I sympathize with the recent article “10 Absurd Reasons My Toddler is Freaking Out.” To my 35-year-old brain, wearing the white Minnie Mouse shirt instead of the grey Minnie Mouse shirt doesn’t seem like that big of a deal–but to my 3-year-old, it’s a major crisis worthy of a complete meltdown. While I may not see it as important, it’s clearly important to her.
In fact, MANY things that are important to my 3-year-old twins don’t seem important to me. But not all of these things cause meltdowns. Many of these seemingly unimportant things make them ridiculously happy. Looking at life through their eyes has made me appreciate the little things again.
What makes my little ones happy?
1. The clock. We’ve got a digital clock on the cable box in our living room, and they can literally stand and stare at it for 45 minutes. Well, not stand–squat in that adorable knees-bent-butt-sticking-out way, watching intently.
“It’s 9:32. Is it 9:33 yet? No, let’s watch . . . It’s 9:33!!! WE FOUND IT!!!! It’s 9:33!!! Is it 9:34 yet? No, let’s watch . . .,”
Each minute is celebrated with a congratulatory dance, and then we wait for the next minute to come.
2. The snow melted. My kids were very concerned when it snowed last week. The grass was covered with white stuff, and they decided that the outside was a “mess” and needed to be cleaned. This morning, we walked outside and all the snow had melted. My daughter was thrilled.
“We did it! We made the grass clean! Good job everybody!” We clapped and celebrated the clean grass all the way to the car. (Gotta admit–I was happy about this one too.)
3. Canadian geese. I live on Long Island, and Canadian geese are just huge birds that congregate on school football fields (why do they always congregate on school football fields?) and leave their droppings for me to step on. Well, that’s if you ask me. If you ask my daughter, they are one of the most exciting things she’s seen all day.
“Birdies! Tweet tweet, birdies! I have birdies on my socks. Hello, birdies!!!!”
Ok, then. Hello, birdies.
4. Going over a bridge. The Verrazano Bridge. It’s the way to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island, and it currently costs $15 to cross. But that’s not how my son sees it. He LOVES going over that bridge and whenever we do, it’s all he’ll talk about for a week.
5. Elmo. Yes, that furry red monster who talks in the third person. My daughter is obsessed with Elmo. But not just any Elmo–her very special, very tattered, very loved “Baby Elmo.” When she sees Elmo after not holding him for a while, the smile on her face and the hug she gives that doll is something truly special.
6. Merry-go-rounds. My daughter LOVES to ride on the carousel. It’s a horse going up and down while it slowly moves in a circle, but to her it’s absolutely the most amazing and fun thing ever. She can barely contain her excitement enough to stay on the horse!
7. Passing the car wash. We took my car to the car wash. Once. A long time ago. And they LOVED it. So now every time we drive past the car wash, there’s pandemonium in the back seat.
“That’s the car wash!! C-A-R! Car! W-A-S-H! Wash! That’s the car wash! We gave mommy’s car a bath! Car wash! Look! There it is! That’s the car wash!”
8. Escalators and elevators. We went to Sesame Place this summer. Ask my daughter what we did, and she’ll tell you all about meeting Elmo and going on the rides. Ask my son, and he’ll tell you how we went up and down in the elevator at the hotel. We go to the mall. Most kids want to run around the play area, but my son wants to go up and down the elevators and escalators. The glass elevators where you can see outside as you go up and down are his favorite.
Toddlers wear their hearts on their sleeve. If they feel something, good or bad, you’ll know it. I love it when my kids get excited over the simplest things–I hope that never goes away. What makes your little ones insanely happy?