Snapshots of a day with five children:
The new 20-month old and I play peek-a-boo as I put him down for his nap. He giggles and covers his head then I try to find him, whispering "Where's Timmy?" and he giggles some more. Finally I get his chest and he bursts into laughter. We do this over and over till I decide he's ready to sleep.
He sits at his high chair screeching out "No!" and "Ahhhh" and I remind him, coach him, to say "Please" to get oranges. He's getting quicker at changing his response from screaming to "pees".
We discuss the oldest's recent trip to his grandparents and he tells me all about the "Neapolitan Market." He's learning to clear the table without being asked. We talk about what yarn he'd like to get next.
There's a pattern today with the middle child. Regularly someone is coming to tell me he's hit them. We talk about what's going on in his heart....
We gather round the table for lunch. I point out the west window and then out the east. The west is filled with gray clouds. The east is blue with white clouds. We make inferences as to what will happen next.
On it goes and it feels like nothing. I look more at all I do wrong.
But I think about all those reports. Stories of babies with no one to interact with so they die of emotional detachment. Situations where children were never listened to, never taught what's appropriate.
And I offer thanks that me, a measly, helpless child myself, has the opportunity to do this for five souls. Not perfectly. Not even close. But He has given me the time and the ability and I'm thankful I'm here. At home. A part of these valuable things of childhood.