The “terrible two’s”, a phrase with which many are familiar. The toddler is leaving behind his or her cute babyhood and taking a leap into individuality. It’s almost as if a mini-teen has emerged with flash emotions, extreme moods and stretching growth points. The heart and mind of the toddler is full; what the heart and mind holds must be expressed, in full. I know such a toddler. I have written of her before.
“She is a simple pleasure, a decadent delight, an innocent abandonment. She’s just over two years old with hair as fair as corn silk and eyes as blue as the sky. Watching her take in the world and waiting for her response is a simple pleasure. Listening to her expressions on all that she has processed is a decadent delight. She observes everything and pursues everything with innocent abandonment.”
She is nearing three years old now. Indeed, she is always with a spontaneous heart, be it with frustration and fear or giggles and love. Yesterday I was blessed with a couple of hours with her. My mother was keeping her, her great-grandmother. The sun was shining brightly and the day was quite warm. She was out and about in the backyard when I drove up, wearing her favorite color, purple. She jumped up and down, clapping her hands by the car door while I unbuckled and gathered my things.
Then she grew somber when I started walking to her. I watched to see if she was open for a cuddle, gauging her mood. She turned her back, walking away from me with her head held low. She stopped, wedged between the garden bench and the brick wall. She had not much of an answer to any of my questions. She did, however, spontaneously burst out with, “Grandma’s mad at me.” Why is Grandma mad at you? “Cause I won’t put my jacket on.” She did not want her jacket on and she did not like her Grandma being mad at her. This was something new for her. She had learned at day care that when she does bad, she must sit facing the corner, isolated and untouchable. She saw no way to resolve either issue. It was hard not to laugh out loud; she was very serious, yet not contrite. Now was not the time to ask for a hug.
Soon then we were sitting around the kitchen table for lunch. Grandma was sure to have her favorite food ready so Grandma must not be mad any more. We all had our assigned seats. In typical fashion for this golden-haired little lady, she grinned at me from ear to ear. “Where’s your mama?” We had started this routine the last time I was with her. I acted confused, “I don’t know; where is my mama?” She giggled and pointed to her Grandma, “There she is!” “Where’s your daddy?” I acted confused, “I don’t know, where is my daddy?” She giggled and pointed to her Grandpa, “There he is!”
Then the somber look returned. A new, spontaneous question crossed her mind and her lips. “Where’s your baby?” Ah, the spontaneous heart will keep you on your toes, indeed! “I do not have a baby to love. I’m all by myself.” Wide eyed and with an immediate response, “I’ll be your baby.” We went through the same routine later while playing hide and seek.
Indeed, watching her take in the world and waiting for her response is a simple pleasure. Listening to her expressions on all that she is processing is a decadent delight. She observes everything and pursues everything with innocent abandonment. Being with her is like riding a roller coaster at the local amusement park. My heart seems to be ready to burst with spontaneous giggles, overwhelming tenderness and total amazement.
The spontaneous heart shared in innocent abandonment is a priceless treasure. Devoid of craftiness or fear, it brings laughter and joy to all who witness it. It brings humility and thanksgiving to the one who is privileged to share it. Love given and love received, in its simplest form.