It would only be right to begin with proper introductions. First, we have Blue Elephant #1- my first child's first love.
Blue Elephant #1 was the proud recipient of Matias' first smiles, first gazes, first grasps and coos. My partner in those early days of motherhood, when my child's challenges were tracking with his eyes and getting his hands to go where he wanted. I will never forget the day that he pulled Blue Elephant off his velcro tag, quite by accident. There was wonder and triumph in his eyes when he realized that his beloved Blue Elephant could go...IN HIS MOUTH!
Second, we have Blue Elephant #2- our new inspiration.Blue Elephant #2 is a handmade, wooden toy; a bit more natural than Blue Elephant #1. He is a bit softer, a bit simpler. And yet, he is complex and capable and captivating. Matias regards Blue Elephant #2 with all the wonder he originally had for Blue Elephant #1.
Yesterday, Matias rediscovered Blue Elephant #2 sitting on Violet's shelf. At first, he was afraid of the way that it click-clacked and "walked" down the little wooden ramp. I showed him over and over how to make the elephant walk down the ramp, each trip ending with "Mooooore? Mama do." He was curious, yet cautious- hiding with most of his body in Violet's closet, just in case the elephant was real. As time wore on, he moved from his post in the closet, to a new station, peeking out from behind my body. After ten minutes or so, his curiosity got the best of his caution and he reached out to touch the elephant. This set the elephant to click-clacking down the track, and sent Matias back into the closet. So I sat and placed and replaced Blue Elephant #2 at the top of the track. We had nowhere to be, nothing more pressing to do. I thought about taking the elephant over to him, forcing him to touch it and in doing so, realize it was harmless. But I took the patient route- he'd come over when he was ready. And he did.
Fast forward half an hour...Matias is sprawled on the floor, carefully scrutinizing the tiny pieces of wood. Questions come to his mind faster and faster. What would happen if...I sent it down backwards? Set it too close to the edge? Pushed it down? Laid the track flat? Held it by the little leather tail? Sent it down too hard? Too gently? Set it down on the flat floor? Tipped the track sideways with the little piece of wood? Shook the elephant? Tasted it?
In half an hour, he had given a demonstration more profound than most. He had let his curiosity guide him through his fear. He had looked from every angle. He had explored questions that led to more questions that led to more questions. He had chosen something that appeared simple, even boring, and uncovered all its complexities and potential. He had truly been present in the moment, not considering what he would be doing next. He had enjoyed himself immensely.
And really, isn't that what it is all about? So here's to having more Blue Elephant Moments in my life.