I passed him his tiny milk cup. He grabbed it and turned it upside down. Just like that, the milk spilled on his tray. I was confused. He was proud. A huge grin filled up his face.
I filled up his cup again. He turned it upside down again. But this time, he had managed to transfer some of the liquid into a larger cup on his tray. He was even more proud.
Having lost two attempts to have my child drink milk, I could have been slowly losing my temper. But I wasn't.
I wasn't upset, because I was curious. For the past few days, I had been curiously watching my 15-month-old. He was learning how to transfer liquids from one cup to another. But this letter is not about a child's motor skill development – at all. It's about paying attention.
One day I noticed how, towards the end of each meal, he had started demanding cups. He wouldn't stop asking for them until he got exactly two cups.
First, he experimented with shoving food in his half-filled cups.
Then he experimented with turning that "batter" upside down.
Then he started seeing what happened if he turned the liquid... well, upside down.
If it wasn't for my previous curiosity, I could have taken his milk-spilling personally (subtitle here: wasting food, creating a mess, challenging me). Damn, even his proud tiny grin could have become a trigger.
But because I was curious, I had been able to pay attention to his exact intention, rather than giving in to a parent's general presumptions about how babies are messy creatures and how parenting is a lot of work.
Curiosity can make us endure crazy things. Without curiosity:
- Our ancestors couldn't have lit up the first fire
- New continents couldn't have been discovered
- Scientists couldn't conduct complicated experiments
Curiosity makes us seek new information and explore possibilities. It's a basic human impulse. But it gets lost to the noise in our heads. (That noise being assumption, judgment, or bias.)
Curiosity is an amazing method for paying attention. When you are curious, you cannot judge. At your curious state, you care about admitting as much information as possible. Your brain does not interrupt curiosity for judgment.
This week I wrote an article on the 3 ways of paying attention. Curiosity is one of them.
How would curious parenting look?
👐 Open rather than fixed-mindset
👌 Accepting rather than correcting
🤝 Friendly rather than opposing
Kids evolve by the day. The day we think we figured out everything about them, they wake up to being a new person.
A curious mind can do wonders in our relationships. Because curiosity is a way to pay attention. And attention is the best gift we can give our children right this moment. Trust me, they crave it.
So I'm curious: When was the last time you observed your child with curiosity? What were you surprised to find out? Hit reply and let me know!
🥄 Nurturing my favorite moms and dads
This week's theme is paying attention. Here's an article that I shared on the blog recently.
3 ways to pay attention to your children: We want to pay more attention to our children but it's easier said than done. Luckily, there are ways to start paying more attention to our children right now even when life pulls us at different directions.
That's it for this week! ❤️
If you've enjoyed this letter, consider sending it to another parent. It always makes me very happy.
Send me your thoughts! I'm on Twitter and love seeing a DM in my inbox. You can also hit reply or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next Saturday!
Love, Basak (founder of Apparent)