The Existentialist Nature of a Two-Year-Old

I used to be a philosophical gal. Heck, if you asked my high school senior self what I wanted to take in college, I would’ve said, “philosophy” in a heartbeat. I didn’t, of course, because it doesn’t pay bills. But, when it came time to take my Philosophy 100 class at community college, I not only aced it with a 99, I was the go-to for others to help fix papers and differentiate between Sartre and Aristotle. Ask me now and I wouldn’t be able to connect the lines.

Watching life through a toddler/preschooler’s (did I just type that?!) eyes definitely brings me back to that place. He’s started his question phase, and I love it. Now, that adoration may not last long (it gets grating, yes), but for now the “who is dat? why he do dat? what him name?” wondering shows exactly what’s clicking in his little, incredible brain.

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There are times that Hadman’s oblivious, for sure. He doesn’t listen to directions a vast majority of the time and does exactly what he wants to, often with a knowing smirk or mischievous eyebrow bend. But, his awareness is growing. For example, looking through a comic book (what? That’s totally normal) or watching a new-to-him TV show, he MUST know who EVERYONE is. A random array of tertiary characters in the background? He simply must know their names and what they’re up to. He knows people have a purpose and an importance, so why wouldn’t they have a name? Sometimes we say we simply don’t know (and he continues asking, undeterred), but if I’m feeling feisty, I’ve been known to start spouting out made-up misnomers just to appease the little guy. “Who’s that? Oh, that’s good ol’ Hank. Hank the monkey. He’s friends with Myrtle.”

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I’m waiting for him to start applying these observations to the world around him more, but assume that it might have to wait until springtime for questions like, “why grass green, Mama?” However, he is become more attuned to others in small ways. “You sad, Mama? You sad? Me hug you.”

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I will happily try to answer any of the bigger questions that start popping up, too. And I’m considering brushing up on my old philosophers…just in case.