Kids. They are Amazing.

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

When I lived in Japan, I remember being struck by how confusing and overwhelming things could be. You hear about crazy experiences in Japan all the time (peeing in a traditional Japanese toilet, cramming into insanely packed subway cars, etc.)

Surprisingly though, the things that were the most overwhelming to me were the little things. The things that happened over and over. You know, eating every meal with chop sticks, confusing the words for “up” and “down”, realizing that when people say “yes” they mean “no”. I remember thinking, this must be what it’s like to be 2. Everything is new and everything is hard.

Obviously, learning to live in Japan is not exactly like being 2. It’s easier in some respects (for example, I didn’t just learn how to successfully swallow a grape). It’s harder in others (preconceived notions about how things should be can really add to the confusion.) 

Now that Hiram is 2, I’ve been thinking about Japan a lot. When he gets a little sassy or mad, it helps to remember that his life is not like mine. Here’s a summary of a typical, breezy day for me:

  • Ride the bus while reading a good book
  • Decide what I’d like for lunch and enjoy it with friends
  • Take care of any personal needs that arise during the day
  • Recap all small daily annoyances with a friend over tea

Most likely, Hiram’s day involved:

  • Being strapped into a car seat on his way to school
  • Dropping food on the floor while trying to maneuver his fork
  • Walking around with #2 in his pants until someone notices and gives him a hand
  • Trying desperately, unsuccessfully, to say a few new words to his “translators” (He’s saying it just like he learned, but people look at him like he’s speaking a foreign language!)

Is it really any wonder he’s testy sometimes? I mean. There were days in Japan when I was crawling home at 4 p.m. exhausted, confused and determined to be asleep by 6.  Hiram, on the other hand, seems always ready for more. 

“I do it” he says while I’m cracking eggs over a hot pan. 

“Let’s play golf ball!”

“No teeth! No splish-splash! No bed!”

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