Lessons My 22-Month-Old Is Teaching Me
This week Hudson turned 22-months! How has it already been 2 months since I wrote his 20-month update? In that same amount of time we will have a 2-year old!
In the two months since last I gave an update, Hudson’s language has really developed. I am daily amazed with the words that he can say. Some of his favorites include: ball, bowl (when being given a snack, he always requests it in a bowl), bat, glove, catch, Dodgers (grandpa can be thanked for that one), pool man, gardener, lawnmower, boom (fav book), pout-pout (another fav book), more, please, mimi (kitty), ala (nala-our dog), treat (which he says every night after dinner), straw, car, choo choo (train), roar, baby, bear.
Of all the random words he can say, like lawnmower, he still has trouble saying his own name! And another word he does not say is NO, which I am thankful for! Instead of saying it, he just shakes his head wildly to indicate “no, don’t want to.” Personally, I prefer the head shake over hearing NO, NO, NO! But hey, I am sure that is coming. For now, I’ll enjoy these silent, head shaking no’s.
Along with all the words, Hudson has become even more accustomed to a very specific routine. He is a creature of habit. This mostly shows up in his nighttime routine. First he gathers all of his closest friends (beary is his first priority, then slothy, then bear, then another blankie, and his Buzz Lightyear pillow. Once all of this is taken out of his crib and put in our reading corner, the reading of his favorite books begins.
I cannot tell you how many times Lance and I have shouted “BOOM!” from Stormy Night or read the line: “I am a pout-pout fish, with a pout-pout face, so I spread the dreary wearies all over the place.” Once we read the classic line up of books, without fail, as daddy gets up to leave the room, he asks for a “nana” (banana). He usually just wants to hold it as we read Good Night, Gorilla because there are bananas all over the pages of that book.
Once he is put in his crib, his quest for routine and comfort continue. He points to his feet for fresh socks. He then holds up each of his stuffed animal friends and wants me to kiss each one. So I do. Slothy always seems to get an extra kiss. And then I say good night, love you and he is ready to drift off. In some ways this process seems excessive. There are quite a lot of complex layers in this nighttime routine, but it never really feels like a burden. I mean come on, kissing stuffed animals for your baby boy because he wants them to feel loved and comforted right before bed? Does it get any sweeter?
I write all this out not because I think you necessarily care, but because I do not want to forget it. I want to look back in ten years and remember our precious 22-month baby boy and the things his heart needed and clinged to. This time is so sweet. Yes, the tantrums are wild and listening is a lesson we work on daily, but as a whole, these are the days.
One thought I have not been able to shake the past few days is how much Hudson teaches me. I am not just saying it because it sounds cute. I truly mean it. When I watch the way my 22-month old baby boy lives out his simple days, I am drawn closer and closer to the Father. Let me explain.
Lesson #1: Pray for the Pool Man
Every night as we pray at the dinner table, Hudson immediately says with a sense of urgency: pool man, gardener. Not sometimes, but every single night, without fail. His eyes get big and he pulls on Lance’s arms and he keeps repeating their names until Lance prays for them. This whole process is then repeated with bedtime prayers. At first, it started as something that was just cute, but it has become such a consistent rhythm that it has actually really ministered to my own heart and prayer life. I desire to pray more like my 22-month old. I hate to admit it, but Hudson is more consistent in praying for the people on his heart than his mother. Talk about learning from our children.
My prayer life can be so inconsistent. My prayer life can also be very me-centric. Hudson is teaching me daily the power in consistency and to pray for the people we might not know well, but that we interact with in our daily lives. Hudson loves our neighbor, Howard. He loves the lady that works at Trader Joe’s. He loves the pool man, the gardener, the trash man, and any truck driver, for that matter. He loves the people that we might not know intimately as family or friends, but he loves the people in our local community well and I have a lot to learn from him in that area.
