A Little Piece of the Sun

By Megan

Peabody’s sportin’ a shiner this Monday morning. Despite the fact that I guarded it like a soccer goalie for an hour and a half, at a vulnerable moment he slipped around me like a shot to take a gainer off the bottom step down to the cement patio below. Besides the sickening thud his face made as it hit pavement that I’ll be hearin’ over and over in my nightmares the rest of my life and the tough-guy exterior he’ll be wearin’ for the next week or so, no real damage was done. He screamed his little lungs out for about 3 minutes and then hurled himself out of my arms and headed back to that step all over again, determined to discover its mysteries.

He’s 100% all about discovering mysteries these days.

Whoa… SHINY-THING ALERT! Wonder what this does?

This is the stage of babyhood that I love best and fear most:  the age of thrills, spills and skills – every day brings new excitement, new danger, hurts, messes and most importantly, every day brings new learning. Peabody’s saying his first word, which appropriately for the King of Oops is uh-oh. He’s working hard to get walking, pushing the same little footstool around that Bean did, both of them using it as a walker, padding along behind it on those sweet baby feet and those stronger-and-straighter-every-day leggies. Peabody’s much more aggressive and confident behind his four-legged support than his sister was, ramming it into cabinets and laughing, then turning to look at me with a grinning thumbs-up. He gets about quickly, stopping to open that wondrous drawer every kid loves, the one with all the little mismatched plastic storage containers and their lids, which he scatters about seriously, stopping to examine every piece as if it held clues that would solve the world’s greatest riddles.


I’d be lyin’ to y’all if I didn’t say that sometimes I think if I have to collect all those containers and their stinkin’ little lids, or re-roll all the toilet paper for the umpteenth time, or pick another rock, leaf, stick or wad of paper out of that little mouth, or mop up another pond-like puddle, I’m going to blow a proverbial gasket. I do tire of being the ever-vigilent, ever-patient, long-suffering organizer, clean-up crew and rescue squad fourteen hours a day. But I so love and appreciate the way parenting expert and family psychologist John Rosemond (in his book, Parent Power!) describes these exciting times in a baby’s life, and how he encourages us as Moms and Dads and caregivers to give our children wide births (while ensuring their safety, of course) for play and discovery and mess-making:

When an egg falls on the floor, a twelve-month-old may see a piece of the sun spill out; the parent sees a mess. Tiny fingers reach for things that come apart or fall or bounce and break or splatter and spread out in all directions. In Wonderland [a baby’s world] it’s magic. In Owlgate [a parent’s world] it’s mischief, mischief is the reason for messes. But in mischief there is also the thrill of discovery, and therein is the reason for Learning. […] [A baby] must experience all of this before they can ever make sense of the words we use to describe the why. And so, messy, magical mischief is also the reason for Language. […]

and most poignantly

The mischievous nature of a child’s curiosity is the force underlying all learning and accomplishment.

I did it! I did it! Hmmm. Now what to do with it?

It’s pretty hard to stifle Peabody’s inquisitive nature when I look at his happy, smiling, shiny-eyed face and see how pleased he is with his mobility and budding independence. But even more compelling than his delight is knowing that all of this chaos ultimately teaches him what he needs to know about how his world works. And that my attitude toward all of his experimentation will likely shape his attitude about learning later in life. And, Oh! how I want him to LOVE learning!

It’s that wet, splashy stuff! KEWL. Let’s see what it can do.

So I’m reminding myself to try and overlook all the little kiddie-created piles of rubble and embrace the mayhem for a while (a long while, if Bean’s room is any indication of how long this stage lasts!) so I can just help facilitate and revel in the joys of a little human being blooming before my eyes.

Mom? Do you see what I did? Am I not the smartest boy EVER?

And he’s pretty bloomin’ cute doin’ it, too.

Between clean-ups, Megan also blogs at FriedOkra.

13 Responses to A Little Piece of the Sun
  1. Jemma
    July 27, 2009 | 10:29 am

    Those are super cute pictures…. and that’s one good-sized sink too!

  2. Megan
    July 27, 2009 | 10:30 am

    I think “wide births” is supposed to be “wide berths.” Or maybe I should just let y’all think I’m being punny?

  3. melissa
    July 27, 2009 | 10:52 am

    lovely pics and post…I really need to remember it now that my pup is trying to crawl and walk at the same time 🙂

  4. Jen
    July 27, 2009 | 11:19 am

    My almost 3 yr old got his first shiner this weekend too. Sigh…it was so much fun explaining that at church yesterday.

  5. Kellyn
    July 27, 2009 | 11:34 am

    The learning that a young child does is so much fun to watch. They grow so quickly, and so wonderfully.

    Hope his noggin is okay!

  6. Courtney
    July 27, 2009 | 11:51 am

    He is just so darn cute!!! I want to just eat him up!

    This stage is the hardest (before girls in teen years)for most parents i believe. We want to protect our kids from being hurt or sick and we often prevent them from learning in the process. I hope to be as open minded as you are right now when my 3rd little man comes along this fall.

  7. Melissa
    July 27, 2009 | 12:23 pm

    Ah, yes…the Discovery Phase. Love it. I’ve been known to slyly hold my foot over the plastics cupboard while making dinner because I don’t. want. to. step. on. another. bowl. today.
    But they ARE cute! And that makes it worth it all. :o)
    We’ve mastered “uh-oh” here, and now we’re onto barking and quacking. SO cute!!! :o) We’re on the cusp of learning “oops”, too. Thanks, Sandra Boynton!!
    Have a great week, Megan!

  8. Sincerely Anna
    July 27, 2009 | 3:56 pm

    Love the captions! All that “learning” we’re both witnessing having toddlers…my goodness. It’s tiring, isn’t it? But wonderful, too.

  9. Sandy
    July 27, 2009 | 5:51 pm

    Wonderful pictures! What a beautiful, happy guy. I think bumps and bruises (and shiners) are part of a normal childhood. Such a smile!

  10. Carrie
    July 27, 2009 | 8:45 pm

    Wow – he is SOOO cute! I remember when my Z first entered this stage – it was so hard!!! He fell down SO much! Now at 19 months, he’s getting better about messes, and starting to help clean up, and not falling quite so much…but he perpetually has two skinned knees, and right now he has a big scrape in the middle of his forehead from falling off of his little slide. 🙁

  11. Veronica
    July 27, 2009 | 10:16 pm

    Oh my word – that smile is a heart-stopper. He’s adorable.

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