Tonight we're babysitting our neighbor Johanna, one year old last September. She was in a great mood and kept herself (and us) entertained with little direction or distraction. At one point, though, she walked to the door and burst out crying, clearly wanting Mom. She let herself be comforted, but she kept the bag her pajamas came in firmly in one hand and her cup of milk firmly in the other. We read and played, she walked and was carried, but she didn't let go of the bag or the sippy cup. Getting towards bedtime Ann put a Windham Hill Christmas album on and danced to it while I sat with Johanna and played percussion with a beaded gourd. Johanna is usually an enthusiastic drummer and dancer, but she just clutched her things and watched. After a song or two, though, she put down her milk and emptied out her bag, sock-by-sock, all as though to say "ok, I'll stay;" then she pulled a table over and started pounding on it, smiling and dancing. After another few songs she went to bed as though it was her greatest wish, and went straight to sleep.
I'm so impressed with her transition from principled non-participation to full engagement. Lord knows I've tied myself in knots often enough in my life, holding back for one reason or another when I'd really rather be participating; and it can be damn hard to make that transition.