Eager to learn, thirst for knowledge, child of wonder, intense curiosity, attentive and alert–a typical toddler, especially so my favorite almost-3-year-old.
Inquiring minds want to know!
She is content, comfortably snuggled between grandpa and grandma on their swing. The morning sun is gently heating up the little space. Evidence of her half-eaten morning snack beside her favorite sippy cup is close by on the side table. The look on her face as I walked in the door revealed that she was deliberating over another person invading her paradise. As I parked the car, I had seen her burst of excitement at my arrival; as I walked to the door, I had heard her giggles and “Let’s hide!” But when I entered her personal space, it was an adjustment. Giving her time to process my arrival and to “gain permission” to come closer, I greeted her. “When I heard that you were here today, I jumped in my car and ran right over!” With a solemn expression and a dead-pan voice, she responded, “You can’t run.” In that moment of silence from surprise, with wide-eyed expectation of what my response would be, we three adults were fighting to hide a smile. You see, she was right. I can’t run. She has been watching me, she has taken note of what she has been told and she proclaimed the truth at an uncanny moment. Attentive and alert indeed!
Later in the day, I caught a glimpse of the front yard being swarmed with birds. I called to her, admonishing her to approach the glass door quietly. We stood there watching the birds digging in the grass for half a minute before I whispered, “What are they doing?”
“I don’t know. What are they doing?”
“Maybe they are looking for worms and bugs to eat.”
“Noooo, birds don’t eat worms and bugs. They sit in trees and eat leaves!”
This challenging information of worms and bugs vs leaves needed to be verified with grandpa and grandma before she would take it in and not argue with me. Thirst for knowledge, eager to learn!
We were both stretched out on our makeshift pallet on the floor, lying on our stomachs with our chins resting in our cupped hands and sharing her blankie and pillow. It goes without saying that we were intently watching Dora the Explorer. Suddenly, she turned to me with a thoughtful look on her face and a gentle voice, “You’re a big girl, aren’t you?” You see, she sees me as a little girl; I am just 4’10” and she already stands waist-high to me. My feet and hands are not as big as the adults in her life. But it is a contradiction for her that I can drive a car, that I can prepare her snacks and refill her sippy cups, that I can use the remote control and that I can read and that I wear makeup. Intense curiosity indeed!
As I followed after her to the bathroom to be on hand if she needed help taking care of business, offhandedly I commented that I had something in my shoe. She finished up and was running out of the bathroom when I stopped her to wash her hands. She looked annoyed but obeyed yet not dwaddle to play in the water. Hurriedly, she put the step stool back in its place then she ran again from the bathroom. “Come on, Deb, let’s see what’s in your shoe.” As instructed, I sat down while she untied my shoe and took it off. We shook the shoe. Nothing fell out. She raised my foot and brushed her hand along the bottom of my foot. (I think she’s been in this same predicament a time or two herself, don’t you?) Not finding the offending object, she wanted to check the other shoe. I convinced her instead to replace the shoe on my foot. She did her best to re-tie the bow, but we worked together to complete that task. Child of wonder, indeed!
An avid learner of life!
I catch myself holding back tears being with this child of wonder. She amazes me and she teaches me. She is like a sponge of pure curiosity, ready to soak up all the love and knowledge she can. She’s not afraid to ask questions and not afraid to learn something new when it contradicts what she has previously determined to be true. She thrives with praise and attention; she crumbles with admonition and correction. She hides when she is embarrassed and withdraws when she is hurt. She forgives quickly and laughs easily. She isn’t anxious about her future but fully explores right now.