When we decided to move to the suburbs we were truly anxious about all the adjustments. We were excited about the bigger space we would have, the backyard and of course knew there were good schools – all the boxes so to say, were ticked. But we would miss the buzz of activity in the city, the prevalence of people, the view of the ocean from our apartment on the hill, the eclectic community that surrounded us, the noisy trains and buses we could see from the window. There we were on flat ground divided into grids, long stretches of concrete between traffic lights with strip malls breaking the monotone, or adding to it – I couldn’t decide.
Then a couple of days after we moved into the new house and were taking a walk in the neighborhood, our then 2-year-old spotted a garden decor – a pink iron flamingo in somebody’s lawn and exclaimed, “Look Flamingo!” There it was, a peculiarly pink thing but an object so fantastic in our toddler’s world. We couldn’t help share his excitement and continue to do so as spot the “pink flamingo” or the plastic “spiderman”, the “superman basketball” in our rounds around the neighborhood
A few lanes out into a busy intersection from our house there was a sprawling auto mall. I had looked at in in dismay as to how stark and devoid of aesthetics it seemed. An ugly eagle balloon is perched on one of the dealership shops overlooking the spread of cars in the lot. Our son looked at it agape and called out “Giant Birdie!”. “Yes, thats a giant birdie that picks up naughty cars”, my husband volunteered. We oblige our son with juicy stories like these. Soon that “giant birdie” became an important landmark of when we drove away or back home. It welcomed us, waved goodbye and did not seem as sordid at all. Soon I began to even look forward to seeing it.
A few shops down there is a sign announcing “upto 70% off” outside a furniture shop. It’s been there since the time we moved – so far more than 6 months. The “70% off” had evoked some sense of urgency in us when we moved in first, now I recognize it for the marketing ploy that it is and leave it to be. Right outside the same shop is a ridiculous looking red tall swaying sign to attract attention. That has now become the “dancing balloon” – another friend to say hello to as we drive by.
As I drive around today without agonizing about traffic or parking, smell the roses in the yard, plant a veggie garden I am slowly enjoying the experience, but my journey was so much more fun with the child’s perspective starting it for me. Every day for our toddler and our baby is a day of happy discoveries.
Our 10-month-old looks at the moon with such wonder, points in awe at the huge palm tree in the backyard. They crawl around in our backyard muddy, wet and giddy with joy. A new sound, color, brings such excitement and wonder. It really doesn’t matter where we are – city, suburb, beach, park, zoo, museum, out on the streets, at home – the joy and wonder comes from within them transposing out at things around them. I try it sometimes now, looking at things with new eyes. It makes things so much more fun. A plane flying overhead, a construction crane, an approaching bridge, boats in the water, sticks, and stones on the ground. Everything holds wonder when seen from a child’s perspective.