Hang Out With a 1 and 1/2 Year Old

Copy whatever they do, aside from using your pants as the bathroom and eating crumbs off the floor.

I have a niece that is one and a half. She runs around the kitchen island laughing her head off for no reason what so ever. She smiles, giggles, runs some more… she is not even that good at running! It is more of a flat footed waddle. She does it anyway. She loves making other people smile and will do anything for a laugh. When you sneeze, it is funny. When she sneezes, it is hilarious! She is curious and interested in everything. She is just as entertained by the television as she is by a piece of thread on the floor. Actually, she may be more interested in the thread. If music is playing she instinctively starts moving her body to the beat, laughing again.  She delights in her surroundings and the people that give her attention. She asks for affection when she needs it and asks  to be put down when she wants time to play. She can entertain herself with a key ring. She does this all without expectation, without thinking about tomorrow, without worrying.  She builds things without rhyme or reason to structure, because rhyme or reason isn’t the point for her. She just does it because it brings her and those around her joy.

There is something amazing about being around that kind of innocence. Watching someone discover the world for the first time. When did we stop doing that? My niece is continually learning and discovering and growing and she is happy. When she sees something bright and colorful she exclaims “ohhhhhwow!” So maybe we should take a note from my niece. Learning, discovering, and growing appear to lead to happiness. Smiling and laughing are a couple other key ingredients.

Watching her smile is contagious. So is the fascination she has with everything she encounters. When she tells me she loves me, when she cuddles into me before bed, that is the kind of heart melting stuff we all deserve in our lives. I am very lucky to have such an incredible teacher in my life. Even if you don’t have your own one and half year old, go out there and try to see the world for the first time. Find comfort in a coloring book. Notice everything around you and rediscover.  Move your body to the beat. Smile your biggest smile and run around. Laugh if you fall.  Ask for affection if you need it. Find delight in trying to bring other people happiness.

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