Monday, October 03, 2011

Best of Boston (8 year old girl edition)

Superfun weekend with THAT NIECE. Our parade was rained out, but that's okay: we discovered the REAL benefit of living in our city!

If asked, some people might say that what makes Boston great are the opportunities for learning and cultural enrichment: the Science Museum, the Aquarium, the Museum of Natural History (which one friend calls "the Harvard Stuffed Animal Museum"). THAT NIECE has skipped & sparkled her way through each of these fine establishments. And yet this time, she discovered something far better about our metropolis, something she'd never even imagined possible: We have a Petco store in almost every town.

What started as a visit to one store to buy a toy for a friend's dog (followed by a rained-out trip to Boston Common) became a mission of vast proportions, intense focus, and more miles than I can count. All told, we visited 5 stores in 2 days. THAT NIECE was slobbered on by a sweet rottweiler, leaned on by a greyhound, yapped at by countless tiny things bred to fit in teacups, and patiently tolerated by a baffled German Shepard who'd barely made it through the door before being engulfed in her love.

My sister and I kept reminding her: "Ask first!" lest her stalking truly frighten both dog and owner, and she was good about that. But the one time she was told, "Well, my dog is nervous around kids so you'd better not pet him," THAT NIECE looked so totally confused--how could this lady not understand that her love was exactly the thing this nervous little creature needed most in the world???--that she just stared forlornly, not speaking, then wandered after them them down aisle in case the lady changed her mind. But later, when she came across the doggie daycare room in the back of the store she said to us, "It's good that we have to was almost too much wonderful."

It made me think of a chapter from the fascinating book Switch, where the authors discuss studies of how positive emotions such as joy, interest, or pride in a job well done broaden our thinking and build our repertoire of thoughts & actions, giving us more options to respond to everyday challenges. It's a different type of learning than what one might find at a museum, but important! I forget this WAY too often. I'm grateful to THAT NIECE for the reminder :)

What was the last thing that brought you joy?

What might the next thing be?

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