When You’re Two

The earliest memory I have of my youth takes me back to approximately age three. I was finishing the weekly “playgroup” session with a few neighbours my age which had been held at my house that time. My mother was getting ready to drive the other kids home when my dad returned from work. I remember being given the choice of staying with Dad or riding in the car with Mother. I had an idea that I would prefer Dad to take my friends home and I’d ride with him. Of course, that wasn’t an option. Maybe I remember the situation because of my strong emotional reaction and/or the scene I caused.

I thought back to my stubbornness yesterday when I met a two-year-old child who wanted to walk around and swing one of our new ukuleles in the PlaNet Pasifika Discovery Centre. I explained to him that he was welcome to play the instrument but that he should take good care of it so other people could play it, too.

I know it’s hard trying to figure out how the world works. I’m still searching for many answers, myself!

Ukuleles in PlaNet Pasifika Photo by Anna Sheffield © Te Papa 2010

Ukuleles in PlaNet Pasifika Photo by Anna Sheffield © Te Papa 2010

I’m relieved to report that our interaction resulted in a great singing and strumming session for longer than I would have expected a two year old to be able to focus (around twenty minutes, I think). I hope he’ll come back to play again, someday. If he does, I’ll try to entice him into doing a puzzle to change his focus before he’s mentally exhausted.

I feel grateful for good parents, like his, who manage to find that balance between honouring their offspring and respecting the products and services we provide as the national museum.

I’m really excited to be able to speak out on behalf of the Discovery Centres here at Te Papa.  In honour of the boy who gave me inspiration for my first post I have written a very short poem. 

When you’re two
Options aren’t so clear to you.
If it seems
Like choosing limits your dreams
You may find
That the world feels less unkind
With a song.
Don’t forget to sing along!

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