“Down, mama?” she asked, gazing up at me earnestly.
She had a shape sorter out, a particularly difficult shape sorter, and she wanted some help getting the shapes back in the box. So I smiled and sat, and she beamed and plopped down beside me.
She picked up a block and I traced the textured, upper edge. “Star,” I told her.
“Stahw,” she repeated, and I turned the sorter to the side with the star, and she wriggled and pushed until it lined up just right and dropped in the hole. We did this for all nine shapes, then we opened the sorter, dumped them all out and did it again. That was enough for her, but I was left there on the floor full of admiration for this little person.
This girl, she is a marvel to me. We’ve owned this shape sorter for eighteen years, and she is the first one to enjoy the challenge of it. She’s never frustrated by things she can’t do yet; she just asks for help or keeps on trying on her own until she figures it out. But she never gives up.
These qualities make her a demanding baby to care for; she’s always testing her mind and her body against her environment, and we are constantly scrambling to minimize the damage and the risks. I have not known her to sit still for more than a few minutes since she discovered she could walk!
But like all the sisters and brothers that came before, this girl, my Evie, is a wonder in the making, and it has ever been one of my fondest pleasures to watch these children learn and grow and become. People ask me all the time how I teach all these children, and I tell them I’m really just a facilitator. That’s all! I just watch and wonder, and give them whatever they need to become whatever it is that they are. It’s pretty simple, really, once you realize that they aren’t really yours.