You Have To Be Seven Before You Can Be Eight

I've been thinking a lot about wisdom lately. The people I look to the most for wisdom are my parents, because I can finally acknowledge that they know stuff about stuff, whereas my teenage self denied that fact with all her might. They have been twenty-five before, and therefore have something to say about it. The same goes for all of the adults in my life, including my peers (because we are actually considered adults now you guys, you know that, right?), a good amount of whom are older than me. There is definitely something to be said for the phrase, "Well, from my experience...".

And then there's a little something I like to call pre-wisdom, and it comes, fittingly enough, from preschoolers. Maybe it's really just a sign that no one ever fully grows up, or maybe it says something about me that I can relate to three-and-four-year-olds on such a wide variety of topics, but the two boys I nanny, D&L consistently awe me with their depth, knowledge, and similarity to a twenty-five year old girlwoman (me). I guess there's also something to be said for the phrase, "Well, I like to think that they teach me". 

So, without further ado, I'd like to share with you some pieces of wisdom, ubiquitous truths, and relatable anecdotes straight from the mouths of the preschoolers that I have the privilege to hang out with on a daily basis.

Piece of Wisdom: "You have to be seven before you can be eight."
This little gem came from D (the older one, wearing the red shirt in the photo above) as I pushed them in a stroller on our way to the park. We were discussing numbers and ages, and he asked how old I was. I cringed (I know, I know, I shouldn't be cringing in my mid-twenties), told him, and he contemplated this for a moment before saying, "That's a lot older than me". I confirmed that indeed, I am no spring chicken, and I told him that at one point in time I had been his age. He paused and then said matter-of-factly, "Right, because you have to be seven before you can be eight". I have no idea why he thought of those two particular ages, since he's four and L is three, but the way that he said it - with such certainty - struck me. He was right. There is no rushing time, just as there is no slowing it down, and yet for some reason I'm always wanting one of those two things to happen. I am awful (the worst) at living in the moment, but ever since having this discussion, I've been using his pre-wisdom as a mantra. "You have to be seven before you can be eight, you have to be twenty-five before you can be twenty-six, you have to practice before you can get better, you have to make the most of today in order to get the most out of tomorrow". See where I'm going with this? It's so applicable to so many different scenarios. And it's from the mind of a little person who doesn't know how to do anything but be present in every moment; who hasn't learned yet what it means to be anxious about what the future will bring. So really, he's an expert, and his advice should be taken seriously.

Ubiquitous Truth: "I don't want to go on a walk, I just want to eat and eat and eat!"
This is another one from D. D, on top of being very wise, is also the more emotional of the two boys (we have a lot in common in that way). He doesn't like to be jerked out of his current circumstance and thrown into a new one willy-nilly. I've now learned to ease him into each new activity by giving him fair warning so he has time to process, but when I first started taking care of them, I would try to switch from one activity to the next as quickly as possible so we could fit a lot in. In this case, we had just been eating a snack, and I said, "All right, time for us to head to the park, let's go!". I expected them to cheer, hop up, and run out the door. Instead, D said the above, and L followed suite, because he adores his older brother and copies everything he does. My gut reaction was to be impatient and tell him that thoughts like that are part of the obesity problem in this country, but then I realized that I have similar thoughts multiple times a day. When do I ever want to get up and move instead of continuing to sit around watching The O.C. and eating a chocolate bar (dark chocolate, because then it's good for you, guys!)? How often have I chosen sitting in my apartment all day, vegging out and eating kettle chips over going for a run (answer: 99% of the time). And in the end, D really did want to go to the park; he just didn't want to have the obligation of having to do it right there and then. Just like I feel great after I work out, but who are you to tell me what I should be doing, Jillian Michaels?

Relatable Anecdote: "I bought this."
L (the cutie in the above photo) says this almost every day. We all know it's not true, even him (I think), because I've seen his piggy bank, and let me tell you, the boy is broke. But while he may not have handed over the actual cash to purchase that particular action figure/stuffed animal/shirt/rock/pipe cleaner, I think it's more his way of staking his territory (actually, I know it is, because usually after proclaiming that he bought said object, he follows it up by saying, "And it's mine, mine, mine, mine!"). We all like to have things that are our own. As a kid, you are completely dependent on your parents. You simply don't have the means to procure many things, unless you pick them up off the ground or create them in art class. So in a society where owning things means everything, when L says, "I bought this", what he's really saying is, "This is mine. It sleeps with me in my bed and sits on my shelf, and if I choose to share it with you, that will be at my own discretion". Or something like that. Of course, sometimes he's not exactly telling the truth, because that "crystal" that he's holding actually belongs to D, and then a scuffle ensues...but that's another story.

