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A Lesson from a One-Year-Old

A visit from my granddaughter taught me about attention. While I was feeding her breakfast and her aunt was entertained with her every bite. My husband, PopPop was within eyesight but not involved.

She looked over at him and when PopPop didn’t look up from his phone, she made a sad face. She looked at me and smiled because I was looking at her. She looked back at PopPop and made another sad face. I said, “Is PopPop not paying attention to you?”

He joined us at the table and talked to her a minute. Then as she went about eating, he went back to his phone for a second. She looked at him, sad face; looked at me, smiled; looked back to him as he looked up from his phone and laughed.

In-between all this her aunt was watching her. There were interactions between the two of them with lots of laughing. She had an audience. She didn’t need more attention. I watched and learned as the same scene continued throughout breakfast.

I thought about all the times busy parents feed their 1-year-olds breakfast while doing so many other things. Not fully engaged in the moment while their child puts food in their mouth. But that child is looking, watching, trying to engage with those she loves. It doesn’t matter how much attention she had. She was looking for the attention of the one that was missing, but present.

By being the observer of the situation, I was able to learn so much! When I had been alone with her, I would be on my phone between her bites. I didn’t know she was looking at me not giving her attention. To think this is a 1-year-old, just finding her place in the world.


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