So I, as usual, was having a hard time coming up with something sweet to talk about this Friday. Even in a sarcastic sense, nothing was coming to mind. I think I’ve just been in an endless cycle of shoveling snow, feeling cooped up, dealing with whining, and answering more questions in a week than a university professor does an entire semester.
(And this is, mind you, a week which included two days with my husband home from work on account of the snow!)
But pushing irritation aside, I realized there is something wonderful happening around Toddler these days.
She is blissfully, lovingly carefree in everything she does and says. There is no filter in any of it, and it’s such a blessing. Soon enough she’ll learn to curb her words and movements – no talking about private family matters in public, no wild dancing in the middle of Target. You know. But for now she does as she pleases – within the boundaries we’ve set up for our household regarding simple manners, chores, safety, and kindness.
It’s a feeling few of us have as adults. Maybe few of us truly remember the feeling.
Perhaps that’s way I’ve been slow to see this as Toddler’s place in life right now – and why I often fail to appreciate it. What I mistake as circuitous paths, literally around the house and metaphorically in what she does, is her gentle way of exploring and freeform way to have fun. My sometimes rigid sense of order and efficiency is bristled against most hours of the day as I impatiently wait for her to…
- finish a task
- pick out a book
- decide which path she’ll take to walk from the backyard to the front yard
- lay her Barbies on pillows for their “sleepover”
- pick her way through a meal
- finish her meandering “why” questions as we read a book
She’s only three-and-a-half, for God’s sake. Get a grip, mama, I’ve recently found myself saying. Loosen up!
As I watched her play in the – deep! – snowfall this week … which largely included plopping down after a sledding session to eat generous portions of snow (I swear this is her favorite snowy activity), I finally saw her doing what she does best.
No rules – yet. No inhibitions – yet. No defenses or barriers – yet. No worries about what other people really think – yet. Just playing, finding ways to have fun, using her imagination, and living her dreams.
One snowflake at a time.
One very slow snowflake at a time.
As I struggle to stop my foot from tapping, I’m learning to let myself let this happen. Soon enough she’ll feel pressure from the clock or elsewhere, so for now I’ll let it be – to quote her favorite band.
Have a good weekend, all!