My six-year-old is at the art table, drawing pictures of sunflowers when the tormented spirit of Van Gogh suddenly swoops in and possesses her body.
I can’t work with these lousy crayons, she yells.
I sit down next to her and explain that it’s the process not the product that matters, that when we slow down and take the time to observe something carefully, we move from passive absorption, as Maria Konnikova tells us, to active awareness.
April 12, 2017 | Ben Berman
The safety gate in our front hallway had been obsolete for a while – my three-year old had figured out how to unlock it by herself, and for the past few months we’d been primarily using it as a drying rack for wet mittens.
When I finally got around to disassembling it last week, my daughters treated it like the fall of the Berlin Wall and celebrated with some prolonged butt-wiggling
March 8, 2017 | Ben Berman
Off with your head, my five-year-old recently told me when I said no to a second piece of dessert.
Though after I explained to her what that phrase meant, she looked at me in a slight panic and asked: But would it grow back?
My daughter, of course, picked that line up from the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, but it got me thinking about Emily Dickinson, who said, If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.
February 8, 2017 | Ben Berman
Take a sharpie away from my three-year-old and she will invoke Whitman, will begin sounding her barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
But plop her on the toilet and the scene is much more reminiscent of the Romantics – as she ponders philosophical questions, her imagination wandering wildly and her intonations somewhere between speech and song.
January 11, 2017 | Ben Berman
Help, my three-year-old yells, tugging on my leg. There’s a monster under there!
Under where? I say.
And then she falls to the ground laughing, having made yet another unsuspecting adult say underwear aloud.
Underwear is a big deal to my three-year-old – a source of both great silliness and pride – which strikes me as fascinating, given how often I have panicked dreams of standing in front of a small audience only to realize that I’d forgotten to wear pants.