lessons from the boogie monster.
by Leandra of Whatmyworldslike.com
This past week gave me the rare opportunity to spend time with a toddler. It was a really affirmative and awakening experience. As I approach the end of my twenties, consideration to marriage and children has landed upon me quite startingly considering the slight opposition I had to them in my early twenties. It wasn’t a staunch opposition; mostly, I just didn’t quite see either for myself. For years, I’d say that down the line, I saw myself with children, but didn’t know how they got there. Lately, that’s been all turned around. Being a great mother and wife are very important to me, despite my singleness. I see myself in an amazing partnership with lots of love for each other and for our child(ren). Being 28, this change of heart isn’t unheard of, even if it did surprise me.
Last week, my oldest friend, Alicia, aka, Nikki, was in town for a few days with her daughter, Gia, and husband. We made arrangements for me to babysit oneday so they both could get some work done. This is New York City and most of my friends are single and childless; I don’t babysit often. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve watched a toddler by myself. Still, I was actually really excited.
I awoke Wednesday morning with a mere five or six hours of sleep, but up with a sense of duty: I need to trek it to Manhattan to babysit Gia. Because of her torso wiggle dance, they call her Boogie. I call her Boogie Monster. She doesn’t get the reference, but it still makes her laugh, which makes me laugh.
After four hours of watching Boog by myself, a friend stops by to tag team the babysitting process with me not long before Nikki and her hubby return. I spent 13 hours with her before going home and sleeping for 13 hours after that. The next day when I saw them, I joked that Gia was a higher human being who knew how to consume human energy, while the rest of us feeble humans needed food. Really, after that night, I gained an even greater respect for my friend who works mostly from home and has her daughter with her most of the time. Where does she get the energy? How does she have so much on her plate and make it work?
It’s always interesting to hear why people want to have children. One common reason is to teach, which is an imperative I can understand and relate to. What’s intersting, though, is that there’s so much to learn from children. One of the biggest epiphanies I’ve had came from observing this 13-month old child reaching for any and everything. Babies don’t know what’s good for them or bad for them, and they don’t care. Really, they want what they want. When you intercept and say “no, that’s not good for you,” they cry and have tantrums. Sometimes, it’s a wail of cry from deep down. They’re really invested in what they want and how dare anyone get in the way.
Then I thought about myself. When I don’t get what I want, I may not have a physical tantrum, but I may have an emotional one. My attitude can instantly turn pissy as I experience my fit of frustration. Just like a child’s. Just like a 13-month old baby. But I’m an “adult”. Acting quite similar to a child. Maybe what I want and don’t get is something I don’t need. Or something I’m not ready for. Perhaps what I really need is something I don’t want at all.
The Boogie Monster taught me that I need to grow up and be patient. As a baby, she’s allowed a phase for tantrums, but that period for me has long since passed. To purport to believe that everything has a purpose and then to act out because I don’t get what I want is incongruent.
As much as I like to fancy the idea of children right now, those 13 hours were pivotal in letting me know how much I’d like to get done before I have to make that sort of lifetime commitment. Children are amazing and as much as possible, I really want to be ready. And mature. Having the time, money, and energy to dedicate to implementing the vision of parenting I have is now of the utmost importance. I have to grow to grow up.
Can you relate? Weigh in!
Leandra! I definitely have to agree with you on the wanting to throw tantrums sometimes, but I try to do my best to control myself and act like an adult but sometimes people make that difficult lol.
PS It was great to meet you at the after party last week and Nikki is right…you are inspirational! That comes through in your writing and in person. Sending positive vibes your way. Be well!
It's really interesting to respond to that question as to why you want kids. I think the answer reveals a lot about the person.
Kids are completely on another level. Their thinking is just completely from another planet entirely. Often I'll see parents talk to their very young kids as if they are adults, asking, "Do you think that is a good idea to do that?" or "What prompted you to do that?" And the kids is just looking at them with a blank expression.
Kids usually do stuff because they are curious and don't care about the consequences. That is why they need constant supervision.
This post is so ON TIME! I spent the weekend with my bestie & her 9 month old this past weekend. I had the time of my life, but WHEW! Just witnessing all that she does for her daughter everyday makes me aware that I still have ducks to arrange.
Children are incredible. But all things in due time!
Great read! I loved it. Funny enough I always wanted kids (3! how insane I was lol) but not so much marriage. I don't think I was all that informed, having been raised in a family of mostly single women.
But about spending time with Gia: I felt the saaaame way when I used to spend time with my little cousin. I love that girl with every fiber of my being, even now. I feel like I almost helped raise her with the way she used to be over at my house all the time.
