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Not As It Seems

search I’m blessed with four Grands between the ages of 1½ and 5½. I love the toddler stage, and I’m always entertained by the way young children see the world. Their confusion that everything isn’t literal or as it seems.

Elaine is 3 ½ and she became very upset over something that happened to her older sister, Ruth. While on a recent vacation with Daughter and her family, Ruth and I got out of the swimming pool and sat in the hot tub. Ruth eased herself in front of one of the jets and her loose swim shirt quickly filled with air. “Look, Elaine!” she laughed and called to sister. “Look at my bathing suit!” Elaine came running toward the hot tub, saw Ruth, and then froze in place. Elaine’s eyes grew big. She put both hands over her mouth and screamed, “No! No! Get out! Get out!’ I assured Elaine that Ruth was okay. Ruth got out of the hot tub and Elaine helped her pat the bathing suit flat against her body. Elaine looked at Ruth’s chest and back under her bathing suit.  When Ruth turned to get back in the hot tub, Elaine screamed, “No! Don’t get in!” There was no way to convince Elaine that Ruth wouldn’t inflate, like a balloon.

When Dean was barely 2 ½, his mother asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. Dean looked off into space and didn’t answer. Thinking he needed some hints, his mother suggested that he might be a fireman or policeman. Dean frowned, turned his head side to side and said, “Big. Grow up big!”   He was three years old when he went grocery shopping with his mother and saw a carton of brown eggs in a clear plastic package. “Look! Chocolate eggs! Get those,” he told his mother.

David was five when he saw the sunrise at the beach. “Look! The sun came out of the water!” The same sun that stayed all night in the water; it went in the water in one place and came out another.

My Grands take me back to the time my own children were toddlers. I thought that Son, age 4 and Daughter, age 5 ½ could help me paint a play table. I gave each of them a brush and poured a small amount of blue paint into two flat-bottomed plastic bowls. We determined which half of the table each of them would paint and for a few minutes, all went well. Most of the washable blue paint was spread on the tabletop and most drips landed on the newspapers that covered the garage floor. Then Daughter complained that Son was painting a leg on her section of the table. I said, “Eric, paint your legs,” and I went into the house for one minute to get something. Eric followed my directions perfectly. He completely covered both his own legs with blue paint.

Toddlers. Trying to understand the whys and causes and directions. Aren’t we all?

 

 

 

 

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