Through the Eyes of a Child
By: Peggy Willms
(3 min read)
“Now I know my ABCs, won’t you come and play with me?” Most of us do not remember the years before singing the alphabet song, the years when we didn’t care about what people thought of us, how busy the traffic was, the state of world economics, or holes in the ozone layer. They were innocent years. The years of exciting discoveries. The years of simplicity.
My grandson will be two in a few weeks. Through his eyes, all that matters is eating, drinking, sleeping, and being dry, safe, and loved. And when we are 90, we will have the same concerns. During the intervening decades, we will lose sight of that. Growing up, I heard the saying, “You come into the world naked and alone, and you go out naked and alone.” So true.
This past week, I edited a resource book for a speech therapist. I learn so much from reading authors’ content. Her book brought me a bit deeper into my grandson Crew’s world. Most of us take talking for granted. Her job is to guide those who are speech delayed into a world of communicating by talking. No grunting or pointing allowed! She uses fun and playful approaches, such as placing peanut butter in parts of the child’s mouth. This helps them place their tongue in the correct spot to learn the enunciation of certain letters like t or l. How many of you are now putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth? Haaaaa. She uses colorful pictures and games to encourage talking. Working on her project kept me in the mind of a toddler for nearly a week.
I have spent the last few years immersed in writing and creating a platform for people to share their stories with the world. And the project I just finished with the therapist has taught me to dust off a children’s book that has sat on my shelf for over 22 years. It will now be the first book of a ten-book series that my son, Crew’s daddy, and I will develop. Book one will be released this year. If it weren’t for my project this week, I might have left the book on the shelf for another year.
Writing the Tanner’s Tales content and working with an illustrator for this children’s book series has taken me back to a land full of color, laughter, and playfulness. A place where children learn life lessons through the support of loving guidance. A world where children like my grandson wake up and start their day with joy. He has no idea where his first meal is coming from. He doesn’t care if his clothes are clean or, frankly, even if he is wearing any. As a side note, he prefers the latter. He has no clue what events are on the day’s calendar. He simply wants to be fed, play, and be happy. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD.
Those of us out here adulting rarely think about what will be joyful each day or playful. We are hung up on the logistics of getting shit done and doing it quickly. We live in a world of high expectations and barking demands. In today’s society, there are more wants than needs. And with all the wants comes more wanting. Wanting more material objects such as a fancy car, a larger house, a new pair of shoes, or a different job. And with some people, there is more whining, complaining, shouting, and moaning than laughter and telling others how much they mean to us.
More often than not, Crew wants to know how things come apart and not always how they go back together. He is fascinated by the robot vacuum cleaner and loves to ride or hide it. His world is about eating what he likes and climbing over anything that stands in his way. He belly laughs and wants lots of hugs. He is eager to learn yet is carefree. His ear-to-ear grins come when throwing cereal on the floor or swirling his hands around in the toilet (I know).
Oh, what fun it is in a child’s world! By the time they become toddlers, we have already begun to push higher expectations of them. Expectations have become increasingly intense and serious. The rules of the land have appeared, setting standards for how they express their emotions and telling them what to wear and when (yes, at 10 degrees, jackets are a must).
I am not here to suggest that a child’s world doesn’t require growth, demands, and continued learning. But through the eyes of a toddler, the discoveries are fun-filled, joyful, and full of color and hope, which are all things we adults struggle with daily.
Today, I want to sit on the floor, bang pots and pans, spend the day coloring on the wall, and take naps. So let’s play and be joyful at least a few times this week. I know my adorable cuddle bug, Crew, will do just that.