One of my favourite pieces of literature is the Calvin and Hobbes comic books by Bill Waterson. They tell the story of the everyday life on Calvin, a precocious and mischievous six year old and his adventures with Hobbes, his tiger cuddly toy. When no one else is around Calvin comes alive and they explore the wonder of the world together. The thing is that Meri, my 14 month old daughter has also befriended a cuddly toy tiger. Just like Calvin and Hobbes, the two of them are inseparable and it has given me cause to reflect on the joy on looking at the world through a child’s eyes again.
The first thing she looks for when she wakes up is Little Tigger and she often falls asleep clutching him to her cheek. Just like Calvin, the world is opening up for Meri and everything is a constant source of excitement and joy. As she is exploring the world around her Little Tigger is her constant companion. At present Meri is going through “the taking things out and then putting them back in” phase. This includes her lego, the contents of the kitchen cupboards and, of course, bins.
One morning this week she was busy exploring the re-cycle bin. I told her firmly to keep away. She, of course ignored me. I soon moved her away but for the rest of the morning she returned time and time again to the recycle bin only to be greeted by increasingly annoyed rebukes from her father. It was only when I had to go and pick her up as she was attempting to climb into said bin that I realised why – Little Tigger had gone on scouting mission into the recycle bin and had gotten himself stuck. All morning, his trusty companion Meri had been trying to mount daring and courageous rescue missions only to be thwarted by her dim-witted father.
As most of you will know, the problem with children and their favourite toys is that they take them everywhere and sometimes they get left behind. The other day Meri forgot Little Tigger at her nursery. The following morning, I had to make a mercy dash to locate and collect him. Recently when we were out for a walk by the river, Meri dropped Little Tigger from her buggy. It was only as we were returning home that we noticed he was missing. Immediately a search party was organised – Nan ran one way, Clare the other and scoured the entire route we had walked whilst Grandad, Arun, Meri and I waited anxiously for news. Eventually Little Tigger was located half way up a tree (Tigers are very good climbers I understand) and re-united with his careless owner. The look of joy on Meri’s face as he was handed back was worth all the extra running around.
Meri is also surprisingly loyal. We are now getting very worried about Little Tigger and what would happen if ever he were to get permanently lost. To this end we went and bought an identical cuddly toy and a few days ago introduced him to Meri. She was having none of it. She looked at New Tigger suspiciously and after holding him for a few seconds firmly and sternly handed him back, shaking her head. My heart melted as she grasped Little Tigger to her bosom and gave him a big hug with a happy smile. Her Little Tigger may be filthy and falling apart, his black stripes may have disappeared following the multiple machine washes he has endured but he is the only one for my little girl.
The fact of the matter is though that Little Tigger is not the only companion that Meri has on her adventures. Her father is also there with her and I am delighting in watching her grow, develop and discover the world around her. The joy and fascination that everyday objects hold, the way in which she treats the most mundane things with awe is an education to me. It is a reminder that no matter what is happening in our lives, there is joy and wonder in the world around us. My intrepid little girl is not just showing Little Tigger the world, because of her I am seeing it through new eyes too.