A Toddler’s Growth

I am looking over the screen of my laptop, watching my youngest son slowly flip through his books. He is about 3 1/2 years old and cannot yet read. However, he does have a keen memory for what takes place on each page and says out-loud what is going on as he casually flips through. Some of what he says is identical to what is written, but much of it is a paraphrased version of the story. As I watch and listen I cannot help but think of how amazing the growth of a child is.

They Grow So Quickly

It wasn’t so long ago that I was changing my son’s diapers and applying diaper cream. He now goes all day without a diaper or pull-up, using the bathroom where he is supposed to, whenever he needs to. He can even wipe himself, though not always as thoroughly as I would like. The process of learning to go all night without wetting the bed began weeks ago and he is successful roughly 50% of the time. No longer must I spoon his food into his mouth or poor his drinks into a sippy-cup. His fine-motor skills have improved by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. Yes, he has grown much, and has done it so fast!

Mental And Emotional Elasticity

It seems to me that a toddler’s ability to learn and grow is more impressive than that of a person at any other age. Learning to use the potty, a spoon, get dressed, and balance on a step-stool are all impressive accomplishments. However, mastery of physical skills are not all that we require during a toddler’s growth. Not only do we expect them to master basic physical skills, but also complex emotional and mental skills. A person’s lessons in compassion, self-control, thoughtfulness, and critical thought all begin during the toddler years. The fact we expect them to learn skills in three major areas at the same time makes their growth more impressive.

Even though they are so young, our toddler’s minds and emotions are incredibly supple and adaptive. This is partially modeled when they are so forgiving of their parents’ frustrated outbursts. Toddlers are not known for holding grudges, no matter the offense committed. Another display of their mental elasticity is their ability to learn sequential order. Nothing like it has been previously expected of them, yet they are able to wrap their minds around it. I realize that these are all basic concepts in the grand scheme of things. However, when we consider the little we expected of them previously, their growth as toddlers is incredible.

Final Thoughts

I truly find the growth of my son to be amazing. I also regret that when his older siblings were his age I didn’t take the time to ponder such things. My attention was constantly wrapped up in my own interests. Therefore I failed to slow down and appreciate the miracles that were my toddler children. Determined not to make the same mistake again, I now see my youngest son in a new, more appreciative, light. Watching his growth, and taking the time to ponder it, has been profoundly rewarding.

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