When you become pregnant, it seems like every friend, family member and stranger you bump into has parenting advice to distribute. It never really bothered me since the intentions usually seemed sincere. That’s not to say every morsel of information was useful or deeply profound. That’s why it was surprising to me when one of the most meaningful pieces of parenting advice came from my Father-in-Law. Ready for it, “watch the ants.”
He told a story about a St. Martin holiday he went on with my then year old husband.. They were on this amazing caribbean island surrounded by the ocean. As they were walking to the beach, August became enthralled with some ants march along on the ground. There they were, just feet from an entire seaside play ground of swimming and sand castle building and all August wanted to do was watch ants. My Father-in-Law recalled feeling anxious to get to the beach so that he and August could have some proper Father-Son bonding time. After all, there were ants back home to look at. But in that moment as he looked at August intently watching the ants, he realized that this was his opportunity to bond. So they sat for a very long time together watching the ants move stuff and build things. He had forgotten, how the most simple of things, to a child, can be almost magical. His advice in the end was to, “spend a day doing what he wants, following him around and experiencing the World through him.” I’m glad he gave me permission to just be with my son. It’s those moments that I actually end up cherishing most of all. So, sit back and bask in the mundane with your child.
Here are a few sites that I think provide great information and ideas on simple ways to spend time with your kids.