I’m preparing dinner when 4-year-old Big Brother wanders into the kitchen. “What are you doing?” he asks.
“I’m just making rissoles,” I say.
“Can I see?”
I look down at his hopeful face, and then to my hands which are encased in a sticky mixture of beef mince, raw egg, onion, and breadcrumbs. “Sorry, I can’t pick you up at the moment, my hands are all messy. You’re not quite tall enough to see up here.”
His eyebrows lower and he thinks about this for a moment. Then his face brightens and he says, “I’ll be tall enough if I stand on something. I’ll get a chair.”
# # #
I’m feeding Baby when Big Brother approaches with a book. “Can you read this to me?” he asks.
“Sure. Can I read it to you after I’ve finished with Baby?”
He thinks for a minute. “It’s okay. I can read it by myself.”
He sits down and peruses the first page. “But I can’t read the words.”
“I won’t be much longer, and then I can read it to you.”
His eyebrows come down, and he thinks for a minute. Then he says, “It’s okay. I can read the letters. What does T-H-E spell?”
# # #
We’ve just finished reading our bedtime story, and Big Brother gives me a kiss and lies down to go to sleep. Out of the blue he asks, “In the morning, can I drive a real racing car?”
“Um. You can drive one of your toy racing cars.”
“No, I want to drive a real racing car. Like your car.”
I smile and give him another kiss. “I think you’re a bit too little to be driving cars yet, son.”
His eyebrows lower and he starts thinking. I wait to see if he’s got anything to say. When he doesn’t talk for a full minute, I make my way out of his room.
I’m at the door when he says, “But when I’m your age I’ll be able to drive a real racing car in the morning.”
# # #
One of the great things about children is that they have no concept of limits. There’s no obstacle that can’t be overcome; no difficulty that can’t be gotten around; no “impossibility” that can’t be solved. Are there setbacks? Absolutely. But they’re not limits. They’re just challenges.
There’s a lot we can learn from children.
# # #
“Did you know that an elephant is the only animal in the world who can’t jump?”
Big Brother gave me an incredulous look. “Is that really true?”
“Yep. They’re too big and heavy.”
His little eyebrows came down. His little face screwed up in concentration.
“I bet an elephant could jump if it was on a trampoline.”