La familia DeWagner spent the day just wandering around Manhattan. Zo was eager to get going this morning, even pointed the subway out to Mom..."Lets ride the subway Mummy."
She's still got some city savvy from her summer on Clinton Street. We slipped into Manhattan on the R Train, got off at 57th and headed straight for FAO Schwarz. We managed to sneak out of Schwarz with no damage, just a promise to come back. We wandered around a little, then over to Columbus Circle for lunch at Whole Foods, and with hopes that Zed might nap we grabbed some steaming hot beans and headed up to Julliard and Lincoln Center, grabbed Zo some new shades...some seriously sweet Holly Golightly ones
...and then shot straight for The Dakota and Strawberry Fields. No sleep. We wandered deeper into Central Park and Zed wanted to run, so run she did...and run...and run...and run. We only slowed her down when we found a fella building bubbles in The Mall
and she stopped to ruin his day.
We tipped him well, you know, for tolerating our daughter, but it turned out that she was the best thing for business. Before we knew it there were a dozen people watching Zo dismantle his hard work, and cameras were snapping, people were pointing and laughing, and the busker was a pretty solid guy. He played up to Zo, treated her like a million bucks, even did his best to convince her to step inside one of his bubbles. It was the only thing that could slow her down, and even then it didn't do much of that. It mostly just restricted her craziness to a few meters squared.
It's funny how everyone we talk to tells us how important it is that we're socializing our daughter, when social skills are the very last thing that she needs. She's quick to make friends, even scare kids away with her comfort and eagerness to connect, and she doesn't hesitate one bit to try something new, or meet someone new. She was best friends with the Bubble Man in about two seconds...no hesitancy, no shyness, just full on hello nice to meet you
. Of course, it helps when you bring bubbles to the relationship. Write that down. It damn good advice.
Zed just loves this city, which seems strange to say about a two year old, but she talks about new York at home...she laughs and runs and squeals and turns into an entirely different Zoey here. She talks about the tall buildings and she laughs at all of the yellow cabs...she gets excited going in and out of the stores, and she says hello to almost everyone that walks past. She introduces herself to doormen. She makes friends with every dog she sees, and she's quick to point out poo bombs on the sidewalk. She's damn near a New Yorker and her address say otherwise.
Both June and I are convinced that it's New York that has helped to make Zo as audacious as she is. Last summer she blossomed like we'd never expected, and you can see the difference in both stimulation and impact with so many positive distractions, even when she's here for just a few short days. I think it's important to provide some seriously wondrous things in these early years. It's when the most development and the most learning is being done, and it's when you should be planting all these seeds of amazing. You hear time and time again about the importance of teaching language and behaviour skills in these early years but rarely do people consider the equally important idea of new and incredible environments.
Were Zoey to grow up here and know nothing different than New York she may be less inclined to truly soak everything up, but she spends most of her time living in places with far less stimulation and the change of pace she finds whenever we're here, is double, quadruple stimulating. You can literally watch her filling up with it. You can see her changing right in front of your eyes. Don't believe it? Grab your funster, and slip on down here for a few weeks... get involved, do things, meet people, give your child free reign to explore and learn, and WHAM...I swear, you'll be blown away by the impact of it all.
New York isn't just one of the world's most incredible cities...it's one helluva lesson in the growth and development of a child. It's also a great place to find cool sunglasses and bubbles.