Hello and welcome to the podcast. I am delighted to have my guest, Andrea Ventim, join me today. And we have a really fun topic to talk about. We’re going to talk about how to recognize your child’s gifts and passions and also your own gifts and passions as a parent and how not, not to lose track of that.

Thank you, Andrea, for being here. It’s so great to have you. Yeah. Thank you for inviting me. I’m so excited to share with you and your audience today and just really excited to dive in. Great. Well, why don’t you tell us a little bit about you? Awesome. So I’m a mom of two and I currently live on the North shore of Oahu.

But to be honest, I’ve lived a little bit around the world. My husband is Brazilian. I met him when I studied abroad in college. Huge traveler back in my 20s. And so we lived for a while in Brazil and then we ended up moving here to Hawaii. To be honest, we flipped a coin and said, let’s do it. And we’ve been here for about seven years, maybe almost eight years now.

And we love it. Like we are just natural beach people and. We love nature and outdoors, and this really allows us to incorporate so much of that into our lifestyle and, you know, help our kids get outside as much as possible. It’s like a real  value of ours.  Yeah. What a beautiful place to raise children, huh?

It is. Yeah. And so professionally I’ve spent my career honestly working in personal development. I’ve been supporting Jack Canfield, the co creator of chicken soup for the soul for the last 17 years. Started truthfully when I was in college, had no idea that this is where I was going to land. And just as time has progressed, I have found that this work really aligns with my core values.

It’s just a lot of me to show up as my best self and I think I’ve shared with you previously, but I believe that being in this career field has shaped my parenting style in the best way. And I’m so incredibly grateful for the priceless, just the knowledge and the experience and just the, the knowing that has come with the awareness I’ve seen.

So many adults go through major transformation, and that has shaped how I parent today, and I’m just so grateful for it. Yeah, yeah, you know, I’ve been deeply affected by his work as well. I am a recent certified trainer with Canfield, and I know that you had a whole lot to do with the training program that I went through.

And so that’s how we’ve connected. And I’m just, I’m so happy to hear your perspective because I agree. I think that the principles, they affect everything that we do in life, especially parenting.  So, um, how old are you kids?  So they are two and seven.  Yeah. So Marina and Kainalu. Yeah. Yeah. So we’re looking at recognizing your children’s or your child’s gift.

And this is a podcast for parents of really young children. Do you think it’s possible to see a child’s gifts and interests and passions in these first years?  Oh, yes, I absolutely do. I think there’s so much joy if you can watch your kids excitement for different things unfold and see  like having the space in your life to be able to watch your child experience things for the first time and looking at it through their eyes is just Incredible.

But I’ve seen how my kids, especially the first couple of years, when they’re drawn to different things or they’re not drawn to different things. And it’s just so, it was really interesting. My daughter who’s now seven, but I remember when she was younger, I had this whole idea that she was going to be into dolls and Barbies.

And so I bought her all kinds of things. And I remember I got her like a baby carrier for kids, thinking she would want to be just like mommy and wear her stuffed animals around the house. I don’t think she used it more than twice.  I just really thought she would be a mini me and she’s not and it’s wonderful but she has just become her own little person and my son who’s two he is amazing like especially now I love Two year olds.

I feel like they don’t get enough credit for how awesome they are. There’s exactly so much energy out there about terrible twos. And I think they’re terrific. So he is as he’s becoming more verbal and he’s, you know, really gravitating towards certain things when he. Is, you know, a typical boy in a lot of ways where he loves anything with wheels and he loves cars and he loves the trash man like that is the celebrity around here,  but,  but he also loves water.

Like I mentioned, we live in Hawaii, and so we’re obviously around the water all the time, but he’s actually not that much of a beach kid yet. I’ve noticed, but he loves waterfalls. Like just loves waterfalls. In fact, he’s been obsessed the last week or so when we’re getting ready for bed and he has his last bottle and we’re kind of like just reading a story

He asked to watch these waterfall shows on YouTube. We’ve been just looking at the 50 most beautiful waterfalls around the world.  And they’re just nature shows, but just the fascination of looking through his eyes and seeing how excited he is about. These beautiful waterfalls. I think they’re great, but I would never have thought a two year old would be this excited about that topic.