Ubiquitous Truth + Piece of Wisdom: 
D "But I don't want to do this every day, take off my pajamas and put on my clothes!"
L: "But D, you have to."
Something I love about these two is the way they play off each other. D, as I said before, is emotional. He's volatile and prone to not wanting to do anything I say. L, on the other hand, is more even-keeled. He tends to accept things the way they are. Because they each have distinct personalities, this situation is a common occurrence. D doesn't want to do something, complains, and L counters it with a statement of truth that cannot be denied. They're just like the inner dialogue that happens in my head every morning. I wake up, immediately wish I could fall back asleep, and a little voice in my head says, "Again? I have to choose what to wear again? I have to take off my pajamas again? I just put them on! I don't want to!". And just as I feel myself getting grumpy, another little voice chimes in and says, "But Rachel (or, if we're pretending the little voice is L, "Waych-oh"), you have to." And that is both wise and true.

Ubiquitous Truth: Indecisiveness
Every time we go some where, D&L start to pack up their things like we're moving to Australia for a year. They pile every toy they can think of into plastic bins or bags, drape their "night nights" (blankets) over their shoulders, and stagger down the stairs to the door, at which time I gently remind them that I said they could only bring two toys to the park. After a brief meltdown, they put everything on the floor and set about the arduous task of choosing which lucky toys will make the cut. There's usually some wheedling involved ("How about three? How about four?), and the insistence that one can't go without the other ("I have to bring Batman and his motorcycle, but that means I also have to bring Robin!"), but eventually two toys are chosen. Then, as I open the front door, there comes the inevitable, "Wait! I don't want to bring Batman and Robin! I want to bring my Zhu Zhu Pet and this plastic dart gun!" Story of my life. How does anyone ever decide anything? I feel for you, boys.

Relatable Anecdote: (said in a threatening manner) "I'm going to mess up everything in the refrigolator [sic], even the glass!" 
At this point, can you guess who said this? If you guessed D, you are correct. This boy reminds me so much of myself that it's scary. When I get angry, I tend to spew out either empty threats or words that don't make any sense. Toby can relate to this. As a matter of fact, Toby probably would have dealt with this situation a bit better than me. I burst out laughing and chased after D telling him how cute he was as he stomped away. Actually...nope, that's how Toby would have dealt with the situation too. Note to self: try my hardest to be cute even when I'm being awful.

Piece of Wisdom: "Why is your legs wiggling?" 
D asked me this one day as we sat at the table eating lunch. I didn't even notice until he said it, but as usual, I had my legs crossed and I was shaking my right foot a million miles a minute. I started to explain that it was a nervous habit and I am always anxious so neither my brain nor my body are truly at rest, but then I stopped myself and said instead, "That's a good questions, D. Why is my legs wiggling? I'm not sure." Why am I always so anxious and jittery? Why is my legs always moving? Food for thought, courtesy of a four-year-old.

Relatable Anecdote: "Dat wasn't a-posed to happened!"
One day L was wiggling around in his chair, and he almost fell and hit his head on the table. He started to whine but then stopped, giggled and said, "Dat wasn't a-posed to happened!" I was impressed, and took it as a reminder to not get so furious and upset whenever I am clumsy (every day of my life).

Ubiquitous Truth: Everything is a huge deal. 
When you're three and four, everything is a huge deal. You're sitting in your car seat, and your Transformer drops to the floor where you can't reach it: cue the tears. You were just playing with your blue squishy lizard, but then you started playing with the train track and now you can't find the lizard anywhere: your loss is felt around the world. You sit down to each lunch, and the apple sauce is touching your grilled cheese sandwich: the universe as we know it has collapsed.

Then you become a teenager, and those minor problems fade in the face of much bigger ones. The boy you like just instant messaged your best friend and told her he thinks she's hot. Your mom is making you eat dinner at home instead of going over to your friend's house to watch a movie for the third night in a row. Your boyfriend broke up with you and your life is shattered into a billion pieces and nothing will ever be the same again (okay, so this one might have happened to me in my early twenties).

Then you push into adulthood, and oh my gosh, how immature did you used to be? Now you know what's really important, so the things upsetting you actually make sense. For instance, you aren't making enough money to be able to dress like Reese Witherspoon. You have no idea how you'll ever own a house if you can't even figure out what kind of career you want. How have your parents done this whole get-up-every-morning-and-pay-bills-and-go-grocery-shopping thing for so many years? How did they survive raising you? What is the meaning of your life?!

Here's to the thirties, when there will be nothing left to upset me.

I'll probably write another post like this in the future, because I am bombarded daily by the wisdom of my adorable little preschoolers, but these are the best ones I have compiled so far.

All of these photos are from our trip to Descanso Gardens last week, a calm, quiet little paradise in the middle of the mountains that visited for a few hours on a balmy day to do a little 'splorin.

Happy weekend!