After that enthusiastic lead-in, our 2-year-old toddled in, hugging his blankie and sporting a grin that clearly announced: Is there anything more thrilling than seeing ME first thing in the morning?
Many very young children never entertain the possibility that their parents prefer to sleep rather than play with them. And they wake you up with the utter confidence that you are so thrilled to see them, you WANT to wake up—just for them.
My face was scrunched into my own blanket, but the space left for breathing allowed me to see how his little face lit up in delight when he saw me.
My mommy is playing peek-a-boo with me!
Cheerfully obliging his perception of my covered face, he toddled over and tugged the blanket partially off my face.
"You look like a face!" he announced cheerfully.
Truth be told, with his own cute little face inches from mine, it was quite an adorable and charming sight to see upon waking up.
But I still wanted to sleep.
Then his face lit up even more as he examined me closer and said, "You look like a bulldozer!"
"You didn't tell me that on shidduchim, darling," my husband mumbled.
Oh dear. I guess I need to switch night creams.
This particular child had and still has a real fondness for construction vehicles. So he projects this fondness onto anything he likes.
In his 2-year-old mind, the world is a much nicer place when everything looks like a bulldozer. Or a dump truck. Or a giant crane. Or a digger. Or a cement mixer. Or a steam roller.
In fact, an especially exciting moment for him came whenever he found a construction vehicle that was both a bulldozer from the front and a digger from the back.
Contagious Enthusiasm for the Mundane
And this is something very precious that young children bring to their families, that enthusiasm over mundane objects and experiences.
Not long after he first started enthusing over construction vehicles, we (his older siblings, his father, and I) instinctively started seeking out such monsters whenever we were out with him.
And because his excitement was so charming and contagious, we started getting excited whenever we saw a construction vehicle we knew he would like.
In fact, each of us mentioned that when outside alone and, say, a monster dump truck would come lumbering down the street, our heart would give a leap and we instinctively turned to point it out to him, feeling a bit deflated that he wasn't there to share the experience.
And this is very common for parents and older siblings.
If it's not with construction vehicles, then it's with something else that the small child gets all excited about.
More Thrilling than a Rollercoaster
He loves sitting next to the big low window on the bus (as opposed to the higher & smaller window of a car) and he gazes out, his little backpacked body all a-quiver in anticipation of seeing a bulldozer or a steam roller during the 4-minute ride.
I find buses a bit stressful, but I must admit that an enthusiasm for bus rides and catching sight of construction vehicles is a great way to start your day.
And like I said, his enthusiasm is contagious. I often find myself in a better mood sitting next to him as he wriggles in delight upon spotting his heart's desire chugging away in the dust, rocks, and heat.
A Zest for Life: The Blessing of Small Children
Hashem wants us to be excited about the life He has given us.
He wants us to appreciate all the things we take for granted (or even find annoying; construction vehicles are quite noisy), especially if they are extremely helpful things—like construction vehicles.
This can get lost amid all the toil of raising young children.
Obviously, a kid pulling on you or calling you to see a mundane thing that child finds thrilling, or to be woken up by winsome 2-year-old narcissism too early in the morning—this can all be understandably exasperating.
You don't always manage the patience for it.
Sleep is a basic need.
And there are also things that really do demand your attention that just need to get done already, without distractions from even the most adorable and enthusiastic preschoolers.
And that's normal.
But whenever possible, it's good to let ourselves be touched by the zest for mundane living that small children bring to our lives.