Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stop and Smell the Roses or Dandelions or Even Your Feet

Simple pleasures rule in Madeline’s world. Take today. Before helping me spread out a blanket for a picnic lunch, Madeline searched high and low for a pretty flower to pick for me. Every blossom she sees was grown for Mommy. She’ll find a bedraggled weed, pluck it from the ground, sniff it and then offer it to me as a gift. Today I received two tiny yellow buttercups.

Later we were playing outside after dinner. Over and over we jogged up a hill and then chased a bouncy blue ball back down. Her giggling never ceased and at one point, she looked up at me and exclaimed, “Mommy, dis is fun!” And you know what? It was. (That is, until I started getting Braxton-Hicks contractions!).

Although I’ve always been a kid at heart (I still love stuffed animals, books like "Charlotte’s Web" and "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish,” and occasionally eating ice cream for dinner), I’m also someone who has to consciously make an effort to “stop and smell the roses.” I’m a doer. I’m always tackling a “to-do” list. Yet, becoming a mom has helped me to take a step back and just live in the moment. Sometimes Madeline will ask me to play with Thomas the Train or to build a tower of blocks when I’m in the middle of a task like washing a sink full of dirty dishes. I’m often tempted to tell her that Mommy has to finish cleaning before she can come and play. Sometimes I do finish scrubbing off the grime, but more often than not, I tell myself that the dishes can wait, and get down on my hands and knees and push that train around the track or add a block to her mounting tower.

I’ve also re-discovered, thanks to Madeline, that while a sunny-faced dandelion is no rose, it does have an aroma – earthy and distinct. As for feet, well, Madeline convulses into giggles when you take a whiff of her tiny but often odiferous feet and say, “P.U., you smell!” So I’ve learned to smell those on occasion, too.

I love how Madeline appreciates all the little things in life – from the ladybug that crawled onto her leg during a recent outing to the crisp, crunching sound raw veggies make when you bite into them. “Big crunch!” she often exclaims after sinking her teeth into a carrot. Her joy and wonderment is contagious. I can’t help but notice the sweet smell of her skin (and feet!), the way the trees dance in the spring breeze or the silliness of a children’s song like “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” (her favorite tune right now). Best of all, soon I will have another child who has a whole world to discover and appreciate. If only those dirty dishes could clean themselves… Of course, if you ask Madeline, soap bubbles are quite fun, especially when you blanket your arms with the pearly suds.

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