With a toddler's development, a personality grows. With a developing personality, a human evolves and improvement is made.
When observing my daughter from a distance I learn so much about our species in its raw, untouched state. I admire our ability as toddlers to act, react and adapt to specific situations when they are thrust upon us without our say so.
In front of our own eyes, toddlers and children are reminding us how to deal with situations us adults forget or struggle with. These littl'uns are brutally honest in their approach; they refuse to take your feelings in to consideration, and they tell you (via numerous methods, and, at times, in no uncertain terms) the thoughts currently meandering through their miniature heads. They carry this out without too much thought and all within their tiny who-gives-a-s**t stride.
With this in mind, whilst playing with my daughter this morning I noticed some fascinating behaviour. It was a stark reminder at how humans automatically refuse change but ultimately once faced with it, CAN adapt and embrace it.
For Christmas, my daughter received a toddler-sized, driveable red and yellow car to circumnavigate around our house. To aid in her use of the car, there is an option of placing a square piece of plastic on the floor of the car which acts as a foot-rest for the eager toddler. This enables mummy or daddy to push their small human around whilst littl'un can concentrate on absorbing the scenery of the sofa and dining table. This foot-rest also ensures an initial focus is aimed at the child developing their hand-eye co-ordination with the controls of the car - this in turn should increase their enjoyment of the experience.
Today I decided that she was now ready for me to remove the safety net of that plastic foot-rest. This allowed her feet to touch the floor of the house -- hopefully enabling her to gain some relative independence by guiding her own way around the room using her feet. All the while using the other mentioned skills she had learnt to date.
As I removed it, she looked worried, something was changing directly in front of her eyes. Once she rested her feet on to the house floor I began pushing the car slowly, she immediately let out a squeal and lent out of the car pointing at me in fury. She was undoubtedly telling me to stop. "What the f**k are you playing at, daddy"? Was her probable thought. She wanted the foot-rest to remain -- furious with me for enforcing unexpected change. Livid. All the while, she was being honest with me, pretty much telling me she was not ready to step out of her comfort zone of having the safe haven of a floor for her feet. She did not want to venture off in to that new world just yet.
But she was ready.
And she is human after all. We like routine. We do not like change. Toddlers are no different, they just get their point across bluntly. She maybe lacked confidence or she was fearful of the un-known - all perfectly acceptable reasons for kicking up a fuss.
I encouraged her to give it a go as it would be fun -- silly protests followed for a few seconds until we ventured out in to the kitchen where the floor was perfect for the car to be moved around on. Her protests stopped. She calmed down and ended up having a fantastic time crashing her way around the kitchen knocking in to the cat's litter tray, reversing in to the washing machine, and bumping in to my legs. She loved it. She accepted change, embraced it, she was brave and adapted well - better than she could have imagined.
Similarly, whilst on a winter walk through the local forest, I took her off the beaten track so-to-speak to waddle around in the thick mud and huge puddles. We arrived at a really boggy area, I marched my way through it and ended up a few steps ahead. My daughter arrived at the beginning of the mud-heap and looked unsure. She reached out her arm and said, 'daddy'. I walked back towards her and picked her up in my arms to walk over the quagmire together.
A few lessons for us adults to remind ourselves of: Be brave; have the confidence to step out of your comfort zone; listen to compliments and words of encouragement; improve yourself; It is ok to be comfortable, but ultimately it is empowering to try new things - similarly, if you are out of your depth, or need guidance, don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
My daughter did.