Is it standard to not reveal the baby’s name till after she’s born? We’ve been telling people who ask but I don’t know if I’m allowed to be posting it all over the place. It does begin with an E, so for the purpose of this post I’m calling her Eep like the character in The Croods. I don’t know that Jason will think it’s cool to nickname our daughter after a cave woman, but you know, whatever.
I’ve been mentally compiling a list of things that I hope to instill in Eep’s life. I call it a Hope List because who knows if she is going to like some of these things or be cooperative or insist on princess-wear or act like a hellion. These things were a big part of my childhood and I HOPE to be able to give them to my daughter.
- A love of reading. I realize that not all kids grow up reading, especially with all the screen options that are available nowadays, but I think it is really important to teach her how to get engrossed in a story. Picture books are good, but I also want to read aloud to her and work out her little imagination. (Ingalls, Lewis, Allcott and Montgomery are all on my reading list for her.)
- Nooks. I don’t know if it is just a little kid thing, but I never outgrew this. I loved having little fort-like nooks that I could play and dream. I’d like to help her find/make little places like this.
- Cooking/Baking with Jason and I. One of my favorite things to do as a nanny was to cook with the kids. I think it helps them take an ownership in the meal and learn tons of stuff like hand/eye coordination, safety, cause & effect.. I don’t know if my Mom really did this with me, but I remember growing up and not knowing some cooking basics, so I’d like to try to give Eep some of that stuff.
- Chores – isn’t that everybody’s wish for their kids.. lol. Chores stink and most of the time kids hate them (in my experience), but I think that it is important to know how to wash dishes, fold laundry and sweep a floor. I remember my sister and I playing a game where we were orphan sisters from one of our favorite books, and we would pretend that the mean headmistress of the orphanage was forcing us to work and eat oatmeal with rocks in it. Maybe not normal.. but this is my childhood we’re talking about so don’t judge. 🙂
- Experience animals. She will be growing up with Tux, so it looks like cats will be part of her life, but I’d like to expose her to different animals. Most little girls love horses, so I’d like to give her the opportunity to ride periodically.
- Camping! Both in the backyard type camping and out exploring type camping, though it isn’t Jay’s favorite activity, I’d like to give Eep the experience of sleeping outside and sitting around a campfire. All the inconvenient discomforts of spending a few days out in nature and (hopefully) loving it.
- Trees, creeks, hiking and dirt. We live in an apartment right now, so outdoor space is not really available at home. But I remember summers where I barely wore shoes and ran around in the woods like a wild banshee. I want my daughter to be able to have fun outside, entertain herself without toys and know how to get dirty!
- Organized sports – I don’t know if she’ll be interested at all, but Jason is a big believer in kids playing sports. I can see all the benefits: learning how to deal with kids who think and act differently, learning how to win with humility and lose with dignity, learning how to work as a team, learning discipline. I think that these are important traits for her to have.
- Sewing, or some other type of classic domestic skill. Even if it doesn’t become a passion, I think that teaching her how to make stuff fosters creativity. She may be like me and not have the patience to get more than halfway through a project, but I want to give her the opportunity to gain those skills.
- Music – there are so many beneficial things about music. First of all, it is an incredible teaching tool. I’ve learned over years of worship leading and studying (and living) that you remember things easily if they are in a song. Music teaches character traits, complex concepts, theology and much more. Eventually I’d love her to play an instrument and sing if she is interested, and I will probably teach her as much about reading music when she is young as I can because it is SO MUCH EASIER if you learn it early. But at the very least I want to expose her to music that will teach her life lessons.
- Memorizing Scripture is partially linked to music, but also just in general. I want to emulate my Mom in this way, even though I don’t remember appreciating it that much at the time. Eep is going to hear scripture and hopefully be learning it at a young age. I’m not relying on the church to teach my daughter how to follow Christ and hide God’s word in her heart because that is ultimately our job.
- How to talk to adults. This skill is SO underrated. I’d like to teach her how to have conversations, how to pay attention to what is being said, ask and answer questions, and communicate her thoughts. Too many kids grow up being excluded from adult conversation and then never figure out how to enter it.
- Play with other kids – equally important is how to interact with other kids of all ages. All the classics like sharing, being nice, apologizing and whatnot.
- Road Trips – I think it is a great experience for kids to grow up having been a couple of places. This doesn’t mean road tripping to California when she is 2 years old, but taking her to see some of the local sights and branch out to other places, different states, Canada, NYC, up in the mountains, to see Granny in Colorado.. all of these would be great when she is old enough to appreciate them, but I don’t want her to get into high school and realize that she has never been out of the state.
- Quiet times. In all of the busyness of life, I want to teach my daughter how to be quiet and content.
- Prayer – I’m going to end with this one. I didn’t grow up with scripted prayers, though I don’t have a problem with some of them, but I hope to teach Eep how to thank God for things and how to make requests. I want to teach her through experience that sometimes prayers are answered different ways and how to trust in God’s answers.
So.. that’s my list. Hopefully, I’ll be the kind of Mom who can give these things to my daughter. Obviously as a newborn it’ll be a little unrealistic, but I want to get in the mindset now of what type of parent I’ll be and what is important to me to build into her life. Do you have anything to add to my list?