Saturday, 28 July 2012

"Can I get up now?"

Several months ago, my sister called to share a conversation she had just had with her daughter - my niece, then 3.5yo.  They had been going through one of the potty routines and, apparently, my niece was getting tired of just sitting there.  She said to her mother, "Mommy, I want to get up."  Her mother told her to wait a bit longer.  Not even a minute had passed before she repeated her request, "Mommy, I want to get up."  Her mother's response was the same.  My sister said, without missing a beat, my niece closed her eyes and said, "Lord? Can I get up now?" This was followed by a deeper-voiced "Yes. You can!"  Then, opening her eyes and back to her normal voice: "Mommy? The Lord said I can get up now!"  My sister promptly got her up, trying all the while to hide her chuckling.

There are some quips that make me smile, no matter what.  That is one of them.  Beyond the laughter, of course, it caused me to think.  Every so often I wish to by pass traditions and rules and conventions that are not in sync with my creativity.  Or, simply, not in sync with what I want.  Me. Me. Me.  I want this; I want that.  But, for one reason or another, it's too this; it's too that.  And,  I just wanna go, "Get out of my way.  I'll make up my own rules in order to get what I want, thank you very much!"

Irrespective of age, that's human, isn't it? Always that something inside seeking a way to get what we want.  So basic; so simple; so true.  It makes me wonder why we follow conventions and what not, so slavishly. In large part, I imagine, it's because we understand our role in maintaining a civilized society.  In small part, we probably don't want to rock the boat; upset the status quo.  Hmm.  I read a quote the other day that said stteo: If we keep doing the ordinary, we shouldn't expect the unusual.

Good for you for having the courage to leap from the known to the unknown; to follow your heart; to realize your dreams.  Good for us. :-)


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

"Go, Kiki! Go!"

My siblings, my niece, and I, had just got to the car in the underground parking garage. A couple of us went to one side of the car, and the others waited on the other side for the familiar “chirp! chirp!” disarming sound. Once I disarmed the alarm, I held my niece’s hand and led her to the back door. I opened the door for her and was about to lift her up and secure her in the car seat when she said, “No. I want to do it by myself!” She had recently celebrated…make that, we had recently celebrated her second birthday, and she was all Miss-Independent-up-in-here.

While my sis and I waited, she leaned her torso against the floor of the car, by the edge.  (What's that part called, anyway?  I could Google it, but, where's the fun in that?)  She placed her left elbow, then forearm, on the floor of the car as far in as she could reach, then paused for a second as if contemplating her next move. She then held on to the seat with her right hand and raised her right knee – her left leg was still sticking out –  as she tried with all her might to climb in.   My 2-yo niece then made a little grunt "mmh!" and followed that up with: “Go, Kiki! Go! Go, Kiki! Go!” This moment of self-motivation and inspiration came as such a surprise, it knocked us over! We got in quite a bit of laughter before we went to the poignant message within. Of course, she made it! She accomplished the feat, on her own, and, cheered herself on – to boot!

After we secured her in her car seat, we had to talk about the big lesson we had just witnessed from that little girl. And, every time I remember it, it motivates me – sometimes a lot, sometimes just enough.

I could wax on about how sometimes we need to cheer our own selves on; how at times it might feel as if there’s no one else in our corner and so we just need to chant our self-cheer out loud to hear it in our own voice; how a bit of self-cheer would likely motivate us to finish what we’ve started, especially when we allow ourselves to venture into “what’s the point?” territory.  I could, but, there’s no need, is there?

Now, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. And, I seriously doubt whether you’ll want to knock it after trying it. If you don’t already have one, give yourself a nice two-syllable affectionate name. (You could work in a three-syllable one if you fill in the half-beat. Yes, I’m serious.) Voilà!!! Next time you need a picker-upper, start your chant already:

“Go [your name]! Go! Go [your name]! Go!”


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Tasting the Cake

Shortly after my niece turned three, I happened to host my first family Christmas dinner.  My mom and BIL - and my niece (she helped pour the flour) - baked our famous (or not) Christmas cake.  (That's the Jamaican black cake that has specialities such as rum, candied fruits, raisins... Wicked!)

Not long after dinner, we were lounging around a bit. My niece, however, was not so inclined.  By then, she had already asked us a few times whether we would soon taste the cake. As a matter of fact, she'd started asking as soon as the tables had been cleared.

For the third or fourth time, we explained that we'd be having dessert soon. Finally, she took centre stage in the middle of the living room. She threw her hands in the air, stuck her neck out and said, "If we don't taste the cake, we won't be able to taste the cake!" - shaking her head a little on "taste". 

My niece's statement caused me to think about an observation I'd heard a professor/author make several years ago: "Philosophy may be found in children's literature." Presumably, much of that is inspired by, or taken directly from, the mouths of children themselves. Such a simple truth; such an uncomplicated way of seeing the thing. Yet, so profound.

I'm not about to explore the philosophical undertones of the statement.  Enjoy the a-ha! moment. What I would like to do, however , is draw your attention to another scenario.

My family has a way of extrapolating. We are the prototypes when it comes to  fleshing-out entire scenarios in under two minutes. On one of my trips to Jamaica a few years ago, we were on the way back home from a drive out to the country - Westmoreland. It was the first time that I was gonna behold the then new Sandals Whitehouse. My dad, who was driving,  pulled off to the side of the road and we contemplated whether we should go in. The ensuing stream of consciousness, involving all five or six of us, went stteo:  

Well, we don't have any special reason to go in except to look at the place and the security guard at the main entrance is going to ask us what business we have there and we're going to have to tell him that we're not guests, we just want to look at the property and he's going to tell us that we can't just enter the property like that and we're going to get into an argument with him and ask him about his God-complex and he's going to get upset and ask us to turn around and leave. So, it's better we don't even bother to go in.

And with that, we burst out laughing while my dad drove off for home! LOL!!! Every time I remember that episode it cracks me up. Now, for all we knew, the security at the entrance would have been super nice - possibly even get us an escort to show us locals the splendour of the place, in case we ever decided to spend some time there.  But, from the comfort of our vehicle, we decided on the taste of the cake.

Hey, here's to being able to really taste the cake by actually tasting the cake!