Monday, June 22, 2009

Lessons Learned From a Toddler

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” - Albert Einstein

The past week my life has been topsy-turvy. My imagination has been boosted into overdrive. My written words are short and appear in bursts of colors. I’ve read the same several dozen books over and over again. This creative surge has nothing to do with my current projects. I didn’t discover some super pill or eat a magic mushroom. My husband and I have simply spent the past 5 days with my 2 ½ year old grandson while his parents are away.

I see him frequently because they live nearby. But regular visits can’t compare to the exhausting responsibility of being a round-the-clock caregiver. I keep reminding myself, I’d done this before and survived. My grown daughter and said grandson are my proof.

Though I can’t remember the last time I felt this tired, and my normal routine is way out of whack, it’s been a fabulous experience because he’s reminded me about the important things in life. Such as:

It’s perfectly fine to burst out into a song in the middle of the grocery store, if the mood strikes.

Getting down on your hands and knees to look at a bug crawling in the driveway provides a whole new perspective to the world. The expectation of a reply to the question, “Where’s he going?” can act as a verbal writing prompt.

Sometimes you should stop everything you’re doing to spin in circles in the living room for no particular reason.

The most important use of a dining room table is to make a tent. Forts can be made out of any available materials.

It’s possible to travel in space, back in time, to the beach, or to undiscovered lands without leaving your bedroom.

Stuffed animals and other inanimate objects have a distinctive voice of their own and love to say what they’re thinking.

Kissing an owie and then placing a Dora or Diego Band-Aid on the spot really does make the hurt go away.

Crayons make great rocket ships.

An entire house can become the Village of Sodor for Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

I’m confident now, that the next time I come up against the brick wall of writer’s block or my muse goes on an unplanned hiatus, I won’t panic as I’ve done in the past. Instead, I’ll simply sit back and try to look at the world through the eyes of a child.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Einstein, Toddler, Imagination, writer’s block, muse,


dirtywhitecandy said...

I love this as a way of seeing the world with fresh eyes and rejuvenated enthusiasm. We all need to find ways to remind us of the essence of experience - delight, horror, playfulness. What does it for me is riding a horse. Amble through a wood on a rainy day and watch every twitch and flick of its ears, feel every skip of its feet when it's startled and surprised. How a shadow could be something solid and menacing like a monster. When you tune into its way of seeing the world everything comes to life in the most startling ways.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Great job of explaining how to not grow old. Very appealing post. As you noted each of your grandson’s behaviors, I had some vague recollection of the same…building forts for example. I know I used to do that. Much to my wife’s chagrin, however, I still burst into song at the grocery store. Yikes. She then says, “Okay, we’re in public, we have to use our ‘quiet voice.’” Then, we laugh. So, maybe part of the kid in me is still there. Or, I’m just nuts and senile.

Best regards, Galen

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sounds like your creative juices have been rejuvenated!

And love the spinning in the living room for no reason!

L. Diane Wolfe

Alexis Grant said...

This is awesome! So true... And a great way to spark interesting POVs or story details.

Karen Walker said...

How delightful, Jane. Thanks for these reminders of the wonder, innocence and creativity of childhood.
Karen Walker

Helen Ginger said...

Perhaps the answer to writer's block is to sit in a table tent and talk to some stuffed animals.

How easily we forget the wonders of childhood.

Straight From Hel

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

dirtywhitecandy - what another interesting way to view the world through different eyes.

Galen - this simply proves that your inner child is still alive. Good for you!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Excellent idea, Helen!

The Old Silly said...

Love this post - especially this-

"Sometimes you should stop everything you’re doing to spin in circles in the living room for no particular reason."

LOL - so true dat. What was it Jesus said - "Be ye as little children."

The Old Silly

John said...

Galen, sounds as if you and I are kindred spirits. Of course, now I have 2 young kids, so I have an excuse to play in a fort or cardboard box without my wife looking at me like I'm crazy.

And kids can be inspirational. Rivers (my oldest) has never really asked "why?" But she begs the question "why not?" all the time.

Like why not have special "daddy" glasses that let you see invisible things. Or why "not" have the easter bunny take over Christmas for a little while, to give Santa a break?

I've learned a lot from her.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This post is precious. I look forward to that grandchild toddler stage. Since she's only 8 weeks old now, I do have a while to wait. It's a miraculous time for grandparents.

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