We like to think all our children–or at least some of our children–are geniuses. Mensa material. Admittedly, I’m the same way about mine. But I plan to show you how I know so that you will believe it, too.
So for those of you who are thinking he is just a proud, overindulgent grandparent, I have obtained photographic evidence to prove it to you.
In the mornings Kenzie usually wakes up earlier than Kaleb. She comes down to the master bedroom and plays and gets into things while I am trying to complete my morning routine of getting ready for work.
One particular morning Kenzie had been playing in the walk-in closet in my bedroom. When I finished my routine and was about to leave the bedroom to go to the kitchen to fix our breakfast, I noticed she had been playing with some clothes hangers. She had pulled several extras down from the the lower clothes rack and had spread them all over the floor of the closet.
Since I’m always in a hurry in the morning trying to get myself and the toddlers ready to leave the house, I started quickly gathering the hangers up (so I wouldn’t have to pick them up when we got home in the evening).
Then, thinking this was a teachable moment and that sooner or later she needed to learn to pick up after herself, I said: “Kenzie, pick up all those hangers and hang them back up. You have to do it yourself because you pulled them down. It’s not my job to pick them up. I’m not your slave!”
We all know, of course, that from her perspective I am, in fact, her slave! But teachable moments don’t arrive that often, especially when you are always in a hurry.
So after a short time I went back in the closet and I was surprised to see that she had minded and had actually picked up the clothes hangers and hung them back up.
I was amazed! No, not just because she minded me, but that she did it with such creativity and ingenuity.
Certainly my child is an artist! No, my child is a genius!
She had created a sculpture from the hangers–suspended in midair with delicately balanced parts–a hanger mobile!
I asked her to pick up hangers and put them away and she created a work of art!
Now that’s clever, inventive, resourceful–that’s brilliant! That’s thinking out of the box!
But really, if the truth be known, toddlers commonly think out of the box. That’s because they are not in the box yet. They don’t even know there is a box!
But it’s the grown-up’s job to get them into the box–to get them to think and behave like we want them to–like we do. We don’t want them standing out. We want them blending in. After all, it’s a grown-up’s world and so we get to build the box.
So maybe this hanger mobile doesn’t prove she’s a genius. But maybe it demonstrates that I need to build a little bigger box that will allow her toddler creativity to thrive.