Moments that change us

I was sorting out the laundry yesterday evening when it suddenly occurred to me to wonder why it was suddenly so quiet when the toddler’s default setting is fairly noisy and rising. Her settings in fact are limited to power off, crescendo and full blast. I’d only just changed her nappy after having received a short verbal report of the situation (this time without the accompanying presentation of material samples on both thumbs – being thankful for small mercies comes with the toddler territory) so I wasn’t worried about nappies and their contents being further involved. After an extremely foolhardy and fleeting thought – what’s the worst she could be doing? – I hotfooted it to the bedroom.

A quick check and the gleeful expression on the toddler’s face confirmed that something was indeed up, this time though she was merely smearing her body with nappy rash cream and hadn’t even eaten any. In the last nappy cream incident (a good while ago – small mercies again) I discovered her with a thick layer of white cream caked onto her face where she hadn’t managed to get it all into her mouth. Not because she has a small mouth – when she screams she basically becomes just one giant mouth – but because at the time her aim wasn’t so good. This time she was very deliberately daubing herself with big streaks of the stuff.

The night before we had seen a musical presentation performed by a number of singers from different indigenous groups, some of whom were wearing traditional dress and body paint. My little one made a little friend and they spent their time squatting next to each other and happily colouring together while chatting away in their own languages. I can only assume that my toddler was so inspired by the lovely painted patterns on her little friend’s arms that she thought she would break the mould and try some body painting on herself. It didn’t turn out so beautifully it has to be said and she wasn’t too impressed when I managed to catch her and remove the cream.

On the plus side, I’m hoping that in every shared moment, even the shortest, where our little one gets to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures she will discover that our similarities will always be greater than our differences and learn to value people simply for who they are.

This is one of my favourite pieces of street art – Todos Somos Um (All Are One) or Etnias (Ethnicities) by Eduardo Kobra, who immediately became my favourite street artist after I stumbled across his work in London.

This post was originally published on the 4th of October 2019 and has been transferred from my previous blog (Brazil from the outside in hosted by Blogger) after some technical difficulties with the site.

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