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This afternoon Chris and I were spending some time in the backyard with Tsunami. He seemed to be in an independent mood and was wandering about the yard in full discovery mode. I personally love watching him when he is doing this.
A few days ago we put plastic eggs all over the yard and let Tsunami and Jupiter hunt for them. It was all part of some sort of Spring holiday tradition wherein folk celebrate everything from simple sugar overdose to sex and fertility to even walking dead deities.
Tsunami really enjoyed this egg hunting part of the holiday because, to him, the eggs look a lot like balls. At this stage in his life, he is very obsessed with balls. With the ‘ball’ hunt in mind, he was out to find some again today.
His ability to find balls in just about anything is pretty amazing to me. Today he was not off the mark by any means. He found some plants in the yard that were growing purple balls at the flower and started picking the balls off of them.
As I watched him I started to appreciate his natural curiosity in the world around him. He was driven not only by his appreciation of cylindrical objects, but also discovering textures and interacting by testing the limits of the things he saw. He was feeding his scientific curiosity by testing his own limits too. As he climbed up on a table which was near the place we were sitting he wanted to see how far “up” he could get.
I spoke to Chris about how valuable the uninterrupted exploration of the world is for kids (and everyone, really). How kids naturally employ the scientific method, and how sometimes parents might prevent them from doing so when we think we know better.
Certainly there are times when we know better and our fears for their wellbeing are legitimate. For example if a child is new to walking outside alongside a street, they may lack the experience to know why wandering into the area where cars are driving is probably not the best plan of action. That is truly where the role of the parent to step in is indisputably part of the job.
However, there are other times when taking control of a situation can be harmful to development. Indeed, a few minutes later Tsunami did fall down and hit his head on a piece of landscaping wood and got hurt. I suppose if we had not been giving him the freedom to wander around the yard or had been hovering over him the painful incident could have been averted. But then he would not have had the pleasurable experience he had just before that.
I think even in hitting his head he learned something too. He learned that he can try, fail, and live to try again. He learned that the pain will pass. He also learned that he has people to support him and help pull him out of the hardship of failing as Chris ran over to comfort him just after the incident occurred. He now has a little more reassurance than before that his mother will be there to help pick him up when he falls and confidence to explore even more. Certainly, the more one falters, the better that person gets at pulling themselves back up.
Today Jupiter, Tsunami, and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden with the membership that we received from Antijen and Uncle Tom for the holiday. I asked Jupiter to choose between going back for another round at the Sculpture Park or the garden. When he choose the garden, I was skeptical that we would have any fun and tried to convince him to go to Sculpture Park again since it is January and I suspected nothing much would be in bloom, but I think he actually had the right idea.
The Missouri Botanical Garden was actually much bigger than I had thought from looking at it from the outside. I had been there before to go in the Climatron, but there was still much to see outside even though flowers are not in bloom. Lots of interesting trees and other plants, plenty of peaceful walking paths, and flowing creeks were all over the place.
Jupiter had to make sure to try out a bunch of rocks that were just off the path to see which ones were good for sitting and which ones were not. Tsunami found a good one to relax on as well.
We wandered out pretty far by the time Jupiter was tired and requested that we go back home. Even though he could barely walk, he could not keep himself from getting distracted by all the neat things to see on our way back to the entrance. I can hardly wait for Spring to see what this place looks like in its prime.