Saturday, February 11, 2006


There is nothing that does not amaze someone who is less than two. You can peek behind a couch, or a corner, and reappear, and disappear, and reappear once more, and the look of astonishment on the face of said child is something approaching the divine. You were gone! You were back! Now you're gone again! Now you're back again! Will wonders never cease.

Having recently been around a child of less than two for the first time in, well, ever, I guess, it made me remember all that I've forgotten. Or not even remember, because, technically, who can remember anything below the age of four? (Except Ray Bradbury, who claims to remember his own birth, which I sincerely doubt, but given how great a writer he is, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, who am I to question the man who wrote Something Wicked This Way Comes and Dandelion Wine?) The attention span of such a toddler is basically nonexistent. The embarrassment factor of such an infant is also basically 'nil'. They will throw up their panties and show the world their patootie with unabashed joy. They will burp and fart and walk around naked without blinking an eye. Nobody's told them yet that there are some things that some people consider distinctly wrong, or impolite, so they will growl at you and cry at you and poke at you and attempt to wrench your glasses off of your face and chuck them to the ground. And laugh while doing it.

This particularly child speaks two words that I have heard: 'mama' and 'baby'. 'Mama' because she has, well, a mama, and 'baby' because there is another, even newer baby in the house, less than two months old. Problem is, the child's new vocabulary is not limited to the intended recipients of such vocabulary. Everything is 'mama' and 'baby' -- me, the couch, the TV, the empty beer bottle. No limits exist. Other words emanate from the child's mouth, but they might be Klingon, or Venusian, for all I know.

But the child knows. That's the important thing. The child knows that this world is her world, and soon, later, eventually she will learn that she must share it, more or less equally, with others. In the meantime, though, the world is her oyster. Which is kind of a riot to watch.

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