She was pretty much the window into what having kids could possibly be like, and now living as a young mother to a beautiful 2 yr old boy, it's the most exhilarating and frustrating journey I've ever been on, lol. It's crazy to me. There are days I will just stare into his eyes and think, "Whoa… you were the person in my belly once upon a time and here you are walking around, throwing things, yelling at the top of your lungs, laughing when I sing the Berenstain Bears theme song along with the TV… whoa."
It is literally mindblowing, I can't even lie to you. There is nothing in the world like it. Nothing.
Thank you for sharing!
Wow! I can definitely relate. I've had the same feelings about marriage and kids and not feeling that neither are really for me. For the longest time I would say " I love being single. I don't need a man. I don't want kids." I would listen to my older sister (who's 30) say all the time how she feels like she's ready for those things but does't have them and would be all upset. Me, I didn't care. At the time I was cool. Not until this year did I start to have those feelings and it was a true wake up call. I do want to be married (I think) but the kid part I can wait on for sure. Like you said, I want everything to be in order and I want to be ready to not be selfish and be selfless. Thank you for your post! I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one.
@Ms. Overproof, I think you're absolutely right. Age, maturity, and wisdom are not all mutually inclusive. A sincere desire to be better, coupled with the will to make the necessary changes, usually yields positive results. Thank you for that reminder. 🙂
@belleaenca, I'm happy this helped you escape the angry/upset abyss. 🙂 (and I LOVE that phrase!) That epiphany about my own tantrums has been helping me move out and stay out of that place.
@Gigi, you are so sweet! Thank you. 🙂 The fact that children emulate their environments has probably been the second scariest prospect about having children, the first being finances. But like the posters before and after you said, I don't know too many people who are ever "ready" in every way.
*typo – the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world
Great amusing post! Children are a blessing from God and it is an honour and priviledge to have them.The sad thing in this time and age having a career vs family is what is promoted
when children are the future and reproducing is important as that is one of the most important thing our ancestors did otherwise we wouldnt be be here.
Bringing up children is hard as a Mom of two it is intense but it is worthwhile as my husband is a wonderful father.I have done me for bit its nice to not focus on myself as much.
As they say "the cradle that rocks the cradle rules the worlds".
IMO have as much as you can afford for some it will be one, some two etc….
I can definately relate. I have a 9 year old daughter and still have tantrums here and there. It's kind of funny because it seems like my daughter and I have the same attitude. They definately learn from their surroundings.
I don't think that anyone is prepared for having children. No one really knows the outcome of how their life changes after having a child.
Leandra has a beautiful smile and a touching way with words. I am a mother of two boys (4yr old and 10month old) and I learn so much from my 4yr old each day. Kids have a natural and innate ability to speak the truth. I love that about them. As adults this is why it's important to be your best self around children as their learning and behavior is shaped by what they see from us. Beautiful post.
I don't think one is EVER ready to have children. You can plan all you want but emotionally you are never ready. Of course it's always good to have some stability but it's a mysterious rollercoaster….
Great post – thanks! It's definitly centered me today. Two days ago I received a response that I was not expecting. I was upset, I got depressed at the unfairness of it all. Yesterday, though still upset, I was struggling with accepting that God always has a plan for us and that if something doesn't go the way we want them to is because, maybe, thats not the plan he has for us. Today I was starting to fall into that whole angry/upset phace and then I read your post which help bring me back from the angry/upset abyss because I do know that things always happen for a reason.
Excellent post, especially the part about how kids teach us things about ourselves. I'm also 28 and thinking about marriage and children, so this post was right on time. Love CN!
@Anon at 9:54: Your kangaroo story has me laughing at my desk!
I enjoyed reading this article, beautifully written. As a mother of 2 I will say that the 'maturity' needed to have a child is not age driven, wisdom is yes but some young mothers are the best I've ever seen and some older mothers are completely clueless. I have come to the personal conclusion that the ability to be a good parent lies at the heart of the person; if you are a loving, kind, caring person, you will be motivated to do what is necessary to be the best parent you can be. BUT Im always glad for single, childless friends such as yourself, my bestie is such a person and if I didnt have her, my husband and I would never get to play in a grown up world (aka go to the movies or simply go out to eat ALONE) every so often 🙂
I just wanted to say this was a great post and definitely made me smile.
Personally I have been through quite a few things through the past years that has helped me to grow up tremendously. I am a month away from being 30 and in a committeed relationship of 7 years, on our way to marriage and we have now decided we are ready to start a family not to long after our wedding. I always knew I wanted to have children I just didn't know when but I know in my heart the time is now, as I am ready. I am excited actually to have a child, can't wait to see the comedy act that will go on in our household, lol..
