Summertime and Scraped Knees

Living in Southern Alberta, we take every possible moment when the wind isn't howling, the sun is shining and the temperature isn't frigid to spend outdoors. I have two little girls who finish up breakfast and are promptly asking the play outside for the remainder of the day.

My girls are 3.5 and 1.5 years old. If you have toddlers you know that this age means bumps and bruises. Whether they're moving too fast and run into something or trip over their own feet, I feel like someone is always picking themselves up off the floor. I've learned rather quickly that my superpower is to heal "owies" with a single kiss (and occasionally with the help of a Doc McStuffins band-aid).

Being outside with my girls brings all sorts of new accidents to be had. From something as simple as walking to pick up the mail to something as complex as climbing on the playground, the risk of injury is never ending. We've officially entered scraped knee season and currently both girls have scabs on various body parts.

There are certainly times when I'm over cautious,
"don't run on the sidewalk."
"Don't climb up there."
"Stay close."
"Hold my hand."
The maternal protector in me comes out in full force. But I'm learning about balance; about letting my daughters explore and learn their own physical boundaries. While I often cringe watching my youngest run after her sister, envisioning her falling and getting road rash on her chin, there's something so beautiful about watching that sense of independence unfold before your own eyes.

As we're experiencing that transition from "baby to toddler" and "toddler to preschooler," I'm learning to trust my mothering instincts even more. The A-Type, controlling, perfectionist is me is being set aside as the proud mom watches her children grow up and discover the world and their place in it.

Motherhood is such a fine balancing act and I feel that as my daughters are growing, so am I. As they discover new abilities (and speeds!), I'm discovering the fine line between fear and faith in parenting. I have no doubt we'll be buying boxes upon boxes of Doc McStuffins band-aids this summer. I'm also confident knowing that the three of us will grow immensely into exactly who we're supposed to be. As I've been watching my flowers flourish I think it's fair to say that we've been flourishing, too.


Who You Are Vs What You Do

Ok, we did it! My oldest is potty trained. At 3.5 years old and after many battle of the wills, she decided she was ready and that was that. To say that I didn't beat myself up on a regular basis over my child who is quite intelligent not being potty trained would be an understatement.  It was a daily battle not feeling like a failure every time I changed a Pull-Up.

Unfortunately, social media was no help. "Potty Train in 3 Days," let me tell you, I tried every trick, bribe, method and timing in the book. And, although I have some amazing mom's in my life who continually encouraged me, reminding me that her not using the potty isn't a direct reflection on my parenting, there were a few (whom I sincerely hope unintentionally) weren't so kind in their comments or looks.

What I learned through the potty training process with my daughter is that ultimately what matters most is who you are, not what you do. This is something my husband and I strive to teach and model for our children, that their character is far more important then their skill set. There have been countless times that my toddler's character shone through and made more proud than any poop or pee on a potty could.

The same goes for you, at the end of the day, many won't care or remember what you can do, but they will remember how you made them feel. Do you look someone in the eyes and actually listen to what they're saying? Are you generous, more than fiscally, with your time, your words, your actions? Are you kind? Are you patient?

There is definitely a time and a place to let you skill set shine and I believe we've been gifted with talents for a purpose; but perhaps we put too much emphasis on the talent sometimes? In the parenting world we love to show off our offsprings latest learned skill, ensuring they're reaching those crucial milestones. And yes, milestones should be celebrated and new skills practiced, as should the budding character of our wee ones.

If you're feeling pressed down and like you don't measure up because of something as trivial as potty training, let me remind you that who you are far outshines what you do and in the end it always will.