s been napping.

Encourage Silly –  I’m fine with them being silly.  They just like me to be silly with them.  Sadly, I forgot how to be silly.  I don’t think I ever knew how.  Lately, I have been joining them on the trampoline and I did race Spitfire up three flights of stairs at church tonight and I won!!  AND I bragged about (he’s not an easy competitor to beat) doing it in flip flops!

Giggle A lot – I giggled a lot when I beat him.  He giggled a lot when he served me ice cream loaded with jalapenos and all covered in chocolate sauce so I wouldn’t see them.  Though he wanted to wait quietly to watch the fireworks, he giggled and gave his whole gag away.  Cowboy and I giggled a lot when we attacked him with silly string for his birthday – while he was sleeping.  Squirrel giggles a lot.  He’s a natural.  His automatic pilot mode is happy. Squinch giggles a lot when he dances and when he wrestles his brothers. The Warrior Princess giggles a lot at everything, especially when she’s about to be fed . . .  ok we’ve got that one covered.

Remember How Really Small They Are – I do and it scares me.

Search Out the Positive – Necessity for sanity.  Just this morning Chief found my makeup table.  To him at was an abundance of tribal war paint.  The positive in that . . . he was expressing his individuality.  Besides whenever I wear my red lipstick, Spitfire doesn’t like it – he says I look like a “teenager”  (mental note, salvage what’s left of the lipstick).

Keep the Gleam in Your Eye –  this comes naturally to a mother of boys.  It’s a special kind of sparkle that is kind of all-knowing, seen-it-all, suspicious kind of look.  I have fun identifying that mom of boys look when I have the opportunity to meet new mothers in play groups.  Her eyes are full of mischief and danger, since she has to stay one step ahead of whatever her little boys might be cooking up.

See a Movie in Your Pajamas – I don’t know if I can do that. . . I’m too ‘grown-up’ for that nonsense. . . maybe that’s a little too immature for me . . . what will people say?!  Will we be allowed in?   On second thought,  there is a Cinebarre nearby. . .  maybe for a matinée.  They do want to see the new Peabody and Sherman.   I’ll have to noodle that one for a while – they’re only Littles for a minute.

Teach Feelings – this is a hard one for us.  The Natives are constantly hurting each others feelings and getting their feelings hurt.  They truly are barbarians.  Sometimes gremlin-like in their quest to devour one another.  YET they adore their little sister, they open the door for strangers, they love to help the residents at the nursing home play bingo, in a pinch they would defend each other to the death.  They truly do have hearts bigger then their little bodies.

Realize How Important it is to be a Child –  I need to remember this one.  I need to work on this one.  Especially when they start terrorizing each other.  Everything is a violation to their territory and an infraction to their egos.  I need to remember to stay objective. . . and not enact corporal punishment as  a means to restore peace and quiet back into the home, if even for a minute.

Plan to Build a Rocket ship – Shooting rockets is a favorite pass-time for Cowboy and the Natives.  I still don’t get it.  Do I really have to ‘build a rocket ship’?

Stop Yelling – I WISH I could do this.  But if I did THEY’D NEVER HEAR ME!  I’ve tried the get down to their level, whisper and engage them technique – not for us.  My knees wound up hurting and they ignored me none-the-less.  But for you SARK, for the love of my children, I continue trying.  I’ve actually put a reminder in my planner to, “HUG MORE, YELL LESS”.

Invent Pleasures Together – we do this all the time!  Lately, we’ve all been meeting in my bed to watch Dr. Who together.  Before Breakfast. Before School.  Sometimes, when Cowboy travels we’ll put off our daily responsibilities for 2 episodes!  Then, when the days over we’ll reconvene for more time and space travel!  I know CR-A-ZY! Cowboy and the Natives challenged each other in doing 100 push-ups in 30 days –  Spitfire, Squirrel and Cowboy completed it!  I’m so proud of my guys.

Surprise Them –  Cowboy and I love to do this. We see it as one of the perks of parenthood.  Actually I’m feeling a movie in pajamas surprise coming up.

Express Your Love A Lot – I think I do.  I hope I do, but it’s probably not enough.  Even if they don’t know it now, I hope one day they’ll realize how much I love them and then multiply that by infinity!


* this post was meant to have supporting photos.  maybe the next time I have a million hours of nothing to do I’ll do an updated post with pictures!






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