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Life Lessons from My Two Year Old

When my firecracker of a daughter, Annabella, aka”Bella,” turned two, I marveled at her energy, her zest, and her strong will. This phase of parenting is often referred to as the “terrible twos,” but this stage was a profound teacher for me. I learned so much about life by witnessing Bella in all her two year old glory. Here are some of my favorite lessons:

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Sweetpea Annabella!

Sweetpea Annabella!

–    Celebrate EVERYTHING: This is one of my favorite things about being Annabella’s mom. She celebrates e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, no matter how small or large. Drinking a smoothie? Clap your hands with glee. Made it up the stairs all by yourself? Shout with joy, “I did it!” Have a friend coming over to play? Run around and do the happy dance! Couldn’t we all celebrate more? Isn’t it wonderful when we acknowledge our wins? Let’s take this tip from Annabella and start noticing and focusing on our wins, accomplishments, and when we feel GOOD. Relish your joy!

–    Persistence Is Key: Watching Annabella learn to walk and talk is fascinating. She has an amazing relationship with failure and persistence. Can you imagine if we approached new things with the persistence and enthusiasm of a two year old? Fall down? No big deal! Fumble that word? Try again. And again. Oh, and be gentle with yourself in the process. Failure is no big deal. Wow!

–    Singing Really Does Make Life More Fun: Annabella often begins her day with singing. We’ll hear her on the baby monitor singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. She can frequently be found walking around the house humming a tune or singing “la, la, la” to her own beat. And truly, I see the healing power of music in her and the vibration of the entire house is raised. Try it for yourself and see what happens.

–    Say NO With Conviction: Being on the receiving end of a firm “NO!” isn’t always fun, but I have to admire the sheer will and conviction of Annabella knowing what she WON’T do and what she DOESN’T want. Imagine if we were able to simply say “no” when we don’t want to do something. Especially for women (who are masters at saying “yes” when we really mean “no”) there is power in saying a clear “no” and sticking to it.

–    Make Friends Everywhere You Go: My husband and I took Bella on the subway recently and she was hilarious. She made so many people smile and laugh – she literally made friends on the 20 minute BART ride. It was wild, and it reminded me of the magic of being open to new people, places and things.

–    Wearing Your PJs Out In The World Is Fun: Need I say more?

–    Hug, Cuddle And Say “I Love You” As Often As Possible: When Bella is having a bad day, hugs and cuddling are the cure-all. And I must say, I feel like we don’t value it enough as adults. Take it from Bella and ask for a hug when you need one. Add to that, Annabella recently learned how to say “I Love You” and she loves saying it. She’ll look at you, smile and say a big “I love you” at the most unexpected moments. My heart melts every time. So, my friends, get a hug, snuggle with your loved ones and express your love loudly and often. This practice will change the world.

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  1. Ann says:

    Loved this article! Bella is too precious. Makes me excited to join the Mom Club which I will be this fall. 🙂 Thanks for the words of inspiration.

  2. Julia Joy says:

    I love Annabella and I love Ethel Rosen (the 73 year old who commented above). Authentic lovely humans are a joy at any age!
    Thanks for being you Amy!

  3. Barbel says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you for sharing about Bella…she reminds me of my Miriam who just turned 30 the other day…my children (Miriam & Timothy) are the angels who were my profound teachers on love (and still are)…they made this journey worth it…now my focus is to re-parent my inner child, especially my inner mean girl…thank you for being the teacher on part of that journey…hugs, kisses & “I love you’s”…keep being RadiantlyU, Barbel 🙂

  4. It’s clear to me that children come into this world to teach us — not the other way ’round. All we know is past, and as we get more “grown up” and farther from the openness of childhood, we become less and less able to even imagine the future — but our children will shape it and invite us to come along for the adventure. Bella’s lessons are wonderful and will add great joy — but another lesson comes from Bella’s mom — be open to all your children can teach you!

  5. Maria says:

    Thank you Amy, thank you Bella!

    I’m struggling with the upbringing of my two children (5 & 8 years old) but this reminded me of the importance of hugs and “I love you”:s! 🙂

    Love & Light from France,

    : ) Maria

  6. Käroli says:

    Lovely 🙂

    Light and bright,

  7. LuAnn says:

    Absolutely love the message! I am doing my happy dance!