And I definitely think that you can just watch your kids passions unfold and encourage that in a way. Just let their curiosity unfold before your eyes. It’s so amazing to experience. Right. Right. There’s so many things that come to mind when I think of a two year old who loves water play. Of course, you know,  there’s so many things that you can do with water.

And, but I wish, I wish I could talk to him and find out what do you love about the waterfall? You know, what is it that interests you? I know his language probably isn’t there to actually describe that, but it’ll be so interesting to watch that unfold as he So You know, as he grows, you know, I can eat for a while has really been into water play.

We have like a station outside where my kids play and like the mud and the water. He’s for at least six months been obsessed with moving water from one bucket to the next, which is great for his age and his motor development. But as it’s grown, um, I think this weekend we’re going to try to take him on a waterfall hike to really just see how he does.

But yeah, we’re just letting it, we’re fostering that love for water. I think it’s great. Right. And then as he gets older, maybe you can challenge him with the problem of creating his own waterfall, you know, that would be a really fun project for a little bit older kid, but you might be able to do it with a water hose and some rocks and stuff, you know?

Yeah. Oh, for sure. He would love that. Yeah. As I was thinking about preparing for this conversation, I was thinking about my own kids and what I saw in them at a very young age, and all three of them showed us from day one. What they were going to be like as young adults, you know, and, um, my daughter was the oldest was always, she always was very interested in just kind of making everybody do what she wanted them to do and teaching thm and guiding them and being a teacher basically.

And she would teach her things, you know, her animals and stuff, but we would literally go to the teacher supply store to buy her Christmas presents  and the Christmas, because she loved grade books and bulletin board stuff. And just like that, she would pretend that all the time. Yeah. And I mean, I won’t go into all of their stories, but, but she ended up being a teacher and taught first grade.

Now she’s a mother of three and, you know, doing some other things in, in that realm. But, um, it is really true. What about you and your own journey as a, as a mom and also as a professional, how have you identified what your passions and gifts are and made those happen? Even while Raising these kiddos.  Oh, gosh.

Great question. A lot of it has been tied to, I would say, keeping in check my values. One of my highest values is integrity and just knowing that I check in with myself a lot and I usually can tell if my nervous system is overloaded and I need a break, but I also keep a pulse on my kids as well.

Sometimes I noticed that they need a break, but we’ve had too many activities, like too many birthday parties, too many sports events. We need to. Take it down. We decided in the evening to chill at home, but for me, it’s really finding the time to do something I love at least once a week, and I love art.

And I’m not the greatest artist, but there’s something about it that just really relaxes me and lets me be creative and  day to day my degree in my like education is in accounting and business so I’m very like mental staring at a computer looking at spreadsheets that’s It’s like how I spend a lot of my day.

So having time in my schedule to be creative and free and nothing has to be nothing is black and white it is all just This beautiful creation  that is when I feel the best when I incorporate that weekly into my schedule And I find so on Sundays my daughter and I while my youngest is napping She and I try to make time to watercolor every week just so we have First of all, it’s time for us to have one on one time, which is a gift and rare these days  Also time for both of us because she loves art Now in first grade, she loves art so much.

So we get to do that together, but it also is help. It helps me relax. It helps me show up as a better, more calm mom and partner for my husband. But I find that my schedule is very busy. And if I don’t make time for myself in those ways that I’m just not going to show up as the best version of myself, and I know that, right.

I can remember that, you know, when my kids were little, just sometimes just feeling like a parched raisin, you know, just like  no life.  There is, and there are times where it’s, it’s wild. And we also, so we live in Hawaii and we live far from family. So we don’t have a lot of support. Um, we have when our kids are at daycare and at school and thank goodness, we have found an amazing community here to rely on for, if I need help with, you know, watching a kid here and there or something, I have that, and I’m so grateful I could not.

We would not be thriving without that. I will say, but yeah, I have found that there, we really have to listen to ourselves as parents and take care of ourselves, but we are not going to show up for our families. And sometimes that’s really hard when you’re to do list. You have so many things that are not just wants that are like, I need to do this.

There are things to get done, but scheduling to take care of yourself first, or maybe it’s not first, but at least before you go to bed  every night, having 10 minutes. To do something for yourself makes a really big difference, right? What about your husband? What does, does he get his time and get time to kind of,  for sure.

