I've been wondering a lot about parenting recently and reading lots of things. And I've come to the conclusion that what I do doesn't really matter. It probably helps that I just finished reading Freakonomics and that's one of the conclusions that they draw: it doesn't matter what you do, but who you are as a parent.
Sometimes I read things about all these activities parents do for their children. I like to play with Rachel and we do that everyday. Sometimes we do more organized activities like crafts and things, but certainly not everyday. Sometimes when I read about what some moms do and then think about how I'm not doing that I think that I might not be a good mom.
But I don't have to organize her whole day for her to discover the world. She does a fine job of that on her own. Sometimes it's nice to sit back and observe her playing and discovering the world without my interference.
Yesterday Rachel was building a block tower while I was reading my book. More specifically she was building a red tower using only red blocks. Her crown piece was a rubber duck.
"Rwwwwwed! Rwwwwwwwed! Rwwwwwed!" she yelled each time she added a block, and when she put the duck on top she screamed, "DUT!"
Today she made a mosque/house with a door to knock on where people could pray "in-ere" that had a nice big tower in front. She gave me the full tour. In case you are wondering, Rachel's prepositions include: up, down, out, and "in-there."
When we were at the Masons on Sunday she spent nearly the whole time making soup. She had some measuring cups and some sorting shapes and was making all kinds of soups: apple soup, honey soup, red soup, bread soup, and banana soup. She went around the whole evening making people try her soups.
Perhaps cutest of all, in my opinion, is that Rachel now understands the "got your nose" trick and has expanded it to a full-on face stealing game. She was sitting on my lap a few days ago and I grabbed her nose, put my thumb between my index and middle finger and declared, "I've got your nose!"
She looked at me like I had gone crazy.
"Look! Right here! It's your nose! You don't have a nose anymore because I have it right here!"
The blank stare didn't go away, so I put her nose back and decided to try that trick again later.
Then yesterday she climbed on my lap and stared intently at my face for a few minutes before grabbing my ear, tugging it gently, and then clutching her hands to her chest.
"My!" she said, "My! Mama ear! All gone!"
We've been playing that all day. From this she's learned the words "steal" and "take," which are probably vitally important in her vocabulary at this point in her life.
It doesn't matter that I don't sit down with Rachel and quiz her on colors daily, or if I don't make up little educational games for her to play, or if I don't read to her for x-amount of minutes. Sometimes we do those things and sometimes we don't and it just doesn't matter because there is no magical formula for raising a perfect child.
What does matter is that we are loving parents, that we try our best, that we create a Christ-centered home, that we encouarge education through our example, and we show Rachel how to be a good person.