I wish toddler enthusiasm was infectious. I love seeing my 2-year-old daughter happy about anything and, to an extent, her elation at simple things does wear off on me. However, it would be nice if I could get as excited about anything in life — anything at all — as Reese does about blowing bubbles. Or sitting in a wading pool in the backyard. Or getting a taste of apple juice that hasn’t been cut with water to reduce the sugar content.
Every evening after dinner, my girl and I enjoy popsicles on the patio while watching our dog gallivant around the yard, chasing squirrels and lounging in the last patches of sunlight. My husband’s not a fan of sweet treats, so he gets the privilege of tackling the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen while
Reese and I uphold our new summer tradition.
Without fail, when I arrive home from work every day, Reese asks if we’ll have popsicles after dinner. As always, I tell her, “yes,” and we’ve established our conversation topic for the next hour or two. She lets me know which color frozen treat she plans to eat … and then changes her mind about 10 times. She asks which color I want. Then she tells me which color I should have. She asks if the dog will join us. Then she warns me not to let the dog steal her popsicle (it’s been known to happen). She asks her dad why he doesn’t want a popsicle. She tells me she’ll take her shirt off beforehand so she doesn’t stain it as, inevitably, her icy sweet melts and juice runs down her arm. She asks whether a plane might fly by as we partake of our cold snacks. All of these messages, of course, are conveyed in a form of broken English known by parents as “toddle-ese.”
Eating popsicles in our house is a full-on event — one that thrills my daughter to no end. It takes a lot to eclipse such an exciting occasion, but it’s possible. It seems a $10 Sesame Street T-shirt may actually put popsicle-eating to shame.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I took Reese to see “Sesame Street Live” at the Savannah Civic Center. I’ve never seen that child sit so incredibly still for an hour and a half. She even came away from the show with a new favorite character — Abby Cadabby. Previously, Reese had been an ardent Elmo devotee, but Abby — who is a flying fairy, for those of you who are wondering — possesses an uncanny ability to dazzle impressionable youth with her iridescent wings, colorful wand and ability to cast mischievous spells. Honestly, she won me over.
Given Reese’s newfound excitement over Abby, it was difficult as we left the show to pass up the expensive souvenir T-shirts emblazoned with the flying fairy’s image. But we managed. However, the following day, I did log onto Amazon.com to buy Reese a much cheaper shirt similar to those in the civic center’s lobby.
Look out, popsicles. The bar has been set, and it will not be easily exceeded. Reese’s reaction when I presented the shirt was priceless. She squealed, clapped, jumped up and down and tried to yank the shirt down over her pajamas.
In all seriousness, we could all learn a thing or two from little ones. As adults, we get busy, exhausted, annoyed, cynical and run-down from the daily hustle and bustle of our routines. We’re hard to impress. We don’t have time to delight in the little things anymore. But we should.
The next time you receive a new article of clothing or a tasty treat, take time to really appreciate or savor your small perk. Just try to remember to take that new shirt off before your popsicle melts and stains it.