I would say, yeah, he probably gets more of it than I do, but that’s part of the structure of his day. He’s a lifeguard here on the North shore. So he, I’ve been lucky for him. His office is at the beach, which he loves. And he gets a chance to surf almost daily. He does triathlons. And so when he’s training and I’m like, just so proud of him for committing to training schedules, but he has that self care built into his.

Schedule when he’s trading for a race, he’s got a deadline, he makes it happen. Whereas I, I haven’t ran a race in many years. So for me, usually it can get pushed to the side and ushed to the side, like, well, I’d rather read a book with the kids, or I’d rather get the dishes done or whatever it is. So for me, I have to make a bigger effort.

I learned, I learned from him in that way. Yeah. You know, whenever our kids were little, that’s what I did is I. I did these little sprint triathlons and I’m, I’m no athlete, but I am, I’m a consistent person. You know, if I set a goal, I can make it happen. And I had a little group of friends and we would, we’d get up.

5 a. m. to get the, you know, the workout in because we were following a schedule so that we could actually complete the race, but it was such a great release of tension and such a necessary part of my mental health during those years.  I think the kids were like junior high age at this point, you know, they weren’t little bitty where they would be waking up, you know,  I was gone.

Yes, which happens sometimes, but it’s okay. You know, it’s, it doesn’t last forever. I tell myself that with a lot of things the first few years to remember. I think that’s the blessing of having a second child has been the perspective of knowing it goes so fast, like the good and the bad, um, but the nights when my youngest will wake up and, you know, it’ll be a rough night, which we still have occasionally.

Yeah, I know. Eventually they do stop. Like, he will not be sleeping in our bed until he’s 18. I know that, like, he’s not going to need me for a cuddle at 3 a. m. always. And I really try to just. Live in the moment and hold him and just appreciate the cuddles while they’re there because they go crazy fast,  right?

It’s an important thing to remember that it does go fast, which means you will get to the point where you do get a solid sleep. Eventually, you know, yeah, you will.  So you mentioned your son likes, you know, has this interest in water. Are you seeing any other, um, like gifts or passions that are coming out,  in your children, especially your older child?

I’d say what makes my older daughter so unique and different is her independence and her bravery  and just how she is like this social butterfly and she is not afraid. Like, um, I’ve seen so many kids and I remember when I was a child, like she was the opposite of me, which is wild, but it’s great to witness.

She’s just so confident. That she, the other day I asked her, I said, honey, can you go ask the server for a box like a to go box? If I was seven, there was probably no way I would have been able to do that. And she will just go up to the counter and say, excuse me, can I have a blah, blah, blah, whatever it is.

And I watch other kids, her age and the way she handles herself was such. Confidence. And she is this like natural leader. And I don’t know if she’ll be a teacher or what, where this will take her, but I know she’s just so confident and so brave and she’s willing to try and fail. And I love that about her because I just think it’s going to serve her well.

So how do you talk to her about that?  Yeah. So a lot of it is, I believe. That since she was really young, we’ve always, there’s a time and place for baby talk. But I also think there’s a time to kind of shift to communicating with your kids so they know what’s happening and that it helps build their self esteem and like their confidence and knowing what to expect.

And so there’s a lot that we have done as parents to talk to her about You know, the people are not scary like there’s, we talk a little bit about stranger danger, but we also talk more like there’s more friends in your life than there are going to be enemies. And she just become this amazing human, probably in the tone that we speak to her and the explanation of things.

Like, she’s just so much more aware. She’s like, it’s A huge maturity for her age, and it’s been really beautiful to witness.  I think you bring up such a great point about baby talk, and I am a firm believer in talking to very young children, just like you would talk to anyone else. Of course, she, you know, with little ones, we want to simplify our words and make short sentences and those kinds of things, especially when they’re in these first few years.

But I do think that when you speak to a child, Using those, that kind of language, you are not only developing their language, but you are also, it’s a treating them as if they’re a person who, you know, who is separate apart within you and you want to know what’s going on in their head. And, and it, it just is a little bit of a different  approach to talking to a child.