  8. Juliette says:

    Wonderful insights…great of you to see them from her perspective and yours… and share them with us! Thank you!

  9. Loma says:

    The beautiful thing about Annabella is that she’s just naturally living from her own inner knowing, uncensored, unedited. We all still have that inherent wisdom and innocence deep inside, but it’s been shushed and shaped and stuffed away in order to fit into these odd cultures that we’ve created over hundreds and thousands of years. What a beautiful lesson to lighten up, drop the fears, and simply enjoy the wonder of being alive! Thank you so much for posting this.

  10. Carol Pranschke says:

    Hi Amy,
    I have so much to learn from little ones. Thank you for this article. I’ve been taking 2 years of singing lessons and am taking a break right now. I’ve been wondering if I’ll ever go back, but then an article like yours comes along, and I know that I will, sing in the house, sing at lessons, sing wherever I can. THANK YOU! Carol

  11. Amy Lee says:

    Hey Amy,
    Love this! I live this everyday as I have a 2 1/2 year old son! Our kids are simply brilliant!

    Besides the kids, thank you for writing this. I am especially grateful for the saying NO with conviction part. I am recently filling overhelmed by his No’s, wanting more Yes’s. But I am realizing it’s all about how I turn it around. Allowing my son to say No is a gift!

    Oh and by the way, I signed up for this through SARK’s dream boogie class after listening to your Dream Doer Innerview.

    Wishing you much celebration in your day today,
    Amy Lee

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  13. This was a very welcome bright spot. There needs to be an antidote to an atmosphere that can be toxic if we allow it. Please keep sending into the atmosphere these healing gleams of light. Love, sherry

    • Emily says:

      I totally agree with you on the thought of an antidote to toxic situations. Right on the mark, and well put.

  14. Emily says:

    Just read this post for the first time, and it turned my blah day into a bright one. I just made my first from-scratch apple crisp, and it turned out great! I didn’t think to celebrate it though! Now I am grinning and thinking how wonderful it is. It is an important accomplishment, and I shared it while still warm with a neighbor.

    I am celebrating! 🙂

    Also, “no” is a word that has been getting stuck in my throat for some time now. Sophia made an interesting point above. As babies, we learn to express our needs very clearly. Why do we now sacrifice them as adults? What happened? I think we get used to letting other people cram us into their agenda.

    I, for one, am singing la la la right now, and it makes me grin from ear to ear. Celebration and singing….how wonderful. I am going to focus on celebrating the small stuff in my life. As I think of it, there have been quite a few good reasons to celebrate lately that I completely missed. Think I will celebrate them right now!

    Thank you, Bella! And thank you, Amy!

  15. Kari says:

    Great insights…thank you for sharing! Reminds me of the scripture that talks about childlike faith! What a blessing to see life through a childs eyes, it reminds us that we should live like that ourselves even as adults! What a joy to sing, make friends and dance and live life to the fullest!

  16. Claudia says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing this with me. It is so true that we need to be more child like and not take life so serious and enjoy the journey more.

  17. Angelica Bober says:

    Dear Amy,

    My Bella is now 32. One of the things she taught me is that miracles do happen. I only had one ovary and tube prior to her conception and I spent the majority of my pregnancy in hospital. I think we are doing our children a disservice if we do not model a commitment to making the world a better place. Lara(with the help of her friends) started a recycling program at her school. At fourteen she had participated in an AIDS walk and said she knew there was an AIDS comity with a drop in centre. I was a Counsellor(spelled with two lls in Canada) and knew that her hoping volunteer there every Sunday afternoon for three hours might not fly but an appointment for an interview was made and she completed training with all of the adults for three consecutive weekends and volunteered every Sunday until her last year of High School.

  18. Elfi says:

    Thank You Sooo Much for Sharing This Hearttouching Wisdom Of The Greatest Teachers on Earth … CHILDREN … THEY KNOW AND THEY TEACH IT BY EXAMPLE SO THAT THE LESSON IS SHOWN AND CAN’T BE MISUNDERSTOOD 🙂

  19. Jonathan Widder says:

    Hi there, You have done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this website.

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