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Slices of Life

Learning with the littles

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I just finished a visit with my littles, aka grands. They are five dollars, nearly three dollars and 25 cents, if we are counting in years.

It was a giggly, playful, cuddly, I’m not hungry, I’m so hungry, I’m not tired, I just fell asleep sitting up, I don’t have to go, I have to go real bad, colorful. craft-filled, hug-filled, love-filled, sand-filled, sticky, spillful, wonderful set of days.

We swam in the lake and rode in the boat. We splashed our toes at the beach. We visited the candy store and paid all by ourselves (with Grammy’s dollars). We made muffins stuffed with peanut butter cups - not necessarily recommended. We coated grapes with sugar and Kool-Aid. We topped everything we could with frosting and sprinkles (because why not?). We made bouncy balls (fail). We hunted frogs. We looked for fish in the water. We fished with magnets on the living room floor. We painted rocks and sprinkled them with glitter. We picked flowers. We tended my garden and discovered that we didn’t like eating pea pods. (So much for that theory.) 

We found apples on the ground and made fritters the next morning. Did I mention sprinkles?

We pulled the wagon because it made us feel strong, and strong is a good thing to be. We drank lots of water to stay hydrated. We took walks after dinner while dancing, singing and hunting for hidden treasures in the sand by the swing set. Sometimes we walked down to the lake and before you knew it, we were all in – the water, that is – because we couldn’t stop ourselves. 

At night we played games. One involved jelly beans and tasting them. If you were five or younger your could spit the yucky ones into a bowl. But if your were an uncle you had to eat them. This fact was hilarious, especially if you were less than six.

We asked questions. So many, many questions. 

When you are five and nearly three, the world hosts many questions. It is a privilege for me to answer them.

Why is the water wet? Do the fish feel wet in the water? When the eagles catch a mama fish, what happens to her babies? Where do the turtles go in the winter? Can I help stir? Can my new frog live in your cabin? Can we do a puzzle? When is it my turn to pull the wagon? I want to pull the wagon! Is it my turn? When will it be my turn? 

But sometimes, my littles had answers of their own, and profound answers at that.

When we were making muffins, someone was overenthusiastic when stirring and some of the batter spilled onto the countertop and floor. 

No big deal, but I must have sighed when wiping up the mess because little miss five dollar said:

“We are little. It was only a mistake, Grammy. We all make mistakes.”

I’m so glad her parents have taught her this. That is it okay to make mistakes and to know this is normal and okay and a part of learning and growing. That without mistakes we’d be boring, stagnant beings. That it is okay to own your mistakes because that is an everyday part of life. That mistakes are inevitable, but not terrible. Never terrible. Spilling things is a normal part of life.

The sooner we understand this, the better, because life is most certainly piled with spills of all kinds.

My littles were here for a brief visit. I wish it could have been longer because in our short times together, we share love and hugs and cuddles. 

But we also share knowledge. 

I only hope I am able and blessed to teach them as much as they teach me.

Spills and all.


Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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