We are definitely over the baby threshold, into toddlerhood.
This was made abundantly clear to me one day when Matilda threw a heckin’ fit when she couldn’t be the one to close the door after we came inside. Things are slowing down, really slowing down, as we give her ample time to complete tasks on her own. Closing doors. Climbing stairs. Putting bows in her hair. Putting her shoes on. Can she actually complete these tasks? No. She lacks the depth of coordination necessary to put on her shoes alone. Does she give a hoot? Also no. She does not.
The first year was a year of firsts. First diaper change, first doctor visit, first vaccinations (don’t @ me, Polio is a real thing and it’s super simple to avoid), first time sleeping through the night, first time rolling over, first crawl & stand, first tooth, first fever, so many firsts! All the firsts! Everything happened so fast, it was one first after the next. This year, the second year, it’s the year of millionths. The millionth diaper change, the millionth attempt at eating peas, the millionth time I’ve said, “electrical outlets are not toys” and it’s just not as exciting or romantic as firsts.
I can see how this is the time when I could start to gloss over things as a mother, kind of zone out of the minutia of the daily occurrences and get lost in repeating myself for the millionth time. But I haven’t, I’ve decided I want to stay mindful of all of these little lessons Matilda is teaching me by simply being her burgeoning toddler self.
One such lesson has been staying curious. I am already a rather curious person. I like to know and understand things. Matilda, as a baby/toddler is incredibly curious and wants to know all about the world around her. As an adult, my world is pretty small, as I tend to concern myself with only things that concern me. My home, my baby, my husband, my friendships, my errands, etc. Matilda however, is curious about absolutely everything. Her world is huge and she wants to know all about it. Watching her determinedly inspect a piece of bark at the playground for five minutes, or pull herself up on various household object, or beg a stranger at the coffee shop for their muffin (she stares at you and then at the muffin, and says, “mmmmmm” until you’re so uncomfortable you relocate), has expanded my world substantially. Suddenly there are so many things around me that I totally lost sight of. Do you know how many dandelions there are everywhere you go? Tons! Have you ever sat underneath your kitchen table and looked at your dining chair seats at eye level? Fascinating! I bet you just walk up stairs in your home or office with no regard to how the carpet fibers stand up even though you step on them. Let me tell you, carpet is absolutely magical. We spend the vast majority of our day on our stairs, and that’s just fine.
Another lesson, my favorite so far, is to take your time. The other day we went to get ice cream with a friend. My friend was holding Matilda on her lap as we sat outside in the sunshine enjoying our cones. I was giving Matilda tiny little bites of my ice cream, just enough to have a taste. Every time she finished a bite, she handed me the spoon back, I took a bit of ice cream from my cone and fed it to her, as she leaned in to take the bite, she closed her eyes and let the ice cream wash over her. Once she was done, she’d open her eyes and hand me the spoon and we’d repeat. Here I was talking and eating and mindlessly carrying on, not even in the moment, worrying about this or that or should I be even giving a 1 year old ice cream? Meanwhile, Matilda was enjoying every second while it lasted.
So, yes, it takes me roughly 3-8,000 times longer to get anything done because of Matilda’s curiosity and disregard for time, but it’s fine. We move a lot more slowly and we allow time for inspections, questions, experiments, thought, and conversations. We talk a lot about how the trees dance in the wind, and how they swish around, and that inspires us to dance as well, not wanting to be left out of the fun the trees must be having. We eat slowly because each piece of food must be carefully scrutinized with our eyes, our hands, and our tongues. We take baths until our fingers wrinkle, because holy cats what a cool thing our skin does!
I know I’m not being as productive with my to-do list, but honestly I don’t care. There’s time enough for a tidy house and organized garage later, when she’s a teenager and she’s in a rush and she hates us. For now, I’m trying to soak in every moment we have to sit in the sun, and eat ice cream with our eyes closed.