Life Lessons from a 2-year-old

Wondering what you can learn from a 2-year-old? Before my niece was born over two years ago, I most likely would have said, “Probably not too much.” After all, a 2-year-old can barely count to 3 and has trouble pronouncing their own name. Right?

If there happens to be a 2-year-old in your life, or you have known a 2-year-old at some point, you may read this post and say “Duh!” but for me, spending a week with my 2-year-old niece was an inspirational experience. I quickly discovered that my 2-year-old niece loved every moment of life and that I had a lot to learn from her example.
Here are seven life lessons that she inspired.

MY 2-YEAR-OLD NIECE:

1. EATS SLOW W/ LITTLE BITES.

  • This little girl was enjoying a freshly-made peanut butter & jelly sandwich that was carefully cut into 4 square pieces. She took a tiny bite every so often and seemed to enjoy the peanut buttery flavor.
  • After 15 minutes, it became apparent that she was not concerned with whether or not she was going to finish her sandwich in that sitting. She was not rushing through her meal to get to her next task.

2. IS OVERWHELMINGLY WILLING TO SHARE.

  • As her attention was wandering away from the peanut butter & jelly sandwich, my sister asked, “Can Uncle Randy have a bite?” Without thinking it over, she immediately raised up a fully intact sandwich-square in her tiny hand. She gleamed at the opportunity to share her meal.

3. HAS UNLIMITED PATIENCE.

  • I had the great opportunity to take a walk down the street with my niece (as she held my hand, of course). She was completely content as we walked with no real end-point in mind. She watched in wonder as some children played basketball, or a car pulled out of a driveway.
  • There was never a thought of “I’m bored” or “this is pointless” or “let’s go home” — The entire experience just was what it was, and it was evident that she was enjoying every moment of it.

4. GIVES FULL ATTENTION TO EVERY TASK.

  • My sister sat on the couch with her daughter and read a “What is it?” book. The task on each page was simple; identify the object or animal on the page, such as an umbrella or an elephant. My 2-year-old niece announced the item name with pride every time she could make an identification.
  • When she saw something on the page that she could not easily identify, she intensely concentrated on the object to try to figure out what it was on the page. She put every ounce of concentration into each identification task.

5. SLEEPS WITH THE SUN AND TAKES DAILY NAPS.

  • Once my niece falls asleep in her crib, my sister and brother-in-law get upset with me if I run down the stairs or speak loudly. This forced me to pay attention to my niece’s sleeping patterns. By the end of the week, I could assume that if the sun was down, my niece was asleep.
  • Also, in the afternoon, there was a daily “nap time” — I often thought to myself how great it would be to enjoy a daily nap every day.

6. IS TIRELESSLY PERSISTENT AND WILL NOT TAKE “NO” FOR AN ANSWER.

  • When my niece wants something, such as being held by her mother, she will not stop asking until she is satisfied. My niece does not seem to care if people think she is annoying or bothersome. She just asks.
  • She has a goal set in her mind, and she keeps asking until she reaches it, even if it is to simply be held.

7. DOES NOT PASS UP A CHANCE TO SING OR LAUGH.

  • One of my niece’s favorite events is a birthday celebration. She will sing “Happy Birthday to You” at every single mention of the word birthday, regardless of whether it is actually someone’s birthday. This past week, there were two birthdays, her Dad, and Great Grandmother. As soon as the cake was brought to the table with candles, she immediately knew to break out into song. “Happy Birthday to you… Happy Birthday to you…” (Those are the only lyrics that she knows.)
  • One of my favorite things to do in her presence is to start laughing for no reason. I will go into an almost “comical/movie” laugh, and she will keep the pace and volume and try to laugh just as much along with me. When I get too tired from laughing, my niece is still smiling and still laughing.

It is amazing how much better I felt about life after spending a week with my 2-year-old niece. Thank you!

Excerpt from the book, Life’s Mailbox: An Inbox of Ideas & Inspiration, written & illustrated by Randy Whiteside.

Also posted on Lifesmailbox.com on Feb 25, 2017 @ https://www.lifesmailbox.com/blog/2017/2/25/life-lessons-from-a-2-year-old

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