I like the laughter that opens the lips and the heart,
that shows at the same time pearls and the soul.
Victor Marie Hugo
To see things through the eyes of a child is the best thing that can happen to anyone. Especially, to those of us who thought we had a thick skin, but certain issues still manage to pierce.
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a huge chunk of time with a toddler. It was the best thing that ever happened to this girl who was feeling a little overwhelmed by issues that she had no control over.
The laughter of a child is a contagious one and you had better be ready to laugh a lot. The simplest of things seem to have you burst into a laughter that is uncontrollable and can last and last.
While serving a bowl of oatmeal one morning, the said toddler turned and looked at me with the most serious face. I had no idea what I did wrong.
“Could I get a double side of pickles with that?” she sang.
Well, I burst into a laughter that made me cross my legs and hope this old bladder managed to stand on its own. The toddler's face was priceless as she burst into laughter too. She knew exactly what she was doing. She was using the humour that we all have but as we age we sometimes forget how to use.
Early one morning we were out in the backyard and together we moved a giant bag of mulch. Under this bag, was a colony of creatures that needed to be observed and saved from the scorching sun. I love her compassion as well as her humour.
“What shall we do Grandma?” She asked, with her head tilted.
“We will put them in the garden,” I answered.
She ran to get a tin plate out of the recycle as I went to get gloves. Oh, yes, I may have been reliving my childhood, but I still have issues with slimy worms. There were a lot of worms.
The worms were put on the plate and to the delight of the toddler, they tried to escape as fast as they could. The toddler placed a snail on the plate. The conversation about how snails carry their houses like Gary of SpongeBob ensued. The toddler thought it was funny that the worms could stretch as far as they could. She giggled and so did I.
Those creatures were placed in a shady spot in the garden. Placed under the raspberries that were still being picked in late October, with the same tiny hands that held that snail. As the toddler went to pop the juicy red raspberries into her mouth, the adult in me kicked in and said we should wash our hands first.
Well if you have been around toddlers, at all, the thought of water play will most times get them inside the house, at least for a minute or two. We headed for the sink inside but first we had to pass the bucket of somewhat clean rainwater that had filled the night before
“This will do,” she said as she dunked them in.
I had no real reason to disagree. We swished the invisible germs off the red raspberries with that invisible germ water and popped them into our mouths. This act brought forth a burst of laughter, as if the toddler knew something I did not.
I was only thinking that life is wonderful, and her beautiful spirit is just what this world needs. Something moved inside my mouth. I spit the red raspberry out. This had the toddler laugh hysterically. I started to laugh too as it was such a contagious laugh. I looked down to see an ant crawling on my raspberry. It was if she knew. The neighbours must have wondered what all that laughter was about.
I am sure they caught it too. Laughter is like that.