A couple of weeks ago I took Macks into the city for a little date. With him being sick a lot of last month, I figured we could get out and let him enjoy some one-on-one time with me exploring our old stomping grounds. My sister happened to be out of town the weekend that we decided to head into the city, so we had a little sleep over at her apartment, just the two of us. I took him to dinner, grabbed some ice cream on our walk home, and we both cuddled up on the couch to watch some of his favorite shows (without any outside influence from his big sisters.) The next morning we headed off to Brooklyn for a morning of play.

While living in Manhattan, (and even now) we don’t explore Brooklyn quite as often as we should. Macks was in heaven since the moment we started to drive across the bridge. We spent the morning at Recess, an indoor playground in DUMBO. While Macks was busy climbing everything possible inside, I was catching up with friends and learning how to tackle germs (pretty appropriate for an indoor play space, don’t you think?)

With it being cold and flu season and Macks having pneumonia and bronchitis last month, I’m  being very cautious with the kids and what they do and what they touch. I’ll do anything to avoid going through what we did with Macks ever again. Thankfully the team at Vicks VapoRub gave us some tips on how to avoid the spread of germs. While we all know th at we want our kiddos to wash their hands, I learned that they need to do it for 27 seconds for it to be effective. Not so easy when you have a little one whose attention span lasts 2.5 seconds, right? Their solution? Sing songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to help them get through it. Nothing like a little duet while you’re washing away the germs.

And while we do everything possible to avoid getting sick, it inevitably happens, especially during this time of year. And thankfully that’s when Vicks VapoRub comes in to help.

I took Macks to the doctor yesterday because he woke up with a cough and I thought he might have been wheezing again. Since our bout with pneumonia and bronchitis  last month, I’m probably overly paranoid when he has the slightest runny nose or cough. With me going out of town this week for work, I wanted to play it safe and decided to take him in. The doctor checked his oxygen levels and lungs and everything was picture perfect. Thank goodness, I thought to myself. We headed home with orders just to treat the symptoms and come back if he gets any worse or starts running a fever.

We went home and I grabbed some of the Vicks VapoRub that was in our medicine cabinet and rubbed it on his chest. We always have a container of the VapoRub and the baby VapoRub (BabyRub) on hand, especially for this time of year when it seems everyone has a cough. The camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol help relieve the cough almost right away, so I know that they can rest easy without the worry of a cough keeping them awake at night (when the cough always seems to be at its worst.)

While I know there isn’t much I can do to make the cold go away, I do know that there are things that I can do to help bring some relief to his symptoms. I grabbed the humidifier and put it in his room to ease his breathing and runny nose. He went to bed last night with a smile on his face and without any coughing fits. It’s amazing how great the sound of silence is when your little one is suffering from a constant cough. Let’s be honest, the sound of silence late at night is glorious no matter what, right? But I’ll thank VapoRub for this silent night.

Yesterday I was picking up some lunch at a local deli and it happens to have a basket of lollipops for the kids that come in. Avery and Macks love going with me to pick up a sandwich because they know that they’ll always leave with a lollipop in hand. As they chose their flavors, Macks picked up a flavor that I knew he wouldn’t like. I warned him that he wasn’t going to like it, but like any three year-old, he insisted that he was right and took the pop anyway. No more than a minute later he came back to me telling me he didn’t like the lollipop and wanted another. I told him he could have one more and then we had to leave. He happened to pick another flavor he wasn’t fond of and went over to the basket to get another flavor. This time I refused and told him he had to eat the one that he’d gotten the second time. And in typical Macks fashion, he immediately dropped to his knees and began to throw a tantrum on the floor. Thankfully these tantrums mean very little to me these days and don’t seem to phase me in the least. I quietly waited to the side for my sandwich while Avery looked at Macks feeling defeated on the floor.

“Here Macks, you can have mine,” she suggested. “We can trade.”

He stopped crying and looked up to inspect the flavor that Avery had in her hand. As he stood to his feet he took the lollipop from her hand and handed her his.

“Thank you,” Macks said with a grin before giving her a hug.

“You’re welcome,” Avery replied with a smile.

And all was good in their world.

That simple act of selflessness and kindness that Avery showed for Macks isn’t uncommon in our everyday lives. She’s always bringing home extras of things for her brother and sister. She’ll save one half of her cookie from her friends birthday celebration so that Harlan and Macks can have some. She’ll happily be the one that gives up getting the last of something if she knows that someone else will delight in it.  She hates to see others hurt, and in turn will strive to do whatever she can to make them smile. Even if that means that she won’t benefit from it at all.

Avery loves loves. She always has. Every night as I’m putting her to bed, she’ll ask for a “huggie and a kissy.” As I put my arms around her to give her a hug, she’ll squeeze as tight as she can to give me the biggest and strongest hug that she can. Then ten minutes later, she’ll come in my room telling me that she can’t sleep because she wants to give me another hug and a kiss. I happily oblige. Her love for love is contagious. She goes to bed with a smile and wakes up the next morning with that smile still on her face. Happiness and love is what she her mantra and she’s constantly hoping to spread that to others.

Little did I know that it was only once I became a parent that I would do the most learning and growing in life. It’s through my children who show me everyday how to be a better person. I realize how cliche that statement sounds. Yet, sometimes it’s those things that we hear people say all of the time that end up becoming a reality in our own lives.

It’s Avery that shows me that our days can be so much brighter if we start them out with a smile, show a little compassion, and share the love.

Happy Birthday, Avery.

I was scrolling through my phone earlier to look for a specific photo when I stumbled on the photo above. I immediately laughed because I remember this day so vividly. Just like every morning, I ask Avery to get dressed for the day. The above is what she came out wearing. Yes, that’s a button down with a dress over it and a skirt over that. She went through a phase last year when she only wanted to wear skirts over her dresses. It was her “thing” and she believed in it. Avery loves fashion. She loves accessories. She loves to layer items. And she loves to put things together that you might not necessary think go together and then she puts it on and you’re like wow, that actually looks cute together. That’s what I thought about the outfit above. And she wore it with so much confidence.

She still does this every morning as she gets ready. I never doubt what she puts on nor do I tell her to change. I love this confidence she has in both herself and the choices that she makes in what she wears.

That’s what makes me happy.

Now tell me something good. Something that’s made you happy. It can be big, it can be small, just something that has put a smile on your face. You can participate by sharing a photo on Wednesday with the hashtag #WhyImHappyWednesday and tagging me @laurenjimeson or feel free to write it in the comments below. I do read them all and am happy to reply back on your good news! You can also join in the conversation on my Facebook page!