One of my favorite things about having a kidlet is getting to turn mundane errands and outings into grand adventures. Yes, it takes longer to get stuff done, but it’s also a lot more fun, and by slowing down and stopping to smell the roses, BabyRoX gets a better chance to learn about our wacky and wonderful world.

Yesterday we went to the grocery store. I had about 15 items on my list. Normally, it would take me 10 minutes to get those items and check out. But we were having a sensory and linguistic adventure! So it took around 45 minutes. We felt the drops of moisture on the celery stalks. We felt the smoothness of the butternut squash and the roughness of the pumpkin stem. We shivered in the dairy aisle and warmed up by the hot bar. We tasted the pears on the sample tray. I talked about each item, the colors and names and textures. BabyRoX chattered back, pointing at things and exploring each item I handed him.

I’m not immune to the parental guilt/pressure to provide my child with the perfect balance of stimulation, education, free play, and chill time. Does he have the “right” toys to encourage creativity and development? Does he have enough social interaction with peers and other adults? Are Mark and I playing the “right” games with him?

But then I step back and watch how fascinated BabyRoX is with clapping his hands, catching bubbles, touching a pumpkin. I don’t need to get him any fancy toys or sign him up for special classes. He is 11 months
old and everything around him is new and exciting. I just need to slow down and give him the opportunity to take it all in. To climb up and down the stairs 5 times. To play with his food.

I’m a pretty high energy, fast-paced person and I have a really calm, mellow child who likes to study things and people intently. Almost daily, I have to remind myself to slow down, to follow his lead, to sit for a moment and take in the world, to listen and observe.

He’s a great little teacher, and I love our everyday adventures. Today we are going to play with leaves and rocks. And hopefully not swallow any. Well, at least not any rocks. I think leaves will digest a bit better.

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