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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Imagine that this is happening to you

Today you tried to eat spaghetti. It's pretty normal, you do it all the time. Today though, you decide to use a fork and feed yourself, unlike normal when the spaghetti just shows up on its own when you want it to.

The problem is that for some reason you can't get the spaghetti to come off the fork. You've decided the fork is the most efficient tool for getting the spaghetti your lips because when you use the fork the spaghetti does get there. You can taste it in all it's gooey glory. But when the fork leaves your lips there goes the spaghetti, leaving nothing but a saucy mess.

You've tried repeatedly to get the spaghetti to stay. You've tried different methods of removing the fork, all to no avail. For example you leave the fork in your mouth for a minute or so, thinking that maybe the coveted spaghetti will melt off. No dice. You try pulling the fork away quickly hoping that the spaghetti won't realize the fork is gone until it's too late. That does nothing more than leave you covered in tomato-flavored saliva.

Finally you give up and let the spaghetti show up on its own again. Forget that fork and all its frustration.

Ok, so that probably made no sense to you, but you just lived a moment in Olivia's shoes. Today she learned how to put her pacifier in her mouth by herself, but she couldn't figure out how to get her tiny fingers to let it go. The result of this contradiction? A slobbery mess, and a frustrated baby. She gave up and I swooped in to magically produce the pacifier without her need to do anything on her own.

When the world is explored from the perspective of a baby, you can't help but recognize the amount of patience these poor little people need to make it from nap to nap. We can type, eat, play guitar, write, scratch, and pick our noses (if we want to) without a second thought, but any of those actions will take hours of practice for little Olivia to master. Even picking her nose.

My Father-in-law always says, "Did you scratch her back?" because he takes into account that babies can't scratch themselves or tell us that they itch. Our backs itch, so why wouldn't theirs? We can do something about it. They can't.

It's weird to get down on the floor and watch the world from the ground. I'm completely unable to experience this world from her perspective because I've already learned too much. But if I try to remember that Olivia hasn't figured it out, maybe I'll have more patience with her when she does finally give up. She's been working hard all day trying to figure out where her pacifier is and how to let it go once she's finally found it.