Toddlers making sense of the world and discussing amongst their stuffed animal friends

I hope one day, when Kaia is in elementary school, middle school, high school, and an adult that I will not forget her cute toddler moments, soaking in all her surroundings and making sense of the world. Being able to watch her grow every day and develop in the most seemingly small ways has been beyond rewarding, more fun and exciting than I’d ever really thought about when I was trying to conceive and when I was pregnant. It is actually even more exhilarating now than theoretically, which is saying quite a lot. But it’s not even just witnessing and being a part of her growth and development that is so amazing; it is also being forced into a moment with her and ultimately enjoying and living in that moment that is so great. As adults, we always have so many things on our plates, things to worry and stress over, things to plan for in the next day, week, month, year, that we often forget to really enjoy and be in a single moment. But toddlers, given how developed their brains are, fully and completely live in the moment; they have no conception of tomorrow or any future. And for us to really enjoy this time with them, we, too, must live in the moment. Otherwise, this time will pass, and soon, they will be grown adults who don’t want to spend as much time with us or cuddle with us anymore.

One of the things I love most is being in the same room or the room next door to where Kaia is when she’s playing with her stuffed animals. I love listening to what she says to them and how she addresses them. Her mouse stuffed animal is named RaRa (she named the mouse after I asked her one day), and she wears a red sweater with a button. She was telling RaRa today that it was time to get ready for bed.

“Okay, time to go to sleep, RaRa mouse!” Kaia declared while climbing onto her bed and grabbing RaRa. “Xi zao (take a bath), shua ya (brush teeth), shu tou (comb hair), suck nose. Do you want to take off your sweater? I help you take off your sweater for bed.”

I looked over at her, and she glanced back at me and stopped talking, but she continued to try to remove RaRa’s red sweater. She then moved onto her kangaroo, which holds an Australian flag that you can remove. She patted the kangaroo gently on his head and back and said, “Kangaroo, are you all done with your flag? Can I have it?” Then, she proceeded to take the flag away from the kangaroo and play with the flag.

A few mornings this week, I’ve taken Kaia to school, which means I also get to see her teacher. She’s usually not there at pickup since she leaves at 4:30 given her schedule. So it’s an opportunity to ask how Kaia is doing and to hear anything interesting she wants to share. Her teacher told me that Kaia is constantly chatting with her and all the kids all day long: she is a true chatterbox. And she’s very helpful and supportive to the teachers as well as her classmates. When other kids are upset or having tantrums, Kaia goes to them and tells them, “It’s okay, (insert name). Don’t cry. Do you want to go over there and take a break?” Sometimes, she even offers them a hug or to hold their hand.

My baby is blossoming into this sweet, empathetic, caring human. I could not be prouder.

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