Sometimes I forget that Olivia is only three years old. I am really grateful to have Olivia as our first child because I can tell she’s going to be a really good big sister and set great examples for her siblings. Daniel and I are trying very hard to make sure we raise thoughtful, kind, and resourceful humans who care and make use of their brains. Here are two examples from this weekend-
- We gave a monetary gift to Olivia’s teacher for Christmas. At drop-off the other day, the teacher gave us a present for Olivia, because she said she really appreciated our gift. It was totally not necessary for her to do that, but we appreciate it. I tried to teach Olivia gratitude by letting her know she should thank her teacher on Monday and why. I started listing the effort that her teacher put in to getting this gift into Olivia’s hands- she spent the time to ponder what Olivia would like, she took time to shop for the gift, she spent the money to buy the actual present, she brought the gift with her to school so she could give it to us. Olivia added, “and she took the time to wrap it!” which made me smile since I didn’t even think of that myself, and it showed that Olivia understood what I was trying to teach her. Gratitude and manners are important, but I also want Olivia to understand that products do not just magically appear out of nowhere. I am not a fan of too much stuff, so I want to make sure my children understand the cost of materialism. While Olivia’s too young for me to go on a tirade about environmental impact, I like to think I’m building a strong foundation for her to think deeper and to care about the world around her.
- This morning Chloe coughed. Olivia stepped away from what she was working on (her beloved marble run), went over to Chloe, asked “Chloe, are you okay?” and then patted her on the back to help ease the cough. I loved how this sequence of events unfolded so naturally in front of me. Kudos to Daniel as he taught Olivia to ask “are you okay?” if someone is hurt. I don’t know who taught Olivia to pat someone on the back if they’re coughing- maybe she picked that up as that’s what we do for her. It is so heartwarming to see my little baby grow into a strong girl who definitely uses her brain to think for herself.
Since Chloe’s arrival, while Daniel and I try to give both babies as much of our time as possible, naturally we’ve split parenting duties so that I’m the primary caregiver (and food source) for Chloe while he looks after Olivia. He texted me last night-
I assume he means she’s independent because Olivia is able to hang out by herself and give him some alone time. She’s a fan of making arts and crafts by herself, coloring worksheets, and cutting up worksheets. Tonight while I went to put Chloe to sleep, Daniel made his dinner, and Olivia did her own thing. When I went to clean up her table as Daniel put her to bed, I was pleasantly surprised to see what she had been working on, all by herself-
While Olivia might not have understood the character she was writing, I appreciate her practicing her tracing and taking the initiative to work on something like this herself without asking for our help. Daniel was looking at photos of Olivia when she was two and it’s just crazy how much she’s grown in the last year and a half. I am excited to be part of Olivia’s journey and for the privilege of watching her grow up. Knowing what we know now about Olivia’s development, it’s also exciting to think of what’s coming for Chloe. So many fun things to look forward to!