Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

That Crazy Toddler Tornado February 11, 2015

I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me about it six months ago. While my sweet baby Carter was just starting to crawl around, he moved at a relatively unalarming pace. Now he runs basically everywhere, never mind whatever obstacles might be in his way. He climbs over legs and toys and runs into things like wall corners (and me) from time to time, but there is no stopping him.

It’s something with which we’ve all come to be very familiar around my forever home. It’s also why I can now say with some amount of experiential knowledge that baby proofing is an evolving process that doesn’t stop with outlet covers. Things need to change around the home to accommodate someone approximately two-feet tall who constantly runs and grabs and climbs anything in his path simply for the sake of exploring and understanding the world around him.

So it was interesting to me to watch today, as my dear grandma was here spending time with Carter and I. Carter was in an especially excitable mood today, which means there was plenty of activity that more than effectively qualified him as a toddler tornado. From the second he woke up from his morning nap to that second his head settled into his favorite spot of his crib for his afternoon nap, he was moving. Quickly.

Sleeping on the job

And my grandma was moving with him. She chased him (which is one of his very favorite games right now) and let him crawl all over her and chased him some more. And when it was time for his nap, she said something I’ve heard my forever mom say so very often. If only she could nap too.

Because let’s face it. The kid is exhausting. I get tired just watching him, let alone chasing him around like I see some of my favorite people do day in and day out. But no matter how real the exhaustion may feel, I see something else in these people I can’t help but share.

I wouldn’t have guessed it six months ago, when Carter was just figuring out how to maneuver himself around. And that’s not a bad thing. The surprise has been in seeing that right along with the fatigue and sore muscles in my people comes something pretty special. Joy. From the ground up, it has a way of following that crazy toddler tornado around almost like the rainbow that follows a big storm. And believe me – it’s worth the wait.

 

A Whole Lot Like Love October 3, 2014

Something pretty spectacular happened today. And the best part was it happened in the presence of more than one witness, so you simply have to believe me. Because I have a feeling you all are going to think I’m crying wolf already, but let me assure you, this dog would never do such a thing. 20140927_185400 20141002_151614

A couple of weeks ago, I would have sworn dear baby Carter said “dada.” It’s happened every now and then since then, but not frequently (or on purpose) enough for me to know for sure this is his first real word. Sure, he has said a version of “hi” since he was about four months old, but we don’t fully count that around here. Then there is the “mamamamamama” babble that happens frequently throughout the day. That is pretty special too.

But nothing like this. I think today, dear baby Carter honestly said his first real word. It was no fluke. It was no coincidence. It was no word that sort of resembled his usual babble. Today, as I attempted to steal peas off his high chair, Carter said “doggie.” Mom practically jumped out of her chair when it happened. So you can imagine her enthusiasm when it happened twice more throughout the day. “Doggie,” he said later as he squirmed helplessly about his changing table. “Doggie,” he said when I sniffed him after dinner.

I think it’s official. It’s still not the most frequent thing around here, but it’s certainly no fluke. It’s not a coincidence. And, even if it is, today I decide to embrace it. With my whole heart and soul. My inner crazy. From the ground up, today it becomes me. Why not howl at the moon while I’m at it? Because today is what I’ve lived for the last however many months. It might of just been one simple word, but to me it sounded a whole lot like love.

For years, I’ve had dreams of what it would be like to be around my very own little person. To learn from him and her just like I had always imagined. To embrace his or her joy, from the ground up, in everything.

So it still might have been a fluke. Or wishful thinking. Or maybe I really am going a little crazy. But I don’t care. Because today was, quite honestly, one of the best days of my doggie life so far. Today was the day I felt true love from a little person of only nine month so of age. That is something pretty spectacular, if you ask me.

*A note about the photos: Mom has been trying for the last few weeks to get an updated photo of dear Carter and I, but I will tell you, it’s not my fault it hasn’t happened. He’s always on the move!

 

Within and Without September 8, 2014

Four months. That is how long it has been since it last happened. That’s about half of how long dear baby Carter has been around, a fact that has not been lost on my forever mom. Feeling thoughtful

Carter’s increased mobility has had a directly inverse relationship with his desire to snuggle with her. I’ve picked up what I can of the slack, but I can tell mom has been beside herself about this since the first time he didn’t want her to rock him to sleep at night.

