By Roxanne Drury
All of my grandchildren are grown and well beyond toddler-hood. I fondly remember the days they were very small and came to visit Grandma and Grumpa. (No that is not a typo – that is what they call him.) The house would get prepped and the toys pulled out in anticipation of their arrival. Those days are long gone from our family, at least for the time being, but…my friend has a toddler and when they are coming over to visit Nonie and Poppa (that’s us), we have a similar routine to those days long ago.
If you have a toddler or a toddler visits your home regularly, you may know this drill:
- Decorative teapots put away – check
- Dogs’ water bowl picked up – check
- Dog food dishes picked up – check
- Fireplace wall switch blocked – check
- Candy dish out of reach – check
- Night light removed from wall socket – check
- Outlet covers in place – check
- Stairway gate in position – check
- Heavy decorative objects placed inthe wooden chest – check
Next we quickly run around and close all the doors, especially the bathroom door since toddlers are famous for flushing incredibly large objects down the toilet.
Then we eagerly await the arrival of The Toddler. As the family pulls up to the house, I go rushing out to greet them. Not sure who is more excited about this visit: The Toddler or Nonie. Upon arrival, the fun begins – the laughter of a toddler in the house fills my heart to overflowing.
Watching the antics of a toddler are enough to make anyone’s head spin in dizziness. The energy exuded running and jumping and climbing make me want to take a nap. And as I listen to the long drawn out gibberish and see the seriousness of the story being told, I am in awe of how that little mind is working non-stop. Sometimes in very calculated and devious ways. The Toddler waits and waits for just that moment when Nonie turns her back and in a split second The Toddler scoots behind the table and reaches for the fireplace switch. But Nonie is smarter than a 2-year-old…fat chance little one…caught ya!
Inside/outside…inside/outside. The Toddler prefers outside most definitely. The sheer delight this child finds in the out-of-doors tells me she may be a naturalist someday. Our backyard is pretty big and she walks the entire width and breadth with me, picking up sticks and leaves and stones, poking at flowers and bugs and making a little nonsensical comment about each one. The wonder and amazement in her bright eyes is so sincere, so genuine, so inspired. She is in her element – the great outdoors.
The dogs have followed us outside and traipse behind us, also stopping to sniff and investigate. The Toddler observes as they begin to play and roughhouse. This is obviously not okay with her. They do sound like they are angry at each other and in her mind this needs to stop at once. In her finest Dog Police stance and her most authoritative voice she commands the dogs to “Geswap!”
The dogs stop for a moment, look at her and then continue on with what they were doing. When they do not obey, The Toddler simply walks away and is on to the next adventure. Ooooh, she sees a big bowl of water, which she naturally picks up and dumps out and then proceeds to jump in the water puddle on the patio. She is happy as a clam.
Running through the stones, tiptoeing through the grass, running through the house, climbing up on chairs and then down again, chasing the dogs, dancing to music, laughing, giggling, opening and closing cabinets, hiding in the pantry, pushing the car, pulling the horsey, dragging the little chair, sliding down the wall, laying on the floor to roll, roll, roll – never-ending, never stopping, always in motion, mind thinking and absorbing and learning until….mom and dad show up and they get in the car to go home.
Before they reach the end of the block I get a text from her mom that says, “I think she had fun!”
So did Nonie and Poppa!
Children are a gift from God – to be treasured as a rare jewel, appreciated for how they are, valued for who they are, and loved unconditionally and without measure. I find The Toddler especially wonderful and amazing.
To moms of toddlers, I know it is hard, I know it is exhausting, I know it can be frustrating, but all too soon this age of wonder will be gone. So, “Geswap” (that’s The Toddler’s language for “Stop”) and enjoy it. You don’t want to miss it.
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” – Psalm 127:3-5a
Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church.