Through the eyes of a toddler

children's toys

It seems there are a whole lot of things I had forgotten about the world through the eyes of an 18-month-old. Our only grandchild is leading me down the path of great reminders.

This happy-hearted little fellow is all boy, and he is drawn to all things farm. If it doesn’t have wheels and a job to do, he will very quickly let you know, “nope, not interested!”

One morning as he was still waking up, we sat on the porch at his home and listened to the birds chirping, a nice breeze blowing. I whistled to the birds, and this sweet boy tried so hard to imitate it.

Suddenly, Brooks sat up very straight on my lap and began pointing, saying “Oh!” with great enthusiasm.

I thought he saw a squirrel or something else of great interest, but instead, he had heard the sound of a tractor far off in the distance. He got down, grabbed my hand and started leading me off of the porch. We simply had to get a closer look.

He makes a rumbling noise to match the tractor, and waves enormously, looking as though he is exaggerating his greeting, but there is no doubt he really is over-the-moon happy. Any day with a tractor involved is a very good day. If a human operating that tractor waves back, it’s like icing on the cake.

Red or green?

He has learned to tell the difference between a neighbor man’s red tractors and his great-uncle’s green tractors.

While playing living room floor farming, ask the question, “Which tractor is like Rick’s?” he chooses the International Harvester. Uncle Roger? It is John Deere without any hesitation.

The only thing better than a toy tractor is a toy tractor with an implement that can be hitched to it.

For anyone who doubts the possibility that a baby is born with a tendency to lean one certain way in interests, this little guy could make a believer out of the most stubborn. When just beginning to crawl, he headed for the toy tractors every single time, leaving puzzles, stuffed animals and noise-making toys in the dust.

To test my theory, I handed him a doll baby from the wide variety toy box I have accumulated over the years. He barely even looked at it before sending it sailing across the room. Not interested.

The great outdoors

Every possible minute is spent outdoors, with a crying jag so intense you would swear his heart is breaking each time we must go inside. It is just about the only time he ever cries, and he leaves no doubt he is one fierce outdoor boy.

He stays attached to the door, hoping the grown-up in his life will see the foolishness of this indoor stuff.

No matter what the weather or how many other kids there might be to keep him entertained if he hears the roar of a tractor, he drops what he’s doing and heads straight for the nearest window. He waves and his little pointing finger offers a compass reading so that anyone who hasn’t taken the time to look will know which direction the tractor is going.

He will spot a groundhog a mile away and recently was captivated by a fox and her little ones. While reading him a book last night, when a fox appeared on the page, he jumped down and headed for the window, pointing to where the mama fox lives and plays.


There really are things I had totally forgotten about a little one between the first and second birthdays. The strength and determination is mighty, and they really can hurt you if you don’t play good defense, no matter how adorable.

And the second most important memory to come rushing back is that spending the day with a baby at this age leaves everything in his path sticky. No matter how many times an adult washes hands, there is surely more stickiness to come along any minute.

By the end of the day, a worn-out grandparent feels similar to a hairy dog having rolled in a blanket of maple syrup several times throughout a 24-hour stretch, even if the clock says only 45 minutes have actually passed.

But, no matter who you ask, no one would trade this experience for the world on a silver platter.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.



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