When I was a teenager, I had a recurring babysitting job that involved taking care of twin girls who were around 18 months old. They had no other siblings. I remember that one was attempting to use the toilet and that neither used many words yet that were understandable. I say yet understandable, because they actually had many words that they shared between themselves–but I didn’t understand. Perhaps their parents translated the gist of their communications.
My job was certainly to take care of these little girls, but they left me little to do. They were a self-contained unit of discussing, moving, arguing, toddling. When one would laugh, the other would laugh. Crying was a joint occupation, as well. They did not invite me into their world much. I was grudgingly accepted in their space when there was a need for food, for diaper or clothes changing, or for help into their cribs.
There was rarely crying or distress when I left them to sleep. I could see them looking to each other through crib slats as I left them. From the small room just outside their bedroom, I could hear them draw on their day, yacking and blabbing and chuckling until their sounds ebbed and they fell asleep.
I was enamored. I was fascinated. I was in awe of just how much these two girls needed little other than each other. I was in love.
This was the beginning of my watching and learning from very young people. Today, over forty years later, I am still taken aback by the inherent abilities of humans from the very start. And I still have so much to learn.