It has been a joy recently to spend some time with the grandchildren during their half term. I love the insights you get about the way they see the world. This may be something you have more time to appreciate as a grandparent, being now at a remove from the relentlessness of the daily parental grind.
The little boy who’s now spent seven months on earth is greatly intriguing. He’s a calm (mostly) and serious chap, and a deep thinker, occasionally known as The Professor. And everything is a source of wonder to him, just everything. All inanimate objects, people, animals, noises, smells, perspectives are things to be considered, felt, tasted, pulled, observed, just to see what happens. Life is about curiosity, experiment, review and then storage of the conclusions in a rapidly growing mental database.
A special highlight for me was a moment when his dad had paused in administering the morning cereal and gone to attend to the increasingly insistent needs of an older sister. Just the baby in his high chair and me left in the now peaceful kitchen. The plastic bowl of half-finished gloop beckoned to both of us. Never slow in grabbing an opportunity to feed people I assumed the position, tendering a decent spoonful towards the cherubic mouth. His eyes opened wide before his mouth did. I could see the internal mental workings: ‘Whoah – you can do this too?? That’s another amazing thing! Wow! Imagine that! I thought it was only mum and dad who could do that thing with my food. Well then, best get on with it.’ And in no time at all the bowl was empty and the baby was full.
It’s such a fleeting stage, this series of first encounters with everything there is. In a few weeks and months he will move on to official play, to words and verbal interactions, to the ups and downs of relationships. But this week I feel I’ve witnessed a salutary reminder that it’s good to make room in our lives for a sense of wonder, however long we’ve been around.