Friday, April 24, 2020
What is it about the motion of a toddler's cheeks and the adorable chewing sounds they make when they eat? I get such joy out of watching that little jaw bounce up and down, and those little lips pucker to keep the food in. She so carefully brushes the hair out of her face with her palm and tilts her head left and right to shift it into place. Those eyes could melt steel if they tried hard enough. They get wider and wider as she gets ready to smile, and those little teeth peek through at just the right moment. When she takes a sip there is that inevitable sigh at the end, as if she just got that first crisp flavor of a new bottle of wine. Then with crumbs on her cheeks she pushes her little hands together, fingers pointing in, and says, "More?" I love how it always sounds like a question. And if you don't respond right away, she tilts her head and says it more slowly, trying to make sure she was clear. When another treat is presented, the eyes widen once more and her grin pushes aside those impossible cheeks.
What clever primal adaptations make these things so valuable to us? How ingenious to make it a timeless joy for us to watch our little ones fill their bellies. It is such a wondrous miracle that I can get pleasure from watching her take food. Even though it will land in large portions on every surface within a ten foot radius. Even though the cat will later choke on a chunk I missed, that is if I even had the time to clean it up. Even though she goes through days of starvation when I clearly haven't made enough food since those two pieces of cheese toast and two bowls of yogurt were obviously just a snack. Even though she will refuse to eat for three days after since she no longer likes that. Oh primal instinct, you clever little devil. You make the most difficult experience in my life be peppered with little sprinkles of joy that I will never forget.