Little hands are grasping, searching, pawing their way to their mama’s breast. Only minutes old, yet they have the wisdom of 21 centuries.
Little hands are patting, pointing and playing with their mother’s face. Eyes, nose and the inside of her mouth, as only little hands could have imagined they might feel like, having dreamt about these moments for the past ten months inside the womb.
Little hands are reaching, stretching, growing enough to have found the one loose tendril of their mama’s hair that falls below her shoulders. This happens at the very time they’ve learned to hold, and those hands yank that hair with a surprising force, conquering hand and eye coordination at only weeks old.
Little hands are learning now to place each and every item they come across in their mouths, in the case of nourishment. This comes before these hands fully understand what food really is, and mother must watch guard.
Little hands, whose heart yearns for the outdoors, is now exploring the outdoor world and is found throwing sand into the eyes of those most loved. Those hands are now working on aim and intention, though not in the most convenient of scenarios.
Little hands are rolling, squishing, mashing the fruit and vegetables you so lovingly prepared for them on their tray, making food fly and land in each and every direction but their targeted mouth, as those hands are learning cause and effect.
Little hands are now too busy, too engaged, too hostile, packed with dirt beneath each nail, to stop for a quick hand washing, or heaven forbid, a nail clipping. Little hands simply have too much to do.
Little hands are now looking for praise at every turn, and at just the time that they are learning high fives, which they do with drooling grins on their round face, they are conveniently learning to move fingers individually to accompany their love for mama counting on their fingers and toes.
Little hands, now constantly covered in mysterious gooey guck that makes its mark between the webbing of fingers, is now already an artist, working with textures, textiles and colour. This takes place on any and all mediums, including the kitchen cupboards, the floor and the wood stove, as those hands do not yet discriminate between what ought to have a little hand’s special touch.
Little hands are moving up in the world on wobbly tottering legs and are now tall enough to reach for the dog’s tail, cupboard handles and shiny doorknobs. This new reach, of course, happens at just about the same time that those little hands learn to turn such objects and pull robustly, allowing for much more inquiry into their world.
Little hands, emulating, copying, replicating everyone’s every move, are now in awe of a sister’s ability to brush her silky hair and to brush her shiny teeth. Though little hands cannot yet reach said items on the counter on their own, the hands see a similarity in the look of the desired items with the look of a nearby toilet brush scrubber, though the floor model does not yield the same results or congratulation from mother.
Little hands, growing more confident and strong, are losing their deep dimples and becoming very assertive in their need to do more and be more than the little hands they were, as they desperately seek out the thumbhole in the winter mittens despite their mother’s muffled frustration.
Little hands are striving to touch more, hold more, feel more. They are destined to grow larger while we are dying to keep them small a little longer. They are requiring a guided hand less and less.
But yet little hands are still reaching for yours, their teacher, and still fit squarely in the palm of your hand.
And as long as those hands, little or big, are reaching, we will hold on.