Wonder in their eyes

A grandchild’s wide-eyed view of life focuses on the wonder in the ordinary.

Our two and a half year old toddler granddaughter in Pennsylvania does not need the Discovery Channel – she has child-sized nature all around her. Just recently her daddy called to have her tell me about the battle of the bee and the beetle in the backyard.

Shyly she lisped out a tale of the bee that fought a beetle, bit off the beetle’s head and leg and dragged the rest of the beetle away to its burrow. She’s too young for television violence, but not the inevitable observation of a couple of bugs battling in a backyard.

A more serene natural occurrence held the three Texan grandchildren in awe for at least 40 minutes as we traveled through sporadic evening showers.

“Look, there’s ends of the rainbow on both sides of us,” my husband pointed out from his perch behind the wheel.
I looked up, zeroed in on the brilliant colors and directed the grade-schoolers to look ahead on either side of the road. “Watch over there, behind those trees as we go past them. You will see it.”

For the next half hour they sought and caught glimpses of rainbow stumps near the horizon, then exclaimed when the arch reached halfway up into the sky and finally completed its bridge across the road in front of us.

“Look! That is so cool. That is so pretty. Wow!” they gushed back and forth, totally entertained with the magical colors in the sunset lit gray sky. No matter how quickly we drove down the road, it always stayed just ahead of us. Sometimes it broadened, sometimes it disappeared, sometimes it returned accompanied by a hint of a second rainbow.

The next day as we drove to Sherwood to the youngest grandson’s birthday party, they discovered miles of Black-eyed Susans and golden rod beside the road.

“Look! at those yellow flowers!” the first exclaimed.

“I have more flowers on my side,” the second responded.

“Well, now there is more on my side than on yours,” they contended back and forth.
The Black-eyed Susan waned and disappeared.

“Look there’s more!”

I looked up, “It’s yellow, but that’s golden rod.”
They studied the flowers to see the difference.

At their aunt’s house, they helped prepare trays of food for a small party and entertained their cousin. They giggled and protectively watched as he grabbed the sides of the slide in the backyard for balance and used his bare toes to climb up the slide.

Having just discovered his legs’ climbing power, he eagerly seeks to conquer every mountain in his backyard. So what if the little hump in the slide flattened him on his belly and sent him sliding to the bottom. He did not care, he laughed and began the climb again.

On an outing to the baby’s room at the Museum of Discovery, he found a floor level mirror and spent ten minutes hitting perfect high fives with his reflection.

His enthusiasm for new experiences carries over to his high chair. He heartily chews away at everything and anything put before him. His mother has offered him everything – except cake and frosting. She saved that new food for his first birthday.

The birthday boy stared at the lit candle and then ignored it. But, when my daughter took off his T-shirt and gave him his first cupcake, he reached out tentatively, put it to his mouth, took one bite, and then another. He looked up at her and a slow, broad smile of pleasure spread across his face. He had discovered sugar!

He tackled the rest of that cupcake with alacrity. Frosting spread across his face, into his hair and down his bare chest. He loved birthday cake.

He enjoyed the wonder of sugar until my daughter picked up her sticky boy and washed him in the bathroom sink. Bedtime quickly followed. Embracing the dark, he nestled down to prepare for another day of exploration and discovery.