Many days, the focus of this space is on the older children...what they are doing, what they are learning, what they are teaching me. The littlest one of our clan, our almost 2-year-old, is usually in the periphery during many of our adventures. It's not that she isn't learning or doing what the others are doing...it's just that what we are doing was an intentional act for the older children - either on their part or my part.
In the last few weeks in particular, I've been marveling at how much she has grown and learned. On the weekend she strung a four-word sentence together ("Boomer, stop banging now!"). This week, she's sat and listened to longer picture books instead of her short, simple board books. She's started sitting on the potty and having some successes and labeling what we're doing. Today, she could find an object in a picture. We also notice her learning by imitation - she imitates what we say, what we do, how we eat, how we dress.
All things I haven't noticed her do before, so I think these are indeed "firsts". And they are "firsts" for me too, as I didn't experience these with the older children while I was working and they were in daycare. I start to daydream about what learning will look like for her, given that she will be the only one who has not been in an institutional setting. Will she feel free to take safe risks? Will she be self-conscious and care what others think? Will she be eager to get up in the morning, knowing that she will discover something new? Will she still love the hugs and cuddles she gets when she is older? Will she be a relaxed youngster, knowing that many of the activities in her day will be hers to choose?
As I daydream about the future, I'm also reminded to stay firmly in the present and to be thankful for these moments, today, with all my children.