I always wonder what goes on in a child’s mind, a small person who can’t yet speak in full sentences. However, I am convinced if interviewed, a one-year-old would be articulate. The interview might go something like this.
“Thank you, Jason, for taking time away from naptime to talk with me today.” – “No problem. By crying through dinnertime, mom will know I need to go to bed early.”
“Your mom mentioned you are one year old.” – “That’s 16 months old. We kids under the age of two need all the months we can get to appear older —, I know because mom is always checking some chart to make sure I am doing everything I am supposed to be doing at 12 months, 14 months, etc.”
“How do you feel about all the check-off charts for your milestones?” – “Um, it doesn’t bother me. That’s what a mom is supposed to do: She’s taking care of me and making sure I am growing properly. However, I do think there needs to be a measurement of how far I can throw the sippy cup. My friend Brian and I were at a playdate yesterday and we really kept the moms hopping chasing our sippy cups. We were competing to see who could throw the cup farther and I think I beat him by two feet even though his cup hit the refrigerator. His mom didn’t like that much.”
“How’s the walking coming along? Your mom says you just started a few months ago.” – “I don’t quite have walking down yet, so I hold my mom’s hand a lot. Her hands feel so strong and warm holding mine. It makes me feel safe, you know? Besides she has an unlimited supply of cartoon band aids in her purse if I fall. That’s a cool mom.”
“Tell me about your mom’s purse.” – “It’s a wonder, that’s for sure. I can hold on to it when I walk beside her if her hands are full of grocery bags, or if I need her attention, I pull on it. It’s also big enough to hold my snacks and water. She has everything in there, like band aids, tissue, crayons, small toys, wipes, and diapers. It’s like a bottomless bag of security. Mom seems to always have everything I need at the right time.”
“Your mom sounds wonderful. What else do you like about your mom?” – “Well, I especially like her right shoulder. For some reason, when she holds me after waking up or when I cry, her right shoulder is always there for me to rest my head on. You know what is really nice? She doesn’t seem to mind if I get her shirt wet with tears or snot. Sometimes she even uses her shirt to wipe my nose. Yeah, her shoulder is one of my safe places.”
“What was your first word? ” – “My first word was flower, though it came out sounding like, ‘fow-uh.’ My mom started screaming and I thought I did something wrong, so I started screaming. Who knew my saying my first word would send my mom into a happy dance with tears? She started videotaping me for about an hour after that.”
“Do you have a favorite word?” – “I just discovered the word ‘No.’ What a great word! For some reason I can’t figure out — it makes mom frustrated when I say it; but I finally get to communicate without crying and tell people what I like and don’t like. It’s very liberating for me.”
“What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about a one year old?” – “That is a hard question. So many things are changing right now for me with my development and stuff; and it’s nice to know I have a mom who is my safe place when things get a little scary. I guess I would tell everyone to slow down for me. My little legs can only go so fast, I can only absorb so much, or learn so much in one day. Just slow down and hold my hand to support me as I continue to learn how to walk and then run on my own.”
“Thank you again. Jason, for taking the time to meet with me.” – “No problem. I better go find mom. I am feeling hungry, tired, and in need of a little shoulder time. Bye!”
As I imagine Jason toddling towards his mom, I have a new respect for people under two feet tall.