Out of growing concern for Kari, and her increasing complaints regarding both ears, I took her to see the doctor on Monday. Kari stays with Grandma and Grandpa during the day, so she only sees other kids at the playground and the grocery store. I vividly remember the “What’s this little guy’s name?” of this past summer at the playground, which lead to chuckles from all parties involved. At 2 years-old, Kari is just that, a 2 year-old being herself – and that’s great! She loves other kids, playing and just being a kid.
So, we’re at the doctor’s office in the waiting room. There is another young lady there.
“She will be 2 in February,” her mother promptly said.
“Kari will be 3 in January,” I said.
Then, something amazing happened – something I have only read about in books: The mother instructs her twenty month-old child to go shake Kari’s hand and introduce herself like a lady.
“Lilian knows how to properly say hello, introduce herself and shake hands,” the mother says.
At that moment that Lilian babbles something incomprehesible to Kari and extends her right hand, Kari gets down out of the waiting room chair, on all fours, and howls like a dog.
“My daughter has not broken character in 8 months,” I say.
Let kids be kids. Childhood and imagination only last, for most people, until about 10 years of age. The remaining sixty years are work, stress and, well, being grown up. We all need to think like a kid every now and again, and for some of us who are so blessed, we think like a kid more often than not. Instilling that since of wonder, creativity and astonishment about the world is hard to do, so leave it alone, let it multiply, and don’t zap it before it’s time.