Where toddlers learn mischief

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Have you ever made your toddler squeal by putting something on your head that is not suppose to go on your head? Like a bit of food, a book, a cuddly toy? Now try doing anything else, putting a book in a shelf, capping a pen, wearing a shoe, with the same enthusiasm and funny expressions! The outcome I assure you (if you are a good actor), will be exactly the same. Children are amused when obvious things are ‘wrong’ but they are equally happy to play the game when things go ‘right’! Of course, it is not as amusing for the adult because we can’t imagine why doing the tidy and quiet thing would be fun or funny. We are often in the habit of substituting our own feelings and opinions for that of the child’s.

Once I met a 2 year old and his family at a party. The 2 year old discovered a bowl of decorative walnuts. The father promptly poured the walnuts out onto the table and shook it at his son. The boy is amused and does the same. My partner comes along and shows the child how to throw walnuts in the air and catch them! Naturally, the child did the same and was amused and did not catch the walnuts that went up in the air. I waited long and patiently for a quiet moment when the adults had gotten bored of the walnut game and the mummy had tired of picking up walnuts. I went up to the child and mastered the most friendly and amusing face I had and showed him how to put walnuts in the bowl one at a time so quietly that you couldn’t hear them touch. The child was amused and did the same! Food for thought?…

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