For nine years I’ve had a baby in the house, and it’s all ending in a few weeks when my youngest turns 2. I wish I could bottle the pure happiness of babyhood, the freedom of being entirely unselfconscious – and sprinkle it back on my kids on the inevitable tough days of adolescence. I want them to remember what it was like to focus all their vision on seeing the world, without worrying about their place in it. I want them to be able to see again through a baby’s eyes, as I have again through each of theirs.
There’s a funny little potty training book called Once Upon a Potty, by Alona Frankel. It starts by describing the child’s body parts:
Just like you, Prudence has a body, and this body has many nice and useful parts:
A head for thinking
Eyes for seeing
Ears for hearing
A mouth to talk and eat with
Hands for playing
A pee-pee for making Wee-Wee
Legs for walking and running
A bottom for sitting
and in it a hole
for making Poo-Poo.
The illustration on the bottom-description page is a back view of chubby little unclothed Prudence, bent over at the waist and peering through her legs with a big smile. In between her butt cheeks is a little round dot.
My kids take baths together and like to play around in the water before they get around to washing up. One time I’d gone out to get another bar of soap, and when I returned, my preschool-aged son was standing bent over, Prudence-like, while my toddler daughter was sitting and looking up thoughtfully.
“Honey,” I said, “What are you doing?”
“I’m showing her my hole!”
I have a priceless picture of my good friend’s little boy – years ago – in Prudence position. Here’s a cropped version:
Here’s to being young and innocent, and to the joys of discovery.