Some nights, when Violet and I are rocking in her nursery, singing and reading as she gets sleepy, I whisper in her ear, wondering if she is a Buddha. “Yeah” she replies absently, and I think she is telling the truth. Mostly silent, with eyes full of sparkling knowing, her habits and behaviors are mysterious and wonderful. If you observe her closely, you just might think she’s the wisest kid in the world.
Toddlers are known for their tantrums, for their keen ability to melt down into a puddle of impotent rage, punching and kicking with small fists and feet at a perceived injustice or incorrect order of events. This seems to me a much more legitimate means of coping with reality. Adults turn inward, seethe, sulk, transfer, project, gossip and get sick. Toddlers are immediate and decisive in their fury, they go totally bananas and then move on, relieved and unburdened, to the next thing.
Violet eats when she is hungry, voraciously and with both hands – the fork or spoon I’ve encouraged her to use resting on the high chair tray. If she doesn’t like something she throws it to the dog, insouciantly. And when the day is over, she takes her bottle, a book, and a bunny, and say’s “Bye” as I set her in her crib. She sings to herself, looks at books, and babbles until she falls asleep.
I find wisdom in her actions all day long. She doesn’t negotiate with the world or tailor her behavior to suit society or anyone else. She is spontaneous, like a bird. She is quick to laugh and to cry. She is completely present and in the moment, here and now.
I thought because I don’t have a kid that speaks (yet) I wouldn’t have anything to contribute to this campaign. But as soon as I thought about it for a second I realized how much I am learning from her already. Kids are curious and kind, bold and cautious and unfiltered and hilarious. They all have so much to say. We need to listen and follow their lead.
After reviewing The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™ widget on Campbell’s website, I took inspiration from their collection of fun, quick, kid-friendly meal ideas, and I came up with a fun recipe for the whole family. With more than 144 years experience in the condensed soup game, Campbell’s is our go-to tomato soup. Everyone sits down the same supper, but each person can tailor it to his likes. Dad can add more bacon to his bowl. I like a lot of soft, buttery lettuce and spice. Violet grins as she dunks the same bite of grilled cheese over and over, sucking off the sweet and creamy tomato soup. I use a mild cheddar to make my grilled cheese sandwiches. But feel free to use American, Swiss, or whatever floats your boat.
- 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup, prepared according to directions
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 6 strips of thick-cut bacon, diced, cooked, and drained
- 1 small head of soft, leafy green lettuce, chopped
- 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, crusts cut off, and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Chives, for garnish
- Prepare soup according to the can directions in a medium-size soup pot. Keep it simmering on low and season with salt, pepper, and paprika, if desired. Stir bacon and lettuce into the pot. Ladle soup into bowls, and garnish with grilled cheese pieces.
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