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:

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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