My niece Ellie recently learned to speak her first word: “More!”
I chuckled when my sister told me this, because Ellie is a very undemanding little girl but she never ceases to want one “more” bite of whatever she’s eating. This is the perfect little word for her to learn, and I know she’ll get lots of use out of it.
I know this because her 2 year old cousin (my daughter) Claire has not evolved much further, though Claire can speak to me (and make very specific demands of me!) in complete sentences now. Whenever Claire gets an opportunity to do something fun, she has a really hard time walking away and usually ends up being physically carried to the car or back into the house while she yells “More! More! More!” (or “Do it again!”)
I thought at first it was greed or self-centeredness that drove Claire’s appetite for more, but I’ve come to think that it is actually really a deep contentment. Unlike her mother, who is always imagining the lists of things she should be doing at any given moment, Claire is content doing just what she is doing. Claire isn’t contemplating what she will do next, she is enjoying the stuffed animal she is playing with now, the book she is reading now, the swing she is swinging in now. Claire would be willing to swing in the same swing for… hours?? I honestly have no idea how long Claire would be willing to go on swinging because I’ve never allowed her to get to that point where she says “Enough.”
It takes great strength to delight in monotony, a fact I’d never thought much about until I read G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, which was recommended to me when I was a faithful young Navigator in college. I should read it again because a great deal of it flew straight over my head, but I have been treasuring a few quotes from this book for several years now, one of which has been coming to the front of my mind quite frequently since I became a mother:
“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
I am praying for the “appetite of infancy” that delights in the same people, the same tasks, the same sights day after day after day, long after the novelty has worn off.
P.S. For Mother’s Day, I’m indulging in a seriously cheesy concept for a series–an acrostic of the word Mother describing motherhood from my experience. You don’t have to tell me, I already know and I’m doing it anyways.