what a toddler can teach you.

You might be surprised by what a toddler can teach you

There are certain things that bum me out. Gray skies. Drizzly rain that can’t quite make up its mind to turn to snow. The end of football season. Add in the realization that election year posturing and partisanship is just getting started, and I find myself wanting to go to my happy place.

Which is in Kansas City. Because it has something I can’t find anywhere else in the world.

My fourteen-month-old granddaughter.

The world goes away when all I have to do is be her Grandpa. I get to chase down a waddling toddler, read the same small books over and over, sing silly songs, walk around a playground holding a tiny mittened hand, and play peek-a-boo with whatever is handy. My whole world can revolve around one little girl. I get to teach her things, while I also learn from her.

Because it’s amazing what a toddler can teach you.

Let your personality shine through.

When she spots you across the room, her eyes sparkle, her smile gets really big, and she chuckles. Now I realize that that might simply mean I’m silly looking, but since wherever she goes everyone smiles and talks to her, I think it is more about her personality than my funny looks. And it doesn’t just happen with adults. Every kid she sees is a potential new friend. Every “woof woof” is as well.

Communication is necessary to get what you want.

When she wants your attention, she has no problem walking up and “talking” to you until you stop what you are doing. Without being able to say much more than “mama” and “dada”, she somehow makes her case, and gets pretty much anything she wants from all of the adults wrapped around her tiny little fingers.

Experts are a resource to learn from.

When something doesn’t work right after a couple of tries, she simply hands it off to an “expert” (aka, closest adult) and watches how it is done. If she tries it again and it doesn’t work, she stops mid-try and points to the expert for more help.

Successes are to be celebrated.

When she tries it once more and it works, she raises her arms and does a little dance. Of course she likes to dance, so almost every accomplishment gets one. Even successfully watching a kid vid to the end, as long as the theme song has a bounce to it.

Taking a break can be a good thing.

Even if it doesn’t feel that way at first. There is so much new and exciting stuff around that it is hard to remember that it is okay to take some time to recharge. But when she wakes up, she has so much energy that I’m considering adding a nap to my afternoons.

Uh-oh. Sounds like nap time is over. I wonder how much more I’ll learn as she continues to grow up?

Not that I’m in a hurry for that to happen.

Kent Dicken

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