Teri Parkhurst is a mom to a beautiful one-year-old boy and loves the joy and the challenges being a parent brings. Luckily, she has an amazing partner who helps her figure it all out. When she’s not busy with her little family, she works as a marketing and communications professional.
I’ve heard people talk about seeing the world through a child’s eyes, and about how remarkable it is to watch a person discover things for the first time. It really is a joy to experience, and, if you’ve ever spent any amount of time with a 14-month-old, you’ll know that these moments of wonder are pretty much constant—to the point where it takes about the double the amount of time to get anything done, because he wants to point at and touch essentially anything in his line of sight.
As a first-time mom, what I am really blown away by is not only my son’s intense curiosity about everything, but also his ability to learn new things. I can’t count the number of times we’ve commented on it over the first year of his life.
We would watch him laying on his belly during tummy time and say, “how will he ever roll over?” His arm gets in the way. He gets partway there and flops back. And so on. Then suddenly he was rolling back and forth as if he’d always been doing it, and it was hard to remember the times he had ever struggled.
More recently, when he started to walk, we had a similar experience. For a couple months, he would walk only if he could hold someone’s hand. You could tell he had the balance, and he didn’t really need that hand, but as soon as I let go he would sit down and look at me as if I was crazy for thinking he should try it on his own. We talked about how he would ever learn that he could do it himself.
Then he took a few shaky steps, and would walk solo from one person to another, and that lasted a few more days. Then suddenly he was strutting around as if he runs the place (which, let’s be honest, is mostly true), and as if he’s been doing it forever.
I know these examples are the typical milestones that, biologically, babies and toddlers will naturally hit as they grow. But what I hope he takes away from these experiences, and what I hope we can nurture and support as he grows older, is that desire to always know more, understand more, and see more.
I want him to travel the world, meet different people, step outside of his comfort zone, and conquer new horizons. It’s easy as we grow up to play it safe, and I’m as guilty of that as anyone. We find our routines and we stay within them, forgetting that it’s our responsibility to really experience life, to seek out the new and try different things, even if we have to try over and over and over again until we finally get it right. I want him to see his dad and me trying new things, learning new things, and always looking for ways to think and do things differently.
Is it weird to aspire to be more like a one-year-old? Every day, he reminds me of the beauty that’s right in front of us, of the different ways we can go about trying to accomplish a task, and of the feelings of pride and happiness that come with mastering a new skill. And if I can instill more of those values into my life, it would be a big win.