The best moments in parenting often arrive when I do nothing. I don’t talk. I don’t assist. I don’t offer help. I simply sit back, relax, and let time and space envelope us. When I do this, the magic happens. My son retreats into his fantastical toddler world, his focus narrows, and he becomes engrossed in play—the true sense of it—for hours. And I get to be the lucky observer.
As parents, we spend so much time with our children that we (think) we know everything about them. We indeed know their tired, cranky, and over-stimulated cues. We know their language and that “keer-e-al” means “cereal.” We know they can’t live without their favorite tow truck shirt, that ice cream sandwiches cannot safely be stored in the bottom freezer, and that fresh air always solves all bad moods. We always know when they need hugs the most. But despite this heightened awareness, do we really know their inner thoughts, what makes them tick?
When I have the opportunity to, in many ways, let time stand still and capture a glimpse of my son in his worldof unstructured, self-directed play I’m given my answer.
He is methodical in his thought processes.
He speaks out loud to animate his toys and create his own worlds.
He goes through a few highs and lows as he coaches, corrects, and pushes himself through fitting blocks, gears, and cranks together to make a working, moving masterpiece of parts.
He has the ability to persevere despite frustration.
He is an explorer, tinkerer, and experimenter.
He is comfortable with deliberate messes, yet hates unintentional ones.
He is conceptually attuned at making abstract connections.
He is a problem-solver.
He is an engineer.
He is a creator.
He is skilled like his Papa.
He is more competent than I ever knew two year olds could be.
He is his own bright light, not just my son/sun.
~ The Other Sarah