It took a couple months, but both my kids got a chance to meet their 11-week-old niece last weekend.
In the days leading up to our brunch get together at Kent Narrows last weekend, the boys were excited.
On the morning we were to meet baby Zoe, Carson came downstairs with 50 books he wanted to share with Zoe. I convinced him to narrow it down to about six board books he wanted to take with him. While I was holding her at the restaurant, Carson brought out “The Nose Book” by Al Perkins and insisted I read it to her. Whenever I stopped to arrange her differently, he was quick to let me know I needed to keep reading to retain her attention. He held the book while I held Zoe.
When he wasn’t encouraging people to read to her, Carson was standing guard over Zoe. When he wasn’t eating, he clearly was focused on protecting her. At one point, when most of us were away from the table checking out the buffet, a man approached our table and Carson immediately made it clear he was not to come any closer to his little niece, who was asleep in her stroller. In his nonverbal, but anxious, way, he motioned for the man to carry on in a different direction. He even called his mom for backup.
As for Beckett, I was touched by his excitement and genuine interest in Zoe. He has always had a huge heart and is a sensitive, emotional type. As he gets older (turns 11 years old next weekend), these sensibilities are not always on display, but we get these reminders every now and again that really hit us. He may be changing in some ways, but he’s got a wonderful heart and cares deeply.
Beckett marveled over how everything was so incredibly small on Zoe. It was then I realized this was the first baby he has been around for an extended time since Carson was born. Since he was under 2 years old at that time, it’s understandable it would all seem so new to him. He was particularly fascinated by her tiny fingers as they wrapped around his.
Before meeting Zoe, he had talked about wanting to hold her but being scared because she’s so small. He didn’t want to hurt her if he was clumsy. I assured him we could get him in a good spot where she was safe with him. The result was a priceless photo of him holding her as she slept. He was clearly impacted by this meeting. I told him later you will always remember the first time you met her and will likely be amazed how much she has grown the next time you see her.
As for me, Zoe already had my heart before I met her, but I was smitten within minutes as she smiled at me and we babbled back and forth making silly sounds.
Raising a child is a windy road, but I think most parents have the same goal — to raise well-adjusted, independent and successful young adults.
That’s why a Time magazine article, “I Raised Two CEOs and a Doctor, These Are My Secrets To Parenting Successful Children” by author Esther Wojcicki, immediately caught my attention. I didn’t have time to read it so I screenshotted it and found it online later. It took me a couple weeks to get around to reading it. The keys the author writes about she calls TRICK (Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration and Kindness).
While you can find it online as well, here are some highlights:
“Independence relies upon a strong foundation of trust and respect. Children who learn self-control and responsibility early in life are much better equipped to face the challenges of adulthood, and also have the skills to innovate and think creatively. Truly independent kids are capable of coping with adversity, setbacks and boredom, all unavoidable aspects of life. They feel in control even when things around them are in chaos. …
“It is strange but true that we tend to treat those who are closest to us without the kindness and consideration that we extend to strangers. Parents love their children, but they are so familiar with them, they often take basic kindness for granted. And they don’t always model kindness as a behavior for the world as a whole. Real kindness involves gratitude and forgiveness, service toward others and an awareness of the world outside yourself. It’s important to show our kids that the most exciting and rewarding thing you can do is to make someone else’s life better.
“… The ultimate goal of TRICK is creating self-responsible people in a self-responsible world. This is what we’re doing as parents, teachers and employers — not just raising children or managing classrooms and boardrooms, but building the foundation of the future of humankind. We’re evolving human consciousness, and we’re doing it faster than ever before. You are the parent your child needs, and with your trust and respect, your child will become exactly the person they are meant to be.”