I can only hold 5 acorns

Bracken and Carson were practicing soccer, Cormick was climbing around on the playground, and Anders was contemplating life, limitations and priorities under the oak trees.

I stood and watched our 18 month old gathering acorns for about 30 minutes.  His process was simple at first.  He crouched down and used both of his little hands to pick up three large acorns.  He then carefully situated these acorns in his right hand before using his left hand to pick up two more.  These two took him a bit longer but he was consistently successful up to this point.  He’d look up at me and show me his clenched hands.  Five acorns… easy.

When he bent over to try to grab the 6th (like you do when you have five acorns) one or more of the already conquered acorns would inevitably fall from his grasp.  Whoops.  Four acorns now.  Then five again.  Then an attempted sixth would send him back to four.  Occasionally he would pause and consider another strategy.  Maybe starting with the left hand… no luck.  Maybe trying to balance a fourth acorn on the top of his already full right hand… nope.  He shoved a few in his pocket but that wasn’t nearly as satisfying as holding them in his hands.

Eventually he realized that five was his max at this point in life and he was okay with that.  He handed all 5 to me and went to play with Cormick on the playground.

There’s a lesson somewhere in that 30 minute acorn gathering exercise – a lesson about life and limitations and priorities that I still need to learn.

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