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Toddlers and Persistence

Today we went to an indoor kindergym, a room filled with plastic toys, piles of foam shapes to jump on, a tiny slide and lots and lots of toddlers.  Beatrice and her friend went off on their own, bombing around and riding on tricycles, while Claire pulled a plastic phone behind her and went people watching.

Eventually my friend and I gathered our troops and sat them down at a little plastic picnic table for snack time.  The three girls sat across one bench and my friend and I sat on the other side, and we peeled oranges and put out PB& J sandwiches and everything was totally fine, until Claire slipped off the bench sideways.

Claire is usually one stoic little kid, and she brushed that tumble right off and climbed back on the picnic table bench.  Ok, I thought.  No problem.  Now she knows that there’s no back on the bench.  We continued on with our snack.

Then Bea’s friend spilled her juice and in the commotion and distraction of figuring out how to clean it up, I heard the unmistakable sound of my toddler’s head making contact with the gym floor.  BONK.  And then, of course, the screaming.

Claire was mad about that bonk, and it obviously hurt a lot.  She cried hard for a minute or two, then calmly laid her head against my shoulder and cuddled in for a minute more.  Then she wanted down.

And she started climbing right back on that bench.

When do we outgrow that kind of persistence?  How is it possible that we adults give up on things so easily, when a 16 month old human will persist and persist (even when it probably would be better to move onto something else at that moment!)  in her quest of mastery.