The other day I was baking a spaghetti squash in the middle of the day for a casserole I was making that night. As it was baking and playing with my daughter she decided to say “I don’t want spaghetti squash right now.” I told her she did not need to eat the spaghetti squash and I would set aside some dinner sans spaghetti squash so she didn’t need to worry. She was still pretty concerned about the whole spaghetti squash thing and couldn’t let it go. No matter what I told her she spent a few minutes worried about the possibility of having spaghetti squash at some future time. I wanted to just tell her that she didn’t have any need to worry, I was not going to feed her spaghetti squash, so she was worrying about absolutely nothing. I also want to tell her that even if I did feed her spaghetti squash it wouldn’t be for a long time so she really didn’t need to worry about it right now. I also wanted her to understand that if I did serve her spaghetti squash, it would be because spaghetti squash has nutrients inside of it that help our bodies stay strong and capable, and so even though spaghetti squash is not her favorite thing, it would truly be good for her.
And then I thought about me. How much I worry about things that may or may not happen in a future date. Things I don’t need to worry about – one, because they may never happen, two, because if they do I really don’t need to worry about until they happen, and three because I have faith that God has a hand in my life and all things that do happen in my life will be good for me. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, and as a child of God I sometimes struggle in the same way my daughter struggles with things in her life.
When I struggle it is hard for me because I feel like should know better, and do better, that I should not succumb to worry or fear. Then I remember how I feel about my daughter, I wish so much that she would not worry because of all the things I know, but she doesn’t understand. I recognize that she does not have the understanding I do, and even though she is having a hard time when she really doesn’t need to, what I do is just love her through the struggle. And I believe that is what Heavenly Father does for me. Sometimes I think He loses patience with me, but I believe the truth is that, no matter how I struggle, He is always just willing to love me through everything.
Thank goodness for that truth.
I want to share one of my favorite books each week on this blog, and I thought I would start with my very favorite find of 2016. You Belong Here by M. H. Clark, is beautifully written and illustrated. When I was choosing a Christmas present for my two year old daughter I knew this book would reflect my feelings for her and would be a treasure to read snuggled on our big chair before bed. This book describes the various places animals belong and suggests frequently “you belong here with me.” As I look at my little daughter, I feel so thankful that for this season of my life and her life, she belongs here with me.
For me, this book is one to have in my personal library. If you haven’t read it, check it out from your local library and then find an occasion to buy it for the little one that belongs with you.
Another great week. When I started doing this teaching my toddler thing, I didn’t look too far into the alphabet. I had lots of ideas for the letters A, B, C, D and as I have gone on I can hardly believe how far we have made it.
The Letter H Booklist
Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson- This cute story follows two hedgehog friends who try to figure out how they can hug each other. The illustrations are adorable and so is the story.
Henry Hodges Needs a Friend by Andy Andrews- I really like this story about how Henry Hodges finds a perfect friend.
In My Heart by Jo Witek- I think this book is beautifully put together and I love how all the different feelings we experience are presented. It is helpful for me and one we will continually check out again and again.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen- This book is super silly, but I throughly enjoyed reading it. It was also the perfect book for our little activity this week.
Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss- Our Dr. Seuss book of the week. This is one of my very favorite Dr. Seuss books! I love Horton and his dedication to saving those small who’s because a person’s a person no matter how small!
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion- This book is very cute and I love how my daughter is really concerned about how Harry needs a bath towards the end of the book!
Home by Carson Ellis- This beautiful book was gifted to us recently and it is one of our favorites to read together. I love all of the different places home can be. The illustrations are my favorite.
The Letter H Printables
This week we have the Letter H Notecard and the Letter H Do-a-Dot.
The Letter H Activity
This activity probably seems like it was thrown together at the last minute, and yes it was. In the silly story “I want my hat back” bear is looking for his red pointy hat. I thought our sloth stuffed animal looked a little like bear so we made him his own red pointy hat. I think he looked pretty cute in it!
I have a two year old, and one of the best things about having a two year old is that I learn little truths from her every day. She keeps me grounded in what is most important in a crazy world, and helps me follow my dreams. I wanted to share some of the current lessons.
You Can Be Whoever You Want to Be-For Halloween this year we dressed up my daughter as Piglet, from Winnie the Pooh. For weeks, whenever she would see her costume she would declare, I can be Piglet. And on Halloween night she was Piglet. Sometimes I think we think about our goals and dreams and say to ourselves “I can’t be a mathematician, I’m just not good at math, or who am I to want to be an entrepreneur?” We questions our ability to become what we want to be, but if there is something we want to do, why not just declare “I can be _____________.” That declaration followed by some work, just might make it true.
