Noticing with the Baker Family
Sitting down for Week 3 out of 3 for our #Noticing with families series, and there’s such an energy to the room. This year has really flipped the script on all of us, and shown how we all have a lot to learn from each other. Each of the parents I’ve talked to have been so open about how their kids are inspiring them. I open up my laptop, and there’s such a giddiness to this moment. I don’t know where this conversation with Tara is going to go, and I’m so excited to find out.
Hayley: I feel like I need to tell you how this idea started. I was in the office with Amy and she was telling me a story of a time she had Noticed her daughter, and learned from her.
It was refreshing to hear a parent be humble enough and real enough to say what they’ve learned. So I thought: wouldn’t it be cool to have a couple families share what they’ve Noticed about their kids during this past year? Thank you for taking time to chat with me.
Oh you bet. It’s me and my husband Jeremy, and we’ve got two kiddos here. Zoe is 7 and Benjamin is 5. They are doing virtual school, and they are home with me all the time. You can probably hear them in the background, even though I’ve shut the door. Hayley: Absolutely. That’s a ton of time to work at home that young. Tara: I know sometimes they're a little bit upset about it. It's interesting to watch the big emotions we all have about it daily. It's good sometimes, and it’s bad sometimes because it comes in waves.
I’m sure. Thank you for being honest about that. Is there any specific trait you’ve Noticed in them this year? Tara: I've been impressed with their empathy. They're recognizing not everybody has a full understanding of the effect that this could be having. Like our family. We're healthy. We're not of the ages that are in high risk groups. But to hear my children be able to vocalize that we're staying home to help the frontline workers is amazing to me. They know that we’re helping health care workers and other jobs in the public. Hayley: 5 and 7? That’s amazing they can tell you that. And they care that their actions are helping others.
We’ll be doing virtual school, and it'll be through a lighthearted little comment like, “I'm really frustrated about this, but I'm doing my part. It's how we can be helpful right now, right?” That's huge, but they have always been that way. They're very good with speaking about their emotions or sometimes screaming about them, but they’re always labeling them. And they have such big hearts.
Hayley: That’s a pretty convicting reminder for me, honestly.
Children in general are just beautiful. It's so funny the way that they bring you back to the present in ways that you can't. They keep life incredibly present.
Is there any time this year that you've had a nice moment with them that snuck up on you?
Tara: We were on a nature walk and they saw this slug and got so excited. I would have walked right by it and enjoyed my walk, but they see things in nature and get so much joy.
Hayley: Do you take a lot of walks together?
Yes. We used to live in Canada until they were four and two, where trails are in all the neighborhoods. In Canada, it’s like the rainforest is woven through everything. So you walk around the corner to what appears to be a secluded little part, and then can get lost with all these massive trees that you can build forts in and run through and climb.
That's the kind of stuff we did in Vancouver, and now we walk through the neighborhood. We do a lot of bike rides, scooter rides, and scavenger hunts.
Hayley: How did the scavenger hunts come about?
We just do them all the time. Hayley: Really? Tara: They create them now. It’s all incredibly creative. They write these little notes with clues for our walks, and come up with all of it on their own. My favorite activity to watch was their sailboat. They built a sailboat with their dad, painted it, and then sailed it in the backyard. They love that sailboat.
We’ve also seen the strength of our neighborhood during this time. We live in a lovely neighborhood, with a lot of active families where everybody is supportive.
Hayley: How have you seen that?
A couple months ago one of the families posted on our group page to tell the neighborhood that they’d created a hopscotch that was 30 squares long filled with exercises and fun ways to get your body moving. Spin in a circle and jump 10 times, stuff like that. All the kids in the neighborhood loved it! There were couples that would bring their happy hour drinks and do it, too.
We'll use the grill in the driveway, and it's definitely a front yard neighborhood. They’ve been creative this year with how to support local businesses. Someone will post on the page: “Hey, we're going to have some food trucks down in the parking lot. It'll be down by the pool, so you can wear masks and spread out.” We’ve all been in this together.
Hayley: What would you tell Zoe and Benjamin about this time, when they look back?
Tara: Hmm. If I could tell them one thing, it would be this: There's a lot of big stuff going on in the world right now that adults don't even understand. And in the middle of all of it, you have been amazing. You have had big hearts, and you have never stopped creating. Someday they will go back and look at all the creative stuff they did. And the biggest thing I’ve Noticed in them is resilience. I think it takes a lot of bravery to choose happiness, especially in tough situations. And they do. They lead with their hearts. Hayley: It doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes you have to create it for yourself. Tara: I'm also very proud of how they are sincere about who they are and what they believe in. We lived in Canada, and now we live here. We are very west coast sometimes, and when it sticks out at school they’ve been mocked for being weird. I really love how they don't let that get them down. After a few years of learning, now their first instinct when somebody is poking at them for their differences is to say: It's not about me. There's usually something much bigger. It's probably not really because they don’t like my shoes. Maybe they aren't getting enough hugs at home, or maybe there's so much going on in their family. We try to talk about how people are very complicated and beautiful. And that's such a hard thing to remember, when they’re saying it as a joke.
Hayley: Thank you for sharing this. In a year where everyone is coping differently, this might be our best reminder.