In the Heart of a Child
How They Bring Me Joy
If you want to change your mood, spend fifteen minutes with a three-year-old. Let her tell you about her adventures from the world in which she lives. Let her wow you with her animated recollections as you sit there in awe, struck by the amazement of her long memory. You must know that some of it is the act of embellishment. Some of it is simply for show, but on this stage, she is Juliet, so let her shine.
One of my baby cousins, Jaidynn has been a bubble of excitement from day one. She is fully equipped with sass, intelligence, and inquisitiveness. She also has the most infectious laugh on the planet. While reading Curious George Makes Pancakes to her, I took brief moments to watch her reaction to the things that the eager, little monkey had gotten himself into. I also paid attention to her commentary, “Ooh, why’s he using blueberries? I don’t like blueberries.” This, a flaunting of her opinion about Curious George choosing to use blueberries instead of bananas or strawberries as the fruit for the pancakes — strikes you as the beginnings of a detail-oriented being.
I read the book with the peace that consumes me when I am writing or listening to music. I read it knowing that someone more concerned with the actions of a fictional character wanted to get to the ending, but also, wanted to savor it a bit too. Let a three-year-old have choo-choo train rides on your thigh. Let her raise her arm up and down and make the whistle blow. Give her piggyback rides, tickle her belly, and plant zerberts (raspberries) on her chubby cheeks.
And when you’re done with that…
Let your youngest cousin join in on the fun. Caison is learning how to assert himself in a small crowd. He is reminding us to be mindful that he is still in the room if we have forgotten for half of a second. He is beginning to talk, using little words such as, “Hey,” “Bye-Bye”, “No,” and “Yay.” He also likes to clap and listen to music and if he can do these two in unison, he is content. Not yet two, Caison lets me know when I have to shift gears and give him moments of my time. He may jump in when Jaidynn and I are singing or talking about nothing at all (which is very interesting, by the way).
And when this happens, you watch a one-year-old lure you into his realm by simply using his smile or his raspy voice to alert you. You let him caterpillar crawl up your leg, to get to your lap so that he can show you that he knows how to initiate a game of peek-a-boo. He also wants to show you that he can make sounds with his lips by tapping his fingers over them, sort of like a baby beat-boxing routine. He is showing you what you have shown him and you must watch. He has learned these things by observation and whether or not you recognize the beauty in this, you cannot deny the awesomeness.
In the heart of a child, there is nonstop fun, the ability to create without being prompted, love, honesty, and impatience. If you are a “big kid,” you remember how to let the little things inspire you. Let them remind you that life can be light, it can be love. Let them tap you on your shoulders and whisper in your ear, “I gotta pee” and watch them remove themselves from your presence quickly in order to satisfy that need.
In the heart of a child, you will find — if you are willing, what you need to go on.
And when you do, life is so much sweeter.
Copyright©Tremaine L. Loadholt, 2019. All Rights Reserved
*Special thanks to my cousins JaQua and Akua for granting me permission to use the little ones’ photos and to share them here with you. I have had the pleasure to read the wondrous works of Sean Michael, Jocelyne Tendop, Lucas Taylor Sylvia Wohlfarth, Joseph M., and Vinod Shenoy. Medium is lucky to have them.
Thank you for reading.