The Face of Innocence

This face.

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This is the face of a baby who just climbed off of the bed herself.

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This is the face I expected to see.

And now she is playing with the door stop exactly the way I taught her.

If I weren’t in enough trouble before, I certainly am now.

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My Surprise Visitor

For our anniversary, my husband and I went camping. Normally, we would do this for my birthday, but since we have Liliana now, we were worried September might be a little too cold. On Monday night, Matthew set up a fantastic fire in the fire pit, but he got tired before I did and went to go lie down. While I was alone in the dark, I heard something off to my right.

Flip! Flop!

There was something on the pebbles surrounding the fire pit. I couldn’t see it yet, but it was getting closer. As the fire dimmed, whatever it was became more courageous. Every few minutes, I heard it again:

Flip! Flop!

Just when I began to believe I was imagining it because I still couldn’t see whatever it was, I looked down and saw a face!

There was a toad the size of my palm sitting next to the stones that surrounded the pit, and he was staring right at me! I jumped a little, but he didn’t seem to mind. He crawled onto one of those big stones, nibbled a branch that was protruding from the pit, then sat back and relaxed.

He (or she?) was actually pretty nice company. He just hung out for about fifteen minutes, doing the same thing I was doing – enjoying the calm, the warmth, the peace. And he taught me something.

We were more similar than I would have thought. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that even though everyone seems so different, we are all so alike. After all, we all have needs, wants, hopes, dreams. We all have thoughts, feelings, plans, emotions.

The same concept applies to adults and children. As an adult, I sometimes have to remind myself of exactly what it feels like to be a child. I never thought of myself as being little, but these miniature humans seem so small to grown-up eyes that it is easy to dismiss their thoughts and feelings as cute things that kids do. At the same time, as a child, I remember thinking that adults tended to be entirely wrapped up in the wrong sorts of things. We are more similar than we tend to think.

After all, we even share about half of our DNA with bananas.

The Power of Memories

I like to think I have a decent memory, regardless of how much evidence exists to the contrary. Since Liliana arrived, however, I’ve realized that I had forgotten many of the fun things I had learned when I was young.

Sure, I’d remembered Weeble Wobbles and cardboard boxes. I’d remembered various toys my brother (along with other small children) had broken. I’d remembered how I loved the water wings that the kid from the other apartment had let me borrow so I could go swimming in the pool of the apartment complex, although when I think back now, I realize his parents were probably the ones that let us borrow them.

I had forgotten some things though too. About a month ago, I was giving Liliana a bath and remembered a washcloth trick that my mother had taught me. I had worked so hard when I was little to learn how to do it, but I hadn’t tried it in many years.

Luckily, I could still manage it, even with Liliana’s itty bitty washcloths. Here’s what you do:

1. Wet the cloth.

2. Make a fist.

3. Lay the cloth over the fist and slowly lower your hand underwater, making sure the edges touch the water first.

4. Using your other hand to make sure the edges of the washcloth remain lower than the rest of it, gather the edges together while removing your fist. The result should be a balloon of air.

5. Don’t let go of the edges, but move the cloth bubble underwater. It should hold the air as long as it remains under the water and doesn’t bump anything.

6. Squeeze it and watch thousands of little bubbles rocket through the cloth to the surface!

 

I felt so cool when I showed Liliana this trick, and she thought it was neat. Unfortunately for my ego, the rubber duck won the contest for her attention because she could eat it.

A similar thing happened today when I remembered the wonders of those doorstops that are built into the wall. I showed her how it made a fun sound if you stretched the spring and let go. I used to play with that thing for what seemed like hours: Boing! Boing! Boing! 

She didn’t seem quite as interested at first, so I thought she might still be too young to really appreciate it.

I just found out I was wrong.

What have I done?