The Tao of Toddlers

Family Matters on 07.28.11
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The other night I was giving my 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter a bath. I had gone through the rote motions of adding bubbles to the water, gathering her tub toys together and then immersing her in the foamy water to scrub her Georgia clay-stained feet clean.

Fragments of my to-do list were floating through my mind as my little water baby splashed a green toy boat, making funny little noises and prattling on about how she was a mermaid. I was on autopilot, fretting about how time was slipping through the cracks of the evening, wondering how I was going to get everything I needed to get done and grab a decent chunk of sleep in the process.

That's when my daughter caught my eye, beamed a beatific smile and rippled her boat through the water, saying, "Even my toy boat captain hits rough seas in my perfect little pond." My husband came in the bathroom to take over, and I asked our daughter to repeat the "thing about her toy boat captain" for him. And she did, this time a Cheshire cat smile crossing her face. Even my toy boat captain hits rough seas in my perfect little pond!

It's amazing how kids can stop time and change the physics of your universe, dumping you on top of your head with one fell swoop. Sometimes it's an unexpected, clinging hug that pulls out the rug from underneath you; and other times it's a string of words tumbling from the toddler tower of babble, reminding you that you do have a perfect little pond, rough seas and all. 

Photo courtesy of Le Club Symphonie Ian Nolan/Getty Images

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