In praise of 4-year-olds

January 1, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As many parents remember

You’ve brought sleep back into my nights. I no longer wake half-conscious, counting the hours I managed to clock and wondering how many coffees it will take just to get me functioning. You climb into my bed sometimes during the night when you’ve had a bad dream. And you don’t know it, but the warmth of you, your whisper-soft hair against my cheek as you tumble back into safer, happier dreams, is something I cherish. I breathe in your stillness because you’re always so “busy” running around in your capes and building your Lego creations.

You are pure joy. Your sense of humour may be lowbrow and primarily toilet-focused (farts, poos, bum bum) but your giggles have the power to stop time. It’s full body laughter that’s contagious and silly and fills my heart. You sing to yourself, making up the lyrics when you don’t know the words. Shells on the beach and tiny ladybirds make you squeal with glee. And remind me that there’s such beauty in the little things we’re often too preoccupied to notice.

You are a sponge. You soak up the world and reflect it back in all its light and dark. You are learning the language of grief, even now at this tender age, having said goodbye to your great-grandfather and your beloved “kitty” over the last few months. And while it will be years before you truly understand, at night you look to the sky and you see them there in the stars. That’s how you’re making sense of love and loss. And oddly, it’s helped me make sense of it, too.

You are comic relief. You ask me if “shit is just a sometimes word,” and look puzzled as I clutch my stomach in a fit of laughter. You announce to your daycare teachers that I’m having a baby – which is breaking news for me. And you ask if my grandmother will get herself “a new old man,” now that my grandfather is gone. You don’t quite understand sarcasm yet, which is hilarious in itself. And you take everything literally. When I told you I’d turn the house upside down to find your lost bunny, you wondered why it was still upright when you returned home.

You are a window into the future. Your chubby cheeks have gone and you are all long-limbs and clear eyes. For the first time, I can see traces of the person you’ll be when you’re older; both physical and psychological. You know what you like (and don’t like!) and you wear your cheeky personality with pride. Each day I understand more about the way your brain works – how you love learning new words, repeating them so you don’t forget, and solving all sorts of problems.

I know you won’t be around for much longer. You’ll be replaced by five and all that five brings. For now though, I’ll revel in this time – this beautiful, somewhere land between the dependence of babyhood and the independence of the years ahead. I love it here.

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

How would you like $10,000 for quitting your job?: “After three years working at a startup, Julie Tracy wanted to leave her company so she could travel. Her employer, online lingerie retailer Adore Me, gamely threw her a going away party at a bar across the street – a pretty standard affair until this happened: “This enormous foam cheque starts coming at me through the crowd,” she recalls. It was followed by an actual cheque for $10,000. It was from Adore Me’s CEO. “I burst into tears,” Tracy says. The benefit comes with no strings, but it’s also not guaranteed. The metrics for who gets it, and how much, seem to be pretty vague: “We would do it for anyone that has put in a lot of hard work and effort at Adore Me,” said CEO Morgan Hermand-Waiche. Like many popular benefits these days, the generous parting gift is an attempt to signal the existence of a positive company culture, both to employees who stay behind and those yet to come”

Chinese zookeeper ‘kept protected animals so he could eat them’: “A Chinese man working as a zookeeper is being investigated over claims that he kept endangered birds and wildlife for food. The man, only identified by his surname of He, was caught out after he posted pictures of dead and plucked birds on his social media account. Mr He, a panda keeper at a Bifengxia Panda Base in Yaan in Sichuan province, uploaded images of prepared birds on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, captioned: ‘too delicious’. It was by chance that a local wildlife protection official spotted the images on Mr He’s social media account, and shared them on his own page. Mr Liu said: ‘His acts constitute illegally keeping and killing animals protected under China’s wild animal conservation law.’ After the pictures were reported, he was arrested by police in Yaan”

Must be kind to crickets: “Barbie maker Mattel has come under fire over a toy car that is driven by a live insect kept inside a plastic cage attached to the device. Bug Racer was condemned as the ‘worst toy idea ever’ because it is inhumane to crickets, which are nocturnal and tend to sleep during the day. Instead their routine will be upended and children as young as six will be goading them into steering the car by touching sensors inside their living module. The toy is a vehicle and a cricket habitat all in one, and uses sensors inside to turn based on the cricket’s motion. Crickets, however, are not included. Mattel joked that the device comes with ‘crickets not included’ and that it is ‘the first vehicle that puts real crickets behind the wheel’. But animal rights group Peta last night branded it ‘as cruel as it is ridiculous’ and demanded it be taken off the shelves immediately.”

Newly discovered ninja lanternshark relies on stealth: “A newly-discovered species of shark uses its black colouring and just the right amount of body glow to enable it to be super stealthy. Given its characteristics, the shark is being given the common name ninja lanternshark​. Vicky Vasquez, one of the scientists who detailed the new shark in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, said the shark was a uniform sleek black colour. It also had fewer photophores (organs that emit light) than other species of lanternsharks. The glowing is thought to work well for lanternsharks, with the fish emitting just enough light to hide their shadows, likely as a form of camouflage making them invisible from below. Despite sounding rather unsettling, the ninja is no monster. Of the five studied by scientists for the journal article, the longest measured just over 50cm (18”). The species lives in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America and was found in waters from 836-1443 metres deep.

A cat, a dog and a horse: “The dog begins barking at the cat while backing away, and the cat reacts by bravely standing its ground. The sound of the dog barking appears to frustrate the horse however, who wanders towards the cat in a bid to put a stop to it. The dog at this point is well out of the way as the horse comes within inches of trampling the feline. Reacting instinctively, the cat suddenly leaps at the horse, forcing it to back away by striking it on the leg with all of its paws. The dog then decides that now would be a good time to chase the cat, and the two animals run off into the distance together. Meanwhile, the man riding the unsettled horse, which begins jumping up and down, is thrown from its back, and lands with a thud on the hard ground. The clip concludes with the video maker laughing as the bizarre scene concludes with the man clambering to his feet and heading off to retrieve his horse.

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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