By Wendy Rhein
I often feel like I’m living in a social experiment. I am witness to the circle of life every day with a 2 1/2 year old, a 7 year old, a 43 year old and a 72 year old sharing a relatively small space. I really should carry a notebook for my observations but I think my family would only grow more annoyed with me stating the obvious and then smugly writing it down.
I am seeing more and more similarities between my 2½ year old toddler and my 72-year-old mother. I was sick last week, incredibly put on ‘vocal rest’ by my doctor who gleefully told me I should stop speaking for 48 hours. I swear she was laughing when she left the exam room. While ill, I had the chance to study my toddler and septuagenarian mother from the vantage point of the couch and made the following comparisons:
1. Toddlers and the elderly both need a nap in the afternoon if you expect them to stay awake through dinner without a meltdown.
2. They talk on the phone the same way. There are lots of “hello, hello, hello?” at increased levels of volume until they just hang up.
3. One is growing taller and one grows smaller at the same speed.
4. Neither likes to be told they can’t do something.
5. Neither can get passed the Safari icon to find Pandora and both will yell for help when they can’t find their music.
6. When either has to go, they have to go. Get out of the way. Now.
7. The singular focus to achieve a new task like operating the Wii Fit or climbing stairs is inspiring.
8. Both would be happy with cookies and milk for dinner, especially if they missed a nap.
9. Both need shoes with Velcro and preferably with lights.
What I find most interesting is the bond they have. There is a connection, a tenderness, between my mother and my youngest son that is unparalleled. She adores my elder child but there is something about these two, whether they’re sharing a cookie, curling up on the couch hip to hip, or struggling to reach down and get their shoes on, they are co-conspirators in taking on the challenges life is throwing at them.
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