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Discovery

Discovery

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I have two telephone cords that extend all the way from my telephone in the living room area to the computer in my kitchen. The living room’s phone socket is the closest to the kitchen and I have no other way of using the Internet unless the two are attached to each other.

Knowing that these longs cords would attract the curiosity of my one-year-old I taped them high along the wall, out of reach from his inquisitive fingers. Everyday he jumped for the cords, trying to pull them down. The other day he succeeded.

One-year-olds love to knock things down. My son spends half of his day on his tippy-toes trying to reach whatever is above him. He uses all of this effort just for the satisfaction of knocking the item down.

What amazes me is that now that they’re down, he’s not interested in them anymore. He didn’t want the cords, just the challenge. Babies don’t look down, they look up. After achieving his goal he’s ready to move on.

I love how babies and toddlers live each moment to its fullest and they live in the present. When they’re hungry, they need to eat “now.” When they’re tired, they need to sleep “now.” When they’re lonely they need cuddling and to be held “now.” They forgive and let go easily.

I also love their curiosity and the way they get so excited about everything. Everything fascinates them and everything merits exploration. They need to touch, handle, taste, and see, using all of their sensory organs.

My husband says that there are no “free rides” with our son. You can’t hold him without him trying to leap out of your arms, grabbing the nearest object on his way. He opens purses and bags for investigation, pick-pockets pockets, removes eyeglasses and hats and either puts everything in his mouth or throws it on the floor.

I tidy up after him, putting his toys in order, just so that he can discover and throw them all over the place once again. I watch my little hurricane with delight (and exhaustion) as he wreaks havoc and ask myself, “What happens to this sense of curiosity? What happens to the excitement of life and the beauty of discovery?”

Life becomes routine, making it easy to take even the grandest miracles for granted. We awake with the assumption that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, but it isn’t a given--it’s a miracle.

Sometimes I take my son out of his carriage so that he can walk along the sidewalk with me. I do this when I know I’m not in a hurry. He stops along the way, every couple of steps or so, picking up things, showing me leaves and fallen flowers. If he didn’t point them out to me, I probably wouldn’t even notice that they were there.

There is a series of blessings that one recites every morning and one of them is: Blessed are You L-rd, King of the universe who gives sight to the blind. When I watch my son I understand this blessing. Seeing his emotions, his excitement, the way he investigates, observes, and grows with each moment, opens my eyes that are blinded by habituation giving me new sight.

Originally from northern California and a Stanford University graduate, Elana Mizrahi now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. She is a doula, massage therapist, writer, and author of Dancing Through Life, a book for Jewish women. She also teaches Jewish marriage classes for brides.
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