Tuesday, June 11, 2013

personal // the job, so far, where I've learned the most.

Though I would never have guessed this a year ago, I worked as a nanny over the past ten & half months during our time living in Northern Virginia. (Those of you who know my degree and background are in theatre also know that a theatre job would have been complete opposite hours than my hubby!). I worked for a family with four children, each with their very own personality, (three of whom are under 5 years old!) and every day was a new adventure. I have been so thankful for how this job has served me over this transitional time in our lives where we were also raising support full time and, more importantly, I've been grateful for how much it has taught me about kids, one day being a parent, relationships, and just plain ol' life.

here's just some of the things that I learned from these sweet kids:

  1. There is absolutely no laugh that is funnier and more heart-warming than a baby's laugh.

    This is Aspen finding her own bellybutton to tickle it. 

  2. Kids grow REALLY FAST. 

    Especially babies. If I came back from a long three day weekend, man, I better expect a whole new kid. That's when I could really see it. Suddenly, when I wasn't looking, Chase's ability to form a complete sentence was far improved and he was eager to help do everything around the house instead of the Chase who, last I had checked, couldn't sit still long enough to eat his lunch. Amazing!
  3. Power Ranger Chase helps around the house by protecting you from bad guys.

  4. Their reactions to when parents get home is how I should feel about getting time alone with the Lord.
    With little ones, knowing when they will see someone next is very important. It's something that gets asked about many times a day. What if I got that excited once I finally got to spend time with God? Like the "my mom is finally home!!! let me run around and scream my head off and show her everything I did today!" effect, instead of the attitude that can sometimes creep up on us like "oh no, there is so little time in a day. I should probably make the time to hang out with God again...".
  5. Learning how to wake up everyday new. 

    Ever woke up grumpy because the FIRST thing that pops in your mind is what bad thing happened the day before? Well kids never do that! Days feel like weeks to them, and well, for anyone it's hard to remember every little bump in the road that happened weeks ago. The kiddos live a more simple life, where they live every day like they've never done any of these things before. It's the "YES! I have a pink heart-shaped bowl to eat my breakfast in! Oh my gosh, YAY we get to play Candyland after nap!! NO WAY, I get to go to the store with you!??" effect.

    Wish this was how bright-eyed and bushy-tailed I spent each new morning!

    PS. They also forgive within minutes of someone offending them in some way. Whew, I should try practicing that one more often!
  6. Your priority should always be time spent with those that mean the most to you.

    Have you noticed how little kids can't remember a lot of specific details from days or weeks past because everything gets kind of mixed up? Like, for example, they can remember that at some point in the last three days they had spaghetti for dinner, but they really couldn't tell you which one of those days it was. BUT you know what they can most certainly remember? Special time spent having fun with someone important to them. If Grandma comes to visit from far away, you better believe they will be able to recount to you everything super fun she did with them, including whose bed she slept in with them, who got to be the only one to go somewhere with her, how many times they got to sit beside her at dinner and who got to cuddle with her during family movie time.

    This is all to say that what I learned from watching them interact with their loved ones is that it really didn't matter what they did, but spending time with the people they love, getting personal attention and affirmation from them, is something that sticks out so much that they remember it forever. And remembering anything a year from when it happened is a BIG deal for a 3 year old. They would rather have that than anything else in the world. If they can figure out priorities in life, I think we should be able to do the same. God didn't create us to have lives where we just make ourselves busy; he created us as relational beings who need one another. No matter how "busy" you are, remember to let others know how much you need them.
  7. It's incredible how early in their lives you can build a child up to have big dreams, confidence in themselves, and a big heart with concern for others.

    Scarlett, age 4, never forgets anyone. No one tells her "while you're making Valentine's cards, you should make one for your great-grandpa too". But she thinks to do things like that! She sincerely loves, cares for, and remembers people that she may not even have seen more than once or in over a year. You know what else? She, for as long as I have known her, believes that she can work hard enough to do anything. She just turned four and had never been to preschool? So what. She was determined to learn how to read like her big sister, so she worked at it every day without stopping and learned to read and write within two months. She wants to learn how to cook? Well, okay, "I'll just watch you closely every time you're in the kitchen until I feel like I can ask to try it myself" she thinks. Adults love the baby so much that they take time to teach her things? She stops everything she is doing and explains things slowly to the baby. Like if the baby cries because she fell, Scarlett stops, leans down to her, and says "Aspen, where's your boo boo? Where is it? Is your finger hurt? Is your arm hurt? Next time don't run fast, okay?". And no one taught her this! She figured out all on her own how to be her own person and to be a caring and motivated one. Imagine if the world had more children who were encouraged to be this genuine and thoughtful. 

This is definitely not a comprehensive list at all, but it's so hard to even put into words what this experience has taught me. I loved these kids like no kid I've loved before! How could you not when spending 50 hours a week together, watching them learn and grow!

What have you seen differently through the eyes of a child?


P.S. Taylor, Scarlett, Chase and Aspen: I love you and miss you guys every day! Hugs and kisses!!

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