Thursday, November 1, 2012

There’s a fish in my wine

The other night at dinner, Quinn kept pointing to my wine glass and saying “fish, fish!”

“Are you saying ‘fish’?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” Quinn replied.

I laughed. “There’s no fish over there, silly.”

“FISH!” he insisted.

I got out of my seat, put my head right next to his, and looked where he was pointing. Sure enough. There was a fish in my wine.

The glass magnified the purple husk of the Indian corn in our fall centerpiece directly behind it. The husk looked just like the tailfin of a fish, similar to those in the large tank in our pediatrician’s waiting room. Quinn always ask me to hold him up so he can gaze at the fish while we wait. And he always points and says “fish, fish!”

I smiled at my son. “You’re right, Quinn,” I said. “That looks exactly like a fish. You’re so smart.”

Quinn proves me wrong quite often. One afternoon, we were playing in the backyard when Quinn pointed to the sky and said “moon.” Q has a knack for finding the moon during the daylight hours, and he’s never been wrong about this before, so I believed him when he said he could see the moon. But this time, I couldn’t find it. Wispy clouds filled the sky, so I asked Quinn if he thought the clouds looked like the moon.

Can you find the moon? Quinn did.
“No,” he answered. “Moon!”

Just as I was about to tell Q there was no moon out, I saw it. The clouds shifted just right, and there it sat, poised in the sky and almost the exact color of the clouds that covered it. How the heck did he see that?

“Yes, you’re right, Quinn. That is the moon! Good eye, kiddo.”

Not quite twenty months old, and he’s already out-smarting his ol’ Ma.

There are several quotes painted on the walls of the Children’s Discovery Museum downtown, and every one of them makes me all emotional. (Seriously, when did I turn into such a sap? Pre-Quinn, I would never have gotten all weepy over a stinkin’ quote. Geesh!) I already posted one by Eleanor Roosevelt that like, but this is the one smacks me in the chest every time I read it:

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder… he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
– Rachel Carson

Those words are powerful for me. It is up to us as parents to encourage our children’s sense of wonder – to make time for discovering, to crawl on the ground at their level to see what they see, to have great discussions about things that are obvious to us but are so amazing to them.

Without our encouragement, our children’s sense of wonder is stifled and that flicker of amazement in their eyes is snuffed out. I’m vowing to take this responsibility seriously… instead of taking myself too seriously. There are so many mornings when we’re trying to get out the door, and all I want to do is pick Quinn up, cram his shoes and coat on, put him in the car and go! But I don’t. Instead, we talk about whatever catches his eye, even if we’ve talked about it a thousand times before. He plays with the Velcro straps on his shoes and giggles at the sound they make when pulled apart. He walks to the car by himself, expertly mastering the big steps down into the garage, and carefully examines the great big tires on our Highlander.

The whole process takes a long time, and I’m almost always running late, but so what? Is it worth snuffing out his sense of wonder just to arrive on time for a playdate? Is it really that important to get to the grocery store right now? There are enough occasions in life when I have to just put him in the car and go, like when we have a doctor’s appointment or a plane to catch. 

But on most days, there’s always time for wonder.

Love this quote, too.

Quinn says this house is wearing a hat.
Do you see the "hat"?

Quinn: "Too-tut. Gas. Too-tut. Gas."
Mommy: "Did you say you're putting gas in your tow truck?
Quinn: "Yes. Gas. In too-tut."

An actual fire truck inside the
Children's Discovery Museum

Fun with water and whirlpools at the museum

Future scientist