Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Toddler Empathy

E definitely has a little selfish streak...she constantly lets you know that she has "owies" that need kissing, she steals toys from other children, and she is never shy in expressing her wants and desires. She often refers to herself as "self", giving us a clue that she is really finding her place in the universe. But she also cares very much about what's happening to the people and creatures around her. Before you get a hello, you're likely to be greeted with the question, "You okay?" The concern in her voice escalates if she senses that something is amiss, like if you seem upset in any way. She will keep questioning you until you give the right answer.

Last week, when Baby M was crying and I was trying to eat dinner with E, she asked, "Mommy, you okay?" I answered, "Well, no. I'm not okay right now. Mommy's a little frustrated." Her eyes widened and she asked again....and again I answered no. The third time, she was on the verge of tears, so I answered, "Yes, E. Mommy's okay." She immediately relaxed and went back to pushing food around her plate.

Then a few days ago, while watching a new episode of The Wonder Pets, E got a little scared by an animated crocodile. The little duck-heroine, Ming-Ming, was talking to the croc about dentistry (his teeth were dirty), and E was getting visibly upset. I was about to reassure her when she ran up to the screen and yelled, "No, crocodile! No eat Ming-Ming!" Oh, my...she amazes me every single day. Seeing this side of her is touching, really...and it gives me hope that we might be okay at this parenting thing after all.


Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr