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5 overlooked joys my toddler has taught me to appreciate

Once a week, my daughter wakes up giddy because she knows…it’s trash day. She runs outside when she hears them, yelling, “Trasshh!” as she sprints out the door. She crouches down and stares like she is observing wildlife, as the mechanical arm catapults the trash can in the air. She yells, “Trash! Ew!” and, “Wow!” as nearly every trash can thuds.

While I don’t find this event quite as exciting as she does, I do my best to crouch down alongside, settle into it and enjoy the moment with her. As moms, we have more life experience and knowledge than our kids do. But kids have something we don’t—fresh perspective.

Here are five other joys my toddler has reminded me to appreciate:

1. The joy of staying awake

Every time I ask my daughter if she wants to go to bed, the answer is always a resounding “No,” even if her eyes are caving in on her. Unlike adults, kids hate sleep. Why? Because they don’t want to miss anything. They love just being alive and engaged with their surroundings.

While I value my sleep more highly than almost anything, I love this attitude. It’s like kids are secretly aware of how short our lives are and want to squeeze every last drop out of the day.

It’s a unique perspective—not to be overlooked.

2. The awe of…everything

Have you ever watched a child’s eyes during a fireworks show? It’s electric to observe their focus and amazement at the small explosions in the sky. I see this look in my daughter’s eye when she sees a flower, a new bug or—you guessed it—a trash truck. While I can’t say I always feel the same way, there’s something to be said for sitting back and watching our kid’s reactions to daily life.

There’s magic there.

3. Impatience

This may sound like a negative characteristic, and for the most part, you would be right. But again, there is a small part of the impatience that reveals the heart of passion for life. Everything is so crucial to them—and they are eager to grab hold of it.

4. Their need for us

While I’m aware the “I can do it myself” mode is coming soon, I’m noticing how often my daughter nuzzles up against me when she’s learning something new. I ask “Would you like some help?” The answer (for now) is almost always a resounding, “Yes!”

Whether they admit it or not, children know they have a deep need for help in their life. As adults, we almost forget this entirely, coming to believe we really can “do it on our own.”

It’s important to remember that no matter how old we are, we all need each other to get through life.

5. The joy of sugar

Yes, too much sugar is a bad thing. But on those special days when we get a treat, I just love watching my daughter’s face—it’s like she’s never tasted anything like it (and maybe she hasn’t). It’s truly a joyful thing to watch.

Looking at life through your kid’s eyes doesn’t come naturally. But doing so will give you greater insight into your child’s soul, increase your patience for their shortcomings, and remind you to take joy in the little things.

Bree Najera is a wife, a mother and a Lyme disease fighter. It is her passion to help other moms declutter daily life to make space for joy! You can find her and her thoughts at Room for Joy.

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