Sheer joy, tons of excitement, all thanks to a tissue. Well, a box of tissues. This is just a snapshot, scroll for the real deal.While cooking dinner, he had changed from playing in the living room where he is in my sight line to playing in his room, out of sight line, but still in earshot. Then it got quiet. Too quiet. He wasn’t doing any self-talk or singing like usual and not as much banging of toys as usual either. He wasn’t silent, just too quiet. Enter the concerned mama. My fears were relieved as I saw him moving and breathing regularly. My next set of thoughts was a mixture of teacher and mama; “YAY, he’s working on his fine motor skills by pulling tissues out of the box individually, and growing his strength by shredding the issues. Ugh, who’s going to clean it up?” Being the super helper that he is, he also loved the clean-up game of find-all-the-tissues. This evening was a great reminder of the importance of always being able to see and hear these little guys, but also a reminder to breathe. As a teacher, I’m trained to always know where all of the kids are and what they are doing at all times, pretty much always on high alert. As parents, we tend to immediately go to our worst fears. We’ve seen and heard so many horror stories on the news or social media that keep our brains in a constant state of worry. But we don’t hear enough stories of how smart, capable, and creative these tiny people are too. Giving them safe space to work independently and sometimes to be alone allows them to think and act differently. He knows the tissue box is something we use for noses. He also knows that I’m not in the room. What else can we use the tissue box for? How do these tissues fit inside? How many are there? How hard do I have to pull to rip the tissue? Does that same reaction happen every time I do the same thing? He was lost in a world of curious exploration, safely having a ton of fun. Breathe, keep your mind from going to worst place possible first, and find the joy in shredding tissues!