Last night Alexander was counting while in the washroom on the potty. I'm not sure what he was counting -- it could have been the bathroom tiles, it could have been the number of tin cans in the garbage landscape of the "Look and Find" Wall-E book he was reading in there.
Although he has counted to thirty before using the conventional number system we all know, last night when he got to twenty-nine, he then moved on to the numbers twenty-ten, twenty-eleven, twenty-twelve, twenty-thirteen and so on.
I thought it was really cute.
Ah, sweet memories. At first I thought it might be nice to be twenty-eleven again -- a time when forty (or twenty-twenty if I were to follow my son's newly invented counting system) was a good nine years away but seemed much longer than that.
But then I thought, no, the real wonder is to be that age like Alexander is at. Five years old and eagerly exploring virtually EVERYTHING about the world in such a creative and unique way that a number like twenty-eleven makes complete sense. Where the concept is an open and free-flowing thought, a unique application of a newly discovered skill, not something that is oppressed or held back by fear of failure or ridicule or not following the rules.
Ah, to be twenty-minus fifteen again. To be able to be open minded and actually exploring the world around you rather than judging it. To be receptive to new and creative ideas and stimuli and not immediate dismissing something foreign as negative or wrong.
It's not impossible. It just takes a bit of effort -- and paying attention to the examples offered to us daily by the wonderful brilliance, open-mindedness and creativity of children.