Toddler’s world one adventure after another-tl

By Tammy Keith Originally Published September 22, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated September 20, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
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If you want to remember what real joy is, spend some time around a toddler.

My 2 1/2-year-old nephew, Seb, had his first visit to my house since he was in the womb.

My sister-in-law was on a trip with relatives, so my brother brought Seb to my house.

When they pulled up in the driveway, Seb was so happy to see Aunt T, as he usually calls me.

I’ve never had a toddler in the house because we didn’t live there when my two sons, now 23 and 20, were born.

My husband did ask, minutes before they arrived, if we had any poison under the sink for him to eat. There wasn’t.

I’d bought Seb a Tonka firetruck that made siren noises, because he’s really into firetrucks these days. I rummaged through boxes of the boys’ old books and got out some favorites, like Goodnight Moon, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and one about cats that we read no less than a thousand times to our older son.

Seb went straight to the books, loved the firetruck, but when he looked in the closet in my older son’s former room, Seb saw an old metal crane that was my husband’s when he was a child, and the toddler’s eyes lit up. He went crazy over that crane.

We pulled out that 45-year-old toy, and for the rest of the night, he didn’t want to play with anything else. (Note to relatives: I claim the crane for Seb’s Christmas present.)

He wanted the claw to hold lots of things — a toy New York City taxi and even Buzz Lightyear, who was almost as big as the crane.

When his Uncle David was able to get the claw to hold Buzz, Seb threw his arms around my husband’s neck in excitement.

Seb has unabashed adoration for both my sons’ girlfriends, too, and at the end of lunch with one of them — and her friend — Seb insisted on a group hug.

The weekend was one adventure after another — going to EcoFest, where Seb got to pet alpacas and a rabbit as big as him.

When he saw something he liked, he kissed it (a goat’s head). When he saw something he didn’t, a salamander, he said, “Yuck!”

He splashed water in the fountain at UCA and was perfectly happy, but then he heard a firetruck, and we went to check it out.

We happened upon AETN Family Day, and he patiently waited in line to see some character named Daniel the Tiger. When it was Seb’s turn, he proudly took off his Dallas Cowboys cap and showed it to the wordless character, who gave a thumbs up.

Back at home, I pulled out more memories, a box of Hot Wheels and other little cars.

The great thing about little kids is that they don’t have preconceived notions before society drills it into them that the sky is blue and the grass is green.

He didn’t care that he had a horse trailer hooked to a hot rod, as long as it worked. There were no rules, no limitations.

We played outside, and I crouched down behind the zinnias with him and shushed when he told me, ran when he said go and hid behind the tree from whatever his imagination saw.

After I washed dishes Sunday morning, he wanted to play in the bubbles. So, of course, I let him. He got

tiny handful after tiny handful and blew the soap suds; then he turned on the sprayer on the faucet. I pulled up a bar stool and let him play. When we ran out of bubbles, I added more dish-washing liquid.

About 20 minutes later, with his little firetruck pajamas soaked, he was ready to get down.

The light coming through the window made a colorful prism on the seat of a kitchen chair, and he exclaimed, “A rainbow!” He ran and threw his arms around my legs in delight.

He is joy, pure and simple.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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