Eyes & Ears: The Ever Inquisitive & Sensitive ToddlerSelena Mills
You can see it in his eyes. I know many parents say that their young child has an old soul, yet here I am voicing the same.
We always knew he was sensitive, I mean most children, and human beings in general, are.
Some more than others. Obviously not this guy.
That beautiful boy falls into the more category.
He wants to know about everything. We’ve hit the, “WHY? WHY? WHhhyyy?” stage.
Which, I can say with approximately 98% authenticity, is not annoying yet. Because he has this magical way of asking beyond his years. Sure he’s inquisitive about the the colour red, the buds blooming, the texture of toilet paper and the hairs on some random lady’s chin. Any and all of it. Sometimes it is cute, sometimes it is embarrassing – but not really.
He’s just a kid. What really gets me is the way in which he wants to be involved in conversation now. “Adult” conversation. His emotional development has hit a new curve, rather suddenly. We are now very aware of everything we talk about in his presence.
Not that we weren’t before. It’s just that now, now he listens for intonation in a voice, names he recognizes. He immediately hones in on our conversations with an intense curiosity. Which, the first time that happened, I was of course completely oblivious.
Thought I was out of his ear-shot.
We were in the car and he had his Leap-Pad in action whilst his dad and I were talking about some family issues friends of ours were in the midst of wading through. One of my other friends was in the very back behind them (van) and I turned to look at her as she was in on the convo. My eyes immediately saw the grief stricken, wide-eyed look on my young boys face.
Perhaps that’s not even how to properly describe it. Suffice to say there were a wide range of complicated feelings coursing through his little brain and soul, some clearly for the first time.
He was sad for his friend, confused and walking a fine line of understanding, both trying to wrap his head around it and doubting his own comprehension. It was written all over his face.
Phew. I immediately felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. Luckily this was right around the time we pulled into a parking lot and we were able to scoop him up and talk it out as best we could. Lots of hugs and kisses, reassurances and acknowledgement of the complicated feelings he was having.
He stayed up in my arms and on my lap for the entirety of our lunch outing, nestled in the crook of my arm.
The meaning of his Native Spirit Name, Niighanighijzik, rings more true each and every day. “Leader From The Sky.” My, “Little Big Spirit Running.” (Holder of traditional knowledge, carrying that knowledge from the Seven Grandfathers in the sky, here as a leader on earth. That’s a lot of responsibility. For he and us. I hope I do he and his calling justice.)
Every day he becomes more a boy, and less a toddler.
The Seven Grandfather Teachings (also know as the Sacred 7) from, Seven Grandfather Teachings…
- Nibwaakaawin—Wisdom: To cherish knowledge is to know Wisdom. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people. In the Anishinaabe language, this word expresses not only “wisdom,” but also means “prudence,” or “intelligence.” In some communities, Gikendaasowin is used; in addition to “wisdom,” this word can also mean “intelligence” or “knowledge.”
- Zaagi’idiwin—Love: To know Love is to know peace. Love must be unconditional. When people are weak they need love the most. In the Anishinaabe language, this word with the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual. In some communities, Gizhaawenidiwin is used, which in most context means “jealousy” but in this context is translated as either “love” or “zeal”. Again, the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual.
- Minaadendamowin—Respect: To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected. Some communities instead use Ozhibwaadenindiwin orManazoonidiwin.
- Aakode’ewin—Bravery: Bravery is to face the foe with integrity. In the Anishinaabe language, this word literally means “state of having a fearless heart.” To do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant. Some communities instead use either Zoongadikiwin (“state of having a strong casing”) or Zoongide’ewin (“state of having a strong heart”).
- Gwayakwaadiziwin—Honesty: Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave. Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and you will more easily be able to be honest with others. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “righteousness.”
- Dabaadendiziwin—Humility: Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “compassion.” You are equal to others, but you are not better. Some communities instead express this with Bekaadiziwin, which in addition to “humility” can also be translated as “calmness,” “meekness,” “gentility” or “patience.”
Debwewin—Truth: Truth is to know all of these things. Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.
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