Vail Novice Father: A matter of perspective
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –I bought a step-ladder for my 2-year old daughter, the fold-up kind that I store in the two inches between the refrigerator and the wall. When set up, this step-ladder gives the Kid full view of the countertop and kitchen sink area.
I made this purchase because the Kid has a history of extreme crankiness whenever her parents prepare dinner. The Kid’s focus on food combined with her lack of practice in the art of patience made dinner preparation a stressful chore. It’s difficult to saute vegetables with a toddler clinging to your leg.
Today I set up the step-ladder at the kitchen countertop and let the kid hang out as I make dinner. The change in her pre-dinner behavior went far beyond what I ever expected. Instead of alternating between whining and screaming, the Kid remains … curious. She watches the Wife chop up peppers and onions.
The Kid’s new perspective alters her attitude dramatically. Just being able to see, to understand what’s going on, gives her a little more control. She’s no longer the little baby that’s entirely dependent on others. A view of the action lets her be a participant.
I saw the same profound change when my daughter learned to sit up. Before that milestone, the Kid spent a lot of time laying on the floor, unable to even lift her head, her only view the white ceiling, dependant on faces or objects to move into her limited field of vision, helpless as… well… a baby.
I tried to see the world through her point of view. I got down with my back on the carpet, and without lifting my head, tried to see as much of the room as I could. It wasn’t much. I saw pretty much the green light on the smoke detector and the very tops of the bookshelves.
So when the Kid learned to sit up (at about three months of age), she had for the first time 360-degree views of her world. With that milestone, she could entertain herself far longer than ever before. She would go for longer stretches without crying for Mom or Dad to pick her up. She could see. And being able to see made her a participant in the world.
Today the Kid wants to be a part of dinner prep, of washing the dishes, of anything that was once above her head … and therefore out of her world. Instead of whining as an outsider, she’s engaged in the process. She watches with the curiosity of someone who discovers new things every day. She reaches out to sneak a red pepper slice off of the cutting board. She giggles when she chomps on that stolen pepper.
It’s a simple matter of perspective. Dinner doesn’t come any quicker. Her stomach isn’t any less hungry. But she’s happy and willing to wait as long as she can observe the process.