Thursday, December 27, 2012

Niece





I walked her around at the restaurant last night, because she was fussy and tired and in need of distraction, and both her mom and her nana—her regular, more familiar walking companions—looked like they could use a break. She does not know me as well, doesn’t remember me from six months ago. But we walked around and looked at things together, and got to know each other a little bit, exploring.

We started with the shapes on a tall carved screen, painted bright white. Circle, square. White. She put her finger inside the circle. We looked up, touched the whiteness. We wondered together. Probably about different things, but together, nonetheless.

Not quite eighteen months old, and teething, and tired. I kept moving, kept pointing, kept talking. Look at this Christmas tree! See the lights? They’re so bright! So many shiny things!

We moved on. I pointed out more lights. Chandeliers and shades—red, green, yellow, orange—look, purple, even! Had I noticed that before?

A red velvet couch. Oooh, it’s soft. Soft red. Touch the soft red! I stroked it myself, and held her hand to it so she could feel, too. Soft, soft. She smiled. Back to the tree, and a shiny metal ornament. Hard—we touched that, too. Everything I pointed to, she looked at, all amazement. Look here! A green velvet couch! Touch the soft green! And here—maroon! Touch the soft maroon velvet!

And this is something I love about being with a very young child. Everything is amazement, and at the same time nothing is a surprise. Because it’s all a surprise. The amazement is a perpetual state—taken in stride—it is all new, all amazing, all wonder-ful. No line between fantasy and reality, because every last bit of it is fantasy. And when you come alongside and see things their way for a moment? The world expands. You realize, or maybe resolve anew, that you want to make no time for jadedness. No allowance for cynicism. No room for anything but wow—okay, sure!

Show me more.



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10 comments:

  1. Dr. Suzuki said that we need to come up to the level of a child’s sense of wonder, and down to the level of their physical limitations. I think of that a lot when I teach--and your blog post certainly reiterates this! (My main interaction with kids is through the violin so that's why I think of it, of course). Whenever I'm playing violin out somewhere, adults walk by without noticing, but little kids will stop and STARE and WATCH for a long time, until their parent pulls them away.

    Loved this post :)

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    1. Excellent tie-in, Hannah, thank you! I love how Suzuki balanced things like wonder and physical (or developmental?) limitations, or fun and high expectations. I think it's part of why his method is so powerful.

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  2. That is so true--one of the things I love about my little ones is seeing the world afresh through their eyes.

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  3. A good reminder for me who can get caught up.in the inconvenience of all that wonder! But you are right, everything is amazement but nothing surprising.
    What a beautiful way to live.

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    1. Janice, I get caught up in the inconvenience, too. I have to admit, it's easier when I'm not trying to get someplace on time, or when I'm on vacation. Maybe that's why I still like to get myself back to that place of wonder so much...

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  4. Ahhhhhhh! SO lovely!

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  5. This is so lovely and so true. And it reminds me of a friend of mine who keeps an occasional blog that began as a way to update friends and family about her 17-year battle against metastatic cancer. At this point, she says, everything in the world is amazing. She can barely go to the farmer's market because "the colors knock my socks off." Lovely post, Karen.
    - alison

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    1. What an amazing thought! I really hope that the farther I go through life, the more open I can be to its amazingness. Thank you, Alison.

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