Tomorrow this child will be 2½. That seems to be an important developmental milestone. Although I could sit and have an intelligent conversation with her anytime over the past year, I haven’t pushed learning the alphabet. We talk about the world around us but not the days of the week. She loves to paint and knows the colors, loves cats and dogs and recognizes several breeds, but we haven’t gotten to addition or subtraction yet. Am I remiss in my child care? When her mom was growing up, I was annoyed when she had school work to do. Home time was our time, and we had things to do. Things that I thought were important or meaningful. Academics can happen later, or as those skills may be useful in our adventures. Observation. Awareness. Compassion. Fun and funny. All are what we do.
The other morning we went to a little market up the street. My granddaughter knows the folks in the market and asks about them every time we shop. She likes to help carry things back, too. Last visit we picked up several things and had two bags to carry home. One was light but bulky, six loose rolls of toilet paper. Outside I handed the two handles of that bag to my helper and she grabbed them and tried to take a step. The bag dragged on the ground and she could barely walk.
“Wait…” she said. “Wait, let me put my arm through it.” She slid her arm through the handles so the bag was at her shoulder and no longer dragged. Then she just walked back to the apartment with me. I feel pretty certain that if she needed to count those six rolls, she’d figure it out.