Empathy

I thought that all babies were natural solipcists, viewing the world only from their own perspectives, not yet able to consider the feelings of others. I thought it was a parent’s job to teach empathy. But Sophie keeps spontaneously impressing me.

She saw a baby crawling at the park, and so she got down on her knees, to crawl alongside him.

She saw her father’s road-rash elbow scab, declared, “Boo-boo,” and started kissing it.

She happily put on her sweater when it grew chilly the other evening at another park, but then she noticed I had no sweater, myself. I had fallen into the typical-mommy mistake of planning for her comfort but not for my own. Sophie insisted on searching our bike-trailer, repeating, “Momma sweater?” Then she tried to take off her sweater in order to share it with me.

She finally figured out a toy that she could share with the cats, who baffle her with their disinterest in crayons, cars, dolls, or peek-a-boo blankets. She finally discovered that the cats are interested in sharing her cottage cheese. It’s incredibly unsanitary and incredibly sweet.

I’m so proud.

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