Crack! Lightning and then thunder fills the sky. Adrian lurches
back into a sitting position and, lower lip quivering, repeatedly
shifts his gaze from my eyes to the clouded sky. He sees that the
sound and fury of the approaching storm have not alarmed me.
We exchange smiles, and he returns to his gleeful splashing. After
another incredible ten minutes or so, the storm intensifies, and we
head back inside to a large, white, fluffy towel and some cuddle time.
Infants and toddlers are amazing. There is no other way to describe
their innate drive to know the world they are born into; the speed
at which they acquire, integrate, and use knowledge; their unique
personalities; their rate of physical growth; and their astounding
brains. From their very beginnings, Lilly, Brenden, Marygrace, and
Adrian have been unfolding into incredibly different people with a
vast array of likes, dislikes, interests, and personality quirks. Infants
and toddlers are art, science, poetry, engineering, chemistry, and
physics rolled into fascinatingly cute—and nearly helpless—little
bundles. They are the past and future, carrying our genetic code
and our civilization into an unknown world we will not experience.
They are hope, opportunity, and possibility.
The Marvel of Infants and Toddlers
Babies are born explorers. Infants belong in the rain. They belong outside
in the grass and dirt. They belong on the floor with materials that will
engage their senses and minds—stimulating them but not overstimu-
lating them the way too many of today’s “educational” toys tend to do.
They belong in the loving arms of calm, happy, focused caregivers who
are in tune with children’s needs. They belong in environments that pro-
mote developmentally appropriate play, exploration, and discovery. They
belong in settings that look upon them as curious, thinking, contempla-
tive, emotional, complex individuals. They belong on their tummies, bot-
toms, hands and knees, and finally their unstable feet as they get to know
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