When Ava was an infant, Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block was our lifesaver. His simple methods ensured that we had a calm, smiling, rested baby. So when she turned three and started throwing tantrums, Sandeep and I bought The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD. Dr. Karp’s advice is to see toddlers as cave(wo)men and deal with them accordingly.
As is generally the case, we didn’t find the sequel that good. Ava just didn’t strike us as cave-like.
Kayan, but contrast, is a cave person at heart. If Dr. Karp comes out with another addition of Happiest Toddler, we shall definitely send Kayan to the casting call. We’ve been studying his behavior closely during our trip. Weeks of constant togetherness have given us plenty of material confirming that his toddler-hood offers insight to our origins.
When faced with sand, gravel, dirt, pebbles – anything the earth has dusted off – Kayan’s innate reaction is to cool off in it. I have heard that cavemen may have used mud as natural sunscreens. This picture was taken on a Goa beach and, yes, it was a sunny day.
When faced with a choice of utensils, Kayan prefers his hands. That goes for Chinese soup, Thai noodles or cereal dipped in egg yolk in Malaysia.
Even when ice cream comes neatly packed around a stick, Kayan would rather use his hands as a scoop.
A brand new puzzle set to Kayan turns into a primitive digging tool. That too, in a flower bed.
Perhaps Kayan has caught on to the fact that norms differ among countries. He may as well resort to the common place we all came from before we had to worry about social graces. I also know that we, as parents, are contributing to the behavior. We have generally taken a more laid back approach to parenting. We’ve noticed in Asia that kids are less restricted than in the U.S. and parents don’t obsess over every spilled drink or dirty hand. Kids run around, some messier and more rambunctious than others, and people don’t see them as an annoyance. It’s been convenient for us to adopt a similar mentality, and certainly advantageous for Kayan to hone his connection to our ancestors.