Lately I’ve been making more of an effort to connect with Little Lion. It’s something I didn’t really think about before. I spend every day with her and we bond all the time, but I’ve been trying to do something more meaningful than doing laundry together, or following her around the park. We’ve been adding in a few minutes of cuddle time right before bed. Sometimes she’ll sing to me, other times she’ll play with my hair or ask me to “read more”, but always it’s enjoyable and oh so precious. She knows that cuddling delays bed time (which she hates) so she is always ready to ask for more cuddles and I am always ready to give them.
Anyone who has parented a toddler knows it isn’t easy. They can be demanding and whiny and independent to a fault. Sometimes it’s all I can do to not pull my hair out. But in spite of the well known terrible toddler traits, I can’t help but think about my cuddle times and relish this particular stage of life. I love the declarations of independence, the creative mind that is just beginning to form, the knowledge that grows every day. I love watching the joy on Little Lion’s face when she discovers a new way to string words together, does a somersault, or finds a particularly interesting rock.
I love laughing at the silly things she does, like today when she licked me and then told me she was a cat, or when she put my shoes and scarf on, and then walked around the house declaring “I’m big!”. When she crawled underneath the covers of the spare bed today and sat waiting patiently for me to ask where she was – and then how she answered all of my questions while she was hiding, “Is she in the Bathroom?” “No!” “Should I look in the living room?” “Yeah!”.
I love that I read the Hungry Caterpillar six times and Green Eggs and Ham three today. I love that she tries to read to her toys and I once found her putting diapers on her books. I love that she’s starting to do little chores – and even though it takes more time to watch her do it than to do it myself – I love that she’s my little helper. I love that she is SO filled with joy. She spills joy wherever she goes. She can’t stay mad or sad long because there is just too much joy bubbling beneath the surface to allow it.
Our lives are going to change drastically with the coming of little brother, but I feel blessed that Little Lion and I have had such a fun time during the months before his birth. I know things won’t be easy for her, but I hope I can be patient with both of my sweethearts as we get used to everything. And through it all I’m sure that my loving Heavenly Father will be there for the whole family, guiding us through and helping us to see the silver lining. And even though she’ll have her terrible toddler traits here and there, I’m confident that Little Lion’s natural joy will shine through and remind all of us that life is good and cuddles are worth a few less minutes of sleep.