Believe it or not, an 18 month old can teach you quite a bit about yourself even without being able to communicate using recognizable words. As I sit back to watch my son play or interact with my husband, I find myself wondering where did he learn that. A few minutes go by, and I notice my husband doing that very same thing that I was wondering about. It dawns on me, he gets it from us. We are setting the example whether we are ready or not.
Kids are little sponges that soak up knowledge of boundaries, rules, life skills, how to interact, coping skills etc. from those around them. Before becoming a Mama, I didn’t realize how much it would be up to me and those close to set the example. My husband and I find it humorous at times because there are particular traits or habits that when Dexter displays them we will say to each other, “Your Son”. Meaning that trait is totally a “you” trait, he either learned or inherited that from you. Some of the “Your Son” traits make you proud… others not so much.
Often times, as I pick him up from “Grandpa Daycare,” I see him with Grandpa and watch how things change when Grandma gets home from work. The phrase we use for this situation is #ThatsWhyGrandpa in reference to that is why he spends most his time with Grandpa instead of Grandma. Grandpa has a general set of guidelines that are understood by both parties. However, when Grandma shows up it is a free for all.
Knowing that you are responsible for setting the example can be scary and overwhelming. Some days are tougher than others. Shortly after having Dexter, I realized how important it was for me to take time for myself and not forget who I am. Setting an example and taking care of myself became my motivation to push myself to get better, to be better. Whether it was cleaning up my diet, managing my stress, becoming a better wife, exercising on a routine basis, I owe it to myself and in return am setting that positive example for Dexter.
Now I am starting to witness the impact of the positive changes we’ve have made. Whether it is Dexter standing at the fridge with his cracker waiting for me to get the hummus out for him or pushing his stool over so he can help prepare dinner, he enjoys the positive example we have set.
In the end this has paid off for me, Dexter now sets the example for me on the days that I am just not quite feeling it. Since our normal routine includes an evening workout, he will stand at the top of the stairs at our baby gate shaking it until we go down to get in that workout. He is definitely “my son” on those nights!