I have great nieces and nephews. Yesterday I watched the three year and two year old boys. It was only a few hours, but they were a long few hours. The three year old is as smart as a whip and when I babysit him (which is rare) I have to have activities planned or else it's gets old really fast.
There was a baby kangaroo in a book and he had a shirt on but no pants. His stomach was white and it looked like he was wearing a diaper (which he wasn't) Have you ever tried to explain clothes on an animal to three year old?
Why does he have on a diaper?
It's not a diaper, his stomach is just white.
Why is his stomach white? Why is he wearing a shirt and no pants? Did he stink his diaper?
No he doesn't wear a diaper?
Because he's a big boy?
Yes, because he's a big boy.
(I thought this was the end of the discussion)
NOPE!! We started reading another book. This book had a real looking kangaroo and a baby in the pouch. (What the heck, was it kangaroo day or something?!)
Is that baby kangaroo wearing a diaper?
No, kanagroo's don't wear diapers.
Well, you said the other kangaroo didn't wear diapers anymore because he's a big boy.
Basically this child called me out on the whole diaper/kangaroo thing.
I do not have kids, nor have I EVER wanted kids, nor do I ever plan to have kids in the future. Big ups to the ladies that do it everyday. Couldn't be me.
Save your breath, because I am almost 40 and I still have NEVER wanted a kid.
I can definitely relate! I used to babysit my god-daughter when she was a newborn, but when her personality started to show, I was like oh heck no, I do not have the patience for this. I love this lil girl but she made me realize I was not ready. Cant forget the day I had to take her on the train, she was walking by then, but couldn't talk, and I had a baby bag and a stroller. When the train came she would not get up! and I didn't want to "rough" her up and get too stern with fear of her screaming and hollering and having passerbys looking at me funny, so instead I sat there and waited till she was ready to get up, by then we had missed the train, so we had to wait for another one.
I'm from Jamaica, and we slap where i'm from lol, but here, its like a 1 way ticket to jail and I was NOT about to go to jail for nobody! cute baby or not! So I did what she wanted. But at the end of the day, it showed me that I was totally not ready, and I even said a silent prayer for single moms because that day I was the single mom struggling with baby bag, stroller and baby, WOW! I give y'all props man!
YES I can definitely relate!!! I used to keep my God-Baby all the time. At the time she was born my BFF and her husband were separated. I guess you can say he was trying to 'find' himself (side eye). Needless to say, I helped out my BFF by dropping my God-Baby off to the sitter's every morning and picking her up in the afternoon. She stayed with me until her mom got off work. It was maybe a total of 3 1/2 hours every day. On the weekends, my God-Baby was with me at least half the day. I love my God-Baby to pieces!! Spending so much time with her was a method of birth control for me, LOL!!!! It definitely let me know I'm not quite ready for kids. I used to want at least two children. Now I only want one! High-Five to all the mom's out there that make it happen every day!!
Wow, just wow! Once again, Leandra's post is right on time for what I'm experiencing. Thanks to the both of you for being the instruments through which so many lessons are taught.
@ anon, she's the bestest. We did 2nd grade through highschool together! Long, LONG time friend. She's so inspirational.
aaw.. i didn't know you and nikki were good friends. it makes perfect sense because you both seem to have really good hearts.
Omg yes! I can remember years before my Shelbey was created. Her dad said he wanted a kid and I said I don't! At that stage in my life I wasn't ready to get up because someone else was hungry or had to go to the bathroom. I was content doing those things for me and only me. Great post! I think if most folks took time out to be sure they are ready for this lifetime commitment. We would have less abuse. *drops the mic*
Loves this blog!
I have a 2 year old and I think the same about her tantrums and my attitude, daily.. When she gets into her mood, it affects my attitude. Not a good role model and I'm grateful that she's teaching me this lesson– of patience. Great post!!
Wonderful post! And let me just add how lucky Gia is to have so many examples of beautiful, natural-haired women in her life. That child is truly blessed. Nikki, I love what you are doing as a mother, teacher and friend.
What a wonderful post, and KUDOS to you for babysitting! I said the same things that you were saying about not being ready for children and needing to grow up. The funny thing about it is that I never really "decided" to get pregnant. My baby girl sort of "snuck up" on me. LOL After she was born, I wondered what in the WORLD is was doing that was so important before she came into my life. My ex husband and I did not work out, but she came on through and has definitely taught me a thing or two about selflessness and patience. Girl, you have said a mouthful! =)