Being around Mos and Amaal is a delightful reminder that life is about living in the moment. These two precocious 18 month old toddlers have no concept of the past or future. They just know to live in the present. And when we venture into their world, fully-present, the world looks different, like a kaleidoscope of magic and wonder, and “oh my God, did she just say, ‘Hey Google'”, to giggles and hugs and singing “Wheels on the Bus” at least 10 times a day.
Amaal’s sole purpose for the past week has been to make sure that Mos was properly hydrated. She kept pushing his water cup to him insisting that he drink water, multiple times a day. Mos complies for a while until he has had enough and insists that she give him his pacifier.
Their most favourite person in the world is “Opa”, aka, Nagib. Yesterday, they could not find him as he was working in the den, and there was a full-out “Operation Find Opa”. They went from room to room looking for him. They knocked on closed doors and conspired to pick locks to find their beloved Opa. When that didn’t work, they started to yell “Opa” at the top of their little lungs, louder each time, until he emerged and got the biggest hug from both of them. We were all like, “awhhhh!” This is what living in the moment looks like.
Mos is a builder, an architect, constructing things. He is also a climber. I see a future for him as Director of Play for Lego. He finds new and unusual ways to play games. Yesterday, he took cans of coke zero and stacked them, one on top of the other, just like lego blocks. And even though we knew that eventually a can would crash down and burst (which it did and scared the hell out of him), we were mesmerized by his singular level of concentration. Amaal likes rules, and wants everyone to follow the rules. I love how she uses validation in communication (Mummy: “Would you like a yogurt, Amaal? ” Amaal: “Yeah mummy“, followed by big claps that her mom got it right). They are both incredibly expressive and display their emotions fully, whether it is joy or annoyance. I love how Sabrina and Afzal names the emotion she is noticing them display and how Cherrelle, as a meditation teacher, is teaching them to breath when she sees them upset. This is what experiencing the moment looks like.
I cannot get over Mos’s and Amaal’s desire to have their voices heard. If you ask them a question, they will give you a full-on answer in their own babble, highly articulate but not yet understandable by us adults. We have a lot of fun interpreting what they are saying, and responding in kind (“you don’t say!”, “we don’t disagree with you”; “you make a great point!”, “tell me more!”). They have also learnt how to say “no” – vehemently. These kids have boundaries.
Mos loves bread. Amaal is a yogurt lover. Mos is mesmerized by cars. Amaal loves to sing. Mos is a charmer. Amaal has that cheeky monkey look when she does something questionable. Mos likes doing things solo. Amaal is a social being. They each have a dreadful carbon footprint with each of them having taken 15 or more international flights within their 18 months of life. I guess that’s about living in the moment, too.
I see Nagib in his element as he teaches them about patience and moderation, and sharing and caring. And it takes me back to 30+ years ago when he did the same with Shayne and Sabrina. He is the arbitrator in chief when they fight over one book or one car. It does not always work but they do listen to him. He has learnt all the characters from Paw Patrol to engage with them. He takes them to the park. He has befriended every dog in the neighborhood in spite of his fear of dogs, because they love dogs. This is what enjoying the moment looks like.
I am beyond amazed at how fast their brains are growing. Every day, a new word, or many words. Every day, new connections. Every day, muscle memory as they remember stuff from the day before. The science is that 90% of brain development occurs in the first 1000 days of life, including the 9 months that the baby is in the womb. I witnessed part of this development first-hand today when Aunty Mary Gemmiti gave them a book, “1000 First Words”. When I asked them to point out pictures of elephant, banana, book. apple, hat, bird, ant, bus, etc, in the book, they were able to do it effortlessly, with at least 50 words at last count. It blew my mind. That’s what learning in the moment looks like.
Mos and Amaal have inspired my word/phrase for 2023, something I give great thought to each year. I had considered words like health and vitality, energy, resilience. Instead, my word/phrase for 2023 is “to be present” because that is what living in the moment is all about.