A couple of weeks ago I was working with a family and the 18 month old girl began staring at my gray (fashion and trendy, just saying) nails. I saw her look at the nails, then look at me, then look at the nails. I didn’t say a word. After, she started touching them, swiping her finger tips over the nail, trying to figure out if they felt different. Then, she did the same on hers and once again on mine.
All of this happened in less than a minute. To me this was all fascinating. Not that it’s a big deal, but just a great example that illustrates so well how children learn. You could literally see the wheels turning!
It’s one of those humbling experience that reminds you of how children have this unbelievably hard task to learn all these little small details about how the world and others around them work and think and act. So many things that we take for granted every day. And it shows you how intuitive these little creatures truly are. I mean, think about it! This 18 month old had the ability to have this complex thought that involved: 1. observing a detail in my body; 2. remembering her body and thinking “wait a minute, the last time I looked at this part of my body that holds my bottle, they were a different color”; 3. double checking, by looking at her hands and touching mine. Does this give her the answer to why mine were different? Probably not. But, it sparked her curiosity to find out why. Perhaps she will try using her crayons to paint her nails next time or she will see other people with other colors and gain even more curiosity. All this, until the day she sees someone actually do their nails in front of her and all the information she has gained so far, finally makes sense. That day, you can even hear the clicking sound from her little brain, saying “ohhhhh! that’s how this happens!”.
Now you might ask: “All this talk just because of nail polish!”. Not quite. It was just an example that shined in my day. But, it reminds you of all these connections children are making day after day and how they have to be these energetic, intelligent creatures to be able to do this all day long. I mean if now, as a full-grown adult, I was asked to pretty much guess what is happening in my surroundings 24/7 based on intuition, gathering clues and information and putting it together… I would be exhausted!
So every time you see your child discovering a new thing like, “this block can stay on top of the other” or “if I throw a toy it falls on the floor” and then usually after that “if I cry someone will pick it up”, remember how these are all amazing achievements that these tiny humans are making and thriving at every single day!
And for all the mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers and any other caregivers that spends their day with these both adorable and smart youngsters, a round of applause to you too! Because if they spend their days figuring the world out, you spend the days figuring them out… what they want, what they need, what they are thinking…
Being a baby is hard work. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. After all, you are taking care of them, teaching them, helping them become a person. What an amazing thing!