This is the definition of innocence.
October 17, 2011

Seemingly overnight, Charlotte sorted out the difference between the questions “How are you?” and “How old are you?”  She still marches up to people to introduce herself.  “Hi,” she says, “my name is Charlotte.  I am two!  I have blondie hair.”

But when someone asks her how she’s doing, she no longer responds with her age.  “Good,” she says.

Sometimes she includes her emotions.  She tells people that she is happy because she went to the park and ran around with her friends.  Or she is excited because her cousins are coming over for dinner.  Or she is sad because she accidentally stepped on a roly-poly and now it’s dead.  “Oh no!,” she’ll exclaim then.  “Sorry, roly-poly.”

Last week my friend’s grandfather asked her how she was doing.  “Good,” she said with a grin.  “But so frustrated!  Had to ask Momma for help with, with my buttons!  So frustrated!  Want to do them myself!  Had to say NEED HELP MOMMA!”

The abuelo chuckled.  He leaned down and pinched her ear, kissed her cheek.  “Do you see how old my hand is?” he asked in a thick Cuban accent as he showed her his hands.  “I have to ask for help with my buttons sometimes too,” he said.

Charlotte touched his hand while he talked to her.  He told her about when his hands were younger, smaller, like hers.  “Now that I’m older,” my friend’s grandfather explained, “I have arthritis.  That’s why my knuckles are so big.  It is hard for me to hold on to buttons because they are so small.  I ask my wife for help just like you ask your mother.”  He winked.

“Yeah,” Charlotte said enraptured.  “We’re the same.  Both ask for help!  Both say NEED HELP!  Buttons too small!”

He chuckled again.  “We’re all the same, mija,” he said.

She thought about it for awhile and looked at him carefully.  She took in his dark skin, his dark eyes, his wrinkles and grey hairs.  “Yes,” she said thoughtfully.  “We’re the same.  Need help with buttons.  And having short fingernails.”

Children are so wonderfully perfect, aren’t they?

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  1. By on October 17, 2011

    This is so awesome! I had to read it twice because it’s so awesome! Children are so perfectly wonderful! Thanks for a wonderful Monday morning post!

  2. By joanna on October 17, 2011

    Beautiful! This story reminds me, almost verbatim, of Shel Silverstien’s poem The Little Boy And The Old Man.

  3. By Sarah on October 17, 2011

    yeah, this made me cry…..

  4. By on October 17, 2011

    Oh, Sarah, whether happy or sad your posts also make me tear up!  I love this story, love to you and Charlotte.

  5. By Beth on October 17, 2011

    love your blog & sense of humor. each post i read i’m usually giggling with delight, smiling, or thinking did she really just said that & then wow, wish i was that brave. too cute you are. (:

  6. By on October 17, 2011

    I love this precious story. It made me cry too!

  7. By on October 17, 2011

    Tears here too. So wonderfully sweet and amazingly precious. <3

  8. By yols on October 17, 2011

    So precious! Toddlers are just a wonderful combination of honesty and innocence.

    On a side note, I am so glad that your community is incredibly multi-cutural (or perhaps you go out of your way to make it so?) Either way, Charlotte is blessed to be able to interact with people from different ethnic backgrounds and different age groups. I think the more varied her experiences the more she will grow up to be as open-minded and wise as you are ^.^

  9. By Sarah Christensen on October 17, 2011

    Joanna - OHMYGOODNESS, I just looked up that poem and it is so heartbreaking and darling at once.

    Yols - I think we are incredibly lucky to live where we do because it is a highly diverse community, but if I’m completely honest since having Charlotte I have made a huge effort to ensure that we have people of all sorts in our life.  I talk to Charlotte very frequently about embracing differences - be they ethnic, age, sexual orientation, culture, religion, whatever - and I’ve found it helpful to have people from all walks of life with whom Charlotte interacts.  She sees differences firsthand, she sees us interact with them, and we can discuss the differences and similarities afterwards.  I think it teaches her to appreciate people regardless of superficial differences if she has an opportunity to get to know them better.  So it’s probably a little of both =)

  10. By yols on October 18, 2011

    Oh I totally agree! It’s one thing to read about the uniqueness of each person in books - and I’m sure you have these kinds of books too - and to actually make lifelong relationships with people from literally all walks of life.

    You are raising such a wonderful, caring, sensitive little one, Sarah!

  11. By on October 20, 2011

    This has to be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. I hope I am half the mother you are to Charlotte, Sarah.

  12. By tara pollard pakosta on October 20, 2011

    she’s truly awesome!
    tara


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