Little Lessons: Kids need us to notice the small details

I have a little scrutineer in our house. She notices everything we do, wear, and say. It’s totally disconcerting. I can imagine myself replaying in the video of her mind – mummy said this, she frowned when I did this, mummy wore that pretty pink dress with the brown belt when she went out with daddy on a date. Etc etc.

There was once we were at a prayer meeting together, and she met many aunties and uncles for the first time. On our way home, she asked me who aunty B was, and I tried to describe where aunty B was sitting, and the length of her hair. She thought for a while and asked, was she wearing blue sparkly earrings, like diamonds? I blinked and said I wasn’t sure. Then I messaged aunty B to ask if she was. And lo and behold, she was indeed.

So…I guess we should never underestimate the observation skills of young ones, especially girls.

I guess part of the reason why they seem to pick up on the details (and remember some of the weirdest ones) is that their brains can be so focused on that one thing, that person or the experience, particularly if it’s a fun and memorable one. Whereas as an adult, our brains are so busy multi-tasking, looking for directions to a place, calling or texting our friends, moving on to the next thing on our list, wondering if we should buy that outfit we saw online last night, etc etc – that we end up being scattered and unfocused.

But as busy as we are, I think our children do need us to focus and pay attention, especially when they’ve just arrived home and have something important to announce. (Ahem, as they always seem to have.)

As much as I hate to admit this, I sometimes mentally shut down when Vera goes “mummy, I want to tell you something.” (Like not again honey? You just told me something 30 seconds ago…And just before that, your brother had to tell me something. How could you both possibly have so much to say?)

I struggle really just to respond with appropriate eye contact and nod my head. Some days I am so harried I don’t think I even get to ask her about school, how she felt that day, who she spoke to, or whose birthday is coming up.

There was one day, she came back from school waving a strip of star stickers in the air. I asked who gave it to her and she proceeded to report about how she was one of a few who volunteered to play a math game and managed to match the right numbers to the items. I cut her off as I was rushing off to the room to nurse Joshua, as it was time for his nap. As I was lying on the bed, I felt a tinge of guilt for waving her off. (I think this is one of the hardest parts about having three, and am constantly trying to balance attention between all of them…)

When I was done, I went back and asked her to share with me more about the game, which she did so rather happily. I was thankful for the little opportunity to affirm her enthusiasm, and told her that I was proud of her for being game enough to try.

I know Vera has learnt to be patient in waiting, something that her little brothers have yet to fully learn. And because I know she’s able to wait, I’ve made her wait more often than I like to. It’s tough, and always a balancing act, but I’m reminded of this: even when I do need to settle the more “urgent” things, that I should always promise to come back to her request, and to keep my word.

Our children need us to notice the small details, and to celebrate even the smallest of achievements. It’s one of the ways they feel loved and important in our eyes.

This is week 20 of Little Lessons. What have you learnt this week? Do link up your post below!

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  1. says

    It *is* tough to divide your attention, especially when the kids are still young and you have a baby to attend to. I thought it would get easier, but now the baby demands more and more of my attention (if she isn’t stuck on to my leg or demanding to be carried…). I sometimes think that kids from a larger family are at a disadvantage in that they have much less of our attention, but I guess there are also many advantages. Or at least I sure hope so!! 😀
    Mummy Edlyn recently posted..Thankful Tuesday: Having a village of support for a short breakMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      I sure hope so too, Edlyn. I do spot some beauty in the mess, such as big sister getting closer to second brother, since he’s always happy to listen to her. Hehe 😛

  2. says

    Heh did she notice the earrings because they were sparkling? 🙂 I’m guilty of being distracted when Sophie tries to talk to me and sometimes she’ll even point out that I must stop looking at my handphone when speaking to her (whoops!) Recently, we started this heart to heart talk before bed time and that’s when I ask her my undivided attention and ask her what she did in the day. Not the best time because it usually drags our bedtime but oh the precious things she tells me 🙂
    Susan recently posted..Talkative Thursday – Parenting with GraceMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Yes they were sparkly and shiny, Susan! 🙂 I love the bedtime talks too, the funniest things come out at that time! Haha!

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