Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Miracle of Mental Maturity

            My daughter is barely two years old, and I’m starting to realize that there’s an awful lot going on in her little noggin. As her parent, it’s my responsibility to teach her about this world, but I’ve found recently that if I pay attention, she seems to be picking up things I never taught her.
            “Let’s buy a flower for Denise!” Celia exclaimed one day to our surprise. Denise is her daycare provider. We looked at each other with raised eyebrows. How did she know to do that? What got it into her mind?
            When she showed up at the doorstep of Denise’s house, Denise got watery eyes as she took the flower from Celia. “Thank you, Celia,” she said.
            Celia smiled happily.
            I don’t know where she came up with the idea to do that, but I shook my head and wondered – when was the last time I’d bought flowers for anyone? It’s been a long time, that’s for sure. I was even hesitant to buy the flower at all, but Michelle was all about letting Celia do it. Something about Celia’s fresh and untainted perspective touched me, and I wished that I’d been doing a better job of showing my appreciation for the people around me.
            Celia seems so mature in so many ways, it’s easy for me to forget that she’s so young. Her vocabulary is going through the roof, and it seems like she not only understands everything, she’s now putting two and two together to create new thoughts. But we have to remind ourselves that she’s still a tiny little kid, and that she doesn’t have the mental understanding we do.
            Take last Sunday, for instance. Michelle offered Celia some applesauce while in the nursery at church. Celia was excited, and so Michelle cracked open the little container and pulled out a spoon. She said to Celia, “Put your hand out.”
            Celia put her hand out.
            Michelle gently placed the opened apple sauce on her open hand. “Now be very careful. You’re going to take it over there and sit down.” Michelle gestured to the table a couple of feet from them.
            Celia had a look of concentration on her face as she watched the apple sauce in her open hand.
            “Now keep your eye on it,” Michelle said.
            Celia instantly lifted the apple sauce right up to her eye and – SMACK! – pushed it right in!
            Michelle told me what happened later and I broke out laughing. Of course she put it in her eye! When your mommy says keep your eye on it, you’d better do just that. She hasn’t been around long enough to know all of our idioms.
            In some ways, I think that’s what’s most refreshing about being around her. She doesn’t have all the years of baggage dragging her down. When she sees something new, she sees it with new (albeit messy) eyes and a fresh perspective.
            Last night Celia was playing just out of my view on the other side of the evening’s fort built up from the cushions of two different couches, and I heard her say loudly, “It’s a miracle!”
            I raised my eyebrows and looked at Michelle. “Did she say ‘miracle’?”
            Michelle nodded her head and looked over at Celia.
            Celia said it again, “A miracle!”
            “How the heck did she learn about that!?” I asked. I wondered, Did she learn it at church? Did we say it? For the life of me, I couldn’t imagine how she’d picked up that word in the last few months.
            Michelle craned her head to see what Celia was looking at.
            Celia was crouched over one of Joshua’s play mats.
            Michelle squinted.
            Celia was touching a small circular mirror that was stitched into the fabric.
            Michelle laughed. “A miracle! It’s a mirror-circle! A mirro-cle.”
            “Oh!” I grinned.
            That totally makes sense! On two levels – as a word play, and frankly, it is pretty miraculous to think of all the things we people have come up with over the years. Who’d have come up with these things? Only a two-year-old.
            Only a two-year-old has a fresh enough perspective of the world to see the hidden gems awaiting. Something tells me I’d better take notes. For adults like me, who’ve been around and think we know all about the world we live in, I have a feeling I might learn something.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of humour breaking through dark spaces with no hope....THANKS for the laughter - the apple sauce story caused the rumbling of joy to bubble to the surface. THANKS! Sandra