All that changed today. Probably not for good, as I know Carter is loving every minute of the independence he has discovered now that he’s crawling all over the place. But that didn’t matter in these precious moments. Nor did it matter that they were preceded by almost 45 minutes of tearful and woeful crying (the kind that is capable of making a person’s heart hurt).

Because in those moments, with big ole 8-month-old Carter asleep on her lap, all was well in her world. For the first time in four months, he was sincerely and visibly calmed by her holding him close just like she did all the time all those months ago.

“When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises,” suggested “Power of Now” author Eckhart Tolle. “You become more conscious of what’s around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without.”

Mom was within and without today. And I don’t know when it will happen again, but that doesn’t matter. Because it happened today. And since we’ve all embraced the present of presence around here, that is all that really matters.

 

Get Back Up Again August 15, 2014

If it were me, I might have given up by now. Though I can’t say that’s entirely true because I do suppose I must have gone through something similar at some point in my puppyhood. But in light of the recent exodus of dear baby Carter and his mobility, this has been a sight to be seen. Backyard shenanigans

Just a few weeks ago, at the tender age of around six months, he started crawling. A few weeks before that, rolling was his preferred method of transportation. And now I can honestly say I think he is going to be walking soon. Mind you, he is seven months old, and from what I understand this is very early for such a thing to occur in terms of developmental milestones.

Nonetheless, it’s all happening very quickly around here. But, like any journey, there are bumps along the way. And, in this case, there are a lot of them. Just out of curiosity, I attempted today to count the number of times Carter pulled himself up on something, stepped toward it, stood there for a bit, and fell down. I lost count at 56, and that was at about 3 p.m. so I’m certain there was at least a dozen or so more attempts.

Some falls looked more painful than others, but he did not falter. He got back up again and again and again.

The more I thought about it, I realized that I of course must have gone through something similar as a puppy where I fell down figuring out my paws. But as I watched Carter pull himself up on his activity center for the dozenth time, I saw something in his eyes. Determination. Strength. Maybe even a slight hint of stubbornness. Most importantly, there was a sense of perseverance.

And as American Roman Catholic priest Walter Elliot suggested, “perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Dear baby Carter might fall down every single time he tries, but his journey doesn’t end there. He gets back up. Again and again, he doesn’t give up. And I’m fairly certain at this point he never will. I only hope I can find ways to teach him as much as he is already teaching me.

 

Acres of Diamonds April 28, 2014

I stand for a lot of things. The least of which is a dog’s right to the occasional piece of bacon. But I also make a point to stand for the big things too. Like freedom. Love. Life. The pursuit of happiness. I live these things in my daily life. They are part of who I am.

So you can imagine how it was today to see baby Carter stand for something. He stood for himself today. At the tender age of (almost) four months old, my dear little person actually resembled a little person today. He stood on his own two legs all by himself. Kind of. He had a little support from the ottoman behind him. But it was still such a remarkable developmental milestone to witness.This is what happiness looks like

It reminded me that he is going to stand a lot in his life. It’s easy to forget this since he still spends the majority of his time in someone’s loving arms. He’s not mobile (yet). He still sleeps more than he’s awake. (Not that I can talk in that regard). But soon enough my little person will indeed be standing on his own, both literally and figuratively speaking.

He’s going to have thoughts and opinions about things. He’s going to learn right from wrong. He’s going to learn about powerful emotions. He’s going to live. It’s all so surreal to think about right now, yet I found myself wondering today what he will stand for in his life.

I hope he takes a page from my book about the bacon. If he doesn’t (apparently it’s not the best thing for people’s health), that’s okay as long as he learns to stand for the big things instead. Like freedom. Love. Life. The pursuit of happiness. And Joy. From the ground up, this is my wish today. Because as I watched dear Carter stand up today, the words of American motivational speaker Earl Nightengale came to mind.

“You are, at this moment, standing right in the middle of your own acres of diamonds,” he said. That is all I can hope for today and always.