Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Fresh eyes

Since Ethan started picking up words, we are busy figuring out if he is asking for that something or just chatting about it.  At first, we were too quick to assume that he was just babbling away, but we've realised that often he's seen something we haven't.  A few weeks ago at tesco, I was loading him into a trolley.  He's chatting away, 'Bird. Bird. Bird.'  I shot a glance around the parking lot, looking for a pigeon or magpie loitering.  But he's pointing upwards.  Does he see one in the trees?  But then I see, in the direction of his tiny pointed finger, a small picture of a pigeon on the trolley shed.  Eagle eyes.  

And so, we've started to question him less and less when he gets out the pointy finger and starts declaring 'Puppy!' 'Star!' 'Bubble!' Or whatever catches his eye.  He notices the smallest details on shirts and pictures.  Things that we've never noticed before or would have missed.  

It's very sweet, his fascination with the things he's learning about.  For instance, this evening, I rushed in after a late running train delayed me, for a quick baby handover as Thom shot off to the tattoo studio.  Ethan was showing me his keys, when he stopped cold and stared at my ears.  He spotted some earrings he'd not seen before.  He gently reached out and touched them, saying, 'Oh, wow!' And then carried on playing. 

It's a great thing to see.  Humbling as we realise how profound an effect the small things have on his world.  And also to see how much we miss in the things around us.  Our perspective is limited.  Age and experience teach us that we can ignore much of what goes on around us and we miss lots of wonderful stuff.  The kinds of stuff that has Ethan exclaiming, 'oh wow!'.

I want to be able to reclaim a bit of that fresh perceptive.  Where everyday things like keys and wooden spoons are appreciated as the musical instruments they can be.  Where nothing is quite so wonderful as a juicy blueberry, a singing bird or a vacant slide at the park.  

I also think about how dismissive people can be of the child's perspective, confusing a lack of knowledge with stupidity.  As though a child's perspective doesn't count because they don't get it.  I'm becoming convinced that sometimes children get it, and we hardened, blinkered adults are the ones missing the point.  Ethan doesn't know about the practicalities of life, like rent and pensions and petrol prices.  But he does understand the important stuff, like hugs and imagination and beauty in little things.  I want a bit more of that myself.