Thursday, June 28, 2012

What We Saw at the Zoo

I often wonder what my children will be like when they grow up. Will they be creative? Will they need to be center stage? Will they be solitary types or need to be a part of a group? Will they be compassionate and caring? What will they want to be? If they’re anything like me, they’ll go through about a million different hats before deciding what they want to be when they grow up. If they’re anything like me, they’ll still be discovering what they want to be long after they’re “grown up”!
As we were leaving the zoo this Sunday, my daughter stopped and said, “I need take a picture!” She proceeded to pose in front of a semi-landscaped area. (Apparently, the translation should be “I need you to take a picture of me!”) My husband and I couldn’t help but wonder and marvel at this. Did she see this area and think, “this would be the perfect spot for them to take pictures of me”? It was a great spot for a photo op! Did she know this intuitively or was this some momentary flight of fancy?
My kids do things so differently. We have been working on building a play house and we decided to let them be a part of the creation by having them help paint. My daughter paints with such focus. My son gets distracted and paints the gravel! I admire and love them both for the different ways they approach things. I often try to imagine what they’re thinking as they’re helping out on a project. Was my son thinking that the gravel was a little too dull, a bit in need of color? Did he feel our landscaping had an overuse of “white space”? (Very possible, since my husband is a graphic designer!)
I watch my son at the new zoo play area, carefully inspecting every toy and feature, trying to “reverse engineer” anything he can take apart as my daughter paints with water on slate, selecting various brushes and experimenting with her preschooler techniques. My son will sit quietly to feed the animals, not afraid to hold open his hand full of food for the big, wet licks of the petting zoo goats. My daughter would rather run around the playground area, dashing from slides to swings to monkey bars faster than a dragonfly.
We’re just beginning to get a glimpse of who these two creatures are. At ages three and almost-two, their discoveries of themselves and the world around them have just begun.  I love discovering who my kids are and I suspect they will be surprising me for years to come.
This Sunday, we saw giraffes, elephants, and zebras. We played with forts and magnifying glasses and paintbrushes. We saw our children discovering the world around them. We saw ourselves discovering our children.

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