Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"A Toddler's Message"

I wanted to share this poem.  It's not mine.  It was written by a friend of mine, Lester Hartman, who's a fabulous pediatrician and great guy (who allowed me to post the poem).  Remembering that there are little people in our lives, at the knee, waist, shoulder, or chin, and crouching to their level (physically and otherwise) is more important than you might think.  Frankly, listening and interacting with anyone, with their circumstances in mind, and with empathy, would make our corner of the world a little less noisy.

A Toddler's Message

I live in a sea of giants
Who ofttimes view me as one of willful defiance.

How would you feel living in a forest of knees?
It's like living among towering trees.
Everything is so high up,
I can't even reach my own cup.

I have such little control over my day.
I'm told when to nap and when to play
So I tantrum over what seems like little stuff,
Sending you into quite a huff.

Please be lovingly consistent,
For to you my behavior may seem defiantly resistant.
I need you to be consistently persistent.

Make the environment safe and simple for me
So you won't always have to say no
And you can let me be.

Give me options when I play with others,
For fighting over the same toy is my druthers.
You see, I still don't have a good concept of how to share -
Age three is when I start to master that affair.

Be patient with me, I understand more than I can say,
Though I may respond in an indecisive way,
Shaking my head no then yes
To a question the answer seems so simple to guess.

Take time to listen to me.
Simple acknowledgement might be the key.

Get down on my level when talking to me,
And learn what it's like living at the level of the knee.

When your toddler has said, "Dada," 9 times to get your attention, maybe say, "What, Honey," even if you've acknowledged her 5 times already.  When he shakes his head no to your question, wait a second...the answer might change.  And crouching down to look in her eyes might erase that look of apprehension that she has when chattering at you from way...down...there...