You never hear parents say "Oh, I just loved that 1-3 year old stage of my kid's life". It is a trial and test of supreme patience. And you never get a full night's worth of sleep. I remember it as "floating" through time - waiting for them to finish a meal, walk down the block, get out of the bath (that took you forever to get them into in the first place)
But as they move into the 4's, I love it. Everything is new and wonderful to them. I watched as my grand daughter played, and was in awe the imagination and creativity. Lining up stones and snails from the beach, making up songs (my favorite being one about "Mr. Potat"), listening to stories made up while she plays, and the amazing ability to tackle two languages at once. Rather than a "Why" child , she is "What?", as she looks up straight into my eyes, looking for the answer. It pulls you out of your own space, and into theirs, looking at things the way they do so that you can come up with an answer.
At home, I put away my suitcase and pulled out my small bag of rocks collected from the the beach at Marseilles. I carefully lined them up on the window sill, and as Stella would, assess the size and shape before putting them down in their place.
I started a small painting yesterday, and approached it with the same thoughtfulness - where does this piece fit, is it the right color and spot, and took joy that I had such a good teacher for two weeks.