Somebody’s Watching Me

Not really my family--but aren't they precious?

Not really my family–but aren’t they precious?

The other morning, my girl was Driving Me Crazy.  In desperation, I suggested, “Why don’t you go help your daddy make our bed?”. She (quietly!) left the bathroom where I was getting ready.  A few seconds later, my husband called me into our room because Little Miss had grabbed a decorative pillow we keep on the made bed and walked over to hand it to Daddy. Let’s review:

  • My daughter sleeps on a mat at daycare and in a crib without covers at home.
  • I have not spent any time teaching her, “this is how we make a bed”.
  • I don’t suppose her teachers at daycare have done so either.

There have been other  moments when I realize how much she picks up from my husband and me without us realizing it.  Like the time when I declared it was time for bed and she stopped what she was doing and toddled over to the stairs and started crawling up to her room.  Or the first time she picked up my phone, held it to her ear and cocked her head just a little as if she was chatting with her friend.  I swear I’m not much of a phone talker–but enough for her to understand, I guess. It is absolutely incredible how quickly babies learn–even without deliberate teaching. So I started reflecting on what else she is probably noticing and learning about marriage, relationships and life from us.

  • I imagine she notices that I usually get a ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ kiss from Daddy before she does.  She could be learning that whereas she is the Most Precious Gift we’ve ever received, my husband and I chose each other–and that relationship is very sacred.
  • She has most likely picked up that rather than heading home after I pick her up from daycare, we’ve been going straight to the gym to help with volleyball practice.  Sometimes we see Daddy and his team at the track.  She might be learning the enjoyment we get from athletics and the relationships we have with our colleagues and athletes we coach.  Or maybe she’ll pick up leadership traits from watching her parents coach.
  • She probably notices that Mommy usually does the dishes and the laundry and Daddy usually takes out the garbage and empties the dishwasher.  We are probably impacting her expected roles for her and her future husband.
  • But sometimes, she might see Mommy taking out the garbage or Daddy pitching in with laundry.  I hope she’s learning that by taking something off of the other’s to-do list is a way to show love for each other.

Realizing the impact our normal, boring, everyday living is affecting her growth and development is heart-warming and absolutely terrifying at the same time.  What pressure there is to be perfect!  Both my husband and I believe in Grace and grasp that we are imperfect people who are raising an imperfect child.  But small moments like these really can stop me in my tracks.  Especially when I realize that I will have this role as an accidental teacher for the rest of my life.

What lessons are you and your spouse teaching your children?