Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home-base and the intrepid

I live as a nanny to a marvelous toddler who fast becoming a little girl. Only six weeks old when I moved in, I've seen her grow from a totally dependent infant to a can-do child. By can-do, I mean independent. Intrepid. She can do anything an average one year-old can do and more.

With this independence comes a sense of adventure and, as she is not yet three, no sense of danger. She will climb on anything, walk straight up to anyone, and taste-test whatever comes across her path. The most fascinating thing about all of this, though, is watching her see or do things for the first time. (Being her nanny is something akin to having the chance to see and appreciate as an adult what it's like to watch a younger sibling grow.) One of my favorite means of watching this: the play area in the mall. She may be the youngest and smallest child out there, but she runs with the oldest. The bigger kids must respect her courage, for they always allow her to climb into the play airplane as a copilot or climb up the little slide when they wish to go down. One girl offered her a goldfish (which she handed to me as she does with most foreign foods. Perhaps she wants to see what will happen if I eat first...). She trips trying to keep up. She stands right back up un-phased.

Undaunted on the playground or outside she may be, but change her morning routine and watch out! Tears in abundance. Wailing and gnashing of the two prized bottom teeth. We will have oatmeal and there will be no more than ten second increments between bites. Otherwise, there will be hell to pay.

I know just how she feels. Take away my peanut butter and Granny Smith apples and my day just seems duller. Call it weakness or pickyness, but we know differently. Breakfast fuels intrepid explorers. Give us our usual and we're ready for anything.

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