Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Baby Polymath

This morning baby Mabel invented the game of having her father hand her the plastic Christmas ornaments out of the decorative bowl in the front hall, one at a time, so she could walk briskly with each one over to her crib and shove it through the wooden bars and onto her mattress. Some were too large to fit through the bars, and they had to be pushed in up over the top. Every time she added a new ball to the arrangement she would  then bend down to look through the bars and admire her handiwork, then scoot back down the hall to do it it all over again.

And it occurred to me as I watched her do this, that nearly all very young children, just by virtue of their very natures and how their brains are built, are what, if we saw it in an adult, we would call both great scientists and great artists. That wide-openness, that spirit of exploration and doing, that attitude of both "what would happen if I?" and "there, that is my vision realized."  It's like living with a tiny Leonardo da Vinci around the house. Below, a portrait of the artist as a very young child.

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