Lesson #2: Feel Sad for the Pout-Pout Fish
As I mentioned in his list of words, “pout-pout” is one of them. The Pout-Pout Fish is one of his very favorite books and is read at least 3 times every day. And here is the thing, we all know the ending of the story. Things end well, but this does not stop Hudson from truly being concerned for the fish in all the pages when he looks sad. He points and makes a sad face. He actually almost begins to cry. He feels deeply for Mr. Pout-Pout. A few pages in when the fish is on his back and still has his pout face, Hudson just about loses it. He points again with urgency and his breathing picks up. He mourns the sadness and despair of the fish every single time. He knows the ending, but this does not keep him from feeling real, genuine sadness.
I am the opposite. I want to skip over the sad, the hard, the painful, and move on to the joy. I tend to ignore or not allow myself to fully feel the parts of a story or life that are in fact sad. Hudson is changing this for me. He is reminding me that even when we know how the story ends, we should still feel the emotions along the way. In a lot of ways, it makes the joy at the end of the story that much sweeter because we felt the sorrow first.
There is a page towards the end of the story where there is a big picture of the fish smiling because he realized he was actually a kiss-kiss fish. Every time we turn to this page, Hudson’s whole face lights up and he literally kisses the pages of the book. He does this every time. He cannot contain his joy!
Taking this all outside of the context of the pout-pout fish, makes me think about the time period we are in today: in-between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. A large part of my personality wants to just rush to the joy of the empty tomb. The Lord, through my little emotional boy, is teaching me the importance in sitting at the cross. He is teaching me to feel the pain, the sadness, the sacrifice. And in the same way that Hudson kisses the fish at the end with such joy, I can thank the Father with an even greater joy and gratitude for all He has done for me.
Lesson #3: Worship Freely
Hudson is also reminding me that worship is not confined to a church service. We should be constantly living in a state of worship to our loving Father. Ever since church service became solely online, H has been obsessed with worshipping on the couch together. He wants to sing and put his hands up all the time: on the couch, at the dinner table, when he is playing baseball. It doesn’t matter where he is or what he is doing, if he feels the urge to look up and thank God, he will.
And let me tell you, it is humbling to say the least, when you see your not-yet-2-year old worshipping in a more authentic and real way than you. I have a terrible singing voice, so I tend to sing pretty softly in church. Throwing my hands up has never been comfortable to me, so I usually keep them glued to my sides. But you see, Hudson does not care. He dances wildly, he sings off-key, he waves his hands in the air, and he asks for more and more and more. Oh, how I desire to worship, like that of a child.
Lesson #4: Pursue Passions
Back to our prayer time, after Hudson says pool man, gardener, he usually will pretend to swing a bat. Sometimes he even says “Dodgers,” so we aren’t exactly sure what the prayer request is. Dodgers to win the World Series? For him to be on the Dodgers? Or for God to help him be a good baseball player? We are not certain, but one thing is clear: Hudson is passionate about baseball and soccer and really anything involving balls.
He practices his swing in the living room every day. He does pretend practice pitches. He wakes up in the morning saying, “catch?” He raises his hand and yells “corner” when he is about to kick a soccer ball. This kid is all in when it comes to ball-related sports. Who knows what it will look like for him in his life, but I feel pretty confident that he will pursue some type of sport or sports with a great passion.
As I have been watching this obsession develop over the last couple months, I can’t help but be inspired. The way he watches the ball so intently before he swings it. The way he claps when he does a big hit or surprises himself and actually catches the ball in his glove. The way he pursues his passion when he doesn’t even know what that means, inspires me to be more forward with the passions I tend to bury down and not boldly proclaim.
I want to wake up like Hudson and proclaim the things I am most passionate about: Jesus, family, raising little ones, running, writing. Just like he rises and asks who wants to play catch, I hope to become more of a woman that rises with all the things I love most flowing from my words and actions.
It sounds cute to say my 22-month old is teaching me these things, but the bigger truth is that the Lord is teaching and maturing my heart of these lessons THROUGH my little boy. I sometimes want to pull out my hair because as sweet and precious as our Hudson Boy is, he can be a real challenge. He is bold, stubborn, wild. And I know with certainty, the Lord placed him as our first son to do some major heart work and teach us valuable lessons in our faith. So, really, these are lessons from the Lord, but he has been gracious enough to use a sweet and hilarious little boy to teach me them.
Happy 22-months, Hudson Boy! We love you!