Thursday, June 28, 2012

Through her eyes

I spent the good part of the last month hanging out with my niece, Phoebe. Phoebe is nearly 16 months old. She's at the stage where she understands a lot of language, but doesn't have many words down yet... just 'Dat!', 'Da Da' and 'Mu ma'. "Dat!" is used extensively to point things out, show excitement, say what she wants. She also has a few very useful sign language expressions that help her out a bunch.

Being with her is sort of like hanging out with a tiny, Italian genius who doesn't speak a word of English but uses her hands a lot. She amazes me on a regular basis with how much she comprehends, remembers, and prefers. It's like her mind is on a constant data-collecting mission. I think sometimes people underestimate the inteligence and 'person-ness' of little people. But if you have patience and really listen and watch, they are right there with you, trying to communicate, telling jokes and getting to know you.

When we flew together down to LA, I took Phoebe on my lap, and together we watched out the window as the luggage was loaded onto the plane, the little man waving us away from the gate, the plane lining up for take-off as other planes took off in front of us, and finally our own take off. Phoebe was mesmerised, in awe and delight of what was happening around us. What an incredible reminder to not switch-off and instead to open our eyes and our minds.

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