As we spend time with Mos Malik and Amaal Noor, it is fascinating to us how they will focus on the little things. Give them a toy and they will immediately reach out for the tiny label attached to the toy, examine it and put it in their mouth. When crawling to a table, Mos found this little screw under the table and this screw consumed his attention for a good 5 minutes. Amaal, while crawling, saw an ant and immediately raced to try and bop its head with her flailing hands (Ant – 1, Amaal – 0). Yesterday, her attention was captured by an electric outlet and she crawled rapidly to check it out. Lesson learned; we covered the outlet, and fast. It is fascinating to watch Mos with a spoon. He rolls it one way, then another; gently put it down, bangs it on the table, then bangs it on another surface to hear a different sound; pushes it away and then bring it close, throws it and picks it up again. That one tiny spoon can literally hold his attention for 10 minutes. Someone gave Amaal a valentine gift of a stuffed orange toy that looks like a cross between a horse and a unicorn. Each time Amaal sees this orange toy she goes close to it and communicates to it by coughing twice; she has done this enough times that it is a thing. It’s all the little things.
And as we look after Mos and Amaal, we have started to see the little things and calling them out. so they see what we see. The wet leaf. The acorn on the ground. The texture of a wool blanket. The sound of birds. The bitter taste of lime. The sound of rain when it hits the deck. The sound of paper being torn. The perfect chai latte. Roasted potatoes made to perfection. A whiff of lilies. Stars so close you can touch them. Generously buttered toast. An ideal picnic spot. Discovering an Enid Blyton book in a bookstore. Late Sunday breakfast. A WhatsApp message from a friend. A big piece of Wholenut Chocolate. Mint in tea. The perfect Vanilla Chai Latte with Almond Milk. Dutch cheese. Making Wordle in two tries. Singing “Ain’t no mountain” off -tune. By calling this out, we are discovering the thrill of just being present to the little pieces of everyday life. And instead of moving from one thing to another without thought. we are learning from Mos and Amaal to slow down, savour the journey and bring awareness to all the simple joys that life has to offer.
And a big part of this for us is noticing the little things that Mos and Amaal can do today, that they could not do yesterday. Like clapping, or making duck faces, or learning to drink water from a glass, or growing teeth, or babbling and finding their voices.
The outstretched arms when they see you, the smile they greet you when they see you, the resistance to putting on snowsuits. Graduating to bigger diapers. And then there is the food. Like watching them as they taste or eat hummus and bread (and avocado, and oatmeal with banana and mango, and peanut butter and tahini). And just as each day is a new discovery for them, it is giving me the inspiration to re-discover foods and places and people and experiences that bring me joy. No more of focusing on the next big milestone; now it is about appreciating my todays and being present in the moment. What an incredible gift my grandchildren have given us!