I love Monday's with my sweet granddaughter. Meyer, now at the ripe young age of 18 months, is officially a toddler but not yet into the terrible twos. Most people see this age of tantrums and defiance as terrible but I've never seen it that way at all. In fact, my children were wonderful at two because just like Meyer, they had already graduated from toddlerhood.
The not so terrible awfully wonderful twos.
Toddlerhood is a huge learning stage. It is the beginning of learning to be human in the most basic and wonderful ways. Meyer, like my own children, is learning to be independent and live in our very complex world.
Toddlers know what they need and they listen.
Toddlers are amazing to me because they are the essence of being human. They know what they are hungry for and only want to eat that now, thank you. They may love bananas today and eat them all day and reject them tomorrow. They might want a cheese sandwich for breakfast and cereal for dinner. No matter what the clock says, when they are tired and crabby, they go to sleep, now. When they need to run, they run. When they need to relax, they curl up in your lap with a book.
As grown ups, we regularly deny ourselves what our bodies truly want and need. If we need food before the clocks says it's lunch, we don't eat. If we want breakfast for dinner and others don't, we don't speak up. We use caffeine and diet regimes to keep ourselves awake when we need to rest and ignore our true hunger when we need to eat.
Toddlers play to learn and learn to play.
Watch a toddler put a puzzle together. Stack colored cups by size. Make marks with a crayon. You may think you are watching her play. You are watching her learn geometry, algebra, writing, and reading. Watch her stir a soup of rocks, pat pancakes out of play dough or push a basket around collecting toys and you are seeing her learn life skills of cooking and shopping.
As grown ups, we think we know all the answers to life's puzzles. We've given up on playtime thinking that it's a waste of our time. As a result, we stop ourselves from learning and that stops us from solving what's really puzzling us. Our life becomes entrenched in routines of safety keeping us from trying new things that might delight, motivate and help us be happier and healthier.
Grown up doesn't mean stop growing.
As Meyer learns to grown up, she's teaching me to live a better life as a grown up. Listen. Try. Delight. Eat. Grow. And, above all when I get tired, take a nap.