Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Don’t just smile and call me cute

Take another look. There’s so much more to me than meets the eye.

I am two and a bit and a busy human being.

I’m an athlete in training. I move constantly, bending stretching, reaching and curling, climbing, walking, running and jumping. As I move in new and different ways I build my skills, my strength, agility and balance. Will you find me interesting places to navigate and give me room to move?

It’s tricky getting the different parts of my body to work together. And when I discover a new way to move, I try again and again. Sometimes I drop things or take a tumble but it’s ok because persistence is my middle name. Each new mastered action is the source of such intense delight. “I did it,” I smile and my body beams from head to toe. Did you see my joy and delight when I did it all by myself?

I’m an intrepid traveller exploring the world with the wonder and intensity of a refugee in a foreign land. I touch, smell and taste whatever comes my way. Can you dare as much as me? Will you trust me to find my way?

For I’m a scientist collecting data. I peruse, I listen intently and observe closely. I gather, investigate, examine and experiment. I wonder what will happen if …? And I try it and I wait and I watch. I look for what is the same and I’m intrigued by what is different. I look for patterns and combinations and connections. And when I’m perplexed, I try again, look for help or save my present conundrum for later consideration. Do you notice the seriousness of my pursuits?

Like an archaeologist on a dig, I seek out hidden corners and delight in unexpected finds. Even the tiniest object is a treasure to behold, a trace of a world I am just coming to know. Can you see it? Will you treasure this moment too?

I play with my voice, vocalise, babble, talk, sing, scream and shout. I whisper and hum, and murmur and purr with delight. I add rhythm and beat and move in sync with the sounds I hear and feel deep in my body. I am learning to dance from the inside out and the outside in. Can you hear the music too? Will you dance with me?

I’m a book lover and a linguist. I love big words, and rhyming words and strange sounding words like ‘ridiculous’ and ‘delicious.’ I love to say new words that are found in books. And I wonder why it is that the same word can mean this and also mean that – a bulb in the ceiling and a bulb in the ground? Will you play with words with me and read and tell me stories, again and again?

I’m a nurse and a carer and I see and know when someone is hurt or sad. I cry when others cry and I care that they are not happy. I worry for broken things and am sad at disappointments. Will you come close and share these big feelings with me?

I’m a gardener and nurturer. I see the small creatures and know that trees have feelings too. I am tender with the worm and careful with the snail. I sing with magpies and buzz with bees. I like water and dirt and leaves and sticks and burrow my way into the textural delights of earth, sand and snow. Will you come outside with me? Will you take better care of the earth for me?

I’m judge and jury, witness and advocate. I watch, listen and think. I have ideas and try to make sense of what you say. I ponder what is right and I’m learning what is wrong. I’m wondering who decides and why things aren’t always fair. Do you wonder about these things too? Can we think about this together?

I’m a watcher and a wonderer. The pelican flaps its enormous wings and flies, the dolphin leaps and dives, rain makes puddles and air fills bubbles that float away, and a tiny sunflower seed grows into a plant that is bigger than me. And I pause and think how does this happen? In the silence of awe and wonder I am totally present and at peace. Do you see these everyday miracles too? Can we be present together to these moments of pause and peace?

I’m a researcher, philosopher and theorist, a tradie, an artist and artisan. I’m a builder and demolition worker, a prophet and a muse. I’m curious and learning from everything around me and from all that happens, the planned and the unplanned, the explicit and the implicit, the said and the unsaid. I see what you do and I hear what you say. Are you curious and learning from everything too?

I’m here for so much more than for your amusement and entertainment. I’m no toy, marketing ploy, cash crop or fashion accessory. I’m a human being in this world, a citizen of now. Please slow down and get to know me better. Don’t just smile and call me cute for we can be fully human together. I can teach you how.

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Dr Cathie Harrison (EdD, MEd, BEdEC) is an Early Learning and Gifted Education Consultant. Her recent report Celebrating Together at Uniting: Children, Families, Colleagues and Communities, Celebrating Together aims to assist educators in Uniting’s Early Learning and Out of Hours School Care services to make thoughtful and collaborative decisions about the celebrations they share with children and families.

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