Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Two Is the New Three

“’Twas the night before Christmas and all through my home
    Little Zadie was roaming—and so ends this poem!”

Because really, nothing more to say that can make that simple fact more extraordinary than it already is. And of course, I’m going to try to say it!

It’s not just that I love my granddaughter to the ends of this earth and love it that she’s here in San Francisco for this special time. It’s that being around a two-year old is like hanging out with Picasso, Louis Armstrong, Einstein and Robin Williams. Her fresh way of seeing the world, her ebullient and infectious spirit, her unrelenting curiosity and her spontaneous hilarity make her just about the most delightful person to spend time with that I know. I always have felt that three-years old was the height of the human experiment, my favorite age (along with 8th grade) to teach at school, but I’m finding myself astounded by the two-year old mentality. Just on the cusp of language and every day, new connections being made that are captured in the net of words.

Yesterday Zadie said “Uh-oh” and I countered with “spaghetti-o’s.” She repeated it, went on with her play and five minutes later, said “Uh-oh, spaghetti-o’s.” That “absorbent mind” (Montessori’s term) is a wonder to behold. The adult brain is clogged with fixed, rigid neuron connections with little room for new thoughts, ideas, never mind daily wonder. It’s like a perpetual meeting of the Tea Party in there— the same old, same old thoughts that were terrible to begin with mouthed over and over again, all so tired and predictable and inducing deadly slumber.

Zadie, by contrast, is a bundle of alertness, aliveness, surprise. “Whaz dat?” she asks as she walks through each day like a New World explorer. But without the greed of Columbus and certainly a better sense of humor.  She entertained us for twenty minutes yesterday looking at the picture of the snowman on her plate and exclaiming, “Dat’s funny!” and laughing uproariously. Now she’s looking at a book with her Grandma exclaiming “Ho ho ho!” when she sees Santa and making the sounds of the animals she sees. Yesterday she met a fellow two-year old, son of her mom Kerala’s childhood friend since birth who she hadn’t seen in fifteen years! Besides being a poignant moment, the hilarity doubled as the two sat side-by-side sharing—and yes, they actually shared!— a bag of fancy potato chips.

Last night we sat on the couch to watch “Miracle on 34th St.” It held up, but it was pale besides “The Miracle on 2nd Avenue.” And she calls to me now. “Bye, bye, computer…”

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