My son Skyler has the amazing ability to bounce out of bed in the morning as though he’s already had his third cup of coffee….
I, however, am a much more reluctant riser. I’m still tired and the thought of a few more moments of sleep, sounds like the answer to all of life’s problems at this stage in life.
My son, however, has never been much of a sleeper, so I gratefully count each additional minute of sleep we have accrued in his two years of life. Skyler recharges very quickly and is eagerly ready for his next adventure…an adventure he wants to share and start early in the morning.
Lesson Learned #1: Greet each day with excitement
Despite my initial reluctance while hearing Skyler run down the hall…
“Mommy, out, Mommy shoes, Mommy come” I hear Skyler singing.
I find myself wishing I was a coffee drinker, unfortunately, it gets me too worked up and jittery.
(no one wants a jittery massage therapist!)
“Ok, mommy is coming” I manage to mumble.
In Costa Rica it is very common to rise with the sun. It is dark by 6pm all year round and the sun is back up again around 5-5:30am. Getting the most out of the sunlight and spending the least electricity mean rising early and an early bed time. It’s on my todo list to enjoy waking up early…so is getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep. We’ve come a long way…but we are not there yet.
My son already has his shoes on and is telling me about the truck noises he hears outside.
“You want to go see the truck?”
“Yes,” Skyler heads right for the door.
“Ok, we’re going to see the truck…wait, Skyler, Mommy still needs pants, then we go for a walk”. In a moment of clarity, I realized our walk down the road would probably go more smoothly if I were clothed.
“Yes Mommy, pants, mommy shoes” And he marches off to help speed the process along.
Oh, how I love this little guy. He believes I should only need a millisecond to dress myself so the second it took me to throw something on had me chasing him out the door.
“Yes, we are both wearing shoes”.
“Cat!!!” Skyler is so excited he sees the neighbors cat on our property. He reaches for a piece of palm leaf and teases the cat. I didn’t even know he knew how to play with cats, there really aren’t as many cats around as you may think. Most people who keep cats, keep them indoors so they are safe.
Skyler waves the palm leaf back and forth watching the cats eyes dart back and forth until she pounces at us (gently). This startles my son. “Mommy!” He decides it’s better if he sits on my back as I kneel down and he plays with the cat from behind my back with his palm leaf. Therefore, I can interfere in any pouncing…smart kid.
“Bye Kitty Cat” Skyler is ready to continue our walk.
Lesson Learned # 2: When playing with friends that could do you harm, keep them at a safe distance.
We slide open our gate and step onto our dusty dirt road. It’s still early so we are protected from the hot sun that will beat down later in the day.
The breeze down the street feels lovely, even if a bit dusty.
We cross the street to admire the neighbors flowers sticking out over their gate. My son softly touches the flowers and then reaches for the buds “Baby flower” he proclaims.
I love these moments when he’s making discoveries and I can reaffirm his thoughts.
We live on a dead end dirt road with minimal traffic so setting Skyler down to walk the road with me is perfectly acceptable. He points to our side of the road at our hibiscus flowers and asks for “help” I lift him up and ‘boink’ he picks a bright red hibiscus right off the bush. He hands it to me and we continue on our walk.
The truck that brought us out of the house isn’t within our view, we do see some people working in a sleepy small neighborhood to our left. We are not bothered by the missing truck. There are many other treasures to experience this morning.
Lesson Learned #3: Be present in the moment, appreciate the journey and don’t be attached to the outcome. The journey could be even better than you had planned.
“Monkeys” Skyler shouts.
“ooohhhhooooohhhoooo” They shout back at him. A family of monkeys is in the tree right above us.
We love finding monkeys.
Lesson Learned # 4: Always stop and talk to monkeys. You’ll never be sorry you did.
Here is a video from another morning walk where Skyler is howling with the howler monkeys. Super cute. And very typical of life in this neighborhood.
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My mom once asked if Skyler knows to stay out of the street…well he knows to be aware of traffic, but we walk and bike in the street..so it’s a different way of life here.
Today’s walk I didn’t bring my phone. I wanted to try and start my day just focused on enjoying the morning with my son before he goes to daycare. (pictures are from other walks)
“Bye Monkeys whhoooo whooo”
Skyler pointed out the little baby rocks in the road and we talked about the bigger rocks we’d see near the ocean. It was so nice to walk quietly with Skyler to the beach, on a dirt road surrounded by woods.
We passed two fishermen returning from the ocean. And happily greeted one another.
Skyler told me he heard a motorcycle coming and he ran to me. I was glad to see his awareness, throwing his hands up in the air for me to pick him up as soon as we heard a vehicle. A few moments later we saw it was a slow car coming and we followed it to the river.
Skyler’s face lit up, upon seeing the ocean… as usual.
I think it’s impossible not to feel how powerful and immense the ocean is when you see it in person.
Lesson Learned # 5: Honor and respect the Ocean
Skyler and I picked out some rocks to toss into the river and watch their ripples and splashes.
Such a lovely morning. I would have missed if I didn’t listen to my 2-year-old.
Throwing every rock in the river would take us all week, and it’s a decent walk for his little legs.
So I asked Skyler if he was ready to go home.
‘um hmm’, that’s yes.
We slowly meandered down the dirt road listening to woodpeckers and birds trills.
He talked about ‘caca’ and how it falls from a horse and he laughed and we laughed.
Oh, little boy sense of humor. This will be fun!
Lesson Learned # 6: Life is funny. Laugh at it.
A man ran by us, Skyler thought that was great.
“RUN” he said and attempted to follow the jogger.
He decided that runner was really fast and he wasn’t going to catch him…Skyler giggled.
Lesson Learned # 7: It’s ok to look up to and emulate good behavior…it’s also ok to laugh at and forgive yourself if you can’t replicate this behavior.
We arrived back at our gate and our short morning escapade felt like we had returned from a great adventure together. It was truly delightful to take a morning experiencing life with my son.
He was so happy.
We both agreed ‘Mommy is fun’ (not always, but, this time, I’ll take it).
Quickly we clean off our dirty dusty feet, had breakfast and prepped for daycare.
A few minutes late, but grateful I’d spent that time with my son.
Grateful I put the phone and the laptop down and focused on my kid and seeing life through his eyes.
I have to consciously decide to dive into his world and stay there with him. Although not always easy, it’s always fun in his world.
I’ve always claimed that I could multitask…becoming Skyler’s mom has me doubting the existence of true multitasking, he knows when my attention is split and I realize I’m not effective at any of the tasks I’m trying to complete. I’m not sure if it’s just parenting that is tough or if introversion and the ever shrinking attention span in this age of cell phones and cat videos amplify it. However, I find if Skyler and I both have time apart it becomes easier to have better quality time together. A wise mother once told me.
“Mom, you can’t always be fun.” said this wise mom.
She was right. I was trying to be Skyler’s everything, all the time.
Without much support and it was draining me, and I wasn’t the patient, fun mom I wanted to be.
This does get easier as they get older and gain independence. Together we seek that balance of quality time.
Yes, as soon as he’s strapped into his bicycle seat and off to daycare…my todo list swirls back in my head.
However taking that time with him, was priceless.
Lesson 8: Make time for fun
Living in Costa Rica has been an incredible gift I’m sharing with my son. I am so grateful for this morning of exploration together, for it is these moments that make a life.