The most childlike thing about a child is his curiosity and his appetite and his power of wonder at the world. —GK Chesterton, What I Saw in America
“Bunny,” I said. “Bunny. Bunny.”
Sometime in the last few months, I’d gotten over feeling silly repeating words to my little girl. She was too young to say them back to me, but that didn’t matter. She’d be able to say them someday.
In the meantime, the bunny in question hopped away on bunny business. And we continued on our morning walk, her in her turquoise sling stroller with sunshade and me pushing her along at a sweaty clip.
Shortly after we started, she’d usually catch a little nap in her stroller while I contemplated how my life had changed since she came along, how I could be a better mom, what on earth I’d make for dinner (cooking is not my thing), when I would ever get the laundry done.
If she was awake, I’d identify things as we walked along. “Tree. Tree. Bird. Bird. Grass...” You get the idea.
On our way back, when we got to the neighborhood across the street from ours, I would lean down in front of the stroller, making sure I had her attention, and point to the profusion of flowers planted at the entrance. “Flower. Flower.”
Because I love them, I wanted her to learn the word flower early. Whenever I saw one—in the grocery store, in her books, in the neighborhood—I would point it out and say the word.
Then one day a few months later, she pointed, too, and said, “Faffer.” And I rejoiced. I’m pretty sure jumping up and down was involved. So she grinned and said it again.
As she learned to name things, her childlike sense of wonder really started developing. And it was a joy to watch.
Seeing her wonder-struck at every little thing taught me to be fully present with her in those moments. To be delighted with the beauty around us, to be surprised by the unexpected, and to laugh freely.
Those lessons from her early years have stayed with me. Especially when I see a faffer.
When was the last time you experienced wonder? Do you think it’s possible to have childlike wonder as an adult?