Be Excited to Share Your Talents and Skills- Yesterday my husband took my daughter out to a nearby field to play some soccer. He was teaching her about different field positions and when she came home she ran through the door and said “Mama, I am a striker.” She had learned this new skill, kicking a soccer ball, and instead of being nervous about how inexperienced she was, she just declared with excitement the new things she learn. That attitude will allow her get better at this soccer skill in the future.
When All Else Fails, Sing a Song-Sometimes when my husband and I are talking and our daughter wants our attention, or when we are trying to get our daughter to eat a vegetable she is not interested in, she just starts singing a song. It is so cute and often results in us stopping our conversation to listen or we momentarily stop prodding her to eat. When she needs something she can become upset, but that doesn’t help anything much, or she can sing a song, and that seems to ease her struggles and allows us to help her more calmly. So when something is stressful, just sing a song, or listen to one.
In a crazy world, it is good to have a two year old around to teach me what matters most.
When I was pregnant with my little one I went to a baby shower of a friend. An older woman that was attending handed her preset to the soon to be mom. As she opened it she found a selection of classic children’s books. The older woman fervently stated that this mom to be needed to read to her child everyday because it was the best thing to do to prepare kids for school. I don’t know why but that always stuck with me.
My mom and my aunt are champions when it comes to reading with little ones. They both read out loud and are now sharing their favorite books with me. They talk about reading with kids as the best time of the day. I have fond memories of them both reading out loud to me at bedtime as I was falling asleep.
When I became a mother I took reading everyday seriously. Luckily I love children’s books, so in those early days when I was basically just reading out loud to myself with a wiggly baby, I still throughly enjoyed story time. Now with a 2 year old reading time has become not only the best time of the day, but one of my most cherished parts of the day.
I think one reason we need to read to our kids every day is because it is an intentional time to bond. When I am reading to my little one I have to put away all the distractions. I have to set aside my phone and technology, I have to stop cleaning and making grocery lists, I have to set aside anything I am doing and just sit with my little one and read. I feel like it is the only time of the day when I am purely focused on just being with my little one. We get to experience stories together. I love finding new books that we can experience for the first time together, and I love snuggling up with old favorites. I love knowing which parts will make her laugh or which pictures will draw her attention. In our home, story time is intentional time spent together. It is calm and peaceful. It slows down the world a little bit and brings me back to the reality of what is most important.
So pick up a good book and make reading with you child an important part of your day. I share some of my favorite books and library finds @readthelibrary on instagram if you need a little inspiration of what to read next.
I love holidays. There is something special about having a child when the holidays come. Everything becomes magical. I was reflecting on how special it is that I get to share holiday’s with my daughter. We loved Halloween this year. She was so excited about dressing up in her Piglet costume. She was thrilled to know we would be having chili and cornbread for dinner. She loved carving Jack O’ Lanterns with us and helped us pick out pumpkin seeds for roasting. We read many Halloween stories countless times. Every new experience was awesome to her.
The one thing she was most excited for was going trick or treating. She woke up on Halloween morning and the first thing she said when I walked into the room was “I need to go Trick or Treating.” (She often uses ‘need’ instead of ‘want.’) Throughout the day she mentioned Trick or Treating again and again, she was so excited. When night finally came and dinner was over, we put on her costume, and my husband took her to a few of our neighbors while I was finishing up with our Caramel Apples. After about 5 minutes of Trick or Treating they came back to our home and my daughter ran across the room to me with her bag exclaiming with enthusiasm “I got candy!” It was maybe 5 pieces but she was thrilled. It was like magic to her. She gave me a big hug and showed me her tiny haul and I think she would have been perfectly happy if that is all the trick or treating we had done that night. We took her out again though and it was so fun to watch her go house to house. As she went from house to house I could see her, the little girl she is, full of wonder.
It was a great reminder to me to keep my eyes open to the wonder and magic around us. As we grow up we lose some of that childlike wonder. I think we become more entitled, or we compare ourselves with others. We live in a future happy moment instead of being present in the happy moments we are in. The magic of Halloween, and the opportunity of watching my daughter experience it really allowed me to be present and joyful in all the goodness around me.
When I started the Teaching My Toddler Series I didn’t know how much she would love doing the letter Do-a-Dot pages. She thinks they are so fun, and it is a really good age appropriate activity that she can do all by herself. Since she loves them so much I though I would make a couple simple halloween do-a-dot pages that she could enjoy during this halloween season.
Candy Corn Witch Hat Ghost Pumpkin
Feel free to download these and let your little enjoy the fun of do-a-dot on Halloween!