The joy of a child is a wonder of the world. The fascination of a small human being, new to this world, in the little things is just astounding. There are times when I marvel at the ability to simply take things in and react purely on instinctual emotion. Its both inspiring and incomprehensible, the goings on of an infant mind. As bleary blue eyes gaze out into the environment, it’s hard not to wonder what it is about the shapes and colours that grab a child’s attention. It’s hard, too, to not long for such enjoyment in the little things!
I haven’t always liked babies. For a long time, in fact, I eschewed the little beings with a firmness that often earned me boggled looks and confusion from those around me. I think now that I was simply confused by them- I couldn’t really grasp how to deal with something that gave back so few verbal cues. I take much of my social direction, after all, from what is said to me. How, then, was I supposed to know how to interact with a non-verbal human? Some of my friends with stronger maternal instincts couldn’t comprehend my hesitation in the least- how could I not want to “squeeze those chubby cheeks”?
I remained in my little germy-child-free-bubble until two years ago, when my baby cousin was born. As soon as I looked into the curious eyes that stared up at me in wonderment I understood what everyone was talking about. Even in his bleary newborn state, my much younger cousin endeared himself to me. Little fingers and baby toes peaked out from his stripey sleeper and I oohed and ahhed with the best of them, as if I’d never had a moment’s hesitation around babies in my life.
Over the past two years, my little cousin (and now his little brother, too) have taught me a lot about life. One might wonder how two little boys could be such good teachers. I truly believe that having these two wonderful little relatives in my life have helped me in many ways, and have been a part of my life at a particularly poignant moment in my existence. As I’ve attempted to view the world in a different light, it has been interesting to look at the way those who have never experienced the world in all the ways I have view this life. Sure, they have temper tantrums. No, I cannot live my life like a two year old for so many reasons. But still, the innocent openness of a child can inform the life of an emerging adult.
There’s a saying that goes something like “everything I need to know about the world I learned in kindergarten”. In some ways, I would agree with this- if not even sooner. As I watch my little cousins learn and grow, and get excited about dragon puppets popping through toy-barn doors, I laugh and take it all in, enraptured in appreciation of the joy of a child.