On Asking For Help

Your newest toy which baffled you into asking for help

On Asking For Help

January 25, 2016

Dearest Solomon,

This morning was a bit of an adventure, what with your mom feeling very sick and Dad being on full duty as the day began. We got off to the normal day — big smiles from the crib as you sit there like a sphinx in the corner, flailing arms are you escape the sleep sack, and sheer joy as your first musical toy came to life.

You’re still a little bit (OK, a lot) clumsy and don’t quite know how to really sit up properly, crawl over things (like legs), or generally get from here to there (unless there happens to be a corner behind you). As you spied something on the other side of the mat in your room, you looked up at me and put both hands up and on my face.

For context, lately you seem to be trying to going from crawling backwards exclusively to yoga master — your favorite position being Downward Facing Dog. It’s actually quite impressive to see, but I am not sure just where you’re going as you walk those little mitts backwards towards your feet. Usually it ends in a quick little hmpf and a mild cry minutes later when you get frustrated.

Today, though, you put your hands on my face. I assumed you wanted to practice standing and walking so I put my fingers out, you grabbed on, and I helped you rise to your feet so you could play. This was my first inkling, but I just assumed you wanted to stand up.

This afternoon, when I returned from work, you were busy playing on your mat downstairs. You completely ignored me when I first came home (not unusual). What was new today, though, was you were surrounded by a small arsenal of new toys your mom scored from another mom some weeks ago. You basically were as happy as a pig in slop — with all the slop in your mouth when I first saw you.

As you consumed your first course of the cardboard book, I showed you this cube that had a little noise feature on it — tiny balls that fall through like sand in an old-school hourglass. You were intrigued and proceeded to throw away your book so you could investigate further.

I showed you that the small cylinder could spin and that if you turned the cube upside down, it would make the small granules fall through. You definitely liked this — a lot! You grabbed the edges and turned it around. I was impressed you could figure out not only how to make the sand go, but also how to bring the part closer to you.

However, as you tried to spin the cylinder, your little hand slipped off of it repeatedly and I could see the little eyes quickening. Then, you did it again. You looked over to your old Dad and put your two little hands on my face. Then I had this idea, maybe you’re asking for help. So I spun the little cylinder for you a few times and you re-engaged with it.

To test my notion, I stopped quickly and watched you again. Then boom! The little hands came back to my face and I resumed spinning the cylinders. I called out to your Mom, “He’s asking for help! Watch!!” She looked on as we repeated the exchange a couple more times.

It felt so good, knowing not that I could help you (we do that all the time), but that you could ask me to do it.

One of the hardest things you’ll learn in life, son, is that everything is easier when we work together. There are many pursuits in life, but as I said, true happiness is only real when it’s shared. The same is true for so much more — learning, laughing, loving, you name it.

It’s easy to think we can do it all — and sometimes that’s just what you need to do. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that much of anything is the result of any single person’s will. No one does it alone — don’t discount the thousands of little prods you’ve received your whole life to get you here.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help — it’s how all of life’s success is made.

Love Always,

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