It’s talking with them and not at them. You know, I think baby talk is very much talking at children.  And baby talk is different from parent ease, which is what we use with in the first year of life. You know, when we exaggerate and we slow down and we use these high pitches with kids. Yes. I’m not talking about that at all.

I’m talking about the silly talk. Silly is fun when you’re being silly. But for the most part, I think just talking straight to kids is. It’s such a great way to show respect. I agree. Like, I just think the respect, like creating mutual respect from the beginning, I think that is a big reason why my daughter is so confident and brave in her interactions out in the world.

I see her, you know, interact at the playground or I hear from her teacher. But because we have always respected her as an individual because she is not going to be a baby forever. That’s really been a foundation of our parenting style of, you know, sometimes I mess up or her dad messes up and we speak to her in a way that we’re not too proud of.

But I will turn around and I will apologize to her and I will explain, you know, mommy messed up and I want her to know. For multiple reasons, she deserves to be treated like an adult or like a human because that’s what she is. She’s a human. I also want her to know that it’s okay for her to mess up and apologize and correct her, you know, her ways.

And I, I just want her to feel like she Is of value that she doesn’t have to wait until she’s 18 to have an opinion that is worthy of being acknowledged that at the age of 345 and beyond that these kids who will be little people running the world one day, they deserve the respect. Absolutely. Yeah. And that really is so much a part of.

Recognizing what their gifts are in there and recognizing what they’re passionate about, you know, a kid’s going to be passionate about many things by the time they go through their childhood, you know, it will have lots and lots of iterations  and probably there’s going to be one string of consistency through there.

And that’s why being so keenly aware and observing your child and taking them in from that. Mindset, I think is really, really important for them and for you.  Yeah, I, I think it makes a huge difference and I, I say we allow our kids to have a lot of curiosity and explore different interests. My daughter is in a ton of different sports.

She’s done, you know, classic tap and ballet, and now she’s doing hula. She’s in jujitsu, she does swimming, she surfs, and she’s just multi passionate, amazing human.  I love that. I don’t know what her eventual, like, if she’s going to pick one lane or if she’s going to stick to a bunch, that’s fine too. Right.

But she’s so, she’s funny. She’s like half princess, half she wants to be a cheetah. I, I don’t know.  And we let her. I, of course, she’s at this age of almost, You know, she’s not, not a preteen yet, but there are some kids her age that are kind of leaning more towards that. And she tends to lean more towards, you know, maybe a younger maturity in some ways, but she’s also very mature.

So it’s, but in terms of playfulness, I’d say she plays more like a five year old than she does a 10 year old. And I, I love it.  I hope that lasts a little bit longer because there will be a time for an interest in cell phones and. You know, bigger kid things, but for now, she, she, like I said, she’s really into cheetahs.

That is one interest of hers that she wants to explore. She keeps saying she wants to be a  cheetah rescuer in Africa, which I like that is so unique and great. Let’s, let’s figure out a way for you to do that. Right. If that’s what you really want. So. That sounds fun. This has really been such a sweet conversation, just about recognizing your children’s passions and living within your own passions as well.

I love, I love how you’re doing that. As we wrap this up, do you have a last word of encouragement for those parents of really young kids who are listening and how would you help them?  Yeah, I mean, I would really say trust your gut. There’s so many experts out there and books you can read and I have read most of them and I will say that the times where I felt like I was the best showing up as the best parent was usually when I threw the book out and just trusted my gut.

Right. Not to say that they’re all bad. Mm-Hmm. . But there is a lot to say that the books are written about the general population and you are the only one who knows your kid the best. Right. And you, if you follow your gut, if something is off or if you feel like something is right on,  go with that. ’cause I think most of the time you are right as the parent.

I would agree with that. 100%.  Well, thank you so much. How can people find you if they want to learn more about the work that you’re doing or anything else? How could, how could people know you? Awesome. Yeah. So my website is just my name, AndreaVentim. com. Um, but you can also find me on Instagram under the same Andrea Ventim.

I share a lot of, you know, about parenting and my career and also veganism. We’re compassionate vegans as well. So if any of that interests you, I’d be happy to have you follow along. Great. Thanks so much for being here. Appreciate you. Thank you. It’s really been fun. Appreciate it.