I decided to write about spring because — it’s spring. So I sat down and thought about all the different things that spring means — new life, flowers, green grass, new light, daylight savings , hopefully no more snowsuits, happier moods… a general reawakening.
Then I found this quote from Mark Twain: “In the spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
“Wow”, I thought, “He is so right on.”
In spring we get our hopes up with hints and teasers of warm sunny weather. Then it snows again or rains, then it’s sunny, then it’s hailing etc.
The more I thought about it the more I realized that this is what life with kids is like. In one day your kids can have 136 different moods. And we have to ride the waves.
As soon as our babies are born, we quickly learn that their state of being can change in a second. They are quiet and content and then suddenly they are miserable. Pick them up and suddenly they are quiet and content. Their tummies hurt and they are miserable again. And on and on. We learn to be flexible. We learn that (most) babies are unpredictable. We learn that there are cycles in a baby’s day. And as we struggle through those early months, one day much to our amazement, we experience the miracle of our babies’ first smile. Like the first flower of spring, our babies begin to blossom.
As our babies grow into toddlers and our toddlers into preschoolers and our preschoolers into school age kids and then — oh my — into teenagers, the 136 different moods continue. We’ve all had many experiences of having a wonderful happy time with our little ones, then they get frustrated or hungry or tired, (or they have to leave Mountain Baby) and suddenly we’re immersed in a tragedy. Again, flexibility is key: we just have to deal with what’s happening. and accept that there’s been a dramatic change in the weather.
But with increasing maturity, and our love and guidance, children learn to express themselves in other ways than crying (sometimes).
They learn to tell us what’s wrong and how they feel. We teach them how to go through “stormy weather.” They begin to learn some self control and they develop skills in being with others. We begin to see the person they are becoming.
It’s easy to get discouraged when we see the ups and downs. The 136 different moods and feelings are very challenging for us.
I remember hearing from a very wise and experienced parent, that when your children are most difficult, they need you the most. And I’ve learned from my many years in working with young children, that children often go through very stormy times right before they are going to make a major developmental leap forward.
Our children’s growth and development is like a perpetual spring. There are always new awakenings, new blossomings, sudden hailstorms, soft warm breezes, torrential downpours, and then, a beautiful rainbow appears.
Let’s appreciate and rejoice in the miraculous growth that we see unfolding in our children. And let’s remember what Robin Williams says about spring:
Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
Judy Banfield has a master’s degree in early childhood education, is an internationally certified lactation consultant, and is the owner of downtown Nelson’s Mountain Baby retail store