Sometimes it can feel like toddlers are a whole different species! The energy, the emotions, the complete lack of fear, and the insane ability to climb up almost anything and to get into the most dangerous situations imaginable.
Other times, there are these beautiful moments in which I am reminded of my toddler’s humanness. Of his human condition. Of his self-awareness, his tendency to reflect upon his behavior, his endless curiosity, his feelings, his need for human contact and very simply his desire to love, and be loved.
I’m reminded why gentleness and empathy are so important. Why he is not just a baby needing to be forced into independence as soon as possible “for his own good”. He is a human being with thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, and desires. We as human beings ARE dependent on others, and we should not be ashamed of that. Why are children any different?
I just ended a long morning battle between the insatiable desire to run and play, and the inevitable need to sleep and recharge for the exciting afternoon ahead. Sometimes, there is too much to do, and far too much we wish to see to even consider a nap. However, when it begins to be difficult to keep our drooping red eyes open, it might be time to fall asleep. After lots of book reading and snuggling, his curiosity and desire to continue to play finally succumbed to his body’s need to sleep.
As I laid him down in his bed, he pulled his blanket up close to his face, took a deep breath, curled up into a little ball and drifted off to sleep. I couldn’t help but stop and stare at him. He sleeps just like me! I too wrap myself in blankets and pillows at night. Making myself a cozy little nest for sleeping. It was in this moment I imagined him as an adult. Sleeping in his own bed, in his own house, with his own family. Falling asleep after a long day. This little toddler, the one who seems like a species all his own, is actually just a tiny human. A tiny human learning about how he fits into this big, crazy world of other humans. A human being in need of love, respect, empathy, and a need to be understood.
I am coming to understand that my son is very simply another human being on this planet who is in some ways exactly like me, and in other ways completely different. He will one day be an adult living in this world just like me or you. He won’t always be a child. He won’t always climb the kitchen chairs to the top of the kitchen table. He won’t always have the uncontrollable desire to dump over the dog’s water bowl. I do hope however that he holds on to that curiosity, that desire to learn about the world around him. That tenacity, that spirit. The innocence might one day leave him, but I hope for him he never loses his hope, his love of life, and his ability to inspire those around him to be the best they can possibly be.
I love you my little super-human.