Small Persons   Leave a comment

I work in the nursery with the babies and walkers every four weeks and today was one of my days.  We had a pretty crazy one, with I think 10 kids (not 100% sure about that as it got a bit fuzzy there for a while) and four of them were criers. There were two of us working until we called in our coordinator to help us, cause we desperately needed his assistance.  He took over our saddest one, and held him for half an hour until he finally fell asleep.  Yeah, we wanted to call his parents, but unfortunately, they hadn’t taken a pager and we did not have the phone number they thought we had in the system.  So lesson learned there–don’t rely on phone numbers.

You get all kinds of kids, some don’t want anything to do with you, some are like, “OK you’re not my mom but whatever.”  Some are happy to explore the toys but they are not letting you in.  Others want to sit in your lap.  Some charm your socks off.  They’re all so different.

So we had four young men who were sad.  Then we had one younger baby who was the most agreeable fellow I’ve ever met.   His mother said he be would be fine in his car seat because he had just eaten and been changed, and sure enough–he was.  Every time I had a minute to go talk to him, which was not often, he would smile and act like I was the most fun he had seen all day.  He never let out a peep.

Then we had the two girls in the mondo-toddler feeding table.  It has 8 little seats you can drop the kids in (if they will tuck their feet through the holes, which can be a challenge), and for a time we had three girls.  Then Michelle (not her real name–got to respect her privacy) decided she was done if we weren’t serving crackers to everyone (they belonged to one of  the crying boys), so I pulled her out.  That left Piper and Damaris at the table, pounding Cheerios for about half an hour.  They kept avidly reaching for the glorious yellow box.  What was really funny though was they had a plastic bead necklace.  I was convinced it was Damaris’ but actually it belonged to Piper.  I just never saw it on Piper until right before their mothers came to pick them up.  They were taking turns pulling it back and forth between them, and dropping it in the empty seat I left between them.  Nobody got upset; they genuinely seemed to enjoy tugging the necklace from each other, dropping it in another seat, and wearing it for about 10 seconds, then taking it off again.

Then we had the little bitty agreeable about 8 month old baby girl, who played peacefully in the floor.  The only problem she ever had was when some larger walking child would step on her fingers or the toy she was looking at. Then she would fuss politely for about 10 seconds, we’d check her fingers, and she would go back to inspecting toys on the floor.

It was quite a scene–I never stopped moving between the table, the wandering boys, and the wandering criers.  I’d pick them up and then put them back down again, while my co-worker rocked one until he fell asleep and continued to hold him because she knew if she put him in a crib he would wake up again.

Before I had kids, I used to think babies were basically blobs of fat with no personality at all.  I suppose I thought a child would be at least five years old before you could identify him as an individual with his own preferences.  Of course, after a few years of parenting I learned how misguided I was.  When our daughter was about two weeks old, and wailing because I wouldn’t let her just sleep while nursing (I had the gall to insist she do one or the other, not both)my husband observed, “She’s a person and she knows what she wants.”

Each baby is a person from the very beginning.  Being with him, holding him, talking with him and listening when he talks back, or interact in return if he is not talking, gives me a glimpse into who that little person is.  I have a momentary doorway to the future; I can see the person she is and will be.

For me that is the most fascinating thing.


Posted November 23, 2014 by swanatbagend in parenting

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