If someone’s singing, Cassia sings. If they’re jumping she jumps. If they’re laughing she laughs. If they’re crying she used to cry, but now she just looks fascinated and sometimes tries to cheer them up by patting them on the head. This is well-received or not depending on the extent to which the tears are her fault and whether she has, in the victim’s opinion, been adequately punished and/or showed appropriate remorse. So, not well-received that often at all, really. Unless it’s me crying in which case she gets really, really distressed. Then I have to help her feel better and think, yet again, how much you don’t appreciate being two when you have the chance.
Usually, though, Cassia is to be found being happy. This is because she is young enough that she hasn’t yet lost the art of living in the moment. She has three long-term memories that I know of, a handful of shorter-term ones and a whole bag of what the neurologists call infantile amnesia. This is a fancy term for the wonderful delusion that whatever happened yesterday and the day before, today is going to be great. She has no concept of the future, none whatsoever, which is a mixed blessing – it accounts for her breezy attitude to life and also for many trips to A&E.
On the way to school in the car today Daniel was humming something random. Amy and Noah are busy with their own thoughts these days so they were ignoring him. But not Cassia, no. Being fully in the moment and ready for whatever’s happening right now, she was joining in. If he’d been talking about something out the window she would’ve been talking about it too. If he’d been fooling around, moving and making lots of noise, she would have been copying with enthusiasm or providing a (lone) appreciative audience. Her every waking moment is spent on the alert for making the most of, well, her every waking moment.
One of the quite nice aspects of this is that she starts her waking moments thrilled to be awake for a new day, every day. She wakes up with a slate wiped clean of anything that wasn’t to her liking the day before – indeed, the two and a half years before – and not a worry on her, as the Irish say. I can’t exactly say that she has no worrying capability at all – when we drive past kindy she gets a creased brow and says ‘want to want my kindy’ (which is two-speak for ‘I don’t want my kindy and I don’t want to want it either’) – but I can say that any worrying she manages to do is fleeting and quickly forgotten. Oh, for some of that infantile amnesia. I do a lot of forgetting too but it’s the sort where I spend all the time that I’m not busy forgetting, busy worrying about what I’ve forgotten.
So we let her live in the moment while she can because it reminds us to take joy in the small things and try and let the big things go occasionally. To revel in the making of the mess without thinking of how long it will take to clean up; to put both hands and possibly your face in the bowl because it seems to be the best way to get the full ice cream experience; to look at the circle of cross faces around you because it’s way after bed time and pull on your frilly skirt and start dancing anyway – this baby girl, joy of my heart, she’s the